Blue Ridge Relay 2014

A year from two weeks ago, Hootie threw down the Blue Ridge Relay challenge at coffee. This weekend, 12 men from Harrisburg met that great & awful challenge. Here’s how it went.

Leg 1 (Kraut; 4 miles; 102′ climb; 1098′ drop): “There was something proud about being able to bat lead-off for the race. I wasn’t just starting a race, but I was kicking off an adventure on behalf of our entire team. I wasn’t nervous about this leg. It was a quick 4 miles, downhill, with what I was sure was a very antsy Hootie waiting at the bottom. It was quick, I finished in less than a half hour at somewhere around a 6:30 pace. I considered amping up the pace a bit but didn’t want to burn my legs out early knowing I had a gnarly second leg coming later in the day. So to pass the time, I met a fellow F3 brother on the course. Boiler, of somewhere in F3 Metroland, and I had a fun chat for about 3.8 of those 4 miles and parted with the assumption that that was the last time we’d be able to pull such a conversation off. He showed my on the fly how to use my shiny new Garmin, to that I’m forever indebted to him. On leg 13, I would use it to count down the tenths of a mile, like a kid counts the minutes left in the school day.”

Leg 2 (Hootie; 7.5 miles; 549′ climb; 1697′ drop): “Total ego booster. 4 kills and running out front…until Boy Wonder walked me down at the 3.5 mile mark. And then the hill Cindy warned me about hit immediately following and didn’t want to end. And then the hill at the 7 mile mark that came out of nowhere…tough and humbling 7.5 to start it off but one I’ll always remember.”

Leg 3 (Minnow; 5.2 miles; 444′ climb; 524′ drop): “1st mile was relatively flat…met target pace. Second mile was a challenging uphill mile…lost some time as expected, but made it up on the final 3 mile downhill to the exchange point.”

Leg 4 (Bull; 6.9 miles; 820′ climb; 447′ drop): “From the start I was amped up and ready to run.  I had to keep telling myself to take it easy, start out slow, the big hill is going to take all you’ve got.  I had a pretty steep, but short climb within the first mile and a short burst downhill.  Then came the long ascent…about 3-1/2 miles of it.  Thankfully, the run was full of curves, so I could easily pick points to run to and fight off the urge to walk.  I knew if I could just make it to the top of the hill, I could ride the downhill to the exchange zone.  I had forgotten about the slight uphill at the end.  Seeing it at the end of this run, the hill looked a lot steeper than what I expected.   After running about 6-1/2 miles without seeing a soul, I finally see another runner out ahead of me.  This gives me the final push that I needed to burst up the hill and hand off the bracelet to Segundo.”

Leg 5 (Segundo; 5 miles; 504′ climb; 383′ drop): “I knew going in that this one was going to be the toughest for me and it did not disappoint. It was the middle of the day, right through town with a great big hill to finish it off. And what made it worse was the little bit of rain that fell down. It made the whole ride feel like a sauna. It did however set up the “rivalry” that saw me through the last run.”

Leg 6 (Gapper; 4.9 miles; 904′ climb; 700′ drop): “Just about hyperventilated after the first half mile from nerves & excitement about starting and the rising humidity. Settled in after the first uphill mile, then had a faster couple miles downhill before a steep climb in the last 2 miles really beat me down.”

Leg 7 (Escalade; 2.5 miles; 103′ climb; 334′ drop): “This leg should be named the “Fast and Furious.” It starts with a small downhill grade. With some long strides the speed is no problem. I actually got to see how SS Minnow feels when he runs (for about 1.5 miles). Then the hill at the end brought me quickly back to reality and my normal pace.”

Leg 8 (Riptide; 3.1 miles; 327′ climb; 378′ drop): “5k – good easy intro to what’s ahead.  Slight uphill to start, easily handled by 1st leg adrenaline.  Big steep hill at mile 2 as shown on elevation profile.  Luckily the hill is only 1/2 mi with a long steady downhill to exchange zone to leg 9/Padre.”

