|Awesome Vests...for our "Special" Zach|
|I'm so done being done...|
|"Morphine" to "The Lobbyist"|
This was my second Ragnar....Ragnar #1 was fairly miserable, and I don't know why I expected #2 to be any different. Maybe I was thinking it would be easier on a 12 person team versus the 6 person route we took for 2011...24 hours of continuous racing any way you look at it is miserable. We started this 2012 version in 80 degree weather---most would think "perfect," but if you haven't been training in it, 80 degrees and super dry desert conditions feel like, well, being in the middle of the desert. JD started us off on our journey from Wickenburg to Tempe with what we consider the he has proclaimed the hardest stage of the 36 stage race (none of us would ever know because he always insists on taking it for the team)...a twisty, rolling, hot 8.3 miles. Starting at 2 pm, it was the hottest part of the day, and JD was up against 6 or so other foes, or rather, geeky high school track kids for the most part. He not only had 20+ years seniority, but also about 30+ pounds of baggage due to his sleek but tall frame ;-) 8.3 miles later, JD looked like we'd stuck him in the out in the desert to die----white lips, salt stained clothes, giving us the look from hell. Little did we all know that we would suffer the same suffering on most of our first legs, yet the rest of us were running shorter, and downhill! El Presidente (JD) truly did "take one for the team" on our first legs, and Buns n Guns (CD) was definitely proud (but a bit concerned while he was running!). After JD, our order for Van #1 was the ageless wonder Richard York, me, Zach "The Specimen" Kepes (Who's Zach?), George "Morphine" Galindo (Tess Killer), and Klas "The Lobbyist" Kuntze...an "unofficial" plague struck our group early, as we were incessantly attacked by a swarm of Barking Spiders for the 24+ hours this race would take ;-) All was good though, as I felt it brought the team closer together as we (they) shuffled upwind from the insult ;-)
|Buns n Guns...our Direction-Challenged Leader (I did not hand out the surnames ;-)|
For anyone who has done a Ragnar, they are familiar with what I am going to describe next. Put 6 people in a van for 24+ hours (in our case, 7, with Cyndi "Buns n Guns" Dean at the wheel...well, when JD would let her drive that is...), send one out at a time to run, while the others get cramped, tight, low on sugar, high on delirium, and cranky with no sleep, and you are staring disaster straight in the face. As my car mates from last years Ultra (Bill Jones and Chris Bergeron) can attest...I am downright annoying when it comes to racing---thankfully triathlon is a solo event so I only have to listen to myself. I don't think Chris enjoys my company at all now, and Bill, well, he just puts up with me as rare as I see him (wait a minute...I haven't really seen him since Ragnar 2011...;-)
|Richard, why the leg lift?|
We completed our first legs, met up with Van #2 in the middle of absolutely nowhere waiting for a pit bulls to attack (there must be dog farms surrounding that dusty lot they decided to turn into Exchange 6 ;-), then shoved off for our first break in the racing...it was sunset---6pm-ish. We drove back to civilization of the West Valley, decided on The Yard House at Westgate for dinner, and proceeded to make all the wrong moves...starting with a beer to celebrate that we made it through the first 5 hours of a 24 hour race. Bad Idea.. This is where Zach became "Special" as he refused to take his Reflective Vest off for dinner---add in a stutter and Zach's abilities with the ladies, and it made for an entertaining dinner stop. Not to be outdone, by this point George was taking trips to the bathroom to vomit---his Ragnar experience was heading downhill fast. Fed, and then caffeined thanks to a trip to Tully's, we headed to Exchange 12 at some High School...I still have no clue where we are. So Van #1 is back on, JD is off, but before we leave the parking lot, Cyndi tells me we need to get George to the Hospital---severe stomach pain---he's doubled over and has been hiding his vomit sessions from us. We toss him into Van #2 who takes him in---luckily no conclusive damage in there, and he was in heaven with a Morphine drip. JD, then Richard, then me...all the while we are deciding what to do with George's leg. I decide "what the heck," a little more suffering is just what my mental status needs---I whine a little, but am quickly shot down as a martyr---mouth is shut ;-) So at this point, we've gone through our 2nd legs (3rd for me, just need to point that out ONCE AGAIN ;-)...I have rolled into Transition 18---a freezing cold Anthem Community Rec Center...first words out of my mouth somewhere along these legs: "I'm so done being done, that I am just done"....kinda describes what the night portion of Ragnar is like. I shiver my way to the Anthem locker room, which by now look like an unkept prison shower---I don't care because my lips must be blue, I'm exhausted, and I am coming to terms with not getting any sleep! Shower done, I lay on the mats but the climbing wall, pull my beanie over my eyes (see pic above!), and sleep for what feels like 5 minutes before my phone goes off with a very rude message from JD telling me to get back to the car--the nerve of him to interrupt my sleep!
On the way to Exchange 24, John's phone rings....George is gonna be okay, AND...he's coming back to run his third leg! One tough dude---but i think he knew we'd not let him live it down otherwise (his one "kill" Tess probably wore him out!). JD is off onto his final leg (still whining about how hard his first leg was...HTFU buddy)...George is all smiles in the back of the van, so I inform him that he has to run my final leg (9.1 miles) to make up for missing his #2...and thus giving me a 4.7 mile final leg---I was ecstatic! Watching him run down 9 mile was hilarious...a huge grin on his face---I wonder if he even remembers running down it ;-)
So, Van #1 finishes it's 3rd legs and we are done! Now, the hardest part...making it to the finish line to celebrate. I get to my car at Desert Ridge, almost fall asleep 3 times at the wheel on the way home, stumble into the house, shower while sleeping, sit on the couch, and wham-o I'm asleep. I was thinking Jenny and the kids were going to be walking through the door at any minute, but that didn't happen....4:30 comes, I wake up, and realize I am a loser...I didn't even make it to the finish line! 2 Years in a row now I have not seen the finish line of this race! Maybe I have some unfinished business for 2013, of course I'll forget about the misery of this event that hits around 1 a.m. and commit for next year...right now all I want is that night of sleep back first...
|Post Race trip to the store...|
It was great experience getting to know my van mates--sorry guys for all I put you through--if you need outside help, just ask Bill or Chris; I think they have healed from the 2011 Ultra enough to talk about it and help you return to sanity...
2nd in the Open Mens Division is acceptable---I want a 1st Place baton at some point here though....