From Circle K
TYA, Swirly, Rosie, and Circle K met at the vans to purchase and allocate the supplies (food, H20, Gatorade, First Aid, etc.) for each of the 4 vans. Mosey via van to Walmart. Duties were distributed as follows:
Swirly-Bananas (40lbs), Apples (8 bags), Oranges (4 bags)
TYA-Mints, electronic accessories, Footballs
Circle K-Bread (8 loaves) Bagels (bought the store out, but they did not have any Everything Bagels so we had to venture on a special trip for TYA and his Everything Bagels)(more on this later)
Rosie-Deli (8 lbs. Ham, 8 lbs. Turkey, 1 block cheese) Thinly Sliced. The deli worker may have quit or needed physical therapy after filling this order. That is what happens when Swirly is calling cadence as the young man is moving the slicer.
Mosey (via van) back to the parking lot to divide all supplies evenly between the vans. Mission accomplished, except for the everything bagels. Soooo…..Mosey (via van) to Kroger for some everything Bagels. Where is the bread aisle? Found it. Pay. Back to the van. TYA cannot get the key to work. Circle K tries to remedy the situation without any success. TYA realizes he has the keys to all four vans in his possession. Wrong key, wrong van. Mystery solved and lesson learned.
Mosey (via van) back to parking lot to collect the Pax for the 1200pm bus to Grayson Highlands State Park. All Pax accounted for the 5.5 hr Mosey (via van.) Did you know that DK has a NFL Survivor Pool this season. You would have by the time we reached I64 in downtown Richmond. It took until almost Charlottesville before Aisle 5 completely grasped the concept of picking a team once for the entire season, but he got it and entered the pool with a plan. TYA is apparently scared to death of running out of gas or is so cheap that he feels a need to stop at any gas station that is offering gas a cheaper per gallon rate that the last one we just visited. All told, YHC thinks we stopped three times for gas and may have only pumped 10 gallons combined. Van makes it to BRR start line. Beautiful!!!!! Football and Frisbees come out for a little exercise and to stretch after and long ride broken into many shorter rides with the number of stops along the way.
From Doner Kebab
6 runners and a driver assembled at 3:45am in the Day’s Inn courtyard in Jefferson, NC to embark on an epic adventure running the 2016 Blue Ridge Relay. F3 Corporate LLC’s van 1’s experience went something like this:
We didn’t make it out of the parking lot before Viral had to pull over to let Lab Rat toss merlot. Poor Lab Rat was hugging a Day’s Inn garbage can for the entire 45 min journey to the starting line at Grayson Highlands State Park, VA. Lab Rat blames his illness on the 2 bottles of beer he consumed the night before. He also mentioned that it might have been brought on by some medicine he took the night before. Regardless, he was determined that it would pass and he would be ready to run his first leg.
Viral served as our van’s driver. It was clear from the beginning that Viral was well-prepared. His advanced reconnaissance of the course map included plotting each exchange zone into a Google Map group, which made GPS navigation a breeze…assuming cell service availability. Viral served as more than a well prepared navigator, though. He had drinks, towels, clothes and food ready for every runner has he finished his leg. He was considerate to all back-seat drivers. He offered anything he could to make the runners’ lives easier. He was in control the entire way, and YHC would definitely go in Viral’s van any day. Love you, dad.
The weather at 5am was perfect: 60 degrees and clear skies…the sky was full of stars. It was time to break out our team’s TRON night racing lights. After cycling through all available options, it was decided we would stick with the constant TRON blue color. Besides looking totally badass, this made it so easy to pick out our teammates at exchange zones.
YHC kicked off F3 Corporate LLC’s 2016 BRR campaign by running Leg 1: a 100 ft gentle climb before descending 3.9 miles through the park to the first exchange zone. For those who have not experienced Leg 1, the teams are announced and welcomed like golfers are announced on the tee box at a golf tournament. The bunched up runners at the beginning with all of our reflective lights felt like an outdoor festival as we started to descend. In the first quarter mile YHC heard a fellow runner behind him describing the experience verbally: “in 50 meters we’ll start a steeper decent”, “a van is getting ready to pass us on the right”, “slight left turn in 100 meters”. It was only after completing the leg that YHC realized that a team from F3 Lexington was leading a blind teammate on all of YHC’s legs. YHC has seen blind snow skiers before but never appreciated the importance of the guide’s verbal instructions. It was an incredible inspiration. The downhill allowed YHC to start quickly and it was difficult to apply any brakes. Rosie’s watch read 26 min upon completion, confirming tht YHC went out too quickly.
