BULLRUN 2014: Washington, DC – Hot Springs, VA
The Bullrunners partied hard at the Ultra Bar last night, in a party that only Bullrun can deliver. When the drivers emerged from their hotel rooms for our 10am wheels up, nobody had the slightest clue where we would be heading. The only direction we were given was that our first checkpoint of the day would be for brunch.
Today I had the opportunity to ride along with Bullrun champions, Ricky and Billy. They started off Bullrun 2014 in a BMW 7-series, but were quickly turned away by how terrible the car handled. Upon arriving to Washington, DC, they swapped out their BMW for a Cadillac. Many Bullrunners questioned this move, and even wondered if the duo drove to the checkpoint. Some even thought they took a helicopter to Washington. But Billy showed me the paperwork for the drop-off and pick up of the cars, and it all checks out.
As the drivers lined up their cars outside the hotel, we got ready for the day ahead. When the route cards were handed out, we learned that we were heading for lunch in Woodstock, VA. The teams were immediately separated within the city limits. Ricky and Billy thought they found a better exit from the city, but many traffic lights later we found ourselves behind many of the teams, including the red Camaro of Team Dirty, Shaun and Brandon. As they quickly made their way through traffic behind the Ben’s in the BBI-modified Cayman and the sinister Aston Martin DB9, we knew they we wouldn’t be able to keep up in our Caddy.
But Ricky and Billy had a sneaky plan! Ricky and Billy’s friend from Washington, DC, brought his nearly identical Cadillac a few blocks from the hotel, and the Big Easy Bandits slapped on some Bullrun decals. On the freeway, the Bandits ducked off onto some side roads and had their fake Bandits Cadillac pace the rally, with everyone thinking it was really Ricky and Billy. Upon our arrival to the lunch checkpoint, nearly 10 minutes before the next car, the next arrivals were shocked to see us!
Swarming in on the checkpoint in one group was the fast crew: the Aston Martin, red 2014 Camaro and BBI Cayman S. Nobody believed that the Big Easy Bandits were really that far ahead, but these guys are sneaky! They’re not called the Big Easy Bandits for nothing!
After a quick bite to eat, the route cards were handed out for the final checkpoint of the day, The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia. The Big Easy Bandits left the checkpoint before I could hop back in the car with them, so I jumped in with Shaun and Brandon, Team Dirty, from New Orleans.
The drive took us through some incredible back-roads, and ultimately into the middle of a massive torrential downpour. We were right behind the Aston Martin, being driven by Bobby and Dharmesh when the rain started coming down so hard that we couldn’t see them any more.
After the rain cleared, we saw the 007 Aston Martin up ahead, and followed them to a fuel station, where we learned that they really had no idea where they were going. We continued on through a series of small towns, which absolutely killed our time. As we would our way through the hills and valleys, we caught up with Team Kosher, Mike and Scott. We hadn’t seen any other teams since we ditched the Aston Martin about an hour earlier.
When we arrived to the hotel, we were shocked to see that a bunch of teams had already arrived. First to the checkpoint was Bobby and Dharmesh in the Aston Martin, with Ricky and Billy in the Cadillac XTS a few minutes behind. The competition this year is incredible! Team 007 is stepping up their game, and are planning on taking the Navigator Award title this year!
Our hotel, the Homestead Hotel in Hot Springs, is in the middle of the Virginia countryside, surrounded by rolling hills. It’s a paradise in the middle of nowhere.
Today is pretty much a rest and relaxation day for the Bullrunners. What’s in store for tomorrow, we have no idea. But we’re suspecting it’s going to be an endurance leg, so we’ll need all the sleep we can get!