Mile 80 was a beast. But 60 miles still remain. It’s the middle of the night and singletrack blurs past in my headlamp beam. The Ragnar Trail Tahoe is more than halfway done. I run toward the transition area. Cowbells clang. I rip the bib from my waist and pass it to my waiting teammate who takes off in a blink.
My leg done, I waddle from the transition area through an all-night party of runners and crew. I collapse into a tent for a few hours of sleep before rising to get up and do it all over again.
The Lake Tahoe race was just the third trail event hosted by Ragnar, an organization specializing in long-distance road relays that has recently begun offering trail races. Team GearJunkie this past weekend (July 26-27) completed the 140-mile course with four people in about 25 hours.
As an Ultra team, we each ran three legs for a total of about 35 miles each over steep, rocky trails. Regular teams ran the same distance but with eight runners.
Equipment was critical for the race. Runners crossed challenging terrain with rest stops in the campground home base to recover for a few hours between each leg.
Party credentials were also relevant — special belt buckles are awarded for best costumes and campsite decoration — so this opens another whole division of “gear.”
Once the dust settled and we got a good night sleep, our team of four — including two readers who won spots on the team through a GearJunkie sweepstakes — packed up and looked over our gear one last time to reveal what worked. —Sean McCoy