Race Report: 2007 Hood-To-Coast Relay
Endorphiends Fall Short
- 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
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."
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.
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
...but those were some bad ass bunnies.
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
So what REALLY was the Endorphiend's problem, anyway?
Could it be that they've become one of those (gasp!) shitty
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
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.
* 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
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
that's The Truth.
Race Report: Team Endorphiends 22nd Overall, 2006 Hood
to Coast Relay
So, what do Batman, The Rage and a proctologist all have
Add the 2006 Hood to Coast Relay, and didn’t take long
to find out.
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
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.
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.
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
…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
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
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.
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