Adam Jensen: It will be some kind of Odyssey
May 27, 2015
If you're out on Lake Tahoe-area roads in the next couple days, you may see some unusual sights — dozens of runners sporting reflective vests trailed by a van full of teammates.
The collection of running teams is part of the 11th annual Reno-Tahoe Odyssey, a continuous group relay run Friday and Saturday through Truckee, around Lake Tahoe, into Carson Valley and up to Virginia City.
"It is a long wandering," according to organizers. "A relay run ideally suited for teams of 12 runners on a 178 mile course. Starting in Downtown Reno along the Truckee River. Traveling through the Sierra Nevada mountains and along the shores of Lake Tahoe. Circling back through the Northern Nevada high desert to where you began in Reno."
Following a last-minute invite, I've somehow found myself responsible for 18 or so miles of the Odyssey. It'll be my first organized running event since an elementary school jog-a-thon way back when. I'm looking forward to it with a mix of excitement and apprehension because I'm not quite sure I'm in the right shape for the Odyssey. I guess I'll find out soon enough. At the very least, I figure I'll get to experience familiar territory in a whole new way. The description of the course makes the sweat and sore legs seem well worth it.
"A scenic course like no other. Guided by the high mountain peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Running by mountain lakes, rivers and streams, including the one and only Lake Tahoe as well as the Truckee River," organizers continue. "Running under the stars and past the neon of South Lake Tahoe's casinos. Descending Kingsbury Grade looking down on the lights of the Carson Valley. Climbing the Comstock Highway into Virginia City, then dropping down Geiger Grade with an eyeful of Mount Rose. The scenery. The vistas. The blue waters and skies. The bright stars. The neon lights.
"Get close to history. You'll run along the trails where the emigrants, including the infamous Donner Party, traveled to reach California. You'll follow the tracks of the original transcontinental railroad into Truckee. You'll travel along the Pony Express route. You'll pass through Virginia City and neighboring ghost towns, where Comstock Lode silver mines roared, and miners and Mark Twain frequented many a saloon, some still open today to quench your thirst."
So, if you see runners on the road, give them some space and maybe throw out a honk of support. If you see a big dude in basketball shorts shuffling through the Carson Valley with a grimace and a van in tow, don't worry, I signed up for this.
Adam Jensen is the editor of Lake Tahoe Action. He can be reached at email@example.com.