Leg 9 (Padre; 4.6 miles; 227′ climb; 443′ drop): “Honestly I had the easiest of the 12 spots.  This run was 4.6 miles and mostly downhill so I knew that I should be able to crush it. Nothing like a good downhill to get you moving.  I was running without a time/pace watch so I was trying to just go for it. It started pouring rain as I started which was a good distraction and I feel like it was just another challenge to deal with which sharpened my focus.  The run levels out at the end and winds along the river.  I finished in good time, I felt like I should have hit it a little harder but I was concerned about what was ahead.”

Leg 10 (Sun Dial; 5.3 miles; 326′ climb; 175′ drop): “A really scenic run that paralleled the New River, this was a mostly fat run with a nice steep grade at the end.  On paper, it was marked as a slight 2% grade, but we were all sure it was more like 6%+ because it was a really tough climb.  The humidity from the recent rain storm made this leg tougher on me than it should have been.  Mapmyrun also crapped out on me 2/3 of the way through my leg, which misled me into thinking I still had a long way to go!  As I turned the corner approaching the last hill, I saw Riptide, who helped cheer me to the end.  I never knew I’d be so excited to see Riptide! (no offense)”

Leg 11 (BBQ; 8.4 miles; 758′ climb; 630′ drop): “Classified as very hard and over 8 miles long, it lived up to its name.  Two miles in, I started climbing a hill that would never end.  Finally I reached the summit and enjoyed the downhill.  I yelled “good job” to a guy as we passed and he responded with “that hill sucked.”  I continued on until I reached familiar Boone roads.  I knew I was close when I crossed Hwy 421.”

Leg 12 (Hochuli; 6.1 miles; 691′ climb; 570′ drop): “Extremely nervous for first quarter then excitement about being part of something bigger than one person! The toughest leg being first. it was a challenge not knowing what was around the next turn after 6 months of knowing where I was. Exuberant after the finish because I realized I was prepared.”

Leg 13 (Kraut; 9/4 miles; 944′ climb; 656′ drop): “So let’s get an understatement out of the way; this leg was a challenge. I’ve run 9 miles plenty of times before, but I don’ t know that I’ve ever run for 1 hour and 42 minutes straight. On top of that I think I can count on two fingers how many times I ran downhill on this stretch. I became the roadkill for at least 6 different teams, but when I finally handed off the blue baton to the Governor I was very impressed with my effort. Running on the Blue Ridge was a special leg. There were several times I wanted to stop and take a selfie for Swami. Just a quick photo at one of the overlooks with the endless mountains off in the distance. At one point I mooed at the cows grazing just to contrast against the ludicrousness of the climbs. Near the end, I was concerned that I was going to run out of daylight. This was a problem since I hadn’t bothered to bring my headlamp with me. When I got back to the van, I noticed a missed call from Hootie, which meant I wasn’t the only one concerned. I felt good about this leg. I tackled the long and winding climbs head on and ended it with what felt like fresh legs. I then had 8 hours for my legs to tighten up and prove me wrong.”

Leg 14 (Hootie; 6.1 miles; 506′ climb; 540′ drop): “Nothing like running out of a hole to start a climb as the sun falls out of sight and you’re all alone for 6.5 in the pitch black chasing Grandfather Mountain. Other than that it was great. Solitude was cool. Gassed toward the end…good to have Gapper there with 1/4 mile left to help bring me in. FYI – when Doogie says “here,” he really means “over there.” And no, Minnow, your light still isn’t on.”

Leg 15 (Minnow; 10.5 miles; 1222′ climb; 493′ drop): “Would prefer to forget this one. Ate and hydrated too much in prep for this long, climbing leg. My stomach paid the price the whole way (enough said about that) (editor’s note: there will be much more said about that). Could not maintain projected pace and was passed by lots of runners. Fog added a visibility challenge to the last mile, but hey, I finally reached the top.”

