This year, Team Fresh and Furious took part in its annual RAGNAR tradition, but mixed it up a little and took to the trails for the RAGNAR Trail Rainier. With this being my third time participating with the team, I was triply excited for what the weekend would hold.
2017 RAGNAR Warriors (Back L to R): Steve Hulet, Jeff Dance, Sean Patterson, Mark Nader (Front L to R): Isaac Campbell, Jacob Dance, Xavier Reyes, Nuriel Mizrahi
Unlike the road races, where each runner has their own unique set of legs to run, everybody on the team runs the same three legs: a 3 mile, 5 mile, and 8 mile leg. All three legs involve steep hills, small trails, and gorgeous views.
Like most of our RAGNAR races, we started out early in the running, ready to tackle the challenge ahead. This year we had four new warriors join us: Xavier, Venessa (our volunteer), Mark, and Jacob (left to right in the photo below, Jacob not pictured). Veteran Isaac joined us literally a day before the race when somebody had to drop out. Rounding out the crew are CEO Jeff and CTO Steve next to me on the right.
Hungry for the challenge ahead, we made sure to fuel up at a great little cafe with insanely large portions…
One of the reasons I was excited to do the trail run this year was for the stunning views I had heard about at Crystal Mountain and along the trails themselves. They did not disappoint.
Unlike the typical RAGNAR on the road, where you’re living in a van or at a high school, we were able to setup our own campsite this year! It was a bit spartan, but we didn’t need much. Once the tents were up, we had a nice place to sleep, refuel, and get a view of the “village” where handoff occurred:
With home base established and safety videos completed, we set off on our epic battle with the mountain. I can safely use the word epic here because the hills were far steeper (both up AND down) than I had anticipated myself! Here’s a general idea of the terrain we were in:
In addition to the terrain, there was running in the night where gusty winds and clouds scaling the mountain certainly made things interesting. Not to be outdone, the morning runs provided their own unique conditions, like fog:
One of the things I really liked about the trail run was that everybody was running the same three legs. This allowed us to give a heads up to other team members, compare experiences, and have some mini-competitions along the way. Jacob ran the fastest time for all three loops, but Mark ran the fastest time for the ultra insane five mile uphill run. So who’s our best runner? I suspect that debate will go on for a long time.
In the end, we were rewarded with a sense of accomplishment, and a combination spork / multitool / medal for our efforts!
In a lot of ways, this RAGNAR felt more fulfilling than the previous ones. It’s kind of hard to say that since each RAGNAR creates memories all their own. Given the difficulty of this one, I was particularly excited and grateful once this one was completed! Bonds were formed with co-workers old and new that will never be forgotten.
The verdict is out on which RAGNAR we’ll run next year. Who knows, maybe we’ll run both!