Land and Sky Relay
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Land and Sky Relay - Run
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Kevin and I drove to Asheville on Friday morning. We had lunch and then Kevin rode his mountain bike in Bent Creek while I sat at a coffee shop and read a book. I also walked over to Brueggars to get bagels for Saturday since we had such an early start. When Kevin was done with his ride, we were able to check into our hotel. Then we went to packet pickup.
While all of this was going on, Robin coordinate a Manatee Meetup at The Cantina Fresh Mex and Tequila Bar. It was so close to our hotel that we were able to walk. Anyway, we met the team for dinner. I was able to distribute the race bibs and t-shirts while we were there. After dinner we walked back to the hotel and then... Early to bed...
How Did the Race Unfold?
4:00 wake up call
Breakfast of bagel with PB, cold brew, water with Nuun
We left the hotel at 4:30 to get to the starting area
Weather: Foggy and 29 degrees at the start
I had on sweatpants, a winter coat over my running gear and realized that I had forgotten to pack gloves :-/
Time went pretty quickly. Ann-Marie’s team, the Jackwagons, were in the 5:00 group and we saw them off. Loaded Mary, Melanie, and TJ’s overnight bags into Kevin’s car and Janyne’s race bag into Robin’s car.
Kevin asked if it was only women doing this thing. I said no. Then a team a guys showed up to prove me right.
We primed our chalk marker and added some decorations to the car.
TJ was our first runner. We saw her off, Kevin took some pictures, and then Robin chauffeured
us to our first exchange point while Kevin went back to the hotel to warm up and get some breakfast.
I had the second leg. The exchange with TJ went fine. It was dark. Of course it was dark! It was 6:30 in the morning and foggy. I had on my Noxgear vest and super bright headlamp over running tights, long sleeved tee and running vest. This leg was 4.5 rolling hills with about 375 feet of elevation. The run was relatively uneventful. I was running with someone much of the time and we kept on swapping off the lead position. At one point, she started to make a turn. I yelled out that we went straight. She corrected and we made it to the exchange point without incident -- or extra miles. I got to the exchange points and saw no Manatees so I yelled out. I pretty much embarrassed myself by yelling out at my exchanges for the rest of the day. I handed off to Melanie for leg 3.
Mary’s first leg (leg 4). This is where we really broke out the chalk marker. We did some serious tagging in the parking lot with the horses and again at the park in Clyde. This was a long leg with 3.5 miles of uphill.
When Mary got in, she handed off to TJ for leg 5 and we headed for Starbucks. But wait, we cannot see the runners very well due to the fog, which seemed to get denser as we were driving. We decided to make a U-turn and find TJ to give her a headlamp to increase her visibility. Then we went to Starbucks that was actually in an Ingles grocery store. I placed our Starbucks order while Robin put gas in the car and Mary changed clothes (actual bathroom with flush toilets!). Then Mary and Melanie bought a bunch of olives from the olive bar. I never did find out what happened to them.
We proceeded to the next exchange point in Clyde and became increasingly brazen with our tagging.
TJ handed off to Mary for Leg 6. We tried to drive to the next exchange but got caught up in a one way street situation. We backtracked slightly and made our way to the next exchange point (indoor bathrooms!) without further incident. The sun was finally burning off all the fog and it was finally started to get warner.
I had the Leg 7 which was Lake Junaluska to Maggie Valley - sun came out after my time to change clothes had passed so I was overdressed. This was listed as a “pretty easy leg” at 6.2 miles and 470 of gradual uphill. The first part was in on US19 in traffic and on sidewalks. There were a million cones so I felt safe but it was noisy. I was glad when we turned onto a quieter street after the first three miles. On Moody Farm Road, the course went along a creek. After about 2 miles the course merged back onto the sidewalk along US19.
Handoff to Melanie for Leg 8. After let 7, I was hungry and thirsty. Had lunch (bagel with PB, banana, water with Nuun)
About this time, I texted Kevin with our beer order which became a beer and wine and hard cider order. (!) Kevin had offered to buy post race beer. He was surprised when I texted him, “Beer (2), non IPA. Red wine (1), possibly a hard cider.” He managed to buy everything on sale and get North Carolina beer and hard cider. He knew better than to get North Carolina wine. haha!
Mel handed off to Mary for Leg 9, through Soco Gap -- dangerous half mile section between Blue Ridge Parkway underpass and the exchange point.
TJ had the next section, leg 10. This was billed as the prettiest leg. It was also something like a mile longer than advertised.
The car had a separate route from the runners (gravel, steam crossing) to the transfer point. The car parking was .8 miles from the transfer point so we parked and hiked up to to meet TJ. Robin brought a town for TJ and I brought a blanket in case she got cold on the way back to the car.
About the time that TJ got to the water crossing, a rented Ford Transit 12-passenger van appeared on the dirt road on the opposite side of the creek from us. Apparently, this team did not notice that the driving route was different route from the run route! The stream was roughly knee deep. I’m not sure that I’d want to take my rented van through that!
I met TJ at the creek crossing and walked the last 50 yards or so to the official exchange point to check in and begin Leg 11.
Leg 11 was mostly on gravel road and started with a 1.5 mile hike, a half mile downhill, and then another half mile hike. During the first 2.5 miles, I gained 1100 feet, much of it pretty steep. Then I had a five mile downhill. The first mile or so of downhill had a lot of dead leaves on it. It was extremely rural and I saw only a few runners on the course so I was very careful about my footing in this section. If I twisted an ankle, who knows how long I’d be up there! Fortunately, the trail/road was clear for the final four miles. It was very peaceful in this section and the fall leaves were very pretty. The last mile and a half was on paved road.
Handoff to Melanie for the final leg of the relay.
We headed to the finish area at Harrah’s and wound our way up the parking deck where we eventually found a place to park. Then we went back down to meet Melanie to cross the finish line together.
Kevin met us there and took some group photos and we had some official group photos taken. Then we headed inside for even more group pictures -- this time with a fancy Land and Sky backdrop.
Buffet (kinda lame) and used my beer ticket.
Then a meetup for better beer at the one star hotel. I’ll let the other go into that ;-)
Team breakfast at Peter’s Pancakes and Waffles (thanks for the recommendations, Ann-Marie!)
What would you do differently?:
Stay at a nicer hotel!
I think that Glory Hound did a great job with this relay. I like the fact that it's a one day event (no overnight in a van), that you can do this with a regular car or van (no need to rent vehicle), and that you need only four runners. There is some room for improvement but that's true of most first year events. I'd do this one again.
Last updated: 2019-10-31 12:00 AM
2019-11-14 12:44 PM
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Started by melbo55
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2019-11-14 1:47 PM jmkizer
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