Vegas 2 Reno (the long way!)
Story and photos by Charlene Bower and Jon Crowley
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[ WEDNESDAY CONTINGENCY ] [ THURSDAY RACE DAY 1 ]
[ FRIDAY RACE DAY 2 ] [ SATURDAY RACE DAY 3 ]
Here are some audio files that we were not able to upload until today. Check them out!
8/23/09 Reno to So Cal
We started the day after the sun rose for the first time in 5 days! We all headed to the awards ceremony by the pool at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Reno, NV. The patio was packed with exhausted, yet successful teams. The ceremonies started with Casey Folks congratulating the 249 teams that lined up on the first day of the race and for being a part of this 996 mile adventure. "Everyday was a new day, and a great day," said Folks. He also put out a sincere thank you to all of the 400 volunteers that helped make this event a success.
Casey recapped some information that we all wanted to know more about... There were 20 or so injuries with broken arms etc, and only 2 injuries that were serious enough to require a helicopter ride. All racers are reported as doing well. The helicopter crash from Day 2 sent 3 additional people to the hospital, which will all survive. There was not a piece of the helicopter that was bigger than the podium that he was standing behind!
Then it was time to acknowledge all of the first, second and third place winners from each class. The BITD awards ceremonies are always long, but this one was worth listening to until the end. Some of the quick stories that were told were excellent... "I would like to thank the inventor of zip ties and duct tape!" had everyone laughing and nodding in agreement. A Class 8 truck team admitted to utilizing 440 gallons of fuel...you do the math!
Most of the teams had left when the 4400 class started coming up to the stage. They had all been practicing their speeches as I threw a mic at them multiple times a day so they had great presence on the stage and made sure the handful that were there knew that the 4400 class was there to rock!
The awards ceremony ended at 1:00pm and it was time to head to the motorhomes to make the trek home. We left the Sands in Reno at 1:30pm with a broken truck on the side of the road already. The truck that I had been driving in for the last three days had blown its turbo! Never wanting any issues, I will say this was a good time to have them. We weren't chasing and out in the middle of the desert and we were still close enough to Reno to make recovery easy. As I looked at the three motorhomes that were making the drive I was a little worried that we would loose another one along the way...but knock on wood, we made it all the way back with no other issues! The adventure ended at 1:30am exactly 12 hours later when I laid my head on my own pillow.
Charlene's Final Word: Holy Cow! I am so impressed with the entire week! The BITD and Casey Folks put on a 3 day point to point race in the US that was spectacular...I heard no complaints from anyone about the course or the accommodations. The racers were focused on a goal and knew that they had to finish to win!
The eleven teams that showed up to represent the "rock crawlers" in the Ultra4 4400 class all deserve a huge pat on the back by the entire rock crawler world! They took the time out of their lives, they spent the money, and they went out there and PROVED that Ultra4's are a force to be reckoned with! The dedication to fixing and finishing impressed teams in every class. A Class One driver said, "once you guys get these vehicles tuned in, you will be very competitive!" I now declare that each of these teams can now also be called "desert racers!"
Dave and Jeff from King of the Hammers couldn't have found a better race than this one to make as a qualifier. They were both ecstatic to be able to race along side this group of drivers and are looking forward to seeing how this desert experience will help the drivers at the King of the Hammers 2010.
I want to do it again! Please help support the cause. Jot a quick THANK YOU letter to the BLM office letting them know that you appreciate them letting the race happen, and that you look forward to being able to watch and participate in the future. Take control of what you believe in, and make sure everyone else knows about it too! We have to fight to keep our land open!
Thank you for following with us on this adventure!
Until the next one...