Recently the greatest ever Ragnar Trail team “RVA Trail Mix” completed its yearly Ragnar Trail relay race. This year the race took place in Lake Tahoe, CA (as mentioned in an earlier post focusing on the lake itself). The race, course views and burning lungs made this one epic adventure. For those unfamiliar with Ragnar Trail relay races they can be briefly summed up below (not to be confused with Road Ragnar’s which are a totally different beast) :
- Register for race with 8 people. (in a perfect world) Some teams are short and some chose to run as an 4 person ultra team with each team member running many more miles than average)
- Drive, fly and/or swim to chosen location for the event (many different races throughout the year at many different locations)
- Setup your camp as this will be home base where your team will eat, drink, & possibly sleep since the race goes on throughout the night.
- One runner runs their given loop (Green Loop: Shortest, Yellow Loop: Medium Distance and Red Loop: Longest Distance) while the rest of the team hangs out around camp, visits vendors on-site and/or whatever else they feel like doing.
- Once team finishes all the loops, retrieve medals, pose for finish picture then celebrate.
For example I was the 6th person to run on my team so our team started around 12pm while I ran my first loop (green) around 7pm, ate dinner, had a beer or two, then slept upright in a camping chair for a little while before running Yellow loop around 2m. Rinse, add smores to the mix and repeat. Red loop was around 8/9am the next morning. I may be off with my times as I didn’t wear a watch and my phone had died early in.
The views were amazing each loop, but really stood out on the red loop after a huge two mile climb, runners were treated to hiking/running along a ridge line with sweeping 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains. Part of me wishes I had my camera up there but I wasn’t going to haul my camera up there during the run nor was I going to hike and an extra 3/4 miles on top of the running I was already doing. Yellow loop had really good views as well (from what I heard), but I missed them since I ran smack dab in the middle of the night.
Most of us were treated to burning lungs after our loops due to altitude and breathing in desert dust after being kicked up. At some points a light smoke/haze was visible from nearby fires but I can’t really say if that played any part.
Three team members ran extra loops and once they crossed the finish line, we booked it out there to a nearby resort area. Staying in a beautiful but slightly bear obsessed house only 5 mins from Lake Tahoe.
We spent some time near the lake the next day, cooking out and playing horseshoes. After a day’s rest, we caught a red eye flight although their were a few delays, we made it back to RVA safe and sound.