Cloud Cap takes runners to new heights


News intern

The Hood River Valley High School cross-country teams got in a different kind of workout this week by taking their annual preseason trip to Cloud Cap Inn on Mt. Hood.

The focus of the outing was to build team unity and train at high altitudes, while introducing newcomers to what cross-country is all about.

The overnight trip to the Crag Rat rescue base started with a nine-mile uphill run from the Cooper Spur parking lot to the cabin. A two-mile time trial in the surrounding trails followed the next morning for the boys team.

“This is the time of year to talk strategy, pace and set goals for the season and for life,” boys head coach Rich Hedges said.

“After this, we concentrate so much on training that we have no time to talk about it. So we do it now and have them apply it in the time trial and hopefully for the rest of the season,” he said.

The time trial uses the format of a cross-country meet to get a feel for what a meet is like and to determine who is in the best preseason condition.

The current leader for the boys team is sophomore Alex Jimenez, who made huge improvement during the 2002 track season, and posted a two-mile time of 9:55 — over one minute faster than his time at last year’s trial.

“It wasn’t too hard,” Jimenez said. “It was just a relaxed, even effort. But now I feel more pressure being number one because last year I was like number seven or eight.”

Senior team captain Jeff Fisher finished shortly behind Jimenez. “We’re definitely going to be competitive this year,” said Fisher. “A few varsity guys graduated last year, but we’re so deep in talent that it won’t be hard to make up for.”

Other experienced seniors like Jon Gehrig and Eric Avila, plus young stars like Adam Mack, Jess Jennings and Chris Jennings should help close that gap.

HRV’s recent move from the Mt. Hood to the Intermountain Conference is one area that could make up for itself. While most athletic teams will be missing classes and staying up late during long trips, the cross-country program will be minimally affected.

The transportation conflict within the IMC makes it so dual meets — where one team faces another league team — are not required, and league standings are based solely on the district meet at the end of the season. That format sets up all weekend invitational meets.

“Not having to do dual meets in the middle of the week is a testament to how strong the IMC teams are on the state level,” Hedges said. “The IMC is home to powerhouses such as Mountain View, Hermiston and perennial state champion Bend.

“When you have to run two races a week, you end up pacing yourself over the season. Now, we can dedicate our whole week to training and put in a 100 percent effort on the weekend,” he said.

Jimenez agrees. “I like our schedule better this year,” he said. “We get more rest between meets, but the meets are going to be tougher.”

Both teams will compete in their first meet, the Hermiston Invitational, next weekend.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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