YHC passed the slap bracelet to Abacus and he was off like a rocket. Leg 2 starts on pavement then descends down a narrow, gravel road that Viral very wisely bypassed. When Van 1 arrived at the 2nd exchange zone, we were the first van. In fact, we beat the pickup truck putting out BRR race signs on the course. Rosie was on deck then Lab Rat after that, but Lab Rat was still not 100%. Viral, Goldberg, Rosie & YHC discussed the possibility of substituting Junkyard for Lab Rat for Leg 4 to give Lab Rat some extra time to get his legs back under him. It was a no brainer. Junkyard was asleep and not part of the decision, but he didn’t balk when told he’d need to be ready to run 90 minutes sooner than originally anticipated. Coffee was on offer and Lab Rat took a gamble by taking a cup. Abacus arrived at a blistering rate and passed the bracelet to Rosie. Abacus said the route was mostly downhill and started some mumblechatter about wanting more miles, wishing it was harder, blah blah blah.
Van 1 followed Rosie’s route along a country road before a sharp right turn up a gravel road. It was steep with several switchbacks. The sun was starting to rise as we could see the blue Tron glow of Rosie ascending a hill several hundred yards away. It was one of YHC’s most memorable sights of the trip. Van 1 passed Rosie as he powered up the hill. We pulled into the next exchange zone and Abacus quickly spread out along the back porch of the church hosting the exchange zone. He started catching flies almost immediately. Rosie arrived sooner than anticipated, and Junkyard was off.
Junkyard didn’t need the TRON for his first leg. The sun was up and starting to warm things up. As Van 1 passed Junkyard along a beautiful stretch of the New River, Lab Rat lamented the fact that he had given up running on one of the most attractive stretches of the BRR. The next Exchange Zone presented some interesting challenges because the bathrooms were locked until 10’s of minutes after we arrived. Abacus came to life when he realized that it was later than 7:30am: BRR participants are asked to be quieter and keep unnecessary noise down between 7:30pm – 7:30am to respect the neighbors living along the course route. Abacus introduced the race to his oversized, Austrian cowbell. It didn’t go away until 7:30pm. YHC’s only regret is that we didn’t give the cowbell its own F3 name. Junkyard powered up a hill to end his 6+ mile leg and handed off to Goldberg.
Goldberg’s leg took him through the quaint town of West Jefferson, NC. After the van passed him, he missed a turn and was off course…by a block or so…and quickly realized a way to make his way back on course. The van arrived at the next exchange zone to find a fund raiser by the sponsoring church. Rosie and Viral made contributions and invited the rest of the van to enjoy some home cooked goodies. Lab Rat claims it was the greatest PB&J he’d ever consumed…probably homemade bread and possibly homemade PB. Abacus found a field full of cows, chased them with his cowbell, and claimed they liked it. YHC is pretty sure the only living beings who liked that cowbell were the active runners. Lab Rat used the downtime to introduce himself to the Flying Foxes, a team of Chinese-American ladies from Charlotte. Our van played tag with the Foxes throughout the entire race, making TYA a jealous man. Lab Rat prepared to take the slap bracelet from Goldberg by losing his shirt. Goldberg crushed the end of his leg and handed off to Lab Rat.
The van did not follow Lab Rat’s route and instead took the shortcut directly to the next exchange zone, which was also a van exchange for 12-man teams. Van 2 was there and excited to see us. Van 2 of our 9-man team was also there w/ Pelosi, TYA, Splinter & Lockjaw. The course had been rerouted from last year, and Lab Rat’s leg was more difficult, ending at a Christmas Tree farm that had inflated a massive snowman to welcome BRR runners. The sun was in full force…and it was hot. Lab Rat arrived to much applause from all teams. TYA’s jeans must have blinded Lab Rat because he couldn’t find Aisle 5 and our team bracelet hit the ground during the exchange.
