Race recap by Brian Roddy, Rolf Prima's Owner .. ..

Cascade Lakes Relay and a definition of Type II Fun

During a long, hairy, alpine rock climb in the North Cascades, my climbing partner once told me about the various levels of “fun”. Apparently what we were doing at the time was “type II fun” defined as fun after it is over, but not so fun during the activity. It perfectly captured our situation trying to get off the rock after dark. It was going to be fun when we told the story over beers (or as a prelude to another type II fun story) but cold, tired and out of water and still 4,000 ft. off the ground it was distinctly not fun at the time. Now that it is over, I remember it as a great time. You should have been there! You’d love it!

What does this have to do with doing Cascade Lakes Relay as a 6-person Ultra team? Lots.  CLR, as its good friends call it, is a 217 mile run through the Cascade Mountains and on the high plateau of central Oregon. While most teams are 12-person, for the last four years we have done it as a 6-person Ultra team. This means we each run 6-7 legs for a total of 35mi – 38mi. In 2011 an incarnation of this team set the Ultra Mixed course record and we’ve won the division for the last three years in various configurations. Our goal this year was to win the division and see if we could bump the Ultra Mixed record lower again.

Our team – Rolf Prima’s Worst Pace Sixnario consisted of Clint, Tyler, Jake, Jason, my wife Carrie and myself.  The team started off well, but halfway through my first dusty, hot, 7 mile leg I started questioning my choices in life and whether or not I could hold up my end of the bargain for the team. I love competitive running, but this was Type II fun already. It was hot. When I finished, Clint shoved a handful of ice at me. I paced soaking my head to get my body temperature down. Maybe it was my unhappy view of life at that moment, but this did not feel like it was coming together.  

We piled into the van and drove to catch Jason, our current runner. We drove.  And drove. And drove. He was not in sight. Finally in the distance we saw a runner just pounding it.  Jason was running at an inspiring, blistering pace. Suddenly, it was Type I fun –fun that is actually fun while you are doing it. For the next legs the temperature dropped as clouds rolled in and morale went up. All through the evening and night we knocked out consistently fast legs. We got very little sleep because we were on about a 3-4 hour running rotation but when daylight finally hit, we were way further up the road than we had ever been at daybreak.  So far ahead that, after starting almost 5 hours after many teams, we had passed 180+ of the 200 teams in the race. We were in uncharted territory for us, as some of the fast 12-person teams were still in close proximity. They usually drop us before nightfall.  I think that helped us to keep pushing.

In the end we crossed at 26 hours and 51 minutes, winning the Ultra Mixed division (and beating all Ultras)! We beat our earlier course record by 1 hour 8 minutes and ended up 7th overall beating all but six of the fastest 12 person teams.

As I write this I almost fall for the trick of Type II fun. Because it is fun now looking back at it, I’ve almost convinced myself that it was fun for the full time. This is the mind trick that lets you sign up for another Ironman or 100 mi mountain bike race two days after you completed one that almost broke you. Actually most of the race was fun. We had a great team who all got along well and we all were equally competitive. Shoot. Now that I think of it, the whole thing was fun. When does registration for next year open?

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