What Happens in Whistler, Stays…in ESR?

photo[2]  This year marks the third running of the Whistler Relay – a replacement for the now-defunct Haney to Harrison relay. ESR’s “Hot Tamales” 40+ ladies masters’ team took the relocation in stride in 2011 and has proudly demonstrated each year to its northern neighbors how to cover the 50-mile distance with speed and finesse. In the spirit of being in hockey territory the “Hot Tamales” set a goal to get a “hat trick” third win in 2013. They did not disappoint. This spicy octet comprised of Julie Taylor, Molly Hurd, Larissa Uchiyama, Tami Curtis, Sue Maybee, Janet Howe and Lacey Leigh, ran circles around the figure-eight course in PR time of 6:53, coming home laden with beer mug trophies and gift certificates. With much to cheer about, the ladies’ spirits were only temporarily dampened by one minor mishap – an episode that will surely be rectified in 2014.

Joining the “Hot Tamales” on the Whistler Relay’s second year were the stalwart “Bashers” who dominated the 2012 competition in the Masters’ Men 50+ category. Determined to follow up their inaugural effort with another win, they stacked the team with speedsters Steve Roach, Scott Adsit, Van Gamble, Kent Byers, Cliff Johnston, Bob Wismer, Don Uchiyama and Phil McBride They made easy work of their adversaries this year, and also drove home with their cars laden with divisional awards. They will certainly be eyeing a hat trick in 2014. What will not be certain next year is the “Bashers’” one-minute triumph over the “Hot Tamales,” who now have all peppers gunning for a reclamation of dominance within the Canada-bound ESR teams.

Several “Hot Tamale” interview attempts were made to discern what happened on the fateful Leg 2, but the tamales are not talking despite being peppered with questions. All the “Bashers” know is that they entered Leg 2 trailing by nearly four minutes, and popped out of the woods at the Olympic park exchange nearly five minutes ahead. No accusations of foul play have been formally presented, neither Steve Roach nor Sue Maybee show signs of a mid-race brawl, and the rumors of Sue’s abduction by an alien have been dispelled. No one is talking about that fateful turn of events for the zesty ladies, but the gauntlet will dropped in 2014 to reassert their lead in the standings.

photo[3]When asked if the “Hot Tamales” considered their loss to the “Bashers” a disgrace to their reputation; a tarnish upon their clean record, spokeswoman Larissa Uchiyama answered defiantly, “What loss?” If ignorance is bliss, then both teams showed utter obtuseness at the after-race parties in town. In place of concluding the event at a single rented venue for the traditional dance and social, participants were issued a bracelet allowing them to partake in a pub-crawl style celebration in Whistler Village. The “Hot Tamales” and “Bashers” schooled “Buffalo Bill’s” guests with their fly dance moves, and then moved on to “Garfinkel’s” to display further longevity of distance runner energy. Locals will be talking for decades about the incredible stamina of legendary dancers Van Gamble and Cliff Johnston, not to mention the feisty and fast ladies in their company.

Whistler had better be prepared for an epic showdown next year between these two south-of-the-border ESR teams. Get the fire extinguishers ready! The “Hot Tamales” might try to light the “Bashers” on fire!