Almost 600 mountain bikers flooded the streets, suffered up the climbs, and asked themselves why or when will this end. Its a rough course is an understatement. Many of the races respond to post interviews with " its the views" 40 miles of it or " single track was unreal" or " by far the hardest cross country race ever". The leaders all made reference regarding how hard the race becomes mentally.
I was pumped, the energy was high, fellow humans interacting with one another, and perfect temperatures forecasted!!!
|Downtown GJ Art on Main St.|
I crossed paths with another coordinator while recuiting about a month ago and they said," Good Luck with that and HOPE YOU GET PAID." That bothered me and I choose to believe that this community would prevail for sure. Still, very discouraging.
|The Boy Dog|
I ended up at aid station #1 of the Marathon portion. The section that I was on was part of an out and back, so I saw the Half and Full athletes come by 4 or 8 times. And just like in Ortho-Bionomy, patterns began to show up.
Only a brief moment with these people, perpetuated a common thread. Its impossible for me to capture the inter workings of these athletes so I won't even try. Somehow, I was able to meet these runners at their model of the world. One of the best moves on my part was playing my old iPod on shuffle, turned it up, and faced the speaker towards the assent. Huge Ripple Effect
|100 pounds of clay|
I began to call in for more ice and I set the GELS on ice. I mean, who wants a red hot berry blast of heat gu glob and sugar???? That was a big hit and the ICE COLD water was the biggest relief. Variables to the situations were ever present and my job was to deliver and give back.
|Amber's Brilliant Water Catcher|
I began meeting the racers before the station with a cup of ICE COLD water. Every racers was greeted with positive reinforcements. I would say things like.... that was a fast loop... you look a lot better than the last trip by.... you look much taller than before.... and always an ICE COLD cup of water as an offering.
|Little Starters on the Left|
Racers of all ages, shapes, sizes, and abilities competed in this mass suffering of trudging along. One guy had basketball shorts on, some wore hats to try and escape UV Rays, and others just focused on moving forward.
All I could do was support, encourage, and look for signs of abnormal behaviors. I meet runners all night long with the same approach as the previous runner. And the music was AWESOME!! On my iPod is random mix but what I had spaced out on was old radio shows of mine.
There was a time that I had Movie Night with the Padre. I would play DVD's through the soundboard and add in my own soundtrack at appropriate times. So randomly played tracks from Blazing Saddles, Back to the Future, Wizard of OZ, Airplane, and all the other Jam Bands shows and what not's would play at any given time. Almost all of the runners made comments, laughed, and recognized a tune from Wide Spread Panic, String Cheese Incident, or a much needed Willie Nelson.
|Outside of the town Hotchkiss|
As daylight was lost into blackness and MILES were no longer on the radar, the Full Moon danced behind a thin layer of mid level clouds. My aid station became my own dance party. I set up the available headlights to reflect off the speed road sign in greens or reds and I turned up the tunes just a little more. It was my homing beacon if you will.
During this thin slice of my own free time, I watched the bats come alive, a headlight of a runner would appear and it was time to meet their needs. I quickly identified clothing but the first note of a voice would give it away and I knew to grab the coke or grab the HEED. Followed by moments of solitude due to the pure serenity of it.
We all dug deeper than we ever could imagine or could possibly comprehend the day before the Ironman. We were all at the start at 7am, we were all on our feet, we were all hot, and we were all about supporting each other. I am still deeply touched by the words of encouragement EVERY racer gave a passing racer. Nobody missed a beat. I would be talking with a couple of runners and the famous glad I won't see you was said and all of us would shout a congratulated saying of some sorts. We are talking 27 athletes painfully running but still able to share a joyous acknowledgment while passing one another. This took place ALL day long and into the night.
|Not Pleased About Waiting On Me|
Now, do I want to charge on into an Ironman??? HELL NO. Believe me, I was inspired throughout this event. But I am inspired in another way. How awesome would it be to have more groups volunteer and bring life to an aid station?!?!?! Just that short time frames in someones race IS the difference in that persons race. I can't describe the feeling I experienced while a number of racers told me they were going to DNF but ONLY after my aid station. The feelings I felt when a racer would say that they could hear my music and knew they would make it. To look into a beaten racers eyes and know they are going to finish and not take all the credit but point out how I had made the difference. The camaraderie was the true difference.
Making A Difference!! That Was What This Event Was About!! Helping!! Giving Back!! This community has supported me and have helped me fulfill my Ortho practice and for one day I was able to give back. What A Feeling!!
Stay Strong And Smile To Everyone
P.S. What Kind Of Themes Would You Like To See OR Have Seen????