Leap Frog 1
Van 1 drove ahead to the next van exchange zone, from leg 12 to leg 13, arriving around 10:45am. The sponsoring church has a massive parking lot and a line of trees for about 40 people to seek refuge from the beating sun. We were the very first van to arrive. Maybe other vans were pulling a Fudd and going out to pizza for lunch? We were lucky to spill out of the van and into the shade. We were settling and sleeping after a lovely cold cut sandwich when one of the church dudes drove up on a gator and yelled “Burritos…we’ve got burritos for sale!” Now awake, we spent the next 10 minutes debating the type of runner who would eat a burrito before continuing the BRR. YHC observed zero people buying burritos. #fundraiserfail We had a good conversation with CarpetBagger from F3 Isotope (Huntersville, NC) about F3 life around Charlotte and thoughts about F3 Richmond expansion.
It was 87 F at 2:55pm. Swirly looked spent after making up the long hill at the end of Leg 12 when he handed off to YHC. Leg 13 is a slog…9.3 miles, 5.2 of which are on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which requires runners to wear a reflective vest. Thankfully Rosie had a decent one that would fit over YHC’s CamelBak. YHC didn’t see any other runner running with a CamelBak…not sure how they accomplished that in the heat. YHC did come across a runner from Mooresville, NC who was on her 3rd leg (team of 6) and they exchanged pleasantries for 30 seconds. The runner said “it’s so nice to have a friend up here” just before YHC blew her out. Honeydo had warned YHC that the descent to Blowing Rock was steep…but damn, it was so steep that you couldn’t run it. Walking quickly hurt…calves burning like crazy. The views were amazing, the posh neighborhoods were beautiful, and Blowing Rock was quaint…but YHC was very happy to end the leg and hand off to Abacus. All of us were happy to see the Flying Foxes standing on top of their Leg 13 runner’s calves and digging into her back with a massaging stick. YHC may never forget that scene.
Abacus was a star. He was nursing various injuries but pushed through without complaining. His leg was uphill at first, then a nice long downhill. He might have had more kills on this leg than any of our others. The exchange zone was not big enough for all of the vans…and we almost lost Rosie when a local tried to speed around our van before realizing we were backing into a parking spot. Viral slammed on the breaks and saved a serious mishap. Did Viral buy a burger at this exchange zone?
Rosie meets Grandfather Mountain. 10.5 miles uphill. Rosie crushed it. He made it look effortless. The van pulled over to cheer Rosie on…and for Abacus to get pictures of an overlook that was covered in trees. The van met a Richmond team of 4 runners at the next exchange zone. They completed the race: true dedication. Junkyard was asleep probably. Rosie arrived sooner than expected, and YHC didn’t have his camera ready to snap pictures of Rosie coming in…and Lab Rat going out.
Lab Rat’s leg started down a service road at the top of Grandfather Mountain access and ended on a busy highway. YHC is sure Lab Rat can fill in some more details. It ended at an independent coffee shop, which seems appropriate considering Lab Rat brought a cooking stove along so that he could have fancy coffee on demand. Goldberg wore the blue TRON as he took the handoff.
Goldberg’s 2nd leg stayed on the same road, which made it more difficult for him to get lost. The leg started with a steep uphill, some ups and downs to a gentle downhill to end the leg. It’s YHC’s humble opinion that Goldberg’s legs were the most un-scenic on the BRR. YHC is not quite sure how these 3 legs all culminated with runner #5 on a 12 man team. Tough draw, Goldberg. You’d never know because Goldberg ran with the punches, especially on leg 29. The sun started setting. It was time for the cowbell to go to bed, much to the delight of the rest of the van. TRON to TRON handoff from Goldberg to Junkyard.
Junkyard’s 2nd leg was another beauty as the sun was setting. He got to run with the sunrise and the sunset on Friday…pretty cool. The temperature started cooling…down into the low 60’s. The next exchange zone was our 2nd van exchange zone…and a cluster at that with so many vans and several people sleeping on the ground. Fatigue was starting to set in and it was probably the most stressful parking job…but Viral crushed it. We reunited with Van 2 and shared war stories. Junkyard arrived, passed the bracelet to Aisle 5, and we were off to rest before our 3rd and final legs.
