The Bolder Boulder gave birth to Donkey Slayer. It's an amazing race, and one of the best days of the year to be in Boulder. Below are a few notes about what to expect from the course, Donkey Slayer style.
Are you ready to run with the Donkey? Luckily you have been adhering to a strict three-12-paks-a-week training program, and may have even had a pre-race beer. Move to the front of your wave for an initial sprint off the line.
This is where you earn the fun for the rest of the course. You aren't going to find any "refreshments" here. So keep moving. Plenty of good bands along this part of the course. The Blues Brothers are usually around here. Look for them on the right hand side of the road. We don't know why they're always on the right side. Focus! There are 5 more miles to this gig and you want to keep rockin' the whole way.
A few fans used to set up next to the Boulder Running Company and would give the band a cold one. But the course was changed, and no longer runs by that location. We usually keep the pace up so that we can do an encore later. More bands along the course here and lately there's been a big stage and a band at the corner of 28th and Pearl. Don't fall into the common trap of worrying that there aren't any party houses this year. Keep that chin up! Down Pearl and then we turn the corner north onto Folsom. Donkey Slayer considers north Folsom to be the beginning of the adventure. On the left at the top of the first hill is our first set of belly dancers. Ahhh that sweet rhythmic hip swaying. If that doesn't keep ya going, turn in your Donkey Slayer membership right now. Speaking of hip swaying, give it up to the King himself. Elvis is there on the right just after Folsom near the 7-Eleven. Kilometer 3 has had welcoming parties in 2011 and 2012, the first beer of the run both years.
Mile 3. The Beginning. Right after turning off Folsom there is usually a marshmallow supply on the right. Don't let that distract you for too long though. The real treat is usually nearby in the form of liquid refreshment and sweet, sweet bacon. If you didn't get an early starting wave or didn't keep the legs pumping those first two miles, that delicious pork product might be already gone. This is also where the band had its first Upslope beer. Every Upslope after that has reminded us of that house, the "Home Team". Mile 3 is where you will realize that crazy things like being in a jogging band and having a beer at 8:30 am are actually extremely good ideas. After hitting 19th Street the serious party houses start showing up. The "Skull House" was a fantastic venue for many years. Keg-stands, music and a belly- floppin' kiddie pool. Sadly, just like the great Dio, it is gone like a rainbow in the dark.
This is it. The band is "tuned". The fans are jumpin'. House parties every block or two. They're doing this for you, man! Don't let them down. Going south on 19th, keep an eye open for the "Your Speed" sign on the right. The band's current record is 16 mph. Right after Ms. Tutu at Kilometer 5 is the "Nutcracker House". They've offered up their boiled peanuts, giant Nutcracker, ribs, and micro brews over the years. Thank you! Afterward, you get a break for a couple blocks before you get to Cedar. And there it is. The granddaddy of all Bolder Boulder house parties. The slip-n-slide house. You've made it. Smiles are everywhere. High fives with the crowd. If this were Guitar Hero, your Star Power would be maxed. Get a run at it, hit the slide and come up playing a killer guitar riff. The family who owns the house is awesome. Watch out for the kid, he is deadly with a water balloon. Some years there is even a live band. An opening band for the Donkey, of course. This house and this mile is everything that is good and right about the Bolder Boulder.
Tired? We didn't think so. Get up and over Widowaker Hill on 13th street. Then coast down to Spruce street. We're pretty sure there are bands playing along the course here. It's sort of a blur. You have to be paying attention here to find the house parties. They won't be right on the course. Make the turn onto 15th and then onto Pearl. Fans line the sidewalks. As you go around each corner there will be high fives from all the fans. The Rocky theme song pounds in your head. Or is that the vodka shot from Mile 3? Regardless, Mile 5 is the glamour mile.
There are several houses just after Pearl Street that party like Donkey Slayers. Typically they get better on Walnut. We are in the college house section of the course. This means the groupies are hot and they are accustomed to being drunk at 11 am. And you're just as likely to get a drink in the face as you are to get handed a red Solo cup. But if a little thing like a drink in the face bothers you, then you probably wouldn't still be reading this. And you definitely are not a Donkey Slayer. Most years, the band has struggled to pull itself away from a house or two here. One year we got back on the course just a few feet in front of the race sweepers. If you make it onto Folsom by now you're amongst the walkers. The really slow walkers if it was a good gig. Folsom hill right in front of you. The band splinters on the hill. Every Slayer for themselves. Turn the last corner into the stadium. 50,000 rockers cheering for Donkey Slayer. You've never felt so alive.
There it is. That's a Donkey Slayer headlining tour. If you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further! But if you be stout of beer and hearty of sole, show up next year and see if you have what it takes to run like a Donkey.