Monday, September 16, 2013

Bears, Beers, Battlestar Galactica: The Fighting Guppies Reach the Beach (9/13-9/14/13)

Fighting Guppies Beach Reached:
Back Row: Scott, Jim, me, Steve, John, Matt, Megan, Jason
Front Row: Korynn, Deb, Freddi, Emma
Race: Reach the Beach
Distance: 205.8 Miles
Location: Cannon Mountain -> Hampton Beach
Goal Time: 25:53:00
Actual Time: 25:09:08
Pivo Index: 2

So, it was my second relay in as many weeks (including two other Kings of Beer from last week's team)

I ran into the darkness, into the unknown.  Ahead the only thing I could see was a lonely light on the back of a reflective vest.  It slowly swung back and forth like a 1970s Cylon from Battlestar Gallactica. That light was the target.  Keeping one foot in front of the other and throwing my watch under my headlamp to be sure I was near speed...

Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica

It was my first night leg of Reach the Beach, a 200 mile relay from the White Mountains to the Atlantic. (Chrissy Horan breaks down the 5 Ws of Reach the Beach on pretty well.)  The race had begun nearly ten hours earlier.  In the driving rain at Cannon Mountain, Matt started with 10 or so others on the first leg. Matt set the tone for the team early by passing two people from the group that had started 20 minutes earlier.

Passing people is known as a "kill"; getting passed is called a snipe.  The night run was both best for "kills" and a good way to keep yourself moving.  After passing the Cylon, I could see the next flashing red light ahead in the night.  I kept my eye on the light on the lonely road hoping there was no dangerous wild animals lurking and ready to attack.

The second leg of the relay was given to Megan.  She of course ran a fantastic race.  But she had the first brush with wildlife.  Coming down a hill, just off in the woods a Bear was rooting around.  A guy ahead looked back toward her with the "Did you see that?" face.  Since I was the next leg, I did not get to hear the story until later.  My first leg was out of the Bretton Woods resort - home of skiing and the post World War II economic system.  Then it was a long 4 mile climb up toward Mt Tom and Mt Eisenhower.

While I was fearing the night leg for some reasons, I had been happy to actually do some down hill running. The whole race has a loss of 2000 feet, but my first leg was actually a gain of 300 feet.  So my second leg would be a breathe of fresh air into the cool night.  The downhill bits had me charging down through the night.  I started hopscotching from person to person (and tried to figure out what to say to people as I ran by them).

After Van 1 (me, Matt, John, Jason, Freddi and Megan) passed the baton to Van 2 (Deb, Scott, Emma, Korynn, Jim and Steve), we headed out for dinner.  We stopped at Moat Mountain where I had the Buffalo Quesadilla and the 6 Beer sampler flight (the Weiss and the American Pale were the best). Then we headed to the Van exchange where I got an hour sleep in a softball field.

Beers - Stout, Porter, Pale Ale, Pilsner, Blueberry, Weiss
Photo by John Wichers

At midnight I was on the road running from person to person and happily charging.  At mile 3 of my leg I noticed a line of 8 people.  I knew I had nearly two miles so I could take it measuredly.  I slowly moved through the group but the person who had been at the back actually was making his way through the crowd almost as fast as me.  Then with half a mile left, he took off.  Later I connected the dots and realized this was probably Brendan Caffrey.  I came in front of the church - having caught all but the last 2 - I passed to Freddi and then nearly vomited in the churchyard.

We finished the night runs and made our way to the next vehicle exchange, where I slept another three hours under the stars.  My final leg was 8 miles of rolling hills and then a steep uphill to finish the last half mile.  While I had passed 36 people, it's safe to say this is a team act - like Marx's theory of revolution, Moneyball or team defensive rebounding - the actually passing is only the last violent act of ongoing larger social or team process.  But the end of our third and last hand off to Van 2, we were 45 minutes ahead of the expected time.

As we were leaving the transition area, I ran into Barry who was standing there with his team's slap bracelet.  "You shouldn't have that" I said.  Apparently they had dropped off the runner for the 31st leg at the start of the 32nd leg - oops.

After a brunch including a Pabst Blue Ribbon, we made our way to Hampton Beach where we met up with the five Van 2ers not running.  We stood on the beach - getting sand throughout my shoes - awaiting Korynn.  We met Korynn with 50 yards to go and the other 11 of us followed her in to the finish.

Korynn finishing with Guppies in tow

Fighting Guppies finished 20th overall and 9th in the Men's Open.

My Legs

Leg 3: 3.88 miles; 27:19; 7 kills
Leg 15: 4.91 miles; 33:38; 13 kills
Leg 27: 8.57 miles; 1:00:51; 36 kills

Random Old Post
Krka Loop - Cycle and Hike - Sibenik, Croatia July, 2009

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