Leap Frog 2
Bakersville: Earthworm’s favorite small town in NC. YHC remembered from last year and instructed Viral to park as close to the stream as possible so that we could spill out and sleep outside across the sidewalk and not be at risk of getting run over. 3 slept in the van, 4 in the grass. YHC felt at peace when he heard Viral snoring. Ensuring the driver gets sleep is the most important thing. Showers and baked potatoes were on offer from the sponsoring Fire Department. We bought potatoes, and what we couldn’t eat was handed over to Van 2 when they arrived. (Marv bought a shower on the 9-man team: ask him about it.) The dry weather contributed to our comfort levels during attempted sleeps. The rainy, wet and muddy ground from last year was a distant memory thankfully. Driver communications were strong, and Swirly arrived as expected.
1:30am. 4.3 miles downhill with 0.5 mile sharp incline at very end. YHC was exhausted. Lack of sleep was catching up. Just put one foot in front of the other and let gravity take over. YHC felt like he was running at a pretty good clip. There was few intersections on the leg, but as YHC approached one he realized a pick-up truck would reach the intersection at the same time, and he yielded. The truck waived YHC along and rolled down the window as he pulled up next to YHC. “What are y’all doin’?” “We’re running a relay to Asheville.” The driver just started laughing. The encounter made YHC appreciate all of the ladies on the roads all on their own…and all of the crazy locals driving home late night on a Friday. Respect. After handing off to Abacus, YHC lamented the fact that his team had not picked up any beer at any stop along the way. Another team came to the rescue and offered YHC the most delicious Michelob Ultra Light he had ever consumed….at 2am.
Leg 26, 27, 28
With apologies to Abacus, Rosie & Lab Rat, YHC tried to sleep during the next 3 hours. Junkyard probably got more sleep during the same time, even though he had been asleep in the van all day. YHC crawled out of the hole in the back of the van where he’d been traveling all day and spread out in the shotgun position up front. Viral kept the rotation going. Highlights included 1) Abacus performed 22 Merkins in cadence after his final leg in honor of the 22Kill Challenge; 2) Viral smashed the massive jar of grape jelly in a bank parking lot while trying to get water for Lab Rat; 3) a very attractive female runner hopping in the driver’s seat before looking over and seeing YHC in his Redskins rug.
There was no sleeping during Leg 29. The van drove the entire leg but never saw Goldberg or the blue TRON. Uh oh. Time to turn around and go back to see if he missed the turn (that he had confirmed with Viral before he started.) Lab Rat was “sick of riding in the van” so he stayed at the exchange zone. The van went back for Goldberg, found him, and asked if he had gotten off course. His response: “I fell and think I broke my toe.” Goldberg carried on. We circled the van around again and asked Goldberg if we could give him a lift, but he refused it. He wanted to complete his final leg…and he did. Respect. It turns out that Goldberg had misjudged stepping up to a sidewalk while running. He kicked the curb at full clip and fell hard. His sippy cup “broke his fall” but his hand still got quite scraped up. The sippy cup did not survive, nor did its contents. Goldberg’s big toe was not well, but Goldberg was determined to run. He followed some other runners who missed the turn, and so he ran (he thinks) 0.6 miles extra on a broken toe. What a stud. We were all thankful to see him finish. Junkyard was off on the van’s final leg.
Junkyard got to see the sun rise…again. Not a bad way to enjoy his inaugural BRR. The van caught up with Van 2 at the next exchange zone. Everyone was concerned for Goldberg but he refused to sit still…and was out of the van in his man sandals making dreams come true. Aisle 5 was in the port-o-loo (for the 3rd time that stop) as Junkyard approached…we all yelled for Aisle 5…and he came sprinting around the bank of port-o-loos to take the bracelet and attack the first Mountain Goat leg.
Van 1 was all done. It was time to head to the rental house and get breakfasted and cleaned up. Viral took the scenic route which took us up and over Legs 31 & 32. It was good for the van 1 guys to see the challenge of a Mountain Goat leg. We all agreed that we missed an opportunity to scare the shit out of Wilson by renting clown costumes and waiting for him in the woods while he descended the switchbacks of Leg 32.
