Tevis volunteer 2015
|August 6, 2015||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
Album link to all photos I took at Tevis this year. Pictures are from Robinson flat (mile 36) and Foresthill (mile 68). All pictures taken by the webcast volunteers, including myself, are completely free to take and download with NO restrictions on their use. Enjoy! 🙂
I’ve never officially volunteered for a ride before, but Crysta promised me a Tevis volunteer Tshirt and I couldn’t resist. Combine that with a volunteer job where I got to bounce from check point to check point and be completely autonomous within checks socializing and snapping pictures and being nosy in the name of up-to-date, transparent information to be updated in darn-near-real-time on the facebook page….like a ADHD squirrel chasing shiny things…and well. You can see why I abandoned my hermit tendencies and signed up.
After falling asleep in Northstar around 10:30p, we were up at 4:15a to start our day at the HWY 89 crossing. The light wasn’t good enough for photo, so I took video only. My camera promptly died about 75% through the riders. Which was my fault. Because I didn’t know that the camera only charged with the battery in the WALL CHARGER, not of of the USB charger. Well that’s a bummer. My primary purpose is to take pictures…and what I have is an iphone. #Iamawebcastfailure.
Ah well. Moving on.
After Crysta promised me that it wouldn’t rain on me we drove up to Robinson Flat after dropping my car of at Foresthill, where it…promptly rained on me.
Fortunately not very hard or very long, and it wasn’t actually cold and windy. Because if it was, instead of beautiful RF pictures, you would have had a very whiny Mel hiding out in a porta-potty.
After most of the riders had left we took off to Foresthill.
After the beauty of RF, FH was blah. So uninspiring. So dry. So colorless. And horrible lighting. So I may have done more socializing and less…well…photographing. But I got some good shots anyways.
Potato Richardson had been leading the pack since I had seen him at HWY 89, and had continued to lead through FH which did not dissuade me from my morning prediction that he would lead gloriously and push the pace until he won in spectacular fashion, or….something else. Either way it promised to be a good show and exciting, since although his horse looked a bit rough coming into FH, on recheck she looked good.
Which is why when we heard he was at the river crossing we RACED to Auburn hoping we could beat him there. Turns out we made it to Auburn and settled in just shortly before he arrived at the Lower Quarry check, which is 6 miles from the finish.
Now here’s the exciting part.
(this is entirely my recollection of who came into the check when and left, so if some official source contradicts what I say here, go with THAT source, not this).
The “where’s my rider” wasn’t updating with the LQ information. However, your humble webcast volunteers had eyes on the ground at LQ and a phone with texts providing blow-by-blow information to the part of the webcast team at the stadium, which we were able to provide to the announcer.
Which is how we knew the exact minute someone else came in LQ with Potato on their heels.
And that person got pulled.
And we knew the instant Potato left LQ, and we knew HE KNEW that she got pulled.
But he left BEFORE Gwen and Heather Reynolds pulled into LQ 1 minute later.
Which means he didn’t know that Heather pulled her horse and wouldn’t be continuing, but that Gwen was perhaps within catching distance has she left LQ.
Would Potato ride like a bat out of hell for the last 6 miles, unsure or not caring whether there was someone behind him? Or would he play it safe and go carefully, thinking he had a good lead and knowing his nearest competition had gotten pulled, and perhaps trying to prevent what happened in 2011 – a pull lame at the finish? The last time he finished Tevis was 2010.
Would Gwen push the pace and overtake Potato? Or would she play it safe and try to finish and perhaps save some horse for the coveted Best Condition Haggin cup the next day?
At this point a message went out to webcast group text that we used to stay in contact with each other with the realization that we had someone at LQ, people at the stadium…..but no one at the actual finish at the Overlook!!!!!!!!!!!
I of course immediately volunteered. Which is how I found myself running up the hill in slip-on clogs and jeans, in the dark, with a rather vague idea of how to get from the fair grounds to the overlook, since I’ve only travelled that route ONCE in the OPPOSITE direction when I finished Tevis 5 years ago after being up for over 24 hours. Which is odd, except if you think about I’ve always run or ridden to and from the Overlook with no reason to go to the fairgrounds.
And did I mention I needed to pee? Less a function of being 7 months pregnant I promise, but more the fact bathroom was so far away from where I was sitting and I was watching the miniature horse 4-H show in the stadium….and then as I went running past the restrooms in the desperate dash to the overlook I was really worried I would miss the first rider across the finish line…and so well, I made the decision that seemed the lesser evil.
