It’s Wednesday evening (June 13, 2012). My bags, they’re fully packed, this is actually something I pride myself in when traveling…98% of the time I can pack very quickly without missing a thing. This time it’s different however, the nerves have settled in so much so that I am scrambling all around the house frantically trying to make sure there is nothing of importance hiding behind a shelf or stuffed deep in the back of a drawer. The rest of the house is completely asleep, my father is half awake and insists I get some rest. I dedicate myself to one more time going through my checklist. Finally around 1:00am my body lays still in on my king size memory foam mattress, the last time I’ll be this comfortable until after the Death Race and only 3 hours left to enjoy it.
Cue, iPhone alarm jingle…it’s 4:15 am and I jump to attention. I make quick to the shower, crank if up to a nice temperature. Time is sparse so I do a quick wash, towel off, get dressed, and gather my bags to put in my car. Thankfully my mother was able to drive me to the airport and to wish me luck on my journey. We arrived at O’hare 2 hours early for my flight which had a few back and fourth schedule changes but ended up leaving almost right on time. Let’s fast forward past the layover in Cleveland to Mark picking me up from Manchester International Airport. Mark’s GORUCK license plated Land Rover pulled up right after I had un-bagged my Gunslinger II from baggage claim (apparently they didn’t want the axe falling out…how nice of them). We grabbed 2 huge pizzas and some beers at the British Brewing Company. After that we made a stop at Mark’s place, then went to Market Basket to get supplies, as I recall we got approx. 4 gallons of water each, also some bottles of Gatorade, Vitamin Water, and most importantly Deep Woods bug spray. And then it was off to Vermont to get some rest and relaxation at Todd’s house before the big start the following day.
At Todd’s house when we arrived, Todd was still not back from his trip (thanks again for the place to crash). It turned out he would not be arriving until the morning and would be cutting it very close to arriving at the race on time to start, and that’s just what happened as we were all basically ready to set off Todd was trying to deal with the massive amount of “You made it” exclamations that were coming at him from what seemed to be every direction. I had managed to get a quick hello and here is your bag of human hair in during that chaos. But back to arriving at Todd’s. Mark hung out for a bit and then headed out. Shortly after my arrival, Leyla, who I met only via Facebook groups prior to this showed up at Todd’s and then there were two of us Death Racers hanging out together. We needed to get some food so we set out on what ended up being quite the adventure, it turns out GPS doesn’t work that well in certain spots..specifically where the main road turns off to head toward Todd’s is where the GPS likes to go out on you. Leyla and I drove up and down the main road a few times looking for a pizza place, both being from fairly large cities mistook what a “close” restaurant was and so we kept thinking we missed it. After we had finally fueled ourselves with some carbs we went back to Todd’s to get some rest.
Friday morning finally arrived, I woke up anxiously around 5:30am or so and saw one of the most beautiful sunrises…I was too tired to take any pictures sadly, but I did snap some when I woke up just to capture the remoteness of where we were. I closed my eyes and next thing I knew it was 8am. Time to get up, showered (yes I enjoy showering before I know I’m going to spend more than a day or two in my own filth) and ready to hit the road to make the 40 minute drive from Todd’s place to Pittsfield where the Death Race festivities would begin at 10am with a special “HINTS” briefing outside the Original General Store. I woke up to find another Death Racer, Yitzy, had arrived while I was fast asleep. Leyla and I asked Yitzy if he’d like to join us in going to the briefing however being a racer the year prior, Yitzy agreed with us that it was most likely an unnecessary gathering just to psych people out and opted to stay behind. Leyla and I took off and when we arrived the place was already a buzz. I went inside and grabbed myself a quick bite to eat, in the form of an excellent ham sandwich, and finished eating outside while the race directors Andy and Joe gathered all the Death Racers, support crews, and whomever else was there to listen. Now at this point I was only with my clothes bag and my everyday backpack. I had left my gear and food supplies in Mark’s vehicle and at this point he had not arrived just yet. Fear of him not showing did not show itself however. For that I am thankful because at this moment I needed to concentrate to see what if anything would be unveiled to help me in my pursuit to finish the Death Race.
To Be Continued…