Race RecapsShenanigans

The First Annual Beer Relay @ the Burning Can ExtravCANza – Recap

By September 30, 2015 October 27th, 2015 No Comments
Remember those “verbal analogy” questions you had to deal with when taking standardized tests? (You know, those test that decided the direction of your life and future success based on completely arbitrary set of knowledge?)  If you’ve wisely blocked out that memory, verbal analogy questions aim to test your ability to discern logical relationships between different concepts and apply them in a different context. They might proceed something like this:
The Reboot of Point Break is to Film Making as ___________________ is to Human Decency.
Choose one of the following to fill in the blank:
  • (a) The Holocaust
  • (b) 9/11
  • (c) Khmer Rouge
The answer, of course, is “(d) All of the Above.”  The logical relationship is that the first completely destroys your faith in the second.  As a bonus, the “The Reboot of Point Break” can actually be the answer to the question, too! These types of questions are kind of like very concise, cruel logic poems. Fun!
Now that we have that practice under our belts, let’s try another one (without the multiple choice training wheels):
A Marathon is to the 800 Meter Dash as _____________________ is to the Beer Mile.
For those of you who have read the title of this post, you may have correctly guessed that the answer is the “Beer Relay.”  Congratulations!
The Beer Relay is the first annual event of its kind held at the Burning Can ExtravCANza. (Ha! Get it? “CAN” because these beers come in cans!  Punny!)  As the above verbal analogy has clued you in, the Beer Relay is like the Beer Mile except that the pain is spread out over a much longer time and distance.
The basics of the Beer Relay are that teams (composed of 2 or more) compete to complete as many laps around a 5K loop as possible in a 6 hour time period.  At the beginning of each lap, you must drink a can of beer, after which you take off on the 5k loop.  (You can choose not to drink the beer if you’re a boring person, but you get a 2 minute penalty and bring shame to your family name.)  Once finished, you hand off your teams tracker to your next teammate and its their turn to enjoy the experience.

The course itself started by winding back and forth through a field for 3/4 of a mile and then changes things up by climbing straight up the side of a hill because fuck switchbacks.  You then had to negotiate loose rock and a steep decline to wind your way down the hill (a great combo with alcohol) and back to the starting point.  The run by itself was actually pretty difficult even without the extra beer-chugging element.

A look at the hill climb 3/4 miles into the run. (You ran up to just below the “L”)

In order to ensure that no one got too wrecked, the race organizers required everyone to hop across a series of balls to prove they still had the required dexterity to negotiate a trail run.  Honestly, given the amount of times I eat shit while dead sober on a trail run, I was certain that there were going to be several incidents throughout the day.

The “Field Sobriety Test”

Unlike the Beer Mile, however, getting a solid buzz is not a sure thing in the Beer Relay.  Our team had 4 members, which meant that there was approximately 70 minutes in between laps.  Plenty of time to recover and process your beer.  The heroes running in teams of two, however, definitely got their buzz on and I salute them for their accomplishments.
The whole shebang was sponsored, in part, by Oskar Blues Brewery, so you had the option of drinking any one of four of their beers before your lap.

Choosing your poison.

Your options were:
  1. Dale’s Pale Ale (6.5% ABV flagship beer of Oskar Blues and the hoppiest “pale ale” I’ve ever drank)
  2. Little Mama’s Yellow Pils (small batch 5.3% ABV pilsner of the German style)
  3. Old Chub (a nice 8% ABV Scottish strong ale)
  4. Pinner Throwback IPA (very smooth drinking session IPA coming in at 4.9% ABV)
I was able to get three laps in during the session and tried the Pinner, the Pils and the Old Chub in that order.  Some notes on each:
  • Not surprisingly given the ABV, but the Pinner was the easiest to drink.  Given the “IPA” tag, it had very little hop flavor to it and went down smoothly.  Upon chugging, I got a quick sharp stabbing pain in the gut, but was able to resolve that with a single good belch.  It settled pretty quickly after that and I was fine after about a half-mile.
  • The Pils was the smoothest of all the beers but it was also the foamiest.  I hate foam and nearly had an emergency volume-reduction event at the start line.  That being said, it settled just as quickly as the Pinner and I was good to go by the 1/2 mile mark.
  • The Old Chub was surprisingly easy to drink given the 8% ABV.  It went down smooth and had almost no foam to deal with.  I thought that I had a sure favorite heading out from the start line, but then it started to settle and things got worse.  That 8% Scottish strong sits very heavy in the stomach and I had a good stomach ache the entire lap. Nothing too terrible but it was enough to prevent me from naming this my favorite.
  • I did not run a lap after drinking the Pale Ale, but after talking with some people who did, this was by far the worst beer to drink and run on.  It’s a bit foamy, it’s hoppy and it sits heavy.  Not a good combination.
To finish off, a quick Q&A:
How was the event overall?
I had a great time but it was pretty painful.  So it was pretty much like every race I’ve ever run.
What was your favorite beer to chug before running?
The Pinner was the easiest to drink and settled the quickest into the run.  The Old Chub would be my second pick due to its lack of foam.
How many people died/became seriously maimed?
Amazingly, none!  Not sure how this is possible other than we were clearly dealing with the elite of the elite.
What did the winners get?
They had various prizes for all the different team types, but the overall winners got this magnificent beast:
Any strategic advice for how I might win next years event?
Focus on the running.  Beer drinking is much less important than the ability to run 6 minute miles on a 5k trail loop.  A great drinker could beat a great runner on the beer mile if the runner didn’t have his drinking game on.  A great drinker would still get crushed in the beer relay.
How can you make this event more painful?
What kind of question is that? Are you some kind of sadist? I mean… it was already pretty tough, but if you put another beer station at the top of the hill, people probably would have died.
Would you do it again?
Yes, but I’m also an idiot so take that answer with a grain of salt.
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