Leg 16 (Bull; 5.4 miles; 261′ climb; 904′ drop): “SS Minnow made his entry into the Exchange Zone around 10:25PM.  I took the bracelet and ran as fast as I could down the gravel path.  About 50 yards into the woods, I knew that this was going to be tough going until I could get onto pavement.  The heavy fog made the headlamp pretty much useless, so I was running pretty much on faith that the footing would be good down the path that was called a road.  After running full tilt downhill for about 2 miles, I finally saw a sign with a couple of blinkies and I knew that the pavement would be coming soon.  Unfortunately, that was the end of the downhill and I had to dig in to get up the next hill.  Once again, I knew that if I could top this hill, I would have a good stretch of downhill to the next Exchange Zone.  Along the mile-long ascent, I finally worked my way past a few runners. It was good to pass someone, it not only built confidence as I got by them, but it also gave me motivation not to let up and let them pass me. A funny question came up as I passed by a couple of women: ”Are we going the right way?”  My response was “I sure hope so.  If not, I am in trouble.  I am pretty sure that the Exchange Zone is only a mile ahead.  Keep it up!”  There is no better sight than to see the sign for the Exchange Zone. I gave it one last push into the exchange zone and shouted “67” at the top of my lungs. I am pretty sure the whole town of Newland heard me.”

Leg 17 (Segundo; 4.8 miles; 662′ climb; 435′ drop): “There was nothing spectacular about this leg, other than it was in the middle of the night. I felt like i was running from my house to the Saturday morning workout and it was all pitch dark. Other than the occasional creek sounds and ruffles in the brush, I was ready for this one to be over. I had only one thing in mind, getting some shut eye in a sweet hammock (which is on the list of essentials for 2015 BRR).”

Leg 18 (Gapper; 5.8 miles; 395′ climb; 1357′ drop): “Great, cool midnight run with 3 easy downhill miles, and only a fairly steep .75 mile climb in the middle was really challenging (and t-claps to the FiA ladies who roadkilled me on that climb), then another 2 downhill miles to finish. Loved the focus & sensory deprivation that the darkness brought and only being able to see the distance of my headlamp. Only difficulty was feeling the after-effects of a big late lunch & hoping I wouldn’t have to pull a Minnow on the side of the mountain on this leg.”

Leg 19 (Escalade; 4.4 miles; 206′ climb; 296′ drop): “Mostly flat and rolls beside the creek. This is usually ran at night but is close to town and not too isolated. Look out for the small hill at the end.  At least it serves as a signal you’re close to the finish.”

Leg 20 (Riptide; 7.3 miles; 1079′ climb; 1019′ drop): “Suicide, as named on the BRR website – quite accurate.  Exchange zone between 19 and 20 was a fire station with only 2 bathrooms, neither functioning.  Not my concern – don’t plan on returning soon.  Hammy cramped up at mile 1 – not good.  Was able to run through and keep it from locking up but created big concern for the remaining 6 mi and leg 3.  LUDICROUS steep up and down hills up to mile 5 (not shown on elevation profile) confirmed by white-knuckled Ridge van driver.  Climb during mile 6 was expected and not as bad as earlier hills in leg.  Mile 7 was steep downhill.  Handed off to Padre then had to quickly get in van to beat his 2.5 mi leg.”

Leg 21 (Padre; 2.5 miles; 68′ climb; 412′ drop): “I’m a night owl so a downhill 2.5 mile leg at 3:30 AM was a good little challenge.  I was trying my best to sprint it out as much as I could.  I wore down a little during the second mile but overall I was pleased with my effort.  The run through a small downtown area for the second mile was a little eerie at 3:30 AM.  I didn’t see anyone on this run.”

Leg 22 (Sun Dial; 5.5 miles; 667′ climb; 409′ drop): “This was my late-night leg that started somewhere around 3:00am.  It was foggy and completely pitch black.  I goofed on the first turn and kept going straight when I should’ve turned right.  I am so very thankful that another team’s van saw me, went out of their way to come tell me I missed my turn, and got me back on course.  Another sign of the strong F3 brotherhood!  Thankfully I only went about 1/4 mile off course.  Once I was back on track, the run was kind of eerie since I couldn’t see more than 5 feet in front of me, even with the headlamp.  This actually made it easier, though, since not being able to see the hills ahead kept me mentally going.  I passed a high school before making a turn that led to the last mile uphill.  My hero this time was Titleist, who helped me finish strong.  Of my three legs, this one I felt was my strongest effort.  Maybe I need to run more in the dark!”

