There are two types of men. Doers and not doers. 21 Brave souls were Doers and took on the 22,000 plus feet of elevation over 207.82 miles of Smokey Mountains. Teams rotate between 36 legs to run across the Smokies while sleeping in vans and trucks. Nothing describes a CSAUP better.
This crazy idea was hatched in October. Pella got tapped to be the captain of the 12 man team. Bloodhound is good at encouraging volunteers. It was not long before there was a slack channel, a 19 man text thread and a 20 man text thread and phone meetings, and race track meetings and hotel bookings and van rental/borrowing and the 9 and 12 man teams were set. Wait, as with all things planned months out, things change. Fire Marshall bill replaced the Mole do to back issues about 3 weeks before the event. Luckily he wants to run the dopey so he thought this would be good training. Don’t worry though because the Mole volunteered to drive one of the 12 man van’s for the weekend and impart his wisdom of running relay races. Then 8 bit was out due to knee pain and E-tool volunteered Oracle to join 2 weeks ago. Luckily Oracle sold everything he owned, adopted an awesome dog, and bought a Sprinter Camper Van to live in down by the river so that was 1 less van to rent. Finally Fudd decided to…wait a minute, Fudd actually showed up.
Thursday the Sprinter Van, Duggar’s Van, a Rental Van, and Snowflake set off for a Fairfield Inn in Hendersonville NC. Thanks to Oracle 12 rooms had been blocked off, but thanks to lazy Pax who did not book all the rooms, there was plenty of time for coupling and sleeping on the floors. Just ask Rest Stop and Leaky about their “nap” watching the Notebook before the pizza arrived. No better meal than pizza in a hotel lobby with 21 dudes and a random family on vacation watching the NFL draft. Bed time for the team of runners starting the show since 4:30am was the start time while the second group of runners got to enjoy a continental breakfast and sleep in.
Stories of the Race in no particular order.
Leg one was so dark and rocky that Dandy said he had to stop and walk at one time when he could not see his feet through the fog, but of course he still finished the first leg 10 minutes ahead of time. It became clear Bloodhound stacked his team. Fire Marshal Bill was in second place and Lt. Dan took off down the road to catch Bloodhound and finally caught him at the end saying F3 Cherokee 12 passing F3 Cherokee 9. That was the last time 12 man team had the lead and as we all know Bloodhound only gets happier and faster as the pain increases and Pella was no match for the 17 year old Laura Croft.
Speaking of Pella. He was so excited and nervous it was like he drank 2 cups of coffee, took a 5 hour energy shot, took a hit of pink cotton candy, and drank a Mountain Dew. It was not until the first Van exchange that he started to calm down and then got all amped up again when he realized we had time to stop for a hammock rest after eating real food.
Right before the exchange zone 4, Duggar Van comes flying by LawDog on the road. They arrived just after Moon Pie finished his exchange zone because Olan Mills made a wrong turn and ended up on a dead end road hearing banjo music. It would not be the last time the 9 man team had to wait at an exchange zone nor the only mistake Olan Mills made on the trip, but more about that later.
Half way through leg 5, Duggar Van and Sprinter Camper Van were parked on the side of the road while waiting to encourage the runners on. It was at this time that the Mole realized that there was no ice in the cooler. Luckily for the Mole Duggar Van had a cooler with iced down beverages so he was able to quench his thirst at 9am.
Several F3 teams beyond Cherokee were repped. Alpha had 2 teams. There was a team from Raleigh that heard from LawDog F3 Cherokee won the Best Region in the Nation during his reign as Nantan. Then a Carpex team heard about the Civil War. Then Bloodhound was inspired by a St. Louis Pax in his 70s kicking but the mountains.
Rental Van two forgot to get gas in the morning before setting off to run, but Happy E brought enough nitro cold brew coffee that they somehow made it to the next gas station. The cold brew also came in handy when they ran out of water in the middle of the night. Nothing better than cold brew coffee while running mountains.
