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Race Recap: 2016 HTC Race Series Red White and Blues 10k (West Linn)

Red white and bluesNow in its third year, HTC Race Series completely reinvented the Red White and Blues 10k race for 2016. Formerly run as a loop at the Portland Waterfront (5k single loop, 10k double loop), it is now a downhill point-to-point race in beautiful West Linn. Living in the southwest suburbs, I knew that I couldn't pass this race up as there are very few taking place this close to home, and I signed myself up. And I was not disappointed. 

With a point to point race, a logistics problem to solve is the fact that people have to be shuttled to or from their cars. In this case, the best parking option arranged by the race was a church parking lot less than half a mile from the start at Rosemont Ridge Middle School. I parked my car and walked over to the start area, where there was packet pickup, registration, coffee, and gear check (directly into the bed of a pickup truck to be transported to the finish). Music was playing, and race and timing related announcements were easy to hear.

The race started right on time at 7:30am. It was all one starting wave for the 640 10k participants, and since Rosemont Road at that point is three lanes wide, there was plenty of space to move around. The course started with a half mile uphill, and from then on went downhill (or mostly so) for the next four miles. We ran past pastures and mansions, vineyards and forests, before entering West Linn’s neighborhoods south of I-205. The well marked course lead us all the way down to Fields Bridge Park on the banks of the Tualatin River. The short hill coming out of the park felt much steeper than it looked on the elevation chart, and I was glad to reach the flat streets of downtown West Linn again shortly after the 5 mile marker. With less than I mile to go, I was able to hear the music and cheers at the finish line and picked up the speed a little bit to finish strong.

Right after crossing the finish line, I received my finisher’s medal and a bottle of water. The finish area on 13th St between 6th Ave and Willamette Falls Drive was rather packed, and lines for beer and hot dogs wound around the booths. The Full Sail beer was refreshing and delicious, and the hot dogs from Lil’ Cooperstown hit the spot as well. I checked my results (unsurprisingly didn’t place), stopped by vendor tents for information and swag, and then walked over to 12th St where a school bus was waiting to take participants back to their cars near the start line.

Overall a very nicely organized event. There was space on the course, there were enough bathrooms at the start and finish, and as far as I could tell, the shuttle service worked well. I can definitely recommend this race with a course I haven’t ever seen a race on.

Complete results can be found here.

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