Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wild West Relay - Part 2 - Lessons

While I have done relay races like the Wild West Relay many times, this is my first time “captain-ing” a team. While we got every runner where they needed to be and ran a great race, I still learned a lot of things to do better next time. Some of these things are more applicable to the Wild West Relay, but many of them I think could be used in any large team relay race.


Water: For our vehicle we found that 7 gal water / vehicle was just barely sufficient. 10 gal would have been better. There are a decent number of exchanges where you can fill individual water bottles and we did not do a very good job using these opportunities

Delegate creative stuff:  shirts, vehicle decoration, etc. It would have been fun to have shirts and decorate the vehicles. I did not have the time or creativity to do this.

Light-up slap bracelet: One of our runners brought a red-blinking slap bracelet. It satisfied the race requirement to have a red blinking light. But what really made it great was that it made it easy to find our in the dark.

Van Exchange 18: This one is unique to the Wild West Relay. You need to have a good link-up plan for this exchange. One idea would be walkie-talkies. Most of the time walkie-talkies would not have been that useful. Cell coverage was generally decent. However, there at Exchange 18 there was no cell coverage, it was dark and the inactive vans were parked way in the back (near where you could sleep) will the incoming active vans were parked up front. An easier idea than walkie-talkies would be to choose a link-up place (based on Google Earth) before-hand.

Our team did stumble on some good ideas as well

Calculating splits: One of our runners who had more experience in these types of relays deducted the factors that the WWR used to calculate our total times. We plugged this into a spreadsheet to calculate our runner’s splits. The split calculations were invaluable to predicting when the inactive van had to wake up. We found it was best to set the alarm 45-60 min prior. The predictions, while not always accurate for individual legs, were very accurate overall. We finished with 7 minutes of our predicted time. We would were occasionally off by as many as 20 minutes, but it always came back to close to even.

These factors were:

Leg Difficulty Rating
10k Split Factor
Very Hard

Hand roller: the hand roller that one of our runners brought was great for working out the leg muscles while waiting around. For the situations of this relay a foam roller is not quite as useful as a hand roller which can be used in the van or while standing.

Chevy Suburban: We were a van short, so we rented a Chevy Suburban. This is an excellent relay vehicle. It had ample room for six people and gear. Aside from a 15-passenger van this is the most popular vehicle that I saw on the course.

General observations
Short Legs: For legs less than 4-5 miles it is best just to drive to the end to give the next runner time to warm-up and use the bathroom.

·         Avocado & cream cheese sandwiches are amazing
·         Sweets were not particularly popular. We brought cookies and brownies. Neither went very fast.

Wildlife and Dirt: Van No. 1 gets all of the dirt roads and animal sightings. I was jealous. Next year.

Photo: Ynke

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