Today is the day we head out for the big race, 24 hours of Old Pueblo, in Tucson Arizona. The forecast is looking better than before but not the ideal situation of 60+ degrees and sunny skies that I was hoping for. I think it is now going to be milder during the day and the chance of rain less likely, but temps will be dropping down to a mere 35 degrees at night (burr). I am also not looking forward to the drive (as I think my lazy butt is going to have to sit in the driver's seat for 7+ hours) nor the packing I still have to do (which I should probably get out of the dryer). At least the camera gear is packed (priorities) and all that is left is the remainder of my clothing and last minute business related stuff.
It's exciting to think who is going to be there: the vendors - the crazy athletes who enjoy 24 hours of abuse - and all the people who volunteer to stay up all night being part of the team's "pit" crew. I am going to enjoy photographing the whole process as typically photographers take images of the riders on course - rarely do you see shots of the looks of pain on their face when they come into transition, or the carnage that is bound to happen during any type of endurance race (by carnage I mean broken bikes). I recall a scene from Mountain Mayhem 2008 when a guy was carrying his perfectly good bike (in the middle of the night I might add) and I asked him: "Is your bike broken?" and his response was "I'm broken."
Which is another test. These riders train hard to be able to stay up all night, giving it their all and keeping the pace for 24 hours straight. It's a mental game. Many, many solo riders end up falling apart just because of lack of will. Or they give their all in the first 12 hours and can't make their legs go round after 13, by that time it's a bust. This is a true test of someone's will - or pure stupidity - you choose - I think the latter.
I am signing off now - the buzzer is going on the dryer and I must finish my business before I listen to U2's the Joshua Tree over and over until I reach Tucson! Happy trails!