So I’m pretty sure the life lesson in all of this is to USE THE FREAKIN’ bathroom like a REAL adult when you have to because you NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU MIGHT BE ASKED TO SPRINT UP A HILL IN THE DARK AND BE IN DANGER OF PEEING YOUR PANTS. Ok. maybe that’s an unlikely scenario. But maybe you will get a hankering for delicious taco truck tacos and have to wait in line forever and then you will wish you had just gone to the freakin’ bathroom an hour ago. Trust me.
Just as I arrived gasping and wheezing there were lights coming down the trail!!!!!!!!
I texted this to my compadre in the stadium, at which point the stadium show was paused and the announcer had the mic ready to announce the winner AT ANY MOMENT…..when then this happened. Go ahead, laugh. You know you want to.
The minutes ticked by…. The ladies of the webcast team, full of information and statistics about how fast previous front runners had covered this section led to even more debate about how fast or slow Potato and Gwen would travel this section and we did delusional rate/distance/time word math problems in our head in an attempt to understand whether at the current pace Potato was going based on the fact he wasn’t here yet, whether and how and where Gwen could have caught him and so WHO THE HECK WERE WE GOING TO SEE COMING OUT OF THE DARK?????????
SQUEEEEEEEE – so exciting.
It was, as everyone knows now of course, Potato!!!!!!!!
I went back to the stadium at a more sedate pace since running down hill in the dark brings on visions of falling and having my body split open like an overripe watermelon (*shudder*) where Potato would vet out and see if he was *really* the winner.
You see, a pull at the finish line is still a pull. You don’t complete, you don’t win. There’s no asterisk in your ride record next to that Tevis pull that you made it a 100 miles only to get pulled at the finish, or that you were the first to cross that finish line. It’s listed as a pull just like a pull anywhere else on course with no time or mileage associated.
It’s not over until you vet and so I reserved judgement until I saw that trot out….AND HE PASSED. Congrats Potato and an awesome little game mare that stayed up front almost all day.
I was originally going to do this post on the things that I learned by volunteering at Tevis instead of riding it. But since it really just boils down to a couple of basics, here’s the short version since I got caught up in my story.
Advice for the Rider
1. Be nice. Or just pretend to be nice. Or at least, don’t be an asshat. I’m a relatively pleasant person at rides to the volunteers and fellow riders. I make a conscious effort to plaster a smile on my face since just smiling improves your mood (fake it til you make it) and it can ease the tension around you. If I do screw up and say a sharp word, I can more easily immediately and contritely apologize when I’ve primed my face and mood for pleasantness. HOWEVER, after watching the sheer number of downright rudeness directed at volunteers I will be MORE then just pleasantly polite to the volunteers and ride staff in the future. I will be down right CHEERFUL. Could not believe what people get away with in terms of sheer rudeness. Take a breath, get your panties out of a bunch, and I PROMISE you we will do our best to fix/answer/help make your day as a rider go a little more smoothly. Fortunately, the majority of riders ARE nice. So I’m probably not talking about you.
Advice for the crew
2. If you are crew, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER so you can provide clear and CORRECT direction to your rider. I couldn’t believe how many crews were trying to march their riders the wrong way through chutes and clearly marked areas. Mistakes easily avoided if the crew had just taken 5 min before the rider arrived to scope out the area and take a look at traffic flow and maybe even grabbed a volunteer and asked them to clarify where the entry points were and how to get to the out-timer if it wasn’t clear. Instead, volunteers are trying to chase down horses and riders and their confidently striding crew members and direct them through the correct pattern, only to be rebuffed by the (should-know-better) crew member and the (tired, please jeezus just let me get through this check, frustrated) rider. Checks change from year to year. If you crew make sure you know when and where to go. Also, if you’ve seen a volunteer tell umpteenth crews and riders to please move somewhere else if they need to pause and do something, take note of those spots so that you can help your rider navigate past those spots and redirect them somewhere else if they need to pause. Again, lots of crews did an excellent job of guiding their riders through the checks so if you are reading this, it’s probably not you.
Advice for the spectator
3. When it comes to what riders are saying what happened at the ride, or “to” their ride, assume that 33% of it is the truth, 33% of it is spin, and 33% of it is lies and BS. Anything you are tempted to become outraged about certainly falls into this category. There’s usually a kernel of truth, but for many reasons, some of which are completely unintentional even with people who really are trying to get it “right” and factual, you don’t have the full story. Neither do I. Just keep that in the back of your mind when deciding whether to esculate something you saw or heard.
What I posted…
One year ago: SF 50 miler Q & A
Five years ago: When is it time to go back to work?