Here is an excerpt from my original “Racing The Counties” post from spring, 2007:
I drove all day through rolling wheat fields and prairie on a succession of smaller and smaller highways, passing a rattlesnake coiled in the road, to run the Rugged River 5k, arriving in the tiny town of Monument in Grant County around 10:30 p.m. I slept in my sleeping bag in the school gym, along with several other runners, fending off mosquitos the size of sparrows. In the morning we rode out to the start along the John Day River in a school bus. As we stood around before the start, lightning struck a distant ridge top, starting a small brush fire. The town fire siren sounded in the distance, but the light rain from the small cloud soon put out the flames, and the race began. I was one of three people in the 5k. There were a few more participants in the accompanying duathlon, including one poor guy who DNFed after suffering 4 or 5 flat tires and returned, along with his bike in the “sag wagon” pick-up.
As a bonus, the race was part of the local Grasshopper Festival. This was one of the smallest races I’ve run, but one of the best adventures, and the shirt is surely a collector’s item!