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  • 3rd Encinitas Beer Mile Gets Legs – Part 2

    Wed, 12 Dec 2007 14:28:29 -0800

    The Encinitas Beer Mile kicked it up a notch when a star studded field including Josh Cox, Paula Newby-Fraser, Heather Fuhr, Dave Kloz, Scott Tinley, and Katja Schumacher came out to drink…er, run.
    Josh Cox wasn’t first out of the blocks but when the boy toy got moving, he was the class of the field. The Consume Zone (CZ), however, would tell the tale.

    First on to the run and a distant second back into the CZ, Roch Frey would not be denied. It was obvious who had sacrificed many a happy hour in preparation for a lifetime moment and it wasn’t Josh Cox. No, the Mayor of Molson was in town and he would ensure that, knee surgery be damned, pretty boys and their 2:13 marathon credentials would have to earn their place on the hallowed dirt of Encinitas.

    Heather Fuhr looked to be in trouble by the 3rd lap. After spending an inordinate amount of time in the CZ, a suspect stain revealed everything you needed to know. The veteran had become a foaming fountain on the backstrait and would soon be seen running a penalty lap.

    If you think that Heather and Katja weren’t feeling pressure, you’re sadly mistaken. The women’s field was chockablock with experienced beer milers all eager to put their stamp on this event and leave their mark for generations to come. Linda Vigil isn’t just smiling because she gets to drink 4-beers in under 10-minutes. No, this competitor is smiling because she’s trained for an entire year and is feeling of all that preparation come to fruition as she smells blood – or maybe hops – in hot pursuit of the leaders.

    Paula came prepared with her lucky wig and still struggled. Belch as she might, the cold beer wasn’t going down as well as warm baby food at mile 85 on the bike into a 40mph head wind on a 95-degree day in Kona. If you’re one of those who thinks 4-beers and 4-quarters on the track is a walk in the park maybe you also think you’re going to win your next Ironman.

    One of the highlights of the event was when the pace bike got dropped by the lead runners, er, drinkers, er, runners. Undaunted, Matt got a cold one in the consume zone and kept pedaling – hang on honey!

    Dave Kloz had all the pressure of defending his title but still managed to live the High Life in the consume zone. Despite the suspect stain on his chest, the judges were satisfied that every drop was finding its way down his gullet and staying there.

    Katja Schumacher didn’t look this happy after winning an Ironman title and for good reason – no Ironman in the world has a 40-ounce Old English 800 as a bonus – not to mention the honor of holding one of the Surf Monkdy Beer Mile Trophies for a whole year. That’s going to look good on the mantle. The German proved that she was worthy by running and drinking her way to a scalding 7:01!! And for all you track aficionados out there, yes, it was on dirt. Do your own conversion for tartan – it was fast.

    After the race Kloz protested Josh’s alleged drinking abilities which resulted in, what else, a drink off, which Josh won soundly. Makes one wonder what kind of training Josh really does…

    Heather and Roch looking significantly happier at the finish line. Actually, he doesn’t just look happy but a little, uh, how can we put this delicately, goofy. This photo should give hope to single men everywhere that there is someone special out there just for them. I mean, c’mon, look at him. There are better looking suspects on COPS.

    What do you mean what took me so long?! I guess leaving everyone hanging with a “part one” story from December of ’06 is kind of a long time but, hey, there wasn’t much time to tell the story that needed to be told. ’07 hit like a ton of bricks and before I knew it, it was November of ’07 and people I’d never heard of were calling and e-mailing about the Encinitas Beer Mile. “Crap,” I thought, “I still haven’t finished the story from last year.”

    Then I remember what happened. A neighbor had left a video camera aimed at the Consume Zone (CZ) at last year’s event and, upon review of this information, the results would be changed. Yes, it was a difficult decision whether to let video replay dictate results that were, until now, judged by human beings but, upon much discussion and deliberation, we felt it was only fair. Anyone shown to not have their empty beer can over their head prior to embarking on a lap of the track would be left with an asterisk next to their name. Let’s be clear, we’re not calling anyone a cheater but rules are rules and if you want to be recognized for running four laps and consuming 4-beer(s), you have to do exactly that. The post chug over head container inversion (PCOHCI) has long been the standard and if you were seen tossing your “empty” prior to a 180-degree tilt over your head, you didn’t finish it and, hence, failed to cross the finish line of this venerated event. Let not our list of official finishers be sullied by those in too much of a hurry to abide by simple rules that not only protect the efforts of all who have invested their lives in this goal but, in this age of conservation, prevent the unnecessary waste of ales and lagers that could one day feed entire fraternities.

