I'd done the Lake Tahoe Relay two times previously, in 2008 and 2009. Both times were thanks to Peter Lubbers, who had a team of himself, his two boys and some friends, and was looking to fill a few more slots. They've apparently done the race almost every year since then, but either their team was full or I was unable to go. This year, however, things fell into place for me, and with a last-minute dropout, I was able to fill in.
Found the crew in the parking lot of the "Y" and meandered to the classic start line behind the Mr. Suds Laundromat. (Such a funny place for a start/finish area, but it's nicely out of the way, at least.)
(Frantic start line pics)
We got our first runner on the course - Peter's son Rocky. He led us through South Lake and on to Zephyr Cove, where he snuck by before I had a chance to get a handoff picture.
(Rocky, Peter and Sean)
Peter took leg two, the hill up to Spooner Lake. Here we fell into the relay routine of driving, parking, waiting for the runner, and repeating. Lots of time to take pictures along the way:
(Hot air balloon over Tahoe)
(Car and runner)
(A little sponge off from the heat)
(Meeting the support team)
(Peter coming up the hill)
At the leg 3 transition, Peter handed off to Pamela, who took off down the hill toward Sand Harbor and Incline Village.
(Last burst of speed)
(The handoff, with Peter's wife Victoria cheering)
Beautiful section, this one. Lots of photo opportunities:
(Cruising the downhills)
(Along the shore)
(Near Sand Harbor)
Pamela cruised through her leg, and handed off to Damien for the long leg 4. But this time it was getting pretty hot, and I had to start getting ready for my leg 6. Didn't get that many pictures of Damien and our leg 5 runner, Ollie.
(Pamela handing off to Damien)
(Damien running through residential neighborhoods)
(Ollie taking it through leg 5)
(Giant Tahoe pine cones near Tahoe City)
I waited for Ollie at the leg 6 exchange near Homewood, where the heat was becoming more oppressive. At this point we'd lost one of our two shuttle cars due to mechanical problems, so half the team was off taking care of that. Really wasn't sure how my leg was going to go - I don't usually run in the afternoon, or in the heat (or at Tahoe elevation for that matter.) But, after I took the tag from Ollie, I seemed to fall into a pretty good groove for the first mile or so.
Unfortunately, there were nine more miles to go, and I started falling apart. Walk breaks started happening on anything resembling a hill, and then even if there was a bit of shade I could stretch out. I went through my handheld water bottle a couple of times, getting refills from the rest of the team. Eventually I reached the bottom of the "Hill from Hell" - which I'm familiar with from the Lake Tahoe Marathon course - and resigned myself to just walking it. Strangely, I passed a couple of people while walking the hill - thanks, long legs. Just past the top, there was a whole 400 yards of flat into the handoff area, which I ran in to high-five Sean for leg 7.
(Sean flies by after his one big hill)
(Gorgeous day after the clouds came in)
(Quick walk and water break)
(Pep talk from the crew)
(Making a push near the end)
Sean put in a huge effort on leg 7, blazing the last few miles to bring us in right at 12:30 for the whole race. Here's those of us that made it to the finish; Pamela and Damien were with the car that had problems.
As always, a great, though tiring day. Thanks to Peter for asking me along, and thanks to the race organizers and volunteers for putting on such a good show.