Leg 23 (BBQ; 5.3 miles; 813′ climb; 695′ drop): “I had gotten an hour of sleep before I picked up at 3:45AM.  The pitch black sky, super thick fog, and a beaming headlamp made the run interesting.  The whole time I felt like I was running through some other space galaxy.  I could only see a few feet in front of me and nearly ran off the road several times.  Around mile 4, a slow waddling possum cut in front of me.  That knocked me off my game for a second until I scoffed and yelled ‘out of the way!'”

Leg 24 (Hochuli; 4 miles; 154′ climb; 611′ drop): “4 am, tired and sleep deprived but wide awake after 10 steps. Running in the early morning should be a requirement. When I was passed by a fleeting racer it scared the bejesus out of me!  Near the finish I saw 6 sets of eyes staring at me only to realize that it was a family of deer wondering what the Hell I was doing!”

Leg 25 (Kraut; 4.3 miles; 351′ climb; 315′ drop): “I wonder what my opinion of this leg would have been if it was the third out of four legs. It wasn’t necessarily a difficult 4 and a half miles, just a rolling 3 miler with a tough 1 mile climb at the end. It was just that my legs were very upset about being asked to run again. Since this was my last leg, there was an extra sense of closure and determination involved that powered me through. That and much like the first leg, I spent some time socializing. Just as I got to the dreaded climb, Beth, from team Rising Strength caught up to me and we chatted our way, out of breath, up the hill. She was on a quicker pace than me and I found that as I tried to keep up with her, my legs loosened up a bit and felt great. It was a bit eerie running in the dark with nothing but a headlamp to light the 10 feet in front of you, but the solitude was great and allowed me to reflect on the last 24 hours. Despite the pain, I would certainly be doing this again.”

Leg 26 (Hootie; 4.5 miles; 640′ climb; 693′ drop): “After an early wake up call, another 4.6 was exactly what I was looking forward to. Solid steady downhill followed by a pretty good climb just across the bridge. Enjoyed the peace of the early morning solitude as I compiled 4 more kills. Great run until the exchange…and the scene of the only Hootie Hissy. Starting to see a correlation here between Doogie, Minnow, and bad exchanges. Just saying…”

Leg 27 (Minnow; 9 miles; 519′ climb; 628′ drop): “Nervous after the leg 15 setback, and not sure if I could recover in time. Got a little sleep and ate a bagel and a baked potato at the Bakersville Volunteer Fire Department, at 3:30 am! After a slight exchange point snafu on my part (’cause Hootie got there so fast!) this leg leg turned out to be like night and day from the previous one. My legs and stomach felt great from start to finish, and I ran real close to projected time.”

Leg 28 (Bull; 8 miles; 682′ climb; 324′ drop): “Once again, SS Minnow makes the handoff after a strong run, around 7:35AM. I am happy to have put my headlamp and vest back in the van.  At this point, my legs are feeling good, but the lack of sleep makes it difficult to keep the pace that I want to maintain. From the elevation map, I remembered that this leg was a pretty consistent slight uphill the entire way. However, I did not notice that there were several small downhills that would provide a welcome break. These breaks seemed to come about every half mile and really helped to keep me going. SS Minnow’s strong run before also set up several more runners for me to scoot by. At about the 6-1/2 mile point, I turned onto 19E and was facing about a mile climb. This was the steepest portion of the leg. I had just passed someone about a mile back, and they were still in sight. This was enough motivation to get me up the hill. There was a final downhill section into the Exchange Zone, and I gave it all I had to get that bracelet to Segundo as fast as I could and get him on his way.”

Leg 29 (Segundo; 6.9 miles; 530′ climb; 515′ drop): “I was looking forward to this leg the most. The distance seemed challenging after two runs and not much rest but the route made it all worth it. A short stop through town led right into Pisgah National Forest and talk about a beautiful scenic  route. Running by the riverbank, the views were spectacular and I found my groove. Fueled by the “rivalry” that started on 5, I caught up with the runner I had met earlier that day. He had left the EZ a good 2 minutes before me, I kept him in my sights for a solid 2 miles and then I saw my chance to move ahead. I ended up passing him and 4 other runners and only got passed once, but by that time it did not matter, I was in the zone. The run was all I imagined it to be, so much so that I beat my projected time by several minutes. By far the most memorable for me.”

