Thanks to months of practice and a little bit of luck, I recently became a national champion. Sadly, however, the physique of a champion egg thrower is no match for the body of a mainstream national champion.

So it’s time to get my ass in gear. Literally.

Actually, I won’t be able to do that until July 18th, when I’ll be competing in a pack burro race in Idaho Springs, Colorado. I’ll be running for miles on a rugged course alongside a donkey weighed down with 30 pounds of mining equipment.

I realize this may sound crazy, but pack burro racing is a serious sport commemorating Colorado’s 19th-century miners. These prospectors used burros to carry their mining tools and supplies through the Rocky Mountains in search of precious metals. According to legend, two miners once found gold in the same location and raced back to town in order to stake a claim to the discovery. Due to the heavy loads the donkeys carried (aka, assloads), the miners couldn’t ride their donkeys. Instead, they had to walk and run beside their burros, which explains why riding your donkey is strictly prohibited in this sport.

Today, the Western Pack Burro Ass-ociation (WPBA) celebrates “60 years of hauling ass” by sponsoring six races, including the World Championship Pack Burro Race, a 29-miler that kicks off the triple crown of burro racing. Lucky for me, the weekend that Carie and I will happen to be in town, there’s a tamer, 5-mile event targeted at novice burro racers like me.

Believe it or not, long before I had ever heard of burro racing, we were already planning a trip to Colorado. Carie works for a non-profit organization headquartered in Boulder, where she had previously scheduled some meetings. Lured by fresh mountain air, a few nights of backpacking, and the chance to check out Colorado’s first microbrewery, I jumped at the chance to tag along and make a long weekend out of her business trip. The race actually fell into my lap when one of Carie’s colleagues, Catherine (aka, Pumpkin) found the WPBA’s website.

While I’m somewhat nervous about running five miles with a donkey (I’ve never been the biggest fan of hoof stock), it’s about time for another physically demanding challenge. I’ve been training hard for the past two months, but that training has required little exercise. Hollerin’, obviously, required none. Egg tossing wasn’t much better.

A long ass race is just what I need.