Monday, September 24, 2007

Seattle Oyster Race

Yesterday I competed in the first annual Seattle Oyster Race. I entered the corporate six-pack division with 5 other guys from the neighborhood; Anthony, Ben, Justin, Kevin and Scott our team captain who's company Therapeutic Associates sponsored not only us, but the race itself.

I have never watched the TV show the Amazing Race, but I heard this race compared to a single day, single city version of that event many times.

We met at Scott's at o' dark thirty to pack the bikes, roller blades, coolers and chairs into mine and Scott's Explorers. We hit the road just past 6:30 and made it down to REI just after 7. We got a close parking spot and got our camp set up inside the REI garage and were ready to go when the passports were handed out at 8AM. I had ants in my pants so I grabbed my running shoes and hit our first challenge with Anthony and Justin. We had to get our passports stamped at the Space Needle, and at a grain elevator on Pier 87? We also had to locate and get our photo taken at the "Wandering Rocks" in a Seattle park. That part was a little tricky, but we eventually located the artwork, and had our photo taken. We got back to REI in the top half of the teams and it was game on from there.

The second leg was 3 individual events. Two biking and one climbing. Since I had just ran, and the others were anxious to hit the road, I sat this one out while Ben biked to Gas Works park and back, Scott biked to Husky Stadium and back, and Anthony being the strongest of us climbed the REI rock wall.

Leg 3 was up and I wanted back in. Anthony, Kevin and I ran to a boat rental shop on the NE side of Lake Union. From there Kevin ran back to Jillians where he had to hit 45 with 3 darts before running back to REI. I suspect he managed this quickly and had a beer while watching Anthony and I suffer, but I can't comfirm it. Anthnoy and I had to paddle a 2 person kayak down to the south end of the lake and back. I've got to say I got quite a rush when a Kenmore Air float plane took off less than a 100 yards away from us. That rush unfortunately didn't last long as Anthony and I both agreed that this was the hardest leg for us. We used muscles that either we didn't know we had, or in my case, probably didn't have. At one point we got passed by a guy and a gal flying through the water. When we got out she said, that's what you get from two ex rowers. We lit it up running back to try and warm ourselves up, and to pass the rowers!

Leg 4 was a group bike event. I jumped in because I didn't want to miss out on all the biking, and I wanted to keep stretching out and warming up after the cold kayak paddle. Scott, Ben and I headed to get our photo taken with the Freemont Troll, and at the Ballard locks.

Scott and Ben know their way around Seattle really well and we took an awesome short cut back on our bikes. It did involve carrying our bikes up some stairs, but I think it cut at least a mile, and a couple of hills off the route we came by.

Leg 5 was a run to Pike Place Market where Anthony, Kevin, and Justin had to find the bug hut, or bug man or something like that. They took off and Scott did some research and called them with the exact location where I am told Anthony ate a cricket without a moments hesitation. I can't wait to hear what his girls though of that!

Leg 6 involved riding to Green lake and traveling by little wheels around the lake twice. This meant Scott, Ben and Kevin because they were the ones versed in roller blades and scooters. I felt so bad for Scott. I don't think he had biked this decade, and here he was doing every bike event. Anthony and Justin and I figured we were done and started to pack up. We were about to head to the car when Anthony said I wonder if there could be another leg? We decided probably not, but left our gear out and headed out. On the way, Anthony asked one of the timers, "There are just six legs right?" She said there could be 6-8. We went to a really nice Irish pub and I asked Justin what he thought the odds were that there was another leg, he replied since they were already sweeping the course, and the way the time keeper looked at us when we asked there was zero chance. I took his word for it and started in with gusto on a smooth pint Guinness and a shot of Jamison Irish Whiskey. We were cheering the Seahawks on and I talked Justin into ordering breakfast with me. I have never had such good corned beef hash with eggs and hollandaise sauce. It was soooo rich, but sooo good and salty. After another Guinness we decided we needed to get back to cheer our team on as they returned from the final leg.

WRONG. As it turned out, there was a 7th leg. Oh crap. There was no way to ask the guys returning from a 2 hour ordeal involving biking, roller blading and towing a team member on a scooter with an inner tube to run the hilly five miles to pioneer square and back. Off we went. Could I keep my meal down? I like races where you learn something about yourself. I didn't expect to learn that yes I can keep down two Guinness's, an Irish whiskey and corned beef hash and eggs while running 5 miles in hilly downtown Seattle, but I did. It hurt. It didn't feel swell at all, but we managed. I'm the one on the left in this photo. If I looked a little dazed, It was only because I was.

We finished 6th out of a 12 Corporate Six Pack teams. Pretty darn good for a team with no training, whose wives predicted heart failure!

These guys were studs. I'm already signing up for next year!

Date: Sept 23
Mileage: 15
Ride type/Bike: Road/Allez
Sept Miles: 214
Year to date mileage: 2186

Date: Sept 18
Mileage: 23
Ride type/Bike: Road/Allez
Sept Miles: 199
Year to date mileage: 2171


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