QOC Beer Chase at Jug Bay
Somehow, this was my first ever QOC Beer Chase. It was a blast! Valerie graciously agreed to watch Inara, so Alli and I could both run. We set up the Animal-O and got ready to run.
We had a strong group on the long course - I figured that all of Kenny, Joe Barrett, Jon Torrance, Matt Stout, and myself could contend. Right off the start I found myself in the back, as I clearly need to work on my quaffing skills. I spent the first few legs trying to make contact with Kenny and Joe, who is in the front. Then, to my surprise, everyone ran right past #5, and I found myself alone in the lead. I stayed in front for a few controls, until Kenny caught up as I was pouring water over my head at the water stop at #9. We ran the rest of the first loop together, though it was clear that he was stronger.
On the second loop I fell apart, missing #17 with Kenny and then #18 on my own. I was then struggling physically on the long leg to #19, and also drifted too far east, only relocating when I saw unexpected dot knolls in front of me. These mistakes cost me 1:30 or so, and Kenny was long gone. Instead, it was time to start looking backwards.
I hit #20 but didn't see the flag and, after spending another 30 or so seconds looking for the flag, saw Jon T appear. I quickly took off for #21, not wanting him to make contact. I managed to stay in front and was about a minute ahead when I went out on my third loop.
Having Jon chase me was a good motivator, and I perked up a bit for the final loop. I hit #25, #26, and #27 cleanly but then couldn't understand the mapping at #28. I saw a flag, but the control code was wrong, so I ran away from it. I then stopped and realized that I still had descriptions from the previous loop in my description holder and, sure enough, I'd been to the right control. Came back - another 30 seconds wasted - and some signs of Jon off in the distance. I took off for #29 as fast as I could at that point - winning my only split since loop 1 - and then stayed clean the rest of the way, avoiding the dreaded chug-off at the finish. Jon came in a minute later, so I managed to keep the margin virtually constant over the final loop.
This was a fun race! Dealing with the tipsiness and the heat over the final loops is a learned skill, which I am yet to master. Afterwards, Inara had a great time playing in the water, and Alli and I took turns taking her out in a kayak. Then, the potluck, and QOC's great volunteer appreciation ceremony. This is a great club with so many dedicated and hard-working volunteers!