The #VTcheeseparty weekend started bright and early Saturday morning. Derek and I woke up at 5:30, took showers, packed, and were out the door by 7:30. We were expecting a 4 1/2 hour drive, but after we plugged the address into our GPS, it calculated out to only be 3 1/2! Sweet.
The drive up was beautiful and easy! No traffic, lots of pretty trees, and I drove, while Derek slept. We arrived around 11 to Lauren and her adorable, but crazy dog, Koli. We were hungry, so we literally went across the street to Mack’s Place Eatery, a cute little sandwich shop that was full of kitschy knick knacks and super friendly people. It’s a small town where everyone knows everyone. I ordered the Veggie sandwich with Grafton cheddar and it was messy and delicious.
After this, we headed into the Grafton Cheese store, which was connected to the sandwich shop and ate a million samples, but we also bought a block of 3 year aged cheddar and a few bottles of beer. Mmm, #VTcheeseparty had officially started!
We eventually made the 40 minute drive to the race start to pick up our bibs for the next day. After some confusion and poor math skills, we got our bibs, our t-shirts and figured out that leg 2 and 3 were about the same length.
Leg 1: 12.3 Miles (Emily)
Leg 2: 18.9 miles (Lauren)
Leg 3: 18.8 miles (Me)
Back at the house, we hung with Lauren, her husband, Lauren’s sister, and the dogs for a while. It seems our husbands have a lot of things in common and I think they are new best friends, haha. We went out for some pizza, drank some beer, and then headed back home to watch a scary movie before our early bed time.
Best sign ever, right?
Derek, Lauren, and I woke up at 4am on Sunday, so that we could be at this “mandatory” pre-race meeting at 5:15 to check in. We arrived in the dark and felt a little out of place (or at least I did), but we found Emily who was surviving on zero sleep and broke out the NYC bagels that I brought and started stuffing our faces.
Emily was off on her first leg at 6:25 am, as well as the rest of the run 50 mile runners. The Vermont 50 is also a mountain bike race, so not only are you running alongside other runners, you also have to watch out for bikes on the same path. The bikers did start a bit earlier, but they were mixed in throughout the entirety of the race.
We drove directly to the first exchange, which was only about 8 miles away. We relaxed in the car for a bit, went to the bathrooms several times, and then nervously waited for Emily to come in. Lauren was nervous (as was I), we did not know what to expect! This was our first time racing a trail race.
It was exciting to see bikers and runners come in, many went to the aid station that they had set up. After about 2 hours, we saw Dave (pictured below) come in and Emily not too far behind him. I love this awkward picture.
Emily was looking pretty good and after exchanging a few words, Lauren was off!
It was becoming a bit wet and cold at this point, but we had about 3 hours to kill before the next exchange. Emily changed out of her sweaty clothes, we went to the General store, bought some food and then headed to the final exchange.
We ended up getting a prime viewing spot of the runners and bikers who were coming in. I couldn’t believe these 2 guys on the tandem bike! I thought it was funny at the time, but after running my leg and understanding the conditions out there, I am impressed that they were able to do that! Insane.
I was struggling with how much food to eat. I felt like I had eaten a lot, but still felt kind of hungry. I ate a bagel with peanut butter in the morning, then 2-3 hours before my leg, I ate a granola bar, a banana, and snacked on some beef jerky. I was also drinking Nuun and Gatorade to keep me hydrated, which also meant I went to the bathroom like 4 times.
Right before I decided to head over to the exchange point to wait for Lauren, my car battery died!
Next up: Part 2 (Don’t worry, it’s only 2 parts!)