Tell us about your team. What’s the story behind your name?
Team “Where’s the Beach?” started three years ago by combining two other teams.  The first half of the team had participated in CLR2008 the year before, and is made up of members of the Red Lizard running club (http://www.redlizardrunning.com).  The other half is made of members of a Hood to Coast team (the Eco-Trekkers) that has been together since about 1999.  For CLR2009, the Red Lizard team was short 6 members.  That same year, the Eco-Trekkers did not get selected in the H2C lottery.  It just so happened that the Lizard’s Co-Captain, Jennifer, and myself (at the time Trekker captain) were working at the same company and so a mutually agreeable deal was struck – they needed runners, and we needed to run, we thought.

All new beginnings require a new name and are opportunities to redefine oneself.  The name, “Where’s the Beach?”, is a small poke at the other famous Oregon relay most of us have heard about.  That is of course the Hood to Coast Relay.  That is a relay that both or our former teams have enjoyed participating in for many years.  Of course, one of the signature’s of that relay is the finish line at the beach.  We (most of us) enjoyed running to the beach, and so decided we had to put that mental carrot in front us if we were to successful run thru the desert!

How many years have you won?
Our first year, 2009, Van2 shared the win with another team.  In 2010, we brought Van1 up to speed and so took the win.

How do you all know each other?
The Lizard half has known each other for some time thru their club runs and participation in H2C for quite a few years – that’s about all I know of them – oh yeah, they are all seriously great runners who know how to have a seriously good time. The Trekkers were started as a Florida H2C team (then named the Termi-Gators) by Mark and his wife.  It was eventually handed off to Mark’s nephew, Ted, to take care of for awhile before pawning it off on me.  We are basically an accumulation of various friends, coworkers, and random runners who were tricked into being on a “relay” team.  We still have one long time member who flies in just to run with us (we are not that special, but Chip seems to think so).

What’s one tip you would want to share with first time teams (for this specific race or relays in general)?
As far as just participating in this or similar events – I believe one of the most important things is the ability to keep a sense of humor about the whole deal.  Races like this are very fatiguing both physically and mentally.  The physical part can be managed thru training or pacing or substitution, but, as soon as you allow the adventure to get the better of your psyche, you not only bring yourself down, but also those around you.

How far in advance do you plan out your van decorations?
As soon as we named our team, some of us had a general idea of what we wanted to do.  It started coming together when Ted volunteered the use of his Tai Kwon Do kick buddy (Bob) and his brother-in-laws surf board.  We figured out how to keep Bob and board on the roof maybe a day or two in advance.  During that race, we were already formulating what to do the following year – we knew we had to at least find Bob a soul mate.  Brian found Molly hiding in the closet of some sort of fraternal order of something (don’t ask, don’t tell).  Again, a few days before race day, we figured out how to get Bob and Molly up on the roof in their old Kayaks.  Hey, if it was well planned and conceived, it would not be nearly so exiting. – Hide quoted text – Would you say you spend more time on that or training?  There is at least one of us where it would be very a close tie… uhmm, I suppose I better start my training regime after I am finished here.

People love sock monkeys.

What are some tips or tricks you’ve learned for decorating?
The vans that have always impressed me are the ones that have a strong over-the-top theme that draws you into their moment… kind of like parade floats do, but, not nearly so professional of flowery.   Of course, the professionally decorated looking rigs are very nice, but, the eclectic homemade feeling, really draws my attention. But, even if you don’t go for all the attached hardware and gizmo’s, go down to the party store and have a ball.  Oh, and if you want people to be able to read all your witty nuggets that you have painstakingly written on your van, use a large font!    Any good products people should be aware of?  Last year we found out how great 200 mph duct tape is!  And then, how hard it is to get it off of surfaces that you want to go back to original condition… ooops –  use with caution!  Blue painters tape works pretty good as an alternative – not real waterproof though, so bring a spare roll.  There are of course plenty of marking products readily available – just be careful about writing on the paint – it may leave a shadow behind.  If you wax the vans well before hand, it may minimize that problem – it would be good to test on your vehicle first if you are worried about leaving traces behind… or, just use the windows – they clean off well.  You can also get large blank sheets of flexible magnets that are used to make business logos – they work great for keeping road kill scores on also.

What doesn’t work?
First a note about safety, if you are going to mount large objects to your van, make sure they are well secured and be sure to check the constraints often.  Tie downs, rope, or 200mph duct tape, can come loose, especially on gravel roads.  You do not want your mascot taking a roof dive in the middle of nowhere or even on a busy highway, on the way home, coming down from Santiam Pass, with lots of traffic, and no real shoulders.  Otherwise, it is part of the adventure of finding out your own things that don’t work (we found out that a cheap plastic grass skirt mounted on the front bumper gets sucked into the radiator in less than a mile), so I will just share an obvious one… marking paint or anything that is not rain or wind proof – yeah, it’s obvious, but, you usually don’t find out until you get into a windy rainstorm – so, read the labels and imagine what the wind would do.  Why do you think it’s worth it to put the time in it takes to decorate a van?  It supports the idea of keeping a sense of humor about the whole adventure and spreading those good vibes to others.  It also lets us all get to know each other better, even, if you don’t personally talk to everyone, at least you will know that those 12 people really like sock monkeys!

Look for Bob & Molly at the exchanges.

Any hints about what we might expect from you in 2011?
Hmmm… we will probably know a few days before the relay again.  Bob and Molly will see you at the starting line or nearest exchange!