May 23, 2011

Seneca 7 Race Report

So this report is long overdue, I wanted to get everything situated before putting this one down on paper and I think everything is in place.  This race actually took place about 3 weeks ago and I wanted to collect the pictures, articles, results and get everything in one place before posting it.

This race was a first year iteration from the mind of Jeff Henderson who is the race director of several awesome local races including Musselman and Fly By Night Duathlon.  He's come up with some ridiculously cool race ideas and when he sent out an April Fools Day email several years ago about a self supported race around Seneca Lake, it apparently got some positive response, so they decided to brainchild the Seneca 7.  The whole idea of the race was a running relay around Seneca Lake (which ironically is 77.7 miles around) and have 7 people on each team and each relay member run about 10-14 miles total.  They kind of ran with the idea of 7 and had a bunch of other stuff that had to do with that number too.
The idea was born from my friend Tim H. who thought that instead of using a van to transport runners from check point to checkpoint, we should ride bikes around the lake and only take 6 bikes (as one person would be running at all times) So, I amassed a crackpot team of guys that I thought would be a blast to race with, bust chops with, and just generally folks who I wouldn't mind spending 9+ hours with.  Turns out I was dead on. :o) This was about the most fun I've had in a race in a LONG time.

Our team of hooligans consisted of myself, Joey Meyers, Pete Cerny, Matt Curbeau, Tim Howland, Steve Gosner, and Charlie Watson.  In my own mind, I equated us to the 2008 Boston Red Sox who declared themselves "just a bunch of morons that like to play baseball" - They won the World Series that year.... Anyway, I couldn't have asked for a better team and we just kind of threw everyone together.  The start was pretty cold and we all tried to affix the "official team vehicle" sign to a bike, but I ended up just throwing it in my backpack for the entire ride.  (here's me in front of a GIANT waterfall on the course with our sign)
We got a chance thru the whole day to wait for teammates, cheer them on as we biked by them and then hurry up and switch bikes before the next exchange.  There were MANY laughs and everyone was so mellow that we just meshed well together.  Everyone being good friends of mine made it easy for me and I know all the guys personally just like to bust chops, so it was a good fit all around.  About in Watkins Glen, the south end of the lake and about 1/2 way thru the relay, we had a slight misfortune and a teammate went the wrong direction, and subsequently off course.  This sprung the voice that our team name needs to be "Turn left at 414" next year.  (For those who wonder, we were "Dude where's my car?!?!?" or "Shoes and Chamois" depending on when you looked at our teamname)

Regardless, no one got pissed, Charlie and I biked up the road to the exchange points that we needed to be at, in case Matt was there and eventually he found his way back on course.  I received one of the funniest voicemail messages ever from a laughing Joe Meyers that said something like, "Dude, you're lost, we're lost, I have NO idea where Pete is and I hope we can find you guys on bikes.  Give me a call when you get this".  After playing that message (and being several miles up the road at our respective exchange points, Charlie and I just sat out in the sun and BS'ed for about 60 minutes while everyone else got back on course behind us.  (we both kind of looked at eachother and said "I'm not going back down that hill to look for Matt") It was great, so for the rest of the race, we introduced ourselves as the team that got blatantly lost.  (Disclaimer: several other teams went off course RIGHT where we did and that turn was NOT marked)
But regardless, we still had a blast and climbed our way back from like 15th or 20th overall after getting lost to like 9th at the finish.  It ended at the lakefront which is the flattest part of the musselman course and we came within about 2 minutes of catching the team in front of us, but even with throwing down sub - 6's for my last leg, the anchor, we still fell a little short.  On the positive side of things, we had a birthday celebration for Joe including candles, twinkies and us all singing for him at the lakefront and ordered pizza and wings.  Not a bad day at all and even had some surprise visitors on the lakefront who brought beers (never a bad thing, thanks!)  
We missed the awards as we were gnawing on pizza and wings, but we ended up getting the "Most eco-friendly" team and getting a recycling box full of SWAG.  Turns out we were the fastest team on bikes and got the prize for that! Sweet....we ended up each getting a pair of sandals, bottle of wine, artisan cheese, shampoo and conditioner, a t-shirt, cooking oil and some local juice too.  It was great.  And thank you to Alexis for grabbing our awards in our absence. :o) We got some good press HERE, results HERE and lots of shots as well. It was probably the most fun I've had in a race and I'm hoping the guys want to do it again next year.  Lots more to come, but I'll get those up soonish. Cheers.

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