We arrived at Exchange 18 and attempted to catch a few Zs. We threw our sleeping bags down by the river. It was nice and peaceful... until some stupid ass team decided to all play movie trivia ten feet from our heads. Lauren camped out next to me did not notice this, but I couldn't sleep at all. Hey you stupid ass team - don't you see all the people trying to sleep?
By the time they got bored it was 8:30pm or so and I had no clue when our team would be coming in. The earliest estimates were 9:30 or so and that is if everyone ran their 10k pace. There were some really tough legs in that set though, so we weren't really expecting them then. But as captain, I wanted to be ready to roll.
So we waited. And some more. They finally came through about 11 pm or so and we set off.
Shaun started with a 9 mile leg with 1800 feet of elevation gain. Because he is a rockstar, he passed a bunch of people. It was colder - probably below 50 or so at the top of the mountain where I had to wait for him. But I get warm fast when running, so I braved it in shorts and a t-shirt.
So I know Paul, the race director, occasionally reads here and I forgot to mention it on the evaluation form, but the spotters were really bad this year. Last time, they were excellent at spotting runners with enough time for teams to get ready ("There's a runner coming! We think he might be British!") This time there appeared to be no communication so teams just had to be ready and recognize their runner themselves.
Anyway, this led to hilarity while we were waiting. I was chatting with an ultra team while we waited for our runners. All of a sudden, this runner comes barreling up yelling "142! 142!" Nobody makes a move. Then the runner looks down at his bib and goes "124! 124!" which happened to be the ultra team we were chatting with.
Shaun followed pretty closely behind and I started running. It was a gorgeous cool crisp moonlit night. I was running in Wyoming, where there is actually a nice large shoulder, so you don't have to worry about traffic. My leg started out flat but then it was downhill for the last three miles or so. I was cruising somewhere around 9:30 minute miles for a good chunk of that. One of the men's teams, The Pipelayers, came into the exchange a little after me and he was on my tail the entire time.
So the thing about the night legs? When you are about to be passed, you know it for a while. You see your shadow in the bouncy headlamp of the runner behind you. To top it off, his van stopped every 100 m or so and would tell me "good job" and then talk to him so I could hear him behind me too.
But the thing is that the dude never passed me! I admit I did push a little harder knowing he was right there. I did get passed a lady from the Reapers. I managed to stay pretty close on her tail the rest of the way, with the dude right on mine. When the exchange was in sight, we all picked it up a bit. We had to cross to road - as soon as we did so, I could hear the dude decide to pick it up and so did the lady so we all sprinted into the exchange. (This is where the spotters needed to be doing their jobs better - no one knew which teams were all coming in together so their runners could be ready).
I was actually last of the three at this point, but fortunately just behind enough to hear someone yell "Cattle Guard!" The dude caught his foot in it and tripped (but was okay I think) and I stopped and walked over it - I decided Jamie could make up any lost time.
That leg was 4.3 miles, and I averaged about 10 min/miles (the first mile was slow since it wasn't downhill).
I found Jamie in the mess of runners and handed off to him. He had a great leg, despite a jump in a ditch (this happened to Pete on the same leg last time - CO needs some shoulders!). Brady also had an awesome leg.
Dede didn't feel well after her first leg and hadn't been able to keep much food down. We had a backup plan of Lauren running both their legs (about 10 miles total). But Dede decided she wasn't coming all the way to Colorado to run only 5 miles. So she toughed it out like a trooper.
Then Lauren ran into Walden and we finished up around 4am or so. For the first time during a relay, I actually bothered showering because I was so cold after my leg. At Exchange 30, the only sleeping area was the grass, which is what we did last time and got rained on. There was no way I was sleeping outside when I was that cold, so we decided to stay at Exchange 24, which made me nervous - there is no cell service, so if we overslept, Van 1 wouldn't be able to find us.
Anyway, it was the best shower ever. For real. Then we slept on a hard tile floor in a cafeteria. Best relay sleep I have ever gotten too. There were no snorers in the room! Can you believe it? Inevitably there is a snorer who keeps the rest of us up.
It was less than three hours of sleep, but we woke up ready to finish this mofo off.
Next up: There is no way in hell that this is an "easy" leg.
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