Badwater 2010 – Part 2
Last week I posted the first part of my Badwater crewing/pacing recap here. It’s been a bit of a struggle for me to put the race into words. On the one hand, I could probably write about it forever. Bore everyone to death. And still not really do it justice.
Anyway… I left off the other day with Jimmy getting into the truck to take a short nap and try to cool off. It was Tuesday morning. He’d been on the road for over 100 miles and somewhere around 26 hours. He was falling asleep on his feet, stopping to stretch pretty regularly and in a bad mental place. It was clear to all of us that unless something changed, it was going to be a long, long final 30 miles.
Jimmy got into the truck and fell right asleep. We all took advantage of the break and relaxed. I slept a little bit, but mostly spent the time organizing the van and just trying to stay out of the heat. We were going to let him sleep for an hour, or maybe 90 minutes, but just a little less than an hour letter, he popped his eyes open and announced he was ready to get going.
It was absolutely amazing what a difference a short nap and chance to cool down did for him physically and psychologically. I wouldn’t say that he came out of the car sprinting down the road, but it sure felt like that at the time! He was moving with a purpose and was relatively coherent.
I paced Jimmy for about 2 hours during this stretch after his nap. I had paced him during two really rough spots on Monday night and early Tuesday morning, so it was great to have him in relatively good spirits and moving forward. But that’s not to say it was all fun and games. There were still some pretty rough moments out there. One of the most frustrating things was that we kept getting conflicting information about how much farther it was to Lone Pine. Everyone knows that from Lone Pine, it’s 13 tough miles to the finish, but you have to get to Lone Pine first. At this point on the course (and for miles and miles before it) you can see Lone Pine. It might be 20 miles away, but it’s right there in front of you. And with no mile markers along the course (except on at the 100 mile point), it’s really tough to know how much further you have to go. We were trying to help him out by giving him updates on the distance, but I can’t blame him for getting frustrated the fourth time over the course of an hour that it was “only” 12 miles to Lone Pine!
Five or six miles (I think) before Lone Pine, Eric took over pacing and Gareth and I drove ahead to Lone Pine to find some coffee for Jimmy. We expected Jimmy to get into Lone Pine, go to the checkpoint at the Dow Villa Motel and rest for a bit before heading up the mountain. So imagine our surprise when we got the call that he had just blown past the motel and was turning onto the Portal Road. We quickly aborted the coffee mission (finding a mocha frappuccino in Lone Pine is no easy task), got everything we needed out of the van and piled into the truck for the ascent.
|Our amazing photographer, Gareth, near the beginning of the climb to the Portal.
Have you looked at his photos? You should. Here.
Jimmy stormed up the mountain. JB had to head home so Eric and I alternated hiking (and even some running) up the portal road. One of my favorite parts of this climb was dunking my head in the ice cold river near the bottom of climb. It was so refreshing – I will not miss that next year! Jimmy was spurred on by another racer behind him who he absolutely did not want to pass him. He regularly looked back but kept him momentum pushing him forward quickly. He didn’t want to talk, he was just hyper-focused on moving forward and not getting caught from behind. Jimmy was suffering, I’m sure, but the rest of us were having a blast. About a mile past the last checkpoint, Eric took over the pacing reins to lead Jimmy to the finish.
The rest of us went to the point about a half-mile before the end and (im)patiently waited. It wasn’t very long, but it felt like forever.
Then he was there.
And with a gigantic smile and loud screaming from his crew, he crossed the finish in 34:22:40. 16th place. Hot damn!
|With race director Chris Kostman, with buckle and medal!|
What a race. I already can’t wait to go back next July. I won’t be racing at Badwater next time I’m there, but hopefully the next year or the one after that I will (there, I said it).