Everyone in the Crew knows that team events are my favorite. I never played an individual sport before and it has taken the last two years with The Crew to teach myself to truly compete for myself, but with the idea of a team relay, I jumped at the chance to form a team! Being the closet-powerlifter that I am, I automatically fell into a “strength” role and was lucky enough to snag our ex-cross country runner, Haley Mohn, and passionate rock climber, Faith Elliott, as endurance and technical teammates. Not only are those two exceptionally skilled at their roles, they have been my rocks this year; the foundation to my growth through the season. It was only fitting that I took up my spot as their physical foundation to getting up that 14 ft slip wall at the end of the race. But we were not the only ones toeing the line that day.
The Crew had three other teams with two special guest appearances on a men’s and women’s team. Founding Crew members, Richie Hilton, Jason Devlin, and Brandon Martin teamed up for the second year in a row as a Pro men’s team. Peter Korade and Derek Rozanski formed “The Crew Kids” with friend of the Crew, Grant Tamutus, for another Pro men’s team. The race between these two teams was intense. The rest of the Pro pack did not matter to them as each leg of the Crew teams was so evenly matched.
Meanwhile, in the women’s Pro field, Crew hybrid team “Mighty Morphin’ Flower Arrangers,” consisting of Crew members Katelyn Taylor and Chrissi Schewchuk with cameo Liz Poland, faced the course as a new team. Liz tackled the hills and walls of the endurance leg, handing the chip off to Katelyn who blasted through the strength leg like the Amazon Warrior that her face paint depicted her to be, and Chrissi took on the rigs for one final round of the weekend. The race appeared to be running smoothly as my team and I watched Katelyn hand the chip off to Chrissi to take on The Northman Race’s La Gaffe, then back to Katelyn for the final Wreck Bag carry. Our start time was approaching, so we headed to bag check, ready to send Haley off with her mummy hands, courtesy of the wet obstacles tearing her hands up over the prior two days.
I had waited all summer since qualifying for OCRWC to finally race WITH these girls, rather than “against” them. After about 40 minutes of Faith and I watching teams get up the slip wall and runners struggling on Mud Hero’s Avalanche Warped Wall, our hearts raced for "Little Legs," visualizing her in the mud with her hands. I headed up to the Farmer’s Carry, with a distant view of Sandstorm Monkey Bars in the distance. After an hour and ten minutes, Haley came trotting up and then down the hill to Avalanche as Faith cheered her on and headed to her checkpoint to wait for me. My face lit up with a huge smile as I saw Haley annihilate the warped wall and sprint all-out up the hill to me. I picked up my sandbag like precious cargo, and trucked myself up the mountain, reminding myself this was my time to give it everything I had.
Nine minutes later, Faith had the timing chip in her hand while I caught my breath for the Wreck Bag carry. The Wreck Bag stayed on my shoulders for another ten minutes and Faith was off to the obstacle gauntlet. I found Haley under the floating walls nearly in tears over the cramps in her arms from overuse all weekend. She had just enough time to shake it out before Faith came barreling through Skyline to her expertise, the Rock Walls. The race volunteer held us back as we chomped at the bit to greet Faith at the wall. Finally, we made it to the wall and I set myself up as Faith and Haley’s ladder. First Faith, as a ladder, then Haley to the top. Faith came down for a quick arm shakeout, then back up she went and locked in her vice grip on the top two ropes as I crawled and climbed up her long limbs. I appreciate these two immensely for the deep trust we had in each other’s abilities. Faith knew I would succeed in quickly climbing over her as she held on, and that Haley was there to help her stay focused and guide my hands to the top of the wall. I knew I could trust Faith to let me pull and climb all over her until I had a hand on top of the wall. And just like that we were all there, climbing down the other side, and sprinting to the finish line in victory. It happened so fast, and it was everything I could have ever dreamed of racing with two of my best friends and teammates. We even landed an impressive 14th place for the women’s open teams!
After some much needed authentic Poutine, Peter, Derek, Jason, Tracy Blair, Faith, Shayne, Haley, and even New Kyle (on a stick) took on the Make-A-Wish charity run. Beaten down and exhausted as the wind and cold kicked in like the forecast predicted all weekend, the starting corral groaned as Coach Pain asked us to take a knee. That was a bad move! After about a 5-minute verbal beatdown and build up, we all held onto each other with tears in our eyes having found new inspiration to attack every obstacle one last time on the course for those who cannot. Coach reminded us why we race and why we must continue to race. Too many wish they could be where we stood and would be disrespected had we not given that weekend our all, so we set our brows in and set off to conduct our business one last time. As we ascended the mud hill, the skies opened up and washed away all the mud on our filthy bodies. We could not even see ahead of us to get over walls, but over them our legs went, then under barbed water, nearly swimming through the puddles. Crossing the peak of the mountain, a rainbow appeared over the lighthouse in the distance. We took in Earth’s beauty for a minute before continuing. I shared a farmer’s carry with Jason and Peter, attempted each rig one last time, and Kyle hit every bell with his head (Kyle, that’s not allowed! Didn’t you read the rules?!). A solid team effort over the slip wall and we crossed the finish line linked in arms for Bob’s camera one last time. A few other Crew members, Jason "Ducky" Branham, Chad Houk, and Jim Lasco, also tackled the Make-A-Wish race during an earlier start time.
The rest of the night was spent trying to get warm and playing card games in the condos as a family. The epitome of a perfect end to a great weekend.
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