On Thursday team Sole Brothers recruited me for the Bend Beer Chase, a six person 70 mile relay between the breweries of Bend, Redmond, and Sisters; on Saturday morning we were cranking out the miles in 90 degree heat, using the lawn and garden sprayer liberally, and drinking more water than beer; on Saturday evening I drove to Timberline Lodge with Courtney and slept for two measly hours; on Sunday in the wee hours I struggled up Mt Hood for my first summit.
The Beer Chase was an unplanned but fun outing with a group of fast guys in Bend who get together annually to roll the local relay scene. We got to use Focus PT’s sprinter van, which with plenty of leg room, sink, outdoor shower, and mounted speakers was the finest relay accommodations I’ve yet experienced. Everyone at the exchanges bobbed their head to our ride. We rolled to the win averaging 5:53 in temperatures that made the black top an inhospitable wasteland. At least I was wilting in the final miles. And fending off rogue farm dogs less than a half mile from Bendstillery. It was a great group who supported each other well.
After refueling at the finish line and with help from Claire to gather my things, we set off for Timberline Lodge and a chance at Mt Hood. To say the least, I was disappointed with the agreed upon 12:30am wake up call, which afforded two hours of cowboy camping sleep. Fatigue made the first few thousand feet on the mountain a bit rough, and at times I thought about turning around, or at least stopping for an extended nap. As dawn broke however, the waning stars and waxing horizon shook me awake, and the summit was close. After a brief wait at the base of the Old Chute route our group crested the summit shortly after 6am to an expanse that included every peak north to Seattle and south to Bend. A rough climb turned fantastic. Adding to the magic, Andrew broke out a special ring for Devin and we all enjoyed celebratory champagne and apple pie. No climb of Hood will ever be the same.