The house was epic. Flashdance did an outstanding job provisioning the place and getting things ready for our arrival. He cooked us an outstanding breakfast. Wilson did a great job as chef for our group dinner. Equal props to Flashdance for manning the grill. Virginia Tech did not do a good job of playing football at the Battle of Bristol. The group did not do a good job of drinking all of the extra IPAs YHC & Junkyard bought. YHC & Lockjaw did a great job of beating Pelosi & Splinter in restrictor-plate-ping-pong.
YHC participated in the 2015 BRR, F3 Richmond’s first year participating, and looked forward to experiencing the Van 1 legs of the event. The 5am start may have been the most challenging part of the event because it meant that YHC’s van basically missed 2 full nights of sleep. The weather was dry which was nice to be able to get comfortable outside of the van, but it also meant that midday runs were hot, hot, hot
From Circle K, Van #2-F3 Corporate LLC 12 man BRR Team
First and foremost, it was a privilege and an honor to share a sweat filled van with the following PAX members for 40 hours to accomplish an awesome task of running 209.2 miles across the mountains of Western North Carolina. PAX members: Pelosi 5.0, Swirly, Wilson, Trophy, Aisle 5 Lugnut, Circle K.
Couple of observations and notes :
1. You Run, I”ll drive (Enough said)
2. Pelosi can parallel park a 12 person van better than most people can park a Yugo
3. Pelosi makes his own laws
4. Great choice of music
5. Bluetooth speaker was key to extended waits at exchange zones
6. Successfully navigated through dense mountain fog, wildlife and twisty turns at 300am so the runners could get to the next EZ for sleep
1. If you ever want Wilson to cover fives really fast, make him run at night while being chased by Clowns and Bears past a Memorial Marker manufacturer. Man that was a fast leg.
2. Wilson finishes a leg “Man it was hot out there”, Spectatot from another team “It sure is in long sleeves”
3. Will talk to any female that is breathing
a. Will give any female a beer until all beer is gone.
4. Who thought you would ever see Wilson sleep in a graveyard and almost get run over by another van.
5. Mouth of Wilson
1. First mens trip in 30 years-Aisle 5 reminded the PAX of this fact 25 times before we reached Short Pump
3. Successfully performed a SSH inside the van
4. Has a Female Asian Friend that successfully helped on the Mountain Goat leg
5. Trained for a year-Almost got run over by a car 20 yards into the race
6. Eats a cheeseburger with out bread and cheese
7. Will always bring a teammate water at the end of a run
8. Usually plays with kids sized balls
2. Likes to run with snakes
3. Yellow Oberto Beef Jerk sunglasses-for some reason nobody ever steals them
4. Braved the cold and wet to spare the PAX the very loud noise that starts when he sleeps
1. Likes dogs to chase into a ditch while running an 8 mile uphill BRR Leg on gravel roads
2. Sweats more than any man in the world
3. Down Hill My Ass
4. Has the nastiest smelling running vest ever made
1. Blue Shorts (smells like roses)
2. Loves ham sandwiches if a ham sandwich consist of ½ pound of ham rolled into a ball without bread
3. Corporate (Its not a sticker, its an attitude!!!)
4. Charlene, I quit!!!
5. Just meet me at finish line with COLDBEER
1. Enjoys eating chips from every bag at the same time
2. Sought advice from two mountain goats on the descent of the Mountain Goats Leg
3. Skinny people walk Mountain Goat legs too
4. Had to visit the porta jons a lot (Damn Mr. Submarine, should have gotten the Steak and Cheese)
5. How many times he handed the BRR Bracelet to Lugnut at the end of a run=3 / How many times he remembers seeing Lugnut at the end of the run=0
Seriously, as we were chasing Swirly with Van #1 PAX to cross the finish line, YHC could not have been any prouder to be associated with the F3 men that literally sweated, bled, ached, and laughed together, all while running 209.2 miles of mountain roads.
It was a great BRR. T-Claps to TYA, Swirly & Bleeder for coordinating everything. It’s a real treat to “be along for the ride” for the 2nd year in a row. Thanks to our 4 drivers: Viral, Pucker, Pelosi 5.0, and Bleeder. This event would not be possible without drivers. Thank you. Congrats to all of our runners on a job well done.