Dakota Jones may claim some obscure record in the Grand Canyon or a top finish and a bunch of coin from some corporate race out in the wilds of Marin County, but put him on the purest of big stages - one mile, 750 feet of vertical gain and 48 oz of froth - and the kid clearly needs some tutoring. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The sound of the gun had barely finished echoing around the valley floor before I was off and running, Banquet Beer no.1 still finding its way down the pipes. Poof, gone, nobody in front, just footsteps and some loud eruptions behind. Horsecow Lonac was along for the ride, and by beer aid one it looked like it was going to be a two horse race, with Pete and Alex the only other competitors working their second beer as Horsecow and I took off for the second quarter in search of our third beer.
Horsecow looked like he wanted to make a race of it, and we hit beer three together, both taking a few seconds to get our breathing under control before hitting the froth. Again, I was a second or two quicker on the guzzle, even managing to pull away slightly on the flatter section of the third quarter before rescinding the lead on the steep stuff as we drew close to the final beer station. But I was just catching my breath. Guzzling beers while hyperventilating is best avoided if you want to keep the chunks at bay.
Beer three. A two horse (cow) race.Leaving beer aid three, I had sensed some Horsecow hesitation - maybe even some pain. As we rolled into the final beer stop, the Horsecow banter sounded very much like the flapping of a white flag. Time to twist the knife. My beer was finished before Horsecow had even blown the froth off his beer. The last quarter ended up a victory lap. I hit the tape in 12 minutes and 15 seconds for a six minute PR and CR.
Pulling up the hill I couldn't help but reflect on an awesome season. And the thought came to me that maybe if I could find a way to sell this amazing victory to the ulrarunning world, they might just reconsider propelling me into ultrarunning immortality by lobbying the UROY voters - through the iRunFar discussion forum - to Vote For Nick. I mean, I don't want to toot my own horn, but this VBM defense in course record fashion is huge...HUGE...so come on America, let's make it happen. I've done my part.
Not to get too caught up in the immensity of yesterday's happenings from my own glorious standpoint, I would like to bring attention to the arguably more exciting happenings in the women's race.
Finish line officials: Kristel and Victoria.
Readers of this blog may not be familiar with the name Celeste O'Slusher, but in Fort Collins running and drinking circles the feisty Irish Bostonian is legendary. And lining up at the bottom of the hill, the defending champion was the heavy favorite for the VBM tiara.
But there had been some murmurings from the pack. Another Clark (mispelled with an 'e') had been quietly talking up her drinking powers, while the diminutive Jessie W, a relative newcomer to the Fort Collins trail scene, had been warning anyone who would listen to not underestimate her magical beer consumption prowess. I mean the girl has spent time living and drinking in Hoboken, NJ.
Mindy, Jessie and Lindsay putting away their start line beers.
And so we waited with baited breath and gaseous stomachs at the finish line for lights to emerge.
Would Celeste make the overall podium again?
No, the karmasutra-like grunts coming around the corner were unmistakably Stevensonian. Pete had managed to keep his lunch intact this year for an impressive third-place finish. He was followed a minute later by Mr. Consistency himself, and last year's runner up, Alex May. Seabeck powered across the line another minute in arrears for fifth, and then the excitement hit fever pitch.
Another light, a female form, and...wait...an upset. Mindy came cruising through to pull off an awesome Clark(e) VBM sweep, setting a new female course record in the process. In the close-fought battle for second, Jessie managed to outrun Celeste over the final quarter edging her out of silver by a scant nine seconds. Exciting stuff folks.
The Clark(e) sweep
"Towers tortures me every week, so this was my chance to puke all over it."
Tough night for Jones.
"And then I drank another beer..."
Your 2011 VBM results:
Sam may have the Towers FKT, but not when there's beer involved. Last place today, bud.
Ginny & Jenn: 19:26
Chris & Steph: 22:08
Mary & Marie: 23:28