The “Hints” briefing was fairly short, I even maneuvered myself further and further from the crowd as I realized nothing too serious was actually going to be revealed. One thing they did tell us that I actually believed was that we should wear shorts that night. If there is one thing important to learn about the Death Race, especially in this one – the year of Betrayal, there are some things that will come out of Joe or Andy’s mouth (especially Andy he’s the better liar) that you can choose to believe and others that you should completely disregard. This was one of those moments…you see I still hadn’t figured them out yet, so I wasn’t sure how to tell if they were lying through their teeth or telling me solid advice for the events to come. At this point I was already planning on wearing shorts anyway since the temperature was not too hot – prolly high 70s. In my opinion it was almost perfect Death Race weather.
After the meeting we were instructed to take a look at the actual “hints” they posted on the ground. I’ve included a couple images of these hints we were provided. They seemed pretty useless but I figured what the hell, I’ll snap some photos of them on my iPhone and if I need them I’ll have them. Yes, I did in fact end up bringing my iPhone along for the entire Death Race – Thank you OtterBox for being the best protection a man can ask for (when it comes to his phone). For the time being these random images were somewhat stored in my memory. I got a hold of Mark and found he was about 20 minutes away, so I went back inside the General Store to relax for what would be one of the last chances for what would seem like an eternity.
Mark showed up faster than expected. We started to organize our things in his car, made our way back down to the farm to unload our food and extra clothing and supplies at the Racers tents. We told the one volunteer Connor we would probably take at least 20 minutes…sure enough 20 minutes later he came up to me and said “you guys weren’t kidding about 20 minutes huh?” We finished up shortly after, but not before Mies and Chris showed up with a garbage bag filled with human hair. You’re probably asking yourself, why would these two show up with an entire garbage bag filled with human hair, right? It turns out that Mies is a hair stylist and she was able to grab a nice stash for us before leaving the salon. What this human hair was for we would not discover until the end of the race, and for those of you not in the know yet I’ll let you wait to find out later. Thanks again Mies and Chris for saving the day for those of us who needed our bag of human hair still. I grabbed my small amount and threw it in a ziploc, and I also bagged some for Todd…I had just found out he was still not anywhere close to being there yet.
Next up, Mark and I moved his car to a parking spot at Amee Farm and made our way toward the mountain that we needed to climb. We hopped in a pickup truck with fellow racer, Eric and his support crew. We shared some laughs as we headed up and made our way to the weigh in. We went as far as we thought we could go in the truck and the three of us got out and began our first of many hikes up the mountain with all the gear we would have with us the entire race. Now this was crucial we were required to write down all the items that we planned to have with us at all times during the race. We would then have to turn this in and if at any time the event organizers requested to check our bag and an item was missing we would get our first warning and a penalty, second time…disqualified. So there we were making our way away from the pickup truck and around a switchback that leads even further up. We noticed there were vehicles that had traveled even further up the mountain than we did and fortunately for us Rod’s family was making their way back down so they scooped us up and brought us that much closer to our final destination for our official weigh in. (Quick background about Rod, he was one of the oldest competitors there at age 61 – he must have aged very well though, a true warrior this man was. He fought until almost the very end. Though he didn’t finish he got damn close and in my eyes he was a finisher. I only hope to be doing half of what Rod does at his age when I get there).
Again we were dropped off, finally we hit the trail and hiked our way to the top of the mountain. When we got there we had to wait in a bit of a line. While we waited a few kids with extremely fluorescent yellow DR volunteer shirts were walking around with cups of rabbit food. They were tasked with handing out a minimum of two pieces to each racer and told us that we were to keep hold of the rabbit food until the end of the race, or we’d receive a penalty. Someone couldn’t resist saying a curse and the children warned everyone that if they swore they’d get X amount of burpees, however many the kid decided to dish out. We got set back on our wait a few times since they were allowing both previous Death Racers (not Winter Death Racers, Mark and Eric tried but were told that didn’t count, ha) and females to jump to the front of the line.
When I made it to the weigh in station I had to give the volunteers my name, and then I stepped on the scale with my ruck and all my gear. I came in at 19 7lbs if I recall correctly. Prior to training for the Death Race I typically weighed anywhere from 160-165lbs. As the DR approached I was averaging anywhere from 152-158lbs. The week leading up to the race I did not exercise, lift, or run to avoid injuring myself before the biggest race of my life. I also tried to eat as much food and carbs as possible so I could gain some lose-able weight. I really did not want to finish the race and find out I was under 150lbs. The thought of that happening creeped me out a bit (given I haven’t been the little since high school probably). I’m not sure how accurate this scale was my pack at home weighed in around 35lbs. That would put me in at 162 which is probably about 5lbs, maybe 10lbs, more than what I really was at this point. It was close enough.
Once we all weighed in we made our descent back down to the truck. We took a ride back down to Riverside Farm where we would finish our race registration. Inside we were asked a few times by volunteers if we were sure we wanted to race or if we wanted to quit. To all the volunteers sorry if I was a bit snotty with my laughs at your questions, it was all in good fun from both sides. Once registered we were given a Peaks Race tshirt, hat and our bib number. I was bib number 559. After leaving the registration cabin we were directed to go outside and speak with “the guy in the hat” for our first task/challenge. The three of us walked up to him and waited for him to begin his instructions again since he was half way through when we walked up. Our mission, sew our bib numbers onto our black compression shirts. Good thing I had that needle and thread. We made our way back to the General Store to do this task since we had some time until we were due to actually start the race. Using a cloth that Eric had we cut it up and made our numbers and sewed them on while enjoying our last real meal. As 6 o’clock started to approach we made our way over to Amee Farm again to see what we were tasked with next…and this my friends is where the race actually began.
To be continued…