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If you do call yourself a runner, can you handle the truth?
Hood to Coast

Rage Race Report: 2007 Hood-To-Coast Relay
Endorphiends Fall Short

Seaside - A lot can happen with 12,000 runners crammed into 2,000 vans in a 197 mile relay. But nothing ever happens the way it's supposed to when these particular twelve individuals comprising Team Endorphiends get behind the wheel.

But you don't have to tell that to Team DOA ("Dead on Arrival").

As if trying to shake off the 12 annoying poodles determined to mount a charge up any leg that happened by, team DOA finally shook free from the Endorphiends, who were all but humped out by the time The Rage gave a moot hand off to K.C. Taylor on leg 36, a full fifteen minutes behind.

This wasn't the finish they were hoping for, after this year's dog fight started so promising 20 hours earlier when Rage opened with the quad buster from Timberline Lodge and handed off to Taylor followed by Todd Bosworth, Kevin MacDermott, Al Whalen and Rob Peattie rounding out the Van One crew that arrived early in Sandy, sending Van Two on their way well ahead of schedule.

It was definitely on....especially when Mr. Peattie finished off Van One's opening shift by smoking leg 6 by a full three minutes ahead of his expected finish time.

And there was no letting up from Van Two (a.k.a. Bill Merrill, Gordon Cully, Tod Harris, Thomas Kreuzpeintner, Ron Coomes and Steve Dinatale) which continued the relentless hump-fest-quest to beat Team DOA to Seaside.

Nobody was better qualified to comment on the poodle-esk shin pounding administered in the first half by Team Endorphiends than former Olympic Skater Nancy Kerrigan who followed all the action from her comfy spot down on the beach with ESPN's Dwight Stones, offering her own caustic color commentary: "Frankly, I still think their a bunch of pussies. Try doing a triple lutz with Jeff Gillooly AND Tonya Harding riding in your van. So don't look at me, Rage. I'm plumb out of Little Mermaid band aids to make your owee's go away. Go ahead. Play me another tune on your four leg violins. You got your asses handed to you. Deal with it."

Ouch!

Seems that this particular color commentator was not too impressed when Team Endorphiends suddenly found themselves with a runner down half way to Seaside, prompting some mid-race juggling of leg assignments by Captain Cully, with runners shifting up one position by rule, meaning the leg one and two spots having to add a fourth leg (e.g. Rage and Taylor).

Unbeknownst to Kerrigan, Rage was just happening by the ESPN desk and took exception to the former Olympian's (e.g. that is, IF you can really count figure skating) "Little Mermaid" remarks. It took Stones and two "Lug Nuts" (e.g. the bass player and drummer from Johnny Limbo's band) to intercept what must have looked like a bald missile flying onto the set of Sportscenter's live west coast broadcast, culminating in Stones desperate plea for a satellite feed back to Chris Berman in New York.

He got his New York feed, and the Endorphiends still were left with their 4th place masters division finish, not only having lost to team DOA, but to Buchnell University's alumni team and.... last, but not least...Team Fluffy Bunny.

...but those were some bad ass bunnies.

It gets worse.

Seems that officials even questioned legitimacy of THAT order of finish, which continues to swirl in controversy based on a new rule buried deep in the HTC Handbook:

"Rule 23, Paragraph 3.1. The presence of certified priest must be confirmed BEFORE any baton can be pried off the wrist a runner unable to complete an exchange. Until witnessed by a race official, said individual will remain classified as a "runner" until deemed a "carcass" by said priest."

DOA attorneys begrudgingly conceded to a stipulation of facts that technically there indeed WAS a priest (e.g. the person was actually employed by High Priestess Tattoo Parlor, and their official job title was "Lead Tattoo Priest II"....a crafty move by Capt. Cully), but took exception to Team Endorphiends request to subtract several minutes lost trying to slide the baton off poor Tod Harris's wrist, which by then was hopelessly entangled in the rosary some idiot gave to him before he got a tad...uh... stiff.

