Friday, November 28, 2014

Bourbon Chase 2014 - Ultra Speakeasies

October 10-11, 2014.  In this, the sixth edition of the Bourbon Chase, the Speakeasies would look a little different than in previous years.  Of course there would still be some bad facial hair, butt cheeks hanging out of speedos - sure, but this time there would only be one van full of assholes tackling the 200 mile course.  The Speakeasies run of dominance came to an end in 2013 when a super-stacked team waxed us by over thirty minutes (see last year's Bourbon Chase post).  We still had a great time, but the emphasis on putting together 12 guys, all super-fast, to contend for the win was less appealing than it had been before. Rumbles of contending for the ultra record began before the 2013 race was even completed.  The 2014 team slots (now that there were only six of them) filled right away.

Get to run twice as many legs within the same time frame?  Hell yeah.  I was in.  So was team captain, brewmeister, bourbon barrel/barnwood artist, a.k.a. Fat Jesus - John King, ultra-superstuds Scott Breeden and Troy Shellhamer, and a pair of tough marathoners and "I'm going to beat your ass on every training run" kinda guys - Mike Meyer and Josh Heird.  And, the icing on the cake, our driver was former Hansen-Brooks athlete Ryan Sheehan.  Our driver was arguably the fastest person on the course and he was driving our sorry carcasses around.  It was going to be a good night.

An unusual scenario for us was starting in the second-to-last group (teams are seeded in reverse order beginning early Friday morning with the fastest teams starting late Friday evening).  The only team starting at 7:00 was Primal Sport Mud (our opponents from last year), and we were in the large 5:30 group of twelve or so teams made up of 12-man open, coed, corporate and one other ultra team.  Our goals were pretty simple - don't get caught by the Primal guys and beat every other team on the course.

So we did.  The ultra format obviously left considerably less time for recovery, but I couldn't have imagined how much less.  Pretty much, as soon as you get done, cooled down, get changed, and think about eating something, it was time to go again.  By the time the sun was coming up, it became clear that we were running sub-six minute pace for our average and were potentially going to be catching every single team before we reached Lexington.  For the last leg, the Speedos came out.  Actually, I think King wore his most of the race, but they are a fun way to rally for that last push.  I was dying pretty badly by the end of my last leg - 35.6 is the total distance I would cover - many of my last miles creeping up over 6:30.  Lucky for me, a few of the other guys continued to drop sub-6's.  Ended up being the first team to Lexington, in the overall we wound up 2nd to the Primal Mud 12-man team (but we were glad they didn't catch us), ran 20:29 for 200 miles (6:08 pace).  We won the Ultra division by over three hours and established a new course record for a six-person team.