Another successful year for team Jim Beam Me Up. Another unsuccessful year for the Spock ears I always want to put on the vans.
This year we had a runner drop out, but it turned out to be OK because JEN GOT TO RUN WITH US!
She was so excited.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Bourbon Chase, it’s a 12-person, 200-mile running relay along the Bourbon Trail across Kentucky that goes through all of the major distilleries.
Runners are broken up into 2 vans of 6, with each runner running 3 legs over the course of the trail.
The morning started out with a little rain, a 9:30am meeting, followed by a bourbon tasting at Jim Beam.
The only way to start an endurance event.
This year we were in Van 2, so had a few hours to kill before Van 1 finished off the first 6 legs. So we checked out the distillery…
…then we hit the road, where there was a lot of this.
Lunch options were limited, and we had 2 people in the van with dietary restrictions. We settled on a Mexican place in Central Kentucky.
I know. We almost changed our team name to Team Gringo Diarrhea mid-race.
From there is was off to Makers Mark for the first Van 1/Van 2 handoff.
The sun kept fighting to break through the rain, and we checked out the mash.
Ryan was the lucky first runner from our van. He took off around 5pm.
We ticked off the legs one by one…
…and ran off into the sunset.
Then it got dark.
And during leg #9, the rain came back with a vengeance.
Poor J. The rest of us spent a good 10 minutes in the van debating how important it was that we all be out on the course to cheer her into transition.
Traditional evening wear looked something like this.
Plus a few blinking lights.
We wound our way through the dark Commonwealth.
Until, after a lot of running and minimal “sleeping” in the van, I ran the final night leg into the sunrise…and the Four Roses distillery which, along with coffee, bagels, and hot chocolate, has the most delicious bourbon of all.
Then, while van #1 ran the next six legs, we crossed some bridges…
…past Wild Turkey and into Versailles for a deeelicious country breakfast.
People also took the rest time to start rolling out our stupidly stiff legs and familiarize themselves with the beauty that is Biofreeze.
After that, it was over to Woodford Reserve for the final exchange from Van #1.
As Ryan made his way up the massive hill that comes out of Woodford, the sun came out.
And it got hot. But beautiful.
The remaining runs were through horse country.
Jen ran the final leg into Lexington. The way it works is both vans go to the finish line and the whole team waits for the final runner, then everyone runs across together, cheering, while the announcer announces the team name, and it’s very festive and a very big deal.
Well. Jen ran so fast that our team wasn’t even at the finish line yet. Apparently the announcer was like, “TEAM 507! HERE COMES YOUR RUNNERRRRrrrrr.” And she ran across the finish line. Alone.
Fortunately, there was free bourbon to comfort everyone after the team fail.
And all was well.
Thanks goes out to Jen for making the flight all the way out here, J & Ryan for inviting us on the team, the peeps in Van #2 for only being mildly stinky and making 30+ hours stuck in a van a non-negative experience, and George for organizing another glorious weekend in bourbon country.
More pics here.