    When we left off last year, all we knew was that the Encinitas Beer mile had attracted a stellar field. Returning champions Dave Kloz and Heather Fuhr would headline a field of endurance A-listers including new comers Josh Cox, Katja Schumacher and Scott Tinley and the perennial contenders like local veterans like Jason “I’m Tougher Than Clough” Tuffs, Roch “Go, Eh!” Frey, JT “Rough and Tough” Clough, Paula “Uno Mas” Newby-Fraser, Richard “Kiwi” Verney, Charley “I’m Never Late” Nagy, Udo “Ja, Ja” Heinz, Jay “Norcross Is Mine” Prasuhn, Chris “Sink It” Sinkovich, Don “The Jacket” Norcross, and others. Conspicuously missing was Pete “The Cleat” Ligotti and Mike “The Brewery” Drury. Both claimed family holiday goings on or some other lame excuse but the pressure was obviously getting to some of the past podium occupants. Cox was creating the majority of buzz that attracted videographers from and a local reporter from the San Diego Union Tribune. Everyone was curious how this event would fit into the Fitness Fanatics column but the health benefits were obvious to all who’d spent the past year training. Exercise (running) + Carbohydrates and anti oxidants (beer) = Health & Success. The fact that the event had doubled in numbers each year was testament to something profound, we’re pretty sure.

    Looking back now and having the luxury of being able to analyze the event via the video replay, it’s obvious that Roch Frey stole the show on the men’s side. No, he didn’t win but the Alberta All Rounder raced with a focus and intensity rare in sport today. The telltale click and hiss of 40+beer cans being opened that followed A.J. Acostas command to start was followed, 6-seconds later, by the clang of the first can hitting the bottom of a 55-gallon trash bin and an idiot in a blue bowling shirt and yellow John Deere hat streaking into the lead. Never mind that Coach Roach hadn’t run in the past 3-months or that his right hoof was still less than 100% following recent ACL surgery or that he runs like a bow-legged Frill-necked Lizard with a limp when he’s healthy, by the time the next runner started 5-seconds later, the Canadian Goose was midway through the turn. That second runner was none other than beer mile rookie and top U.S. marathoner, Josh Cox. To speculate that Roch might be overhauled 100-meters into the first lap states the obvious but doesn’t take into account this veteran’s lack of any reasonable pacing sense or his freaky swig rate in the CZ.

    When Cox, the only legitimate world class runner in the field, hit CZ 2 (one lap completed, #2 beer in hand), he had established a solid 50-meter lead on the Kokanee Crusher. Cox’s advantage evaporated as the Stoney Plain Drain made short work of 12-ounces of Beer Mile legal MGD and left the CZ with a solid 5-second advantage on Cox leaving the spectators, press, and maybe even Cox himself, wondering, what’s the definition of world class now? Cox would, again, quickly pass Frey on lap 2 and never again relinquish the lead. Defending men’s champion Dave Kloz was making steady progress and eating away into the Canadian’s slim advantage but didn’t seem to be making a dent into Josh’s commanding lead. The gutsy local hero was in the process taking a massive 20-seconds off last year’s winning time but this amazing effort was almost lost in the dust of the 30-seconds deficit that was being established by Cox. Shocking. He’s not just another pretty face who can run but the boy can drink like a Roman at an orgy.

    On the women’s side, Heather Fuhr would not only be taking on a stacked field but would be adhering to the Kingston Rules for the first time in attempting 4 legal beer in the form of Miller Genuine Draft, eh. The obvious competition for Heather would come from the country with the highest per capita beer consumption in the world – Germany – in the form of Katja Schumacher. Right from the start the frau of brau jumped to a 5-second lead and 4th overall in front of Bob “Quarter Master” Babbitt and just on the heels of Big John Van Oast, her drinking coach. After 1-lap and two beers, Fuhr was still only 8-seconds back but no one knew the foaming mayhem that would await the defending champion on the back straight of the third lap which would send the overflowing gamer from Alberta on to a extra penalty lap . With Schumacher on her way to a new race record of 7:01 (this time would have put her in the top 3 of the first two years of this event) and Fuhr fighting off another eruption, a tight race for second was developing between newcomer Laura Sand, Paula “Uno Mas” Newby-Fraser, and another Canadian, Lynne Stewart. The three would come across the line in that order within one second of each other. What a battle!

