Reno Tahoe Odyssey Relay Run – Team Tater Trots

My first ever participation in an organized running event is a blast. The RTO is an epic relay race that starts and ends in Reno, looping around Lake Tahoe on roads, highways, and bike trails. Of the 250 participating teams, our team of 12 is in it for the fun. We accomplish that mission, and finish the race as well!

I leave the house feeling good, like the six million dollar tater.

Six million dollar tater

I swing by Vanessa’s office on my to the starting line. She’s fired up as well.

Vanessa ready to rock

Our team gathers and prepares with some squats.

Tater Trots Start

Marlaina runs first, then me. I’ve decided to try to run the first 5.5-mile leg barefoot.

Barefoot tater trotting

The first half feels great, then the heat and the rough road start to wear on me. When I finish feet are waaay tender. Good thing my job for next eight hours or so is to recover and cheer on my teammates.

Vanessa hitting the hill

Rear Vuvuzuela Technique

Vuvuzuela break and water douse

When our group of six have all run, we swap our van for the RV. There’s time for dinner and a dip in Lake Tahoe at Homewood while the others run.

Hangin' in the RV

Brian dips

Soon it’s our turn to run into the night. My feet are still tender, but I figure they’ll be okay wearing my fivefingers. Once I get started and the pain fades, the big moon over the lake inspires me and I really crank up my 600-foot hill. The foot tenderness comes back, so I leave my shoes on to spare further wear and team-killing odors. Brian, Nico, Vanessa, and Ryan take us into South Tahoe.

Nico cranked up

Nico does almost all the driving on our team when he isn’t running, and he takes us down the hill to Carson City in the RV where we try to sleep. I do just well enough to feel completely zombified when the wake up call comes in. I wonder if I have another leg in me, but some strong coffee from the support tent perks me up enough to see Marlaina off again. My feet are still more tender than before. I put tape on the sorest spots and hope for the best.

The only negative event of the race occurs on Marlaina’s moonless leg through south Carson. Two guys on foot come at her from either side of the road, and fortunately another team drives by and picks her up. She shows up scared and I wait a bit to start my leg to make sure we should really keep going. With her urging me on and talking to 911 on the phone, I run off into the black night.

Once again my feet feel better soon. I don’t see anyone for a few miles, then the van passes and Marlaina looks good, so I relax and go for it. The air is cool and the grades is mostly a gentle downhill. I finish with the best pace I’ve recorded – seven minute miles.

Now I get to relax and cheer. At the next exchange Ann shows up and learns to blow the vuvuzuela, joining the squad for a leg while the sun rises. Vanessa and Ryan get the brutal climb up to Virginia City, hitting a 15% grade in places. The Virginia City exchange is in front of the Bucket of Blood saloon, where we celebrate with drinks while the last van crew heads for Reno.

View from the Bucket of Blood

Nico performs some small miracles to pilot the RV out of Virginia City, and we head for Idyllwild Park to wait for our comrades. A nap in the grass dulls my exhaustion enough to cheer Colin across the finish line. Our final time is 26:18:12, not bad for 178 miles of teamwork!

Colin crosses the finish line

Tater Trots Finish

Mike sacked out

Tater Trot Women

I fail to boogie

Colin and Steve

Every one of our runners carried my GPS logger, and by a small miracle it made it through all 36 exchanges and back to reno, which let me make a map of our accomplishment with a color for each runner.

Here are the GPX data files for each leg. After that, maps and graphs.

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4 thoughts on “Reno Tahoe Odyssey Relay Run – Team Tater Trots

  1. Awesome! I am going to use the picture of the LadyTrots on my FB page, with proper credit of course. Thanks for the terrific write up and a peek at what van #1 was up to.

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