BY: JEN MATHE
It’s a bit surreal to be finished with the Oiselle Podium Project and Bird Machine Tahoe. We have trained, supported, and gotten to know each other via social media over the past six months and when we finally all came together in real life it was as if we have been friends forever.
On paper, our similarities may begin and end with running, but all the intangible qualities that make us good humans ran through our team, and they ran deep. We are runners, we are teammates, we are sisters. We went to Tahoe to win. We never considered any other scenario. We never really talked about it, but it was known amongst us all that we were ready to compete. We walked in on a mission and we came away covered in trail dust, sweat, in some cases blood (and maybe some watermelon juice too) and filled with satisfaction. I love these girls, I cherish the time we had together this weekend, and I am so proud of what we did.
“As I rounded in on the final two miles of my last loop I reflected on the weekend to power me through the side cramp that was occupying way too much of my mind. I couldn’t help but marvel at the 10 complete strangers I started the weekend with. Their big smiles, awesome strength, big hearts and brute intelligence. Damn, we should have been at a Mensa meeting, we would have kicked aas there too.” - Ashlee
“I found myself surrounded by this lady gang of fierce and strong trail runners who crushed the dust, heat and smoky conditions to take first overall female team(!!!) at the Ragnar Trail Tahoe. Now all that remains are some amazing memories and a lot of itchy mosquito bites.” - Andrea
“Returning home feeling lucky, inspired, and full of sappy emotions I don’t usually admit to having.” - Ava
Some of the things we will never forget…
- The comradery that we had after only meeting each other. It felt so comfortable and supportive, and so much fun through all the hard miles.
- Learning that there are so many different ways to live a badass runner life.
- Talking about the Red Loop through tent walls.
- Sharing pickle popcorn.
- Cinnamon bears and coke bottles fueling us while stopped on the freeway for hours.
- Passing the baby wipes in attempt to tackle the dust and sweat that caked our tired bodies.
- Ava running past the T-Rex without a second glance.
- Smiles and excited enthusiasm at every race exchange.
- Sharing the ins and outs of each loop with each other while getting our legs squeezed in the recovery lounge.
- Angela starting her last leg in the heat, running so strong up that hill and returning after seven dusty miles with a huge grin on her face
- Scouting out possible competition and knowing that each girl on this team wanted to win as bad as I did and was willing to work for it.
- Alicia returning to camp grinning, covered in watermelon juice, and waving her prize (these girls compete at everything!).
- Seeing Cara or Andrea at the start and finish of every leg… always smiling, carrying gear, providing post-run food and cheers.
- Running down the final hill into the finish line with this amazing group of women knowing that whatever the outcome was, we did some badass stuff, we relished in our sisterhood, and hopefully we inspired other women to get dirty and get competitive with their own Lady Gang.
Thanks, BirdMachine Tahoe, for your grit and grace through this dusty race! Shout out to all six of our BirdMachines for their stellar work reppin' O. Thanks to the fans for following along with our Podium Project - we hope you had as much fun supporting these teams as we did!