Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Education on the Bourbon Trail: Lessons from a relay

There are lessons with every step, with every mile.

And the Bourbon Chase was no different.

The 200-mile journey was full of learning opportunities, some of them on the guidebook side and other on the fun end.

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Quote me. Call it delirium or stir craziness but some funny things are said when seven people are in a van together. Because I'm a blogger and intensely aware that I need to document anything that is remotely amusing, I started a note file and recorded the things that made me laugh. "I’ve got nothing better to do than to run faster in the dark." "My legs feel like a dying star. They could disintegrate at any moment." "It's so damn hot my piss is smokin'." "I've got the stick of love." Obviously, they are funny to those who were there but it's fun to rehash later on a group Facebook page for the team. It also might be fun to put them on the back of a T-shirt if you liked the people enough to do it all again.

Make a scene. Take photos and lots of them. Note the delirious part above, and you'll see why. There are so many moments you'll want to remember and without the photos, you might not. Family and friends will like seeing them, too, as the idea of a relay is a bit foreign to non-runners - heck to even other runners sometimes.

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Light it up. Bourbon Chase rules required each team to have a reflective vest, blinking light and headlamp/flashlight - but just one set. We had three, I think, and it was perfect. One on the person running, one on the runner waiting in the wing and one hanging to dry since we had such wet conditions. We saw other teams, though, trading off vests and lights at the exchanges. It just seemed frantic and annoying to be honest. These are things that are important to have, in general, so it's best just to invest in several sets. Also, we had problems with one particular light model (more than one of them in the van) not lasting and my green light was burnt out thanks to Miles so we needed the extras.

Food for thought. Pretzels, Cheetos, Combos, gummy bears, Red Vines and rocky road trail mix. I packed it all thinking it would be devoured by a group of hungry runners. But, as it turns out (and as it should be), real food was preferable. One of our teammates had the forethought to buy the makings of sandwiches and pack enough for both vans. I hadn't been sure about them, to be frank, but we ate those sandwiches that trip (kept in a cooler) and have already requested them for next year. The PB&J and subsequently Nutella PB&J were also popular but it would have been better to premake them.

Go it solo. On the subject of food, my community snacks were great, and the Red Vines eaten. However, the bags of Veggie Straws and individual nutrition bars were much easier to grab. It's not always the most economical choice but it is convenient.

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Carry cash. A team could pack meals for days but van food gets old - literally and figuratively. You'll want real options, as well as a way to decompress and come together as a team after major exchanges. Bring money for meals out. Also, we were lucky enough to come across several exchanges where communities used the race as fundraisers. I bought several coffees and hot chocolates at such affairs, one of which had pancakes, sausage and biscuits and gravy. Another exchange had a farm selling bourbon honey. Sadly, the wallet was in the van and I could not grab one.

Never trust a fart. Enough said - but note there were no such accidents on this trip.

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