(Contributed by George Durgerian)
Braving Friday rush hour traffic, Fiona dragged both 13 year-old Anya and slightly older me a full four hours up to Redding (“The Jewel of Northern California,” per Wikipedia). The epic journey for a race most would finish in 1/8th of total travel time included a novel 3-in-one dining experience at a Franchise trifecta of an Arco Am/PM, Baskin Robbins and Togo’s. No better night-before meal than that!
Arriving at the retro-chic Thunderbird Motel (“Jewel of Pine Street” per the owners) we enjoyed a late-night symphony of trains, food chains and automobiles, before enjoying the long, sweet sleep you get when a race has a 10:00 a.m. start time.
Heading out the next morning, we noticed a stainless steel bowl laden with drying chili peppers the owners put out for their evening meal. That cool bit of culture was chilled by the noon check-out time. Dreading a return trip with an hour’s worth of runners’ aroma, I vowed to finish the full ten miles in less than 90 minutes. Ambitious, yes, but worth the effort.
There was a nice atmosphere about the place, with friendly locals and kids everywhere. The race started below a 100-foot tall railroad trestle, a pedestrian bridge and a auto bridge, all crossing the mighty Sacramento River. The gently rolling path followed the river, crossed yet another bridge, and returned.
Dennis, David Ly, Bill Wheeler and Mike Axinn made up the core of the men’s team, teeming with actual running skills and stamina (as opposed to their 5th member), and finished very well. The strong, swift women’s team of Louise, Riya, Monica H., Fiona and Anya also finished quite well. After gaining consciousness, I joined the family, rushed to that shower, and gathered with the entire team at the Lumberjacks’ Restaurant, “Where the Big Boys Eat”. Huge meals and 22-ounce beers covered a table that could have been every waitress’ nightmare: 11 San Francisco foodies. But Pamakids would have made Andy proud with plenty of good conversations, clean plates, and a generous tip.