Sunday, May 16, 2010

Final Leg and Final Thoughts

So I'm a little late in getting this up to date... that's what sleeping 1 hour on a High School Gym floor, followed by more running and one heck of a post race party will do to you.

Van 1 truly shined in our third leg. Terence received the baton from Eddie at around 6am and charged (mostly uphill) 7.5 miles. One of my favorite moment from leg 3 happened while Terence was in mid run and went as follows:

Me: "Damn, I wish I had another coffee at that last exchange."
Stevie: "I wish I actually trained for this!"

This was topped only by Grant wearing Esther's (tiny) coat as a warmup while waiting for Peter to arrive. Grant did not disappoint, attacking the hills in his final 6.9 mile leg.

Clearly we were getting tired since we starting dropping the baton at exchanges -- yep, we were definitely ready to call it a day.

We arrived in Dobbs Ferry at close to 11am to wait for the arrival of Van 2. Lucky for us the Ragnar folks were ready for us and were serving up burgers and beer.

Will closed it out sprinting to the finish just past noon. We were about 30 minutes off our goal for a 185 mile race. Still waiting for the official results, but it appears that we checked in at 2nd place out of 200 teams losing out only to a team of College Cross Country runners from Union College, while capturing the top Corporate prize. Not bad for a team that was plagued by injuries and last minute replacements over the last two weeks... including being one man down with less than 48 hours before the start (thank you Terence for jumping in last minute!).

I consider my lucky to be a member of such a talented and fun team. Big thanks to Eddie for bringing us all together (especially for getting our former Captain and team leader Tom Phillips back). And an even bigger thanks to our drivers to our drivers, Esther and Kerry. We couldn't have done this without you.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Crossing The Hudson

From the second Eddie handed the baton to Terence, we were *flying* for leg 2. Everyone pretty much met or exceeded goals this go around... And picked up lots of road kill. NADS has extended their lead to 25 minutes, but we're keeping at it. 

The highlights:
Terence: "This van is hot and stuffy. Do we have any fig newtons"
Mike: "I'm sure that combination of words has never been spoken before!"

"That can't be Stevie ahead. That runner is wearing pants."

Stevie after leg 2: "I puked into the Hudson River... And felt much better"

Finally Esther was sick of the guys because we couldn't get over the fact that the toll taker at the mid Hudson Bridge was (as Grant claimed) "movie star hot!... Ok maybe a little trashy, but hot!" 

Peter is about to hand off to the ridiculously speedy Grant...
I think we've earned a nice long nap. 

The pursuit

Van 1 has finished their legs and van 2 is underway. Eddie clocked
5:50s on his first leg and Nathan is really blazing out there.
Holstrom is waiting on deck.

Sent from my mobile device

Trucking Along

Greetings from Catskill State Park. Team Google1 is 20 miles into our 185 mike trek from Woodstock to NYC. Terence G (the new guy) led us off in speedy fashion followed by spirited runs by Mike A, Stevie D (on her first relay!), a hellish hilly run by Erin M and now Peter M (another Google newbie) is about to hand off to relay vet Grant -- the king speedster of van 1. We've got a ways to go to catch the first place team... Union College's North American Distance Squad (get it?... those wacky college kids!). Stay tuned...

And they're off

Terence led us off at 4:00pm from beautiful woodstock ny. The weather
looks to be holding for us and mike just took the baton. 34 legs to

Sent from my mobile device

And We're OFF!!!

At the stroke of 4:00, the speedy Terence G led us off in our 185 mile trek from Woodstock to NYC.

The gorgeous Hudson River Valley

Before setting out on a 185 mile journey down it's spine, it's worth it to consider the history of the river valley we'll be running.

The valley was originally settled by the Mahican indians (later made famous by the author James Fennimore Cooper--and still later by Daniel Day Lewis). The Dutch established trading outposts and Fort Nassau (just south of Albany) in the mid-seventeenth century.

The valley featured prominently in the French and Indian War as the bulwark of British defenses against a French invasion from Lake Champlain. The new American state recognized this fact as well and established West Point on the banks of the river.

The completion of the Erie Canal in 1821 led to a dramatic increase in the traffic seen on the river, but the scenic beauty continued to inspire those who built their homes in the valley and the early American artists who became known as the Hudson River School of art, chief amongst them Thomas Cole (1801-1848).

So think about that when you're running down this beautiful valley at 3:00 in the morning.

Ateam Bos ready to race

Sleep now, run later!

-- Sent from my Palm Prē

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Will and Eddie are at the airport

...And fired up for this redeye. Also, its possible that the latitude
location widget will continue to show our location as san fran. That's
what happens when you try to get the last little bit of juice out of
the cell forget it.

Sent from my mobile device

The final team

The final roster for the race is:

Eddie Higgins
Erin McMahon
Will Nicholas
Nathan Stoll
Grant Burgess
Mike Anderson
Susan Ashlock
Peter Mattis
Chris Holstrom
Stevie DeGroff
Tom Phillips
Terence Gerchberg

Also, we owe a huge thank you to our 2 drivers Kerry and Esther and our three volunteers, Rachel, Kristin & Duffy.

T-minus 24 hours!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Last year's photos

While we prepare for the race, you can take a look at last year's performance with our photo album below

Last year's photos

While we prepare for the race, you can take a look at last year's performance with our photo album below

Other following options

We're 4 days out from what promises to be a very fun race.

A few ways to follow the team: of course there's the blog, but we'll also be posting on Buzz under goog.1.relay and to the Twitter handle google1relay.

Finally, you can see where the active van is at any time with the Latitude widget to the right. We'll be handing off at each exchange the phone linked to the Latitude profile, so it should always be the van currently running.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Team Photo

That's a funny joke, Nathan. What he means is that we got to the start with time to spare before the gun went off.
 I'll add a slideshow from our team's new Picasa alias in just a sec.

