Youngest contestants get ready
Ceremonial Rye Whiskey
Families that race together....
The starting line
Ellen reviews the rules
"That creepy guy"
See Kai Run
Poppa and Ella cross the finish line
Rex, at 88, completes the race!
Father and Son
Ceremonial Weenie Roast
Chili dogs by Santagelos
Many years ago, at an unknown time, a race was run, called the "Ride and Tie" which involved two people and a horse. By a stroke of brilliance, this tradition was revived here in Petrolia, and morphed into the "Rye and Tide", which involves two people and a bicycle. A pair of contestants must race from the bridge just past the Yellow Rose bar seven and a half miles to Mattole Beach. Contestants must take a swig of rye whiskey at the beginning of the race (though a midway whiskey refueling station was provided this year at Evergreen Way), and must trade roles of runner and biker at least 8 times throughout. Others may choose to participate in modified forms, though no prizes are awarded for such manifestations. For example, Drew rode a bike the whole way towing Ella in the bike trailer.
The scene at the junction of Mattole Road and North Fork Road at 1:00 PM is a colorful and random assortment of kids, dogs, bike helmets, pumping stations, and folks preparing in earnest. Long-legged joggers are importantly trotting around to warm up, others are stretching, while still others are donning sparkly or silly costumes, including wigs, leg warmers, and/or capes. You never know what running superhero might show up. One can purchase a Rye and Tide t-shirt, too, though there always seem to be all size L and XL.
At last, everyone lines up at the edge of the bridge, and Ellen reviews the rules. Her voice is rather quiet and someone almost always yells "LOUDER!" above the din of pre-race blabber. At last, she calls out "On your marks! Get set! *whistle*. The race is run along the roads with bystanders cheering (well, there are only a few since we live in so small a place). A runner is greeted at the end with a curving aisle of international flags leading to the finish line. Once everyone arrives at the beach, a weenie roast ensues, whereby all voracious children, teenagers, and adults alike devour fire-roasted hot dogs. For the last three years, Mr. Santangelo has provided homemade chili to adorn the dogs in spicy, tomatoey goodness. Mmmmm. Sodas and marshmallows are consumed as well, and unique prizes are awarded. This year, after a lengthy and nerdy quiz and discussion of the history of rain gauges, all those who completed the race properly were awarded a small rain gauge attached to a smooth piece of redwood with the words "Rye and Tide 2008" inscribed.
Just another piece of small town reality...