The weather was perfect. We were able to stand around in shorts and short sleeves (as opposed to rain jackets and parkas last year). It was good.
Our van made exchanges seamlessly. No getting lost, no missing the runner as they got into the exchange, no killing other runners on our way to the exchange. Things were going well, indeed.
And here she comes! (with a policeman turning on his sirens for her to cross the busy intersection. Yes, that's how team NashMash rolls.)
And the hand-off. (doesn't it look like no one is paying any attention? WTF? We were screaming our asses off rooting them on.)
The thing about relay is it's a bunch of hurry-up and then wait. You wait around at the exchange for your runner to come in and hand-off to the next runner, and then you all rush to the van and drive to the next exchange where it happens again. It's like a huge adrenaline rush. Constantly up and then down.
This relay is hilly. And by hilly I mean, Really freaking hilly. There is no such thing as an "easy leg." Sure, there are legs that are shorter in distance... but they've usually got some hardcore hills tucked in there to make you wish you'd gotten more training in.
The cool thing for me, was that I was in Van 1 last year, as well. And the first round of legs were exactly the same as they were last year... so I was able to annoy the shit out of my van-mates by relaying stories to them about last year. "Ohhhhhh... I remember this leg last year... there's a sick hill at the end." "Ohhhh.. and last year... at this exchange, a guy missed his teammate coming in, because he was inside Heaven hills doing a tasting or buying knick-knacks or some shit and his teammate CUSSED his ass out when he finally showed up." Good times, indeed.
Better you than me, man.
It was at the exchange for runner 5 to come in (the leg I ran last year) that we ran into our first little logistic hiccup.
The parking directions in the Relay Guidebook said to park at a church. So, we did that. Only to find out that we had to walk about at least 3 quarters of a mile to get to the actual exchange. It was bullshit. And what was even more bullshit, was that by the time we walked to the exchange, I noticed that other vans had just gone ahead and parked by the exchange. Screw the guidebook directions. So, once I got to the exchange and another one of our van-mates got there, too, I handed off the clipboard and jogged my way (in flip-flops) back to the van to drive it closer to the exchange. I mean, if I had been running that leg and got finished and realized I had to walk that far to the freaking van, I'd been pissed off.
Hard to get your panties in a wad with scenery this pretty though. (See that white building towards the right center of the pic? Yeah, that's not even the church, that's the grocery store. The Church was even further to the right than that AND you had to walk around on the road, unless you wanted to get cow shit on your shoes).
There goes our 6th runner on the final leg of our first round.
Dude, I know... you take all the time you need after that leg. Last year, I cracked a PBR as soon as I got back to the van. But the water is probably a better idea.