Results and roster

We should have probably taken the time at the beginning of the race to take a team photo, and share it along with a roster of who was running. Given that we made it to the starting line with about 1 minute to spare, I think we have a reasonable excuse. Team photos were taken at the finish, so those will be shared soon, but here are some links to results and a brief roster.

We beat our 2009 time by 17 minutes, although the weather was much much better this year, and were nearly an hour in front of our nearest competitors by the finish.

2010 Results Google 1 wins: 21 hrs. 9 min. (200 miles)
2009 Results Google 1 wins: 21 hrs. 26 min. (200 miles)
2008 Results Google 1 wins: 20 hrs. 22 min. (199 miles)
2007 Results Google 1 wins: 20 hrs. 43 min. (199 miles)

As for the roster, here it is by leg assignment (there are 12 runners, and the course has 36 legs -- see The Relay 2010 course route on Google Maps -- so each runner has 3 legs, and runner #3 would run legs 3, 15, 27):

1 Scott Milagro-Fotre
2 Paul DuPuy
3 Ben Liebald
4 Jeff Czyz
5 Devin Anderson
6 Andrew Tibbits
7 Mike Brandell
8 Grant Burgess
9 Matt Kane
10 Eddie Higgins
11 Nathan Stoll
12 Chris Holstrom

Sunday, May 2, 2010


We've finished and we've successfully defended the Google titles, fourth straight win!

Just got our medals -- they're for all finishers though, not anything unique for the victory.

Van 1 hanging out at the farm

sent from my nexus one

Bringing LA to SF

Matt Kane night ninja

We now have a van full of 4 relay finishers! Devin is on the road and Andrew's on deck. I hve the weirdest food cravings. After eating half a bag of beef jerky I scarfed down a bagel with peanut butter. Food of the gods.

On the road again

After a few winks of sleep, we are ready to take over after van two's diligent work on the night shift. Feeling a bit sore, but ready to finish our last set of legs. No sitting pretty though. DSE is likely still within striking distance. Time to get to work.

SF Office

72 minutes of sleep over! Crusing down 280 for our last leg.

More than just running

Standing out on skyline blvd, helping direct runners through a series of turns in the course that at 3am are very easy to miss, I'm reminded about how much more than running these relays are about. 

Many other teams runners were helped by us being in that intersection. Would they have missed the turn? Perhaps not, but if they had it would have added a very large toll on the athlete and team time, and is very demotivating.  We were there to try to be there to help our athlete, for whom thinking can be a huge struggle, from exhaustion and adrenaline.  Its what great teams do to increase their chance s of getting through unscathed.

My first leg was a great example -- I wasn't sure of a turn's street sign, one I was even expecting, had trouble reading it, and Kerry was there with the rest of the crew to help me correct sooner. Instead of losing a minute or two, I was back on track in seconds.

All of this is in addition to emotional support, which is even more important. There are eight mile slogs uphill in debilatating heat, when the team being there for encouragement is all that keeps the runner going.

Competing in these relays is truly a team effort.

SF office

72 minutes sleep starting now.

The men from the boys

Van 2 woke up at 1:39am right next to the golden gate bridge on the sf
side. Brandell will have the leg through the sleeping city, cruising
through seacliff and legion of honor then heading down the great
highway, feet from the pacific. Grant will take us from sea level up
skyline, which matt, chris, nathan and I will also traverse.

Sent from my mobile device

Paul gearing up for leg 14

Catching up

Van 1's combined kill count on our second legs: 77!

1 mouse, 2 skunks, 1 raccoon ... really want that coyote

Golden Gate

Saturday, May 1, 2010

It feels so much better to run at night than during today's ridiculous heat. This was my first night run ever and it was definitely an experience. Lots of time to yourself to think and admire the stars with no city lights. A few animals rustling here and there scared the crap out of me but probably for the best because it got the adrenaline going. It was great to see Van 2 if only briefly. They managed to pull ahead of DSE during their six legs. I got 8 kills during my leg and I'm looking forward to a power nap before doing it all again.

Nathan's healthy snack

Van 1 driving through some sweet Marin countryside

sent from my nexus one

Delayed photo log due to blackberry being craptastic.

Van one headed to the van exchange two!

Update: Jeff is alive and well in Van 1.

First casualty of the race

We just left Jeff at the sixth exchange

First casualty of the race

We just left Jeff at the sixth exchange while heading to our set of rest legs. Turning around now to pick up our castaway of a teammate.

Heat and staples

Wow. Scott here. Thanks to the beautiful weather and the Napa traffic, we made it to the race in the nick of time. Chris stapled my bib on last minute and once the gun went off I ran onto the wrong side of the road. Oops! Otherwise it was a great first leg. It's hot as hell out here but there's a great breeze coming in. When I finished we were in third. Paul overtook Stanford and Ben caught us up to about a minute behind DSE (Dolphin South East) and now Jeff is on the road. Great job guys. 200miles will be here sooner than you know it.


Scott had a solid warmup (alongside the van), got to the start with ample time to go (one minute), his bib on his jersey (stapled), and right on course (well, one wrong turn 2 seconds after the start). And in case anyone was concerned, we've all gotten our sandwiches (a few of us more than one). Solid.

Hey Aardvark: anyone know who the mystery Stanford team is?

Headed to the start!

We stocked the vans with all of the obvious necessities, like pop tarts, aspercreme, and bandages (also bananas, bagels, and beverages, but we'd get by with just the pop tarts if we really needed to). We're seeing some of the earlier teams and runners come by on the Napa highway as we head for the starting line. Hopefully we'll arrive in time to get Scott a warm-up, although he can probably just use the first mile through town, it'll be slow enough going.