I recently completed Ragnar Napa Valley, which wrapped up an incredible year of Ragnar for me. It started here in AZ last February, and it was a really fun ride!
Feb – Ragnar Del Sol (AZ)
Mar- Ragnar Tennessee
Apr – Ragnar So Cal (CA)
May – Ragnar Chicago (IL/WI)
Aug – Ragnar Great River (WI/MN)
Sept – Ragnar Michigan
Nov – Ragnar Napa (CA)
As per usual, I jumped on this team with strangers and hoped for the best. As it turned out, almost our whole van 2 were new to the team and strangers. And guess what…it worked!
I flew in Thursday night and waited for the rest of my teammates to arrive. It was really seamless. We got picked up at the airport, whisked across the Golden Gate Bridge, and stayed overnight in San Rafael. We had an eclectic bunch in van 2. Two experienced Ragnarians that flew in together from DC, one was from Russia and the other from Chile, a girl from Park City who was also running her 15th Ragnar, and 2 local newbies. We had a 7am start time, so our van one got this amazing view:
Meanwhile, we grabbed breakfast and a few supplies. No sleeping in or lounging around, we were on task and at the exchange by 10am for an 11am handoff.
I got to see my Ragnar del Sol buddy Alex, which was a nice treat!
We got some beautiful views while we waited at exchange 7.
It was heating up fast, and I had my longest run ahead of me, with a 3pm start time. Ragnar made a TON of last minute course adjustments the day before, so my 10.9 run became an 8.9 run. I wasn’t sad. Luckily it was a lot of downhill. So much so that my quads paid the price. I was runner 11, so just one more runner to go and then we got to have dinner!
I am a craft beer lover, but I had no idea that Lagunitas was brewed nearby. We ended up at the Lagunitas taproom in Petaluma. What a cute place!
I don’t recall a ton of downtime after that before it was time to run our night legs. I do know that my stomach started giving me a few troubles before the run and I should have paid more attention to it. I got a major headache, possibly from dehydration. My night leg was only 2.9 miles, part of it on a pitch dark trail in a neighborhood. I felt pretty crummy because I needed to use the bathroom in a bad way. The second I finished I went straight there. I felt better, but still “off”. It would continue for hours.
My team was killing it. We were ahead of projections! We got some sleep – some of us in the van, some inside the school and some out in a field. We took over around 7am for our last legs – I was shocked that van 1 was done at 7am! I’ve been van 1 for the majority of my ragnars, and I have never been done that early. Maybe 11am, but that is probably the earliest. So they got to get a little rest, eat, clean up, and then went WINE TASTING while we were still running! Wish I had been in on that fun, as it turns out I would not get another opportunity :(
It was another hot one on Saturday – high of 88! We waited at the finish (again once I finished my 3.5 miler, I was runner 11 so we only had 1 runner left to go!). Megs took a wrong turn and went out of her way by about a mile. We finished and had some local wine at the finish area – I have never seen wine at a Ragnar, but it makes total sense here! Local winemaker Omen wine was selling some fun packages with cool tank tops, a bottle of wine and glasses. I had to partake in that! Megs and I pretty much cleaned out the place LOL.
Our team had some pretty stellar results, probably the best of any Ragnar team I've been on! Top 25% overall, 75 out of 250 in our open category! wow. We finished in 31 hours and some change.
10 of us were up for staying in the area that night, which was great. However, the rental place that they found to accommodate everyone was over an hour away in Geyserville. It’s a cute tiny town, but once we rolled into town the few wineries they had were already closed. The rental place was…interesting. It was a very strange combination of animal sanctuary and spiritual center to worship the Egyptian goddess Isis. I kid you not. There were more than a dozen beds in one room, like a hospital ward of sorts. The only upside was we could walk to dinner/breakfast, etc. We sat around sharing stories and wine. Sunday morning we left fairly early (the roosters woke us up), and grabbed coffee before we all rolled out in different directions. One of my teammates Stephanie was nice enough to take me back to the airport on Sunday, so that was a bonus!
Overall, I enjoyed the experience. I met several people who I really enjoyed and fully intend to keep in touch with. I also want to do this race again, it was pretty convenient for me to get to from AZ. However, I absolutely 100% will switch to van 1 AND will spend the night in Napa like so many other teams did. It sure looked like fun!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!