Leg 30 (Gapper; 4.4 miles; 243′ climb; 79′ drop): “The official description called this Easy because it’s not steep (no more than 3% grade) but the relentless uphill and this being the 3rd leg of the weekend made it a real physical & mental challenge, and my time reflected that. Quads felt dead & heavy the whole time from all the downhill in my 2nd leg. Much, much more difficult for me than Leg 18.”

Leg 31 (Escalade; 6.5 miles; 1422′ climb; 34′ drop): “The Goat. Tough, Crappy, Sucks, Never ending, long, are just a few adjectives that come to mind.  The first 1.2 miles is close to flat, rolling along in the valley of steep mountains. Then up to the right you will notice a valley gently sloping down between two large mountains. Yep that’s where the road goes. Starting in that gentle sloping valley and continuing onward and upward through every twist and turn the DMV could possibly stick on that mountain. It’s a pretty amazing road, there is no downhill at all. Don’t be fooled by the topo maps either. There are no flat or smaller grades closer to the top. My plan of attack was a bit conservative but it worked. Keep a nice easy pace with a heart rate just on the boundary of aerobic and anaerobic. Adjusting the pace to keep the heart rate in that zone allowed me to continue running the entire distance. (I considered that a personal victory regardless of the time.) Either way, my legs were smoked by the top. To tackle this in style I recommend some good strength training in the legs,  stair climbing, and drop any extra lb’s you can. Take a water bottle on the run, and “enjoy the views on the way up.”   Ha.”

Leg 32 (Riptide; 9.5 miles; 8′ climb; 2082′ drop): “First 5 miles downhill = fast pace. Felt like a shmuck taking the baton after Escalade did all the work getting us up the mountain.  Last 4.5 miles was flat but kept momentum going.  Hammy was tight but ok.  1 more uphill would’ve done me in.  The sun came out around mile 6 so I took my soaked shirt off and almost lost the bracelet.  Stopping to go back and pick it up was painful but avoided a disaster.  Lack of sleep and tired legs resulted in me thinking it was a 10.5 mi leg.  That was great when I hit the EZ 1 mile earlier then I expected.  The guy I passed at mile 8 wasn’t as excited since I told him we had 2.5 miles left.  He thought I was messing with him and told me after we finished.  The cool stream at the EZ after handing off to Padre was Heaven.”

Leg 33 (Padre; 5.2 miles; 914′ climb; 689′ drop): “I’m not going to lie, I was intimidated by this run. 5.2 miles of Mountain Goat Hard (steepest incline and decline on the course) I didn’t know how much to save up for this.  It was hot and muggy at the start line, but when Riptide passes off to you after a very hard 9.5 miles, you feel like you have to go for it.  First 2.5 miles were a slight and steady incline that is just enough to be annoying.  The next mile is straight up hill (+12-13% – steepest incline). I ended up walking it and still just could not catch my breath at all.  Running was counter productive at this point.  At the top I knew I had 1.7 miles to the finish line, all downhill (steepest decline). I decided to throw caution to the wind and go as fast as I could go switchbacks and all. I hit it hard all the way through and pretty much sprinted home. I lost too much time on the uphill to come in under projected time but I was pleased with my effort and was glad to be done.”

Leg 34 (Sun Dial; 4.4 miles; 312′ climb; 300′ drop): “This is the only leg I saw that double-backed on what the previous runner just finished.  When Padre handed off the bracelet, I headed down a 2-lane road that snaked through some really pretty countryside. I passed the birthplace of Zebulon Vance (as in Vance high school, former governor of NC and senator), which I was tempted to stop by as a history buff.  I may have been driven away when they heard I was a Yankee (Vance was a Confederate officer in the Civil War), so I kept on running. This leg was like a slow-roaster…the pavement and sun got increasingly hot throughout.  All the trail mix must have finally caught up to me, because I had to walk on a few occasions from cramping up. This wasn’t a good time, either, because the last portion was a steady climb uphill, I think about an 8% grade. It really slowed me down, and I didn’t finish very strong.  I am embarrassed to say (but man enough to admit) that I was “catted” on this leg. Only van 2 will understand that one. Thankfully, Escalade sprayed me down with a hose afterward, and I was finished! What a feeling to know I was done with all 3 of my legs, and had accomplished something I never thought possible.”

