What is WALKING the Cascade Lakes Relay REALLY Like?

When my sister, Aleta, asked if I’d like to be a part of a “laid back” walking team for the Cascade Lakes Relay, I was pretty excited. I’m in my third year of doing Portland to Coast – this year as a competitive 8-person walker with Team Toe Jammin’ since we took 6th last year – and I’d heard that CLR is much less congested and better managed than PTC. I figured it would be a good “prep course” as I upped my training a month before PTC. Here are some of my pictures…

Cascade Lakes Relay starting line for walking and running

The Cascade Lakes Relay is in Oregon, and it starts at Diamond Lake and ends in Bend. Here is our first set of walkers at the inflatable starting line. They left our cabin at 5:30 a.m. I was in Van #2 so I got to sleep in. Tee hee! Here I am getting ready for my first leg which was 7.3 miles in HOT weather with 882 elevation gain and 772 elevation loss!

I was told that wasn’t the proper way to wear my jugs… Portland to Coast is very rigid about walking in your set rotation, but CLR lets you choose your legs as long as you stay in the same van. So I did the first leg in the first rotation of Van #2 and then the last leg to finish the race for my team. Here I am starting taking the baton from the final walker in Van #1 to start the rotation of Van #2 walkers. I’m tucking my iPhone into my sports bra… what better place?

One thing about the CLR race is that the temperatures are extreme. The gal handing me the baton in the photo above (Tori) is the same as the gal below in the black (aka: Ninja). She had to dress warm for a leg that was in the 30’s F and then dress cool for a leg that was in the high 80’s F. It was 95-F when I cross the finish line. Go Ninja-Tori!

And this next one is a BIG bug! At the first big exchange for us, in the middle of the night, we encountered these HUGE flying beetle things that I thought were bats when I first saw them! Check this guy out compared to Linda’s fingers!!! Blech!

Like I said, me and my sister were on the same team for this race, which I loved! She’s 10 years older than me – which she will not like me telling you – but you should have seen how uptight she was while I got ready to walk. She sure watched out for me and nattered at me, and I loved every second. It was great to be on “her” team. Here she is having a “wardrobe malfunction.”

One thing is for sure, we never lacked toilet paper on the race, and there were brown or blue bathrooms all along the course. The Cascade Lakes Relay was very fun for two reasons: First, it only had 17 walking teams out of 190 teams total, and the race organizers were EVERYWHERE supporting us. Second, I had a wonderful team to travel with. It wasn’t about winning for us. In fact, we were the last walking team in! It was about laughing and doing our personal best.

Did I tell you that I also had one of my besties on the team with me. “Misstoria” as my kids call her, walked in Van #1 while I was in Van #2 so we always had to catch up at the big exchanges. Above, she is taking care of me at the finish line where she handed me ice water that felt like heaven going down. Here we are walking the last bit of her second leg together. Good memories!

This next one is the Rockin’ Walkers team waiting for me to arrive at the finish line. They had been sending me texts, telling me they were waiting for me, telling me to take it easy in the heat, but I couldn’t answer due to bad reception and a broken screen. But just knowing they were watching for me kept me going on that last, dusty, hilly, 7-mile leg. They were worried that I would be unsupported because the vans couldn’t follow on that last finishing leg, but CLR had support stations every mile or so.

Here is “Misstoria” with ice water for me as I trudge toward the finish line. It gave me an extra burst of speed that propelled me through my teammates, so we could all cross together. I yelled really loudly when the announcer called our name and number, and he said something on the intercom about “Well, someone’s excited!!!”

And now this family friendly blog is going to go a wee bit PG-13 as tell you about the near-nekked elf that passed me on my last leg! There I was out in the dessert, and I hear footsteps and I turn to say “good job“… and I see, well, not much! The guy had on nothing but a red/green elf g-string and a jingly santa hat! After I shrieked in surprise, I laughed so hard I could barely start walking again. I think he got the costume leg mixed up? I do have a picture, but I don’t want to scare anyone away from this site… LOL! Here is our costume gal dressed as a roller derby queen! It was a cold morning!

If you’ve done a relay race that you’ve enjoyed, this one or another one, I’d love to hear from you. This is becoming a fun sport for me that doesn’t tear my body apart and keeps my core trim and tight. I love walking!


4 thoughts on “What is WALKING the Cascade Lakes Relay REALLY Like?

  1. Erika Roberts says:

    This is great! I love seeing the pictures and hearing about what it is like to be on a relay race like this. Starting training now for next year and looking forward to it. (except for the bugs!)

  2. Becky jesse says:

    So near. I don’t know that I had read this before. What is your training like for a walk like this? Sounds like something fun and walking I am able to do well. Running… Occasionally. Thanks for sharing with us!

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