For the first time ever, read an article written exclusively by the Cascade Lakes Relay best-dressed team and back-to-back CLR costume contest winners! With unparalleled team spirit and an unwavering commitment to fun, this rowdy bunch is a group we think everyone should meet! So, without further ado, may we introduce:
Six years ago, Mike Phillips and I had a modest dream: to win the costume leg at Cascade Lakes Relay. Today the team consists of 13 of the craziest people you will meet; 12 runners and one dedicated man behind the wheel of ‘That CLR Van’.
We wear costumes, sing, dance, drink, party, make friends and yes, we run too. We’ll see you out there!
I have always enjoyed the challenge of something physically demanding. Having climbed mountains, cycled on and off-road trails and ran in Hood to Coast I wanted something a little more demanding in the running department. I had heard about Cascade Lakes relay from a colleague and decided I wanted in.
Elevation, heat and off-road running… what’s not to like?
A year later I convinced my best friend Chris to join me in finding a team, he agreed. I threw our names on a spreadsheet on the Cascade Lakes Relay website as two guys looking for a team. A day later Dirty Assets emailed us a said we could join their team. We ended up bringing along another friend of ours for our inaugural run and it was a blast. Chris really enjoyed the social and community aspect and I enjoyed the physical challenge and running the hardest legs.
After our first taste of the event, we decided it was a great event but only if we could have our own team and do things our way. Thus began the journey for Chris and me to dive in, double down and come back every year with a fantastic attitude and theme to dazzle the runners and give them the inspiration to keep chugging along and to realize that the journey is as satisfying as the finish line.
We really enjoy this event and the friendship Scott and Carrie have extended to us. They have allowed us to share our enthusiasm and flare in the overall experience for all the teams running in the event and as long as they will have us we will keep coming back.
Brooke Gateley Meier
CLR was my first relay back in 2014 and after one year I was hooked! Since then, it’s been so easy having that fun atmosphere as “That CLR van” was always around supporting all the runners and kept me going with the night dance parties and rad themes. Now running with this team is a dream and I’m excited to be that support for all the other runners.
Carter “Tractor Girl” Lippert
Six years ago, Chris Harmon and Mike Phillips had a modest dream: to win the costume leg at Cascade Lakes Relay. Today their team consists of 13 of the craziest people you will meet; 12 runners and one dedicated man behind the wheel of ‘That CLR Van’.
If you’ve been in Bend the first weekend of August, you know who we are talking about. You’ve seen Trojan horses, disco parties and rebel Mad Max roll through town with music blasting and lights flashing. Creating a drivable work of art takes a lot of work; the members of ‘That CLR Van’ dedicate months to their cause all to put a smile on the faces of runners, volunteers, and spectators.
And it’s not just a van, team ‘That CLR Van’ takes the costume leg to the next level, turning the entire relay into one big costume leg. That’s right, every runner runs every leg in full costume! And our dedicated commander of the wheel, he’s in costume too!
Being a member of ‘That CLR Van’ means being a little different than your average athlete. This is the event we wait for all year. After months of preparation, it’s finally here.
This is our Olympics.
This is what we’ve worked so hard for. Seeing the looks on everyone’s faces as we roll by is why we come back every year, bigger and better than the year before.
I joined Chris’s team in 2016 because I enjoy running and I appreciate a good challenge. Little did I know that on this team, running is little more than a way to keep the party moving along the course. This team is unabashedly here to bring the party!
While some teams prepare for CLR by running, we spend most of our prep time trying on costumes, drinking
beer, working on improvements to the van, testing new dance moves, drinking cider, and going for group runs followed by beer.
The thing that really makes it fun is that CLR is filled with people who love to have a good time. We never have any difficulty recruiting people from other teams to party with us.