Leg 35 (BBQ; 4.2 miles; 1017′ climb; 315′ drop): “Lots going through my head now… this is the next to last leg, 1,000 foot climb at a 11% grade right at the start, sun blazing, and still going on only 2 hours of sleep.  The best thing I did to get up that mountain was look no further than 3-4ft in front of me.  The road was still there, why look up at the endless, steep grade?  I remained focused the whole climb.  I reached the 2 mile summit and enjoyed a few Blue Ridge Parkway views on the way down until I handed off to Hochuli for the last time.”

Leg 36 (Hochuli; 6.8 miles; 390′ climb, 1304′ drop): “Glory Leg. What an honor to be able to bring in the last leg for the RIDGE RUNNERS! I was nervous about the 1 mile 14% decline but God took my fears away with a downpour for the entire time and the rain ceased at the bottom of the hill. Running to the finish line with my comrades was the best part of it all!”

NAKED MOLESKIN (FROM THE PAX)

  • Escalade: “One of the other F3 pax tweeted the line of the weekend: ‘I’d rather be spooning someone in prison’ than running these mountains right now.”
  • BBQ: “There ain’t no hills in the Burg you can really train on for the BRR.  Running up a Burg hill ain’t nothing compared to running for miles up a mountain.”
  • Gapper: “Nothing better than Doogie’s catalog of encouraging phrases whenever van 1 passed any runners, like “good run,” “here we go here we go,” “keep it up,” and “niiiiiiice” (used only once when he realized how creepy it sounded after saying it to a female runner).
  • Riptide: “30/31 transition zone – was wonderful to finally have garbage, pancakes/sausage, portajohns and indoor sleeping in one spot.”
  • Doogie: “Gapper asking to drive over some of his first leg Thursday night and feeling like we were about to go over the peak of a roller coaster. Hootie melting down when Minnow was nowhere to be found at EZ 14. Me telling Minnow he had about 2 minutes to take a leak up in the woods and about 5 seconds later hearing Hootie yell “67” coming in to the EZ looking for Minnow. Van 1 dominating the Wonder Women. Kraut leaving half his steak uneaten at the restaurant only to help devour a rotisserie chicken in the Ingles’ parking lot 15 minutes later.”
  • Hootie: “Have you heard about Minnow on the mountain? Let me tell you all about it. I can’t stop talking about it. And as soon as I tell you about it, I’m going to tell someone else about it too. Probably someone I’ve never met before, but we’ll be best friends soon enough. With a little love…” (editor’s note: may not be Hootie’s actual words)
  • Escalade: “There was brief moment when I was in the middle of changing shorts in front of the fire chief’s wife. Thanks to the guys for not giving me the “signal” that anyone was coming! Thanks again to Swami, for suggesting I change clothes behind the building under the street light ‘because nobody was there.'”
  • Hochuli: “$3 shower was the best money ever spent at 4:30 am. Sleeping on a church floor for 3 hours: priceless. Getting lost early Saturday morning: never forget. 4 times in a porta john in less than 24 hours was a first. 2 hour nap in tree hammock beside a creek was GREAT!”
  • From Van 2: Padre: “Are we close to Boone yet?” Escalade: “We are close to NOWHERE!”
  • Escalade: “Planning a QUICK dinner after our first leg, so we could head to EZ 19 and catch a good nap before the night run, Swami suggested we go to a restaurant in Banner Elk. Arriving at the restaurant we noticed a few tables pulled together with some elderly people gathered. Looking around we pulled some tables together ourselves. The group was having a good time and the waitress was running ragged keeping up with them. After about 30 minutes we finally got our drinks and placed our orders. Some mumble chatter about never getting out of here was starting to go around the table, and then it happened. A guy with a teleprompter, microphone, and speakers came out of nowhere and started up Karaoke night! Sweet Caroline! dum dum dum… Good times never seemed so good! The whole situation was just really weird. Here we are in the middle of a 208 mile relay race across the Blue Ridge Mountains having Karaoke night with an intoxicated group of geriatrics! The moment was not lost on us,  joining in on a few chorus lines and cringing at others we safely made it out, but boy were we late getting to the EZ. Having a QUICK nap and good dinner!”