    The crowd had started as a somewhat subdued and mildly nervous group but, within minutes of finishing, became a boisterous, cacophony of war stories and laughing. The celebration was at fever pitch when a protest was leveled at the new men’s champion. Defending champion Dave “I’m not Santa” Kloz was questioning the drinking abilities of Cox and whether or not he could possibly have put down four 12-ounce beers and run 5:54. You couldn’t really blame him. Afterall, he’d bettered his previous year’s time by 20-seconds and, besides, Cox looks way too good to be able to pull off such a feat! Don’t let the looks fool you and just because he’s pretty doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have some pride. Accusations were leveled, tempers were flaring, and we were on the verge of the mother of all flyweight slap-downs when someone suggested a drink off. Genius. Why didn’t someone say something sooner? Both champions instantly agreed to it and, in front of the entire crowd of idiots, Cox knocked another 12-ounces down well ahead of Kloz – now a firm believer. The roar of the approving crowd was quieted to a sweet “awe” when the two men shook hands and gave each other a half man-hug. There wasn’t a dry eye in the arena.

    Upon review of the video, it was apparent that many attempting their first beer-mile were unaware of the need to approach this event with respect. The number of individuals who did not adhere to the PCOHCI were many. Rather than embarrass these, otherwise fair and upstanding members of the community in public and label them forever as cheaters, let them be warned that, if they choose to come back in 2007, they will be watched. Should they discard a can even a drop shy of empty, they will be forever be remembered as a poser, wannabe, short cutter, couch racer, big talker, and posted with their photo as such for all the world to see.

    Bring on 2007…

    2006 Encinitas Beer Mile Results
    Conditions & Venue – Dry, Cool, Dirt Track

    1. Josh Cox (Coors Original) – 5:54 – New Race Record
    2. David “I’m Not Santa” Kloz (Miller High Life) – 6:24
    3. Roch “The Stoney Plain Drain” Frey (Miller Genuine Draft) – 6:36
    4. Jason Lewis (Budweiser Select) – 6:50
    5. Anders Aannestad (Coors Light) – 6:55
    6. Katja Schumacher (Miller High Life) – 7:01 – 1st Female – Race Record
    7. Patrick Baldwin (Coors Original) – 7:08
    8. Blair Cannon (Coors Light) – 7:11
    9. Andrew Block (Miller High Life) – 7:16
    10. Charles Nagy (Budweiser) – 7:20
    11. Jason Tuffs (Miller High Life) – 7:23
    12. Phil Paris (MGD) – 7:42
    13. Steve Elboger (Coors Original) – 7:56
    14. Sean Birren (Miller High Life) – 8:01
    15. Jay Prasuhn (Tecate) – 8:20
    16. Tony Kowalczyk (Tecate) – 8:27
    17. Richard Verney (MGD) – 8:45
    18. Shawn Kontahi (Budweiser) – 8:45
    19. Scott Tinley (MGD) – 8:46
    20. Chris Sinkovich (MGD) – 8:53
    21. David “Homer” Holme (MGD) – 8:54
    22. John Van Oast (Miller High Life) – 9:02
    23. Connor Fournier (Budweiser) – 9:04
    24. Paul Huddle (MGD) – 9:34 – penalty lap for puking
    25. Laura Sand (Heineken) – 9:41 – 2nd Female
    26. Paula Newby-Fraser (MGD) 9:42 – 3rd Female
    27. Lynne Stewart (MGD) – 9:42 – 4th Female
    28. Udo Heinz (Miller High Life) – 9:42
    29. Albert Cruz (Budweiser) – 9:43
    30. Mark Vigil (Coors Original) – 9:59
    31. Mike McNerney (Coors Original) – 9:59
    32. Heather Fuhr (MGD) – 10:15 – penalty lap for puking – 5th Female
    33. Robert Fitzgerald (Heineken) 10:54
    34. Linda Vigil (Coors) – 11:00 – 6th Female
    35. JT Clough (Coors) – 12:45 – 7th Female
    36. Melissa Fitzgerald (Heineken) – 13:54 – 8th Female

    Relays (read: wusses!):

    2-person: Bob Babbitt & Heidi Jantzen – 9:32
    4-person: Katya Meyers, Kristen Mayer, Kelsey Williams, & Jayme Mechurz – 8:13