To Kerrigan's point, it seems that the Endorpheinds wasn't the only team who had to improvise. The Buchnell team also lost a runner, right in front of a hurdling Taylor within yards of the leg two / three exchange and still broke 20:50.

So what REALLY was the Endorphiend's problem, anyway?

Could it be that they've become one of those (gasp!) shitty teams?

The post-race discussions and grousing among team members as the brews flowed didn't pull many punches, with virtually every Endorpheind thrown under the bus at some point well into the wee hours of the morning and during the long ride home.

Team DOA, on a suicide watch to Team Endorphiends, went as far as allowing them to share their digs when the "Blue Tarp Inn" reservations fell through.

But the low point of the whining undoubtedly had to be Taylor going through the entire line up and assigning his rating of each runners score in accordance with his "Pain Tolerance Index" (PTI), culminating with Rage being asked to find another ride home.

Race Epilogue:

* The "never say die" awards have to go to Ron Coomes and Thomas Kreuzpeintner for huge third leg efforts keeping Team Endorphiends in the hunt for a tad longer.

* Steve Dinatale gets the "hit man award" for a mock Sicilian assassination with a squirt gun to an unsuspecting Italian team, the first such hit in HTC history, and even impressed Kerrigan as the highlight of Team Endorphiends performance.

* The "how the heck did he run leg one that fast" award has to go to The Rage reflecting on the 5:13 pace Bosworth ran in 2006 compared to the pathetic 5:30's by Rage this year. Wow.

* The "no fire danger here award" goes to K.C. Taylor, for ensuring the that entire coast range east of leg 19 was sufficiently doused with water, along with several hundred runners who happened to stand between him and the foliage he was trying to make sure never had the chance to ignite.

* The "is that all you got" award goes to Al Whalen for his self administered punishment despite beating his predicted arrival time on leg 5. Seems he couldn't find a bayonet to do himself in honorable fashion in the exchange area, so he just kept running...passing a couple runners on leg 6 just to get his mind right.

* The "is anyone sane in this van" awards go to Kevin MacDermott and Bill Merrill who thought they'd seen it all in 2006...but weren't even close.

* The "gentle feedback award" has to go to Mr. "Boom goes the Dynamite" and the now exponentially expanding audience to his open & candid feedback as only he can administer, conjuring up images of that poor whale laying on that beach in Florence back in '70, just trying to rot in peace. To quote The Rage from that classic Rhody Run race report: "No orifice was spared."

* The "do you really want to be remotely connected with these idiots" award has to go to Liz Wilson whose cool sporting equipment made sure that the entire spectacle could also be enjoyed from outer space.

* And last, but not least, the "I can't believe we're actually letting these sorry asses sleep here" award has to go to Team DOA, who after handing Team Endorphiends their asses, couldn't bear telling Captain Cully it wasn't really them who offered, but actually were commanded to do so by court order from the city of Seaside to do whatever it takes to get us off the Boardwalk, as the jail was full.

And that's The Truth.

The Rage (9/4/07)

Rage Race Report: Team Endorphiends 22nd Overall, 2006 Hood to Coast Relay

So, what do Batman, The Rage and a proctologist all have in common?

Add the 2006 Hood to Coast Relay, and didn’t take long to find out.

While I certainly ain’t no Frank Gorshin, the clues to this riddle started to emerge when The Rage took the stick from K.C. Taylor in Sandy, Oregon and Van Two went to work.

So it would be for the next 21 hours, with Van One now going for a well deserved break after knocking off the first six legs of this 197 mile relay from Timberline Lodge on the face of the highest mountain in Oregon (Mt. Hood) to Seaside on the Oregon Coast.

