Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Patia's Race

Saturday, August 16, on a rare weekend away from camp, I participated in the Patia Lynn Christensen Memorial 5K and 10K Trail Run.  Patia passed away more than 5 years ago, at the age of 9, after a sudden accident.  Her mother, my Red Rock Relay teammate Dawn Christensen, organizes this race annually to honor her memory.  The proceeds from the run benefit The Compassionate Friends of Utah County (TCF). 

So once again I left my house at 5:15 AM to meet my Red Rock teammates Sue and Helen and make the trek to Eureka, Utah for a 7:00 AM start.  We barely made it – Sue and I were still attaching our timing chips to our shoes when the start was announced.  

We ran the 10K trail run – which turned out to be a very difficult run.  There were steep stretches – both uphill and downhill.  Being ever fearful of falling on my head, I slowed way down on the steep downhills.  I was feeling rather intimidated when so many other runners passed me, but once the worst was over I was able to pick up speed and make up time on the uphills.  When I crossed the finish line the clock read one hour, seven minutes and some change.  

No, I didn’t break any land speed records.  But I feel great about making this small contribution to such a worthy cause.  The mission of The Compassionate Friends is to assist families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age. The Compassionate Friends were there for Dawn and her family.  Now the Christensen family is actively involved in making sure other families are aware of this organization in case they ever face such tragedy.

I cannot imagine how horrible it would be to lose a child.  But Patia Lynn Christensen lives on.  She lives on through the organs her family saw fit to donate, saving the lives of other children.  She lives on through her memorial race and the funds it raises to help the Compassionate Friends.  And she lives on in the memories of those who knew and loved her.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

(Another) Bicycle Race Runs Through It

The Tour of Utah is one of only five UCI-sanctioned, multi-stage, North American pro cycling events in 2014. Sponsored by the Larry H. Miller Dealerships, the race showcases some of the world’s most prestigious teams and cyclists for seven days in August.  This event attracts worldwide attention as the top international cycling event that follows the Tour de France. Nearly a decade since its opening circuit, the Tour of Utah, today, stands shoulder to shoulder with the most prestigious professional bicycle stage race events as our answer to the greatest cycling challenges the world has to offer. (www.tourofutah.com)

Actually, the Tour of Utah didn’t run through our campground, but it did run right past it.  Stage 5 of the 2014 Tour of Utah, on August 8, 2014, started at Evanston, Wyoming, and ran down the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway to finish at Kamas, Utah.  This put the racers on a 101.4 mile course with 5,706 feet of elevation gain.  The good news for the racers – once they get over Bald Mountain Pass, it’s literally downhill from there.
The racers left Evanston at 11:20 AM.  A course Marshall arrived at the entrance to Shady Dell at about 1:15 PM, so we knew it was getting close.  Justin, the Marshall, is from Las Vegas.  A cyclist himself, he thought it would be fun to volunteer for the race.  He got the thankless job of telling the drivers along the race course that they would have to pull over and wait for the racers to pass.  He said most people were nice, but a few, well let’s just say he was glad when they finally rolled up their windows and pulled off the road.  Hmmm – we’ve had a few like that in our camp hosting adventures.  We could relate.
So where, we asked him, was “off the road” on this stretch of the course?  “We’ll need to have them pull into your campground and wait,” was his reply.  We weren’t expecting that, but since we didn’t have another option to offer, we went with it. 
About half an hour after Justin arrived, we started seeing signs that the racers were close.  Support cars came down the mountain.  We heard the airplane flying overhead.  Then finally, several police motorcycles came down the road, and right behind them, the leaders of the pack.  The six racers in the lead were a good five minutes ahead of the rest of the pack.  Another set of support vehicles, another set of police motorcycles, and the bulk of the racers came flying down.  Two ambulances brought up the rear.  We saw a couple of the lagging cyclists, and regular traffic starting coming down the road. 
Then it was off to the top of the campground to tell the trapped cars that their forced stay in our campground was over.  All in all, no harm was done, except that a couple of horse trailers let their horses out while they were parked.  And since horses do what horses do, we had to shovel it off the roads.  All in a day’s work.
This was actually the first time in the history of the Tour of Utah extended beyond state borders.  Bald Mountain Pass is the highest point the Tour of Utah has ever reached – which makes sense since it’s the highest paved road in the state.
Eric Young of the United States won stage 5 of the Tour of Utah. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Facebook and the High School Reunion

My 40th high school reunion is August 15 and 16, 2014.  Wow – 40 years out of high school.  While I’d like to say, “It seems like only yesterday,” in reality, it seems like 40 years ago.  And until this year, I had kept in close contact with exactly one person I went to school with. 

Thankfully, the advent of social media has made finding each other and getting the word out much easier.  Even ten years ago, when we were reached by email rather than phone calls, we didn’t have the social presence we do today.  Today the class of ’74 has an email distribution list, a blog, and a closed Facebook group.  It’s been great looking through the group and reconnecting with my past.
I found Cheri, our classmate with whom I share both first and maiden names.  She was the glamorous, popular one.  I was the shy, nerdy one.  For the record, we both grew up to be smart and beautiful.
I found Karen, who I’ve known since first grade.  She was the first black person I ever met.  I know – I was pretty sheltered.   I didn’t meet my first Jewish person until I was 16.  Karen and I were good friends throughout our school years.
I found Crystal, Dayle, and Michele – my singing buddies and fellow junior high entrepreneurs.  We did everything from painting house numbers on curbs to washing windows at the drive in movie to holding a car wash (we pre-sold tickets) to earn our way to Summer Music Clinic at Utah State University.  We had a great time, and I firmly resolved to attend USU.
I found Jeff.  A small group of us spent a lot of time at his house, listening to classical music and the controversial Jesus Christ Superstar.  This was my first exposure to classical music, and I am ever so grateful to have discovered it early enough to ensure a lifelong appreciation.
Paula found me.  We hadn’t known each other well in school, but as adults we have much in common – not the least, we share a passion for improving the lives of women and girls.  Marianne also found me, but not before I had connected with her best friend in high school in our first camp hosting assignment in 2012.
So many memories…some too personal for cyberspace. If I haven’t mentioned you by name, please don’t feel slighted.  I didn’t want this post to be 30 pages long.  Know that you, as well as those I’ve mentioned, are among the people who supported me, challenged me, nurtured me, and yes, forgave me.  You are all a part of what I have become.