handcyc1 The Hood to Coast Relay is an annual relay race that begins on Mount Hood in Oregon’s Cascade Range and ends at Seaside, Ore., a distance of about 200 miles. Teams consist of 12 runners who run three legs each — averaging about 5.5 miles per leg — and travel in two vans when not running. The race is continuous, with no regular sleep or meals, just occasional naps or snacks. Max Woodbury, 41, a C6 quad from Portland, took part in the race for the first time four years ago using a handcycle. This is Woodbury’s account of his fourth race, which was completed in late August, 2013. For a few elite runners, the race is serious business. But for most participants, as many as 15,000, the race and the ending party on the beach is a fun event rather than a competition.

The day before the race, I went to pick up our van from Performance Mobility, our local adapted vehicle company. They donated $300 for the rental of what we affectionately named “Little Piggy.” They also had to spend nearly two hours removing the rear seats due to a heat shield blocking the screws so we could put a futon mattress in there for sleeping. I felt bad for all of their hard work so I gave them a case of Ninkasi beer I had left over from a previous fundraiser. It was certainly well worth it, though. Little Piggy was a raised four-wheel drive monster diesel with nitrous oxide to give it that extra oomph. It also had an accessible lift, six-way wheelchair seat base, and hand controls.

Besides participating in this year’s H2C, I was the captain of our team and the catalyst for raising funds for the team sponsor, Oregon Disability Sports. I also planned to do a total of six legs on my quad-adapted handcycle instead of the customary three legs.