  • BBQ: “Banner Elk has the best geriatric karaoke every Friday night.  No need to stay up late!  And yes, Padre would have sung had Escalade not cut him off.”
  • Segundo: “Overall this experience has been spectacular I haven’t spoken so much about an event I have participated in as much as I have talked about the BRR. I can’t wait to do it all over again next year.”
  • BBQ: “I personally learned lack of sleep and a hungry belly do weird things to me.  Twice Titleist said, ‘Dude, you sound drunk!'”
  • Riptide: “Post race: had 2 of the best tasting beers ever and great pizza at the Mellow Mushroom, in great company.”
  • Titleist: “Yesterday, I was taunting Chowder about how Highlands will have a team next year and he in turn challenged me and asked if I will be ready for next year. BBQ says he can have me trained up in a year and it scares the crap outta me that I agreed to do it. So, thanks for the encouragement. I will be there next year, not just driving.”
  • BBQ: “BRR completely falls into the #CSAUP category.  There were times that I looked around and wondered why so many of us PAID to do this?  I also wondered, how am I still awake?  It comes from willpower and the team.  Push your body to the max and you will surprise yourself at what you can do.  In addition, the team’s support is HUGE!  When you have 11 other guys cheering you on and pumping you up, there’s no way you can fail or give up.”
  • Minnow: “I have run been a runner for a lot of years, and this was far and away the most rewarding running experience I have ever had. The physical challenge was quite demanding, and taking it on with my F3 brothers made it unforgettable!”
  • Gapper: “A year ago I’d never run more than 3.1 miles at a stretch or more than 20 miles in a month, and this weekend I ran the freaking Blue Ridge Relay. I’d never have been able to do it without all of you, beginning with allowing a flesh anchor like me onto the team, and more than that your celebrating my 9 & 10 minute paces just as much as we celebrated other runners’ 7 & 8 minute paces. This really has been one of the most impactful weekends I’ve ever had, both because of how much completing the Relay meant to me personally and also the inspiration of watching all of you put in the performances you did (from Bull coming in hot at every EZ to Minnow climbing Grandfather Mountain to Escalade & Padre killing the goats to BBQ slaying a 1000 foot climb on his last leg to running across the finish line with Hochuli & everyone else and even more). Thanks men. You’ve helped change my life.”
  • Bull: “What happens in the mountains stays in the mountains. You got this. See you next year.”

5 thoughts on “Blue Ridge Relay 2014

  1. SSMinnow

    Ah yes, potty humor is always good for a laugh with the 12 year old crowd. Glad I was able to provide entertainment for some of the Pax. Even with my less than stellar performance on the Grandfather Mountain leg and the ribbing I took…BRR rocked! Glad to have had the opportunity to tackle it with the Harrisburg team.

  2. BBQ

    @Schedule C – awesome shirt design! Gonna love wearing it proud in the gloom with the Harrisburg brothers! Nice job, thanks man!

  3. The Nanny

    So we were on the Highlands #OffTheBooks run on Sunday and some of the guys were talking about “Gapper’s BRR Novella.” I said wahhhh….where can I find it?! Well worth the read. Fantastic job capturing the camaraderie and CSAUP ridiculousness of this event – almost felt like I was out there in the mtn night air with you. Definitely pushed my needle to the side of wanting to do this event next year. If we had not just done a 1,382 ft ascent run last wed (http://f3nation.com/2014/09/09/tower-cruise/), I would have had no appreciation for the elevation climbs you guys did. Some of those climbs sounded insane! Well done guys and I am jealous about the amazing experience it sounds like you had. Hope I get to hear about it in person over some beers one day soon.

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