Van Two was without the injured Thomas Kreuzpeintner, leaving Captain Gordon Cully with few alternatives, and (gulp) called The Rage as a possible sub. With the race less than two weeks away, I had run a total of five times in the last four weeks and quickly went to work…on my list of excuses! It felt weird running my 6:30’s when a guy that could otherwise give the team sub-6:00’s sitting right there…and otherwise looking real fast. What was cool is that Thomas still came along and drove…and everyone was glad he was there.

Having taken the stick at 10:15 p.m., The Rage would be outfitted with the patented Kalen Cranial “Ass-Fault” Illuminator™ that Mark (Kalen) undoubtedly sells on the side to proctologists all over the planet.

Immediately, after putting it on, I felt like Batman. Not only was I ready to run, Commissioner Gordon was the first to agree that Van Two could now shed light on anyone’s…uh…”Bat cave,” should the need arise.

But we’d need to have a little more than Batman if Team Endorphiends was going to defend their 2005 HTC Masters division title. That’s because a fully loaded Buchnell University Masters team had a predicted finish about 90 minutes ahead of ours.

“Bullshit!” an immediately skeptical Alan Whalen retorted upon hearing the news and sprung into action. Trying to show no disrespect to Todd Bosworth’s otherwise completely adequate forecasting spreadsheet, within seconds he had plugged an Ethernet connection from his heart monitor and engaged the Van One retractable satellite dish giving him immediate real-time GPS coordinates of every team on the course displayed on his own wrist profiled graphically along side Team Endorphiends actual leg times. A few key strokes later, he was plotting regression lines through a sea of multi-colored data points, calculating an R-squared of .92 on the dependent variable (e.g. their predicted times) to their actual heart rates (e.g. while hacking into the satellite feed for Team Buchnell’s monitors with laser-like precision) carefully weighing humidity, elevation changes as well as barometric pressure (actual and forecasted) and calculating correlation coefficients for those, too. It confirmed he was right. Team Endorpheinds wouldn’t lose by 90 minutes. It would be more like 111 or so.

What a treat for Van One. Watching Al Whalen throw regression lines through data is sort of like watching Luke ieywalker's light saber going right through Darth Vader.

“Sorry, guys,” Al conceded. “I’ve only been wrong once. And that time that I thought I was wrong…and I wasn’t.” Six color copies emerged from the Van One laser printer as Al gave the news via email to Van Two.

Bosworth, fidgeting anxiously with every one of Al’s keystrokes, looked over his copy and gave Al one of those sad puppy faces, like a kid who just busted his ass for nothing after a team record 5:13 average pace on leg one…and then, suddenly, it happened: Todd lost his voice...

…and unexplainably, the van came to an immediate halt, causing Rob Peattie to remove his hands from the steering wheel and look quizzically down at the brake pedal. It was like something far stronger was in control of the van. Birds quit chirping. Deer suddenly emerged from the forest and slowly encircled the stalled van, completely calm and unafraid. Kevin McDermott just stood there looking at Bosworth with his mouth hanging open. Tod Harris quietly sobbed. It was as if humans and animals alike suddenly realized after all: There is a God…

…I say again: Todd Bosworth had lost his voice.

And then suddenly, the deafening silence came to an abrupt end…as a completely clueless K.C. Taylor came roaring to life having dozed off in the back seat. Taylor proceeds to soak Bosworth and all the deer with a squirt gun while laughing hysterically, not having any idea what had just happened.

…and the deer sprinted back into the trees, and the stillness was replaced with the most intense spine decalcifying finger-nails-on-a-chalkboard kind of spew. The cold reality that K.C. Taylor’s pie hole was now in full control of Van One started to sink in. Those of us in Van Two immediately bowed our heads in silence for those five poor Van One souls.

So, the race had barely started and we knew we were all literally…uh…hosed. Barring a blow up from Team B, we started to set our sites on Team DOA (as in “Dead on Arrival” out of Salem) as a worthy target of our efforts, seeing how they would be running in the masters division in 2007 and we were pretty evenly matched.