Miller Time from Alpha was running up leg 30 when 1/2 mile out a goat decided he was tired of runners on his bridge and decided to head but Miller Time and chase him the high mile to the exchange zone. Miller time’s fastest mile on the entire race. The next Thundermeat event should be fun, “The Billy Goat Gruff.” LawDog knows a guy from South Georgia that will serve goat bbq.
The Goat did not leave. He continued to terrorize runners at the exchange zone until Oracle set Grace on him. That dog is a natural herder. She trick that stop goat into heading butting a van. Then some rock climbing, almost professional surfer, real estate mogul, investment adviser, hot yoga tattooed pony tailed guy took a carabiner and rope to the Goat. Sprinter Camper Van crew decided it was time to leave before the Animal Control arrived. Grace was rewarded with a SMR tank top from the SMR team for her heroic efforts in defending the runners.
Apparently a Rental Van team was heroic as well saving a runner from another team from a German Sheppard. Too bad they did not defendant Wheelin when he came running by and thought he is a big boy and can defend himself. Speaking of Wheelin, did you ever realize that he and Coco are the same person?
Lt. Dan made it to the end of one run. When the pax saw him everyone shouted “Lt. Dan!!” He responded “I got no legs!!!” Apparently the cramps started 3 miles before the finish. But that was a 10 mile run with 988 feet of elevation gain on the first 2 miles.
Couch Potato apparently decided to sleep in a school with other runners but no one could find him when it was time to leave but everyone sleeping felt insulted when his team mates yelled out “Couch Potato.”
Bloodhound clearly sandbagged his team. Start times were based on pace. Slower teams starting first followed by faster teams in an effort to be able to set up check points and finish about the same time. At one point, Moon Pie either got an 1 hour and half extra rest waiting for the check point to open.
By far the hardest run was the Quad Killer. 1000 feet straight up for 3.3 miles, then 1000 feet straight down for 3.3 miles. Picture Big Blue x 100. LawDog was of course tasked with accomplishing this feat of strength for his team as he is LawDog. As LawDog crested the top of the mountain, Sprinter Camper Van was there drinking beer and complaining that LawDog was too slow. LawDog got the last laugh because he ran down that mountain with the speed of a cheetah and the grace of a mountain lion. At the Exchange Zone, LawDog was waiting for the van to arrive and to give him his cold beverage.
Hass visited several porta potties before his runs. Apparently he has a history of having to stop mid run and did not want to do that during the race. Speaking of using the bathroom, Lt. Dan decided to take a pee break in front of the van and not walk to the woods so Sprinter Van 1 had to make a quick exit when Lt. Dan saw the home owner coming down the driveway. Speaking of using the potty, Oracle decided to park beside a porta potty at one of the exchange zones, then pushed a couple ladies out of the way and occupied the toilet for several minutes, but did apologize to the lady on the way out. Speaking of Porta Potties, time for Olan Mill’s number 2 mistake.
OLAN MILLS DROPPED DUGGAR’S VAN KEYS INTO THE PORTA POTTY TOLIET. THAT’S RIGHT, HE HAD TO GARBAGE BAG UP AND GO SHOULD DEEP IN THE BLUE ABISE TO RECOVER THE KEYS TO DUGGAR’S VAN. He is a straight up him, because any one else would have left them behind instead of giving a play by play announcement of everything he found before finding the keys. Luckily the volunteer at the exchange zone got lots of pictures and then shared them with Fudd when started telling the story of the F3 guy who lots his keys at the porta potty for the 50th time that day.
All in all it was a successful CSAUP. If you have not pushed yourself to do something completely outside your comfort zone, it’s time. You can keep on doing the same thing over and over or you can get out there and do something that pushes your limit. Just find your event and ask a pax to join and you will create life long friends and memories.
Oh Yeah, Did you know the Mole ran the Blue Ridge Relay race that one time?