And now, back to the action on Leg 7: Surely, at least someone must have seen a resemblance to the Caped Crusader as I sped toward 362nd Avenue. So, you can imagine the disappointment when my effort was marginalized by some asshole yelling: “Go Alfred!” At least he got the frigging television show right. But I didn’t care how dark it was. I was more than a bit miffed how any idiot could possibly confuse my obvious sleek, bounding Adam West-like stride with Alan Napier’s as I knocked off one of 17 kills on leg 7. Give me a break.

Obviously having received no respect whatsoever from the locals, I handed the stick to Ron Coomes, who immediately re-established Van Two’s stature, owning this stretch of road, darn near beating the van to the next exchange as The Rage slunk down low in his seat appropriately in the back of the van trying to avoid eye contact with Captain Cully.

Steve Dinatale had the misfortune of being the one that Ron would hand off to all the way to the beach. For The Dina, that meant very little get-out-of-the-van-to-warm-up time…which he was literally sorely in need of with one really bad wheel (hamstring).

Does he whine? Nope. Not a word as you would expect from the five-time Rhody Run champ. He puts his head down and goes, with six guys looking on in amazement as the dude just kept turning it over. We all were thinking the same thing as we drove by: Man, that has to hurt. And he just kept running. Dina was our fuel on this trip.

And then came Gee (as in Kyle) on Leg 9. Mr.Gee was yet another designated stallion in Captain Gordon’s Van Two stable, expected to produce all the way to the beach. He showed up with the expression he wears when he’s about to empty the barn by repeatedly throwing two bales at a time into the back of his pick up. He didn’t disappoint. Being raised in Winston, conveniently not too far as the crow flies from Wildlife Safari, Gee’s training regiment consisted of sneaking into the lions den buck naked after completely submerging himself in a trough filled to the brim with Elk urine.

“I wasn’t blessed with Troy Polamalu talent (e.g. a fellow graduate of Douglas High School and current Pittsburg Steeler all-pro defensive back) so I needed to find my own edge,” Gee said.

And the rest is history….including the mystery for his preference for old cotton running shirts which has now officially been solved.

Gee wasted no time delivering the stick to Mr. Kalen, who managed to keep his focus despite his head gear attracting the attention of more than one low flying aircraft on it’s final to PDX. Fortunately, Gordon’s quick thinking spared Team Endorphiends from being DQ’ed, but did little for that poor Alaska Air pilot who damned near put his bird down on the Springwater Trail.

Nevertheless, all of this allowed Captain Cully to secure a spot in HTC lore as being the first runner in HTC history to successfully wave off a 727 in an exchange zone.

Race Highlites, Lowlites and Truth Notes:

• Rob Peattie’s performance on leg 29 can be summed up in one word: Wow.

• Leg 36 is perhaps the most overlooked leg of the race. But when you run it like Captain Cully, it’s bound to turn a few heads…of even those affixed to the drunkest of Van One dudes. In case you missed it K.C., check out his 5:54 average pace. Yep…that was his third…and fastest leg.

• The Dina refused to quit…even after having to dodge an idiot as he turned to run after taking his last hand off, tearing even more hamstring tissue in the process.

• How ‘bout that Ron Coomes, anyway? The dude takes Van Two and literally carries them on his back all the way to the beach…coming in a total of seven minutes below his predicted pace.

• When I saw one runner actually break out a blue tarp for the motel room, I knew this was going to be an interesting night.

• Kyle Gee had the gallery running for cover in the exchange area 35, overshooting the fairway as he attempted to complete the hand off to Kalen. Clearly, his caddy had him over clubbed down wind, and deserved to be sacked on the spot. Gee had no comment on the matter as he left the course.

• Van One endured a retaliatory squirt gun attack, as Bosworth was physically restrained, allowing the other assailants to deploy a full frontal torrent. Once again, Taylor was in the middle of it all, and yet of course, escaped without getting wet.

And that’s The Truth. The Rage

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Date and time page last updated: 03/14/2013 4:44 PM