Friday, April 13, 2007

Relay Drama

Most of the time in the relay we spent driving to the next spot. With a 12 person team and 2 vans, we had 6 people in the "active" van and 6 people in the "resting" van. After everybody in the active van ran their leg and we switched to the other van, the vans would switch roles.

That is the ideal, of course you don't really get that much sleep no matter where you are!

For the rest of the legs, we drove along and waited at the next transfer spot. We had a few games in the van to pass the time, but between grabbing ice, navigating, and chatting with other teams, it wasn't like we had tons of time to kill.

Everybody agreed the conditions were tough, both from the heat and also from the roads. Most road we ran on didn't really have a shoulder, which meant when there was oncoming traffic, a runner would zip off into the grass.

After we transfer to leg 7, our van became the resting van so we drove off to get something to eat. After that, on the way to the leg 13 start, where we would start running again, we witnessed an accident: truck versus bike. (!!)

The race allowed for other people to shadow the active runner, especially during the nighttime segments. One team had somebody on a bike riding behind a runner, and they were on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic, which is correct. Our van was approaching them, but some total jerk in a pickup truck decided we weren't going fast enough so he passed us to the left but swung out too far along the shoulder, and hit the cyclist, knocking him into the grass. The truck slammed on his brakes, then sped off.

We were stunned and decided to follow the truck for a bit, about half a mile before he got off the road. We turned around to go back to check on the cyclist, and the truck moved away and we never did get the license plate.

Back at the cyclist, he was OK but in some pain. It looked like the truck's driver's side mirror hit him square in the shoulder. But he was otherwise OK, wandering around holding his arm. We called the police and they responded quickly, and the officer went off to speak to the injured cyclist and his team, the "12 Monkeys".


Right then, the other team (6 person team) called and said their van broke down and wouldn't start... so we drove back to find them to either help pickup or transport runners. Unfortunately the vans didn't have jumper cables so we wound up calling AAA and hoped they wouldn't take forever to come out to the middle of nowhere. ;) Fortunately, the wait wasn't long at all.

Once all of this stuff settled down, and Team 2's van was running again, we drove up to the start of leg 13 where we would take over from Team 1B. Our plan was to grab a 2 or 3 hour nap, but after all this it wound up only being 30 minutes or so.

The excellent news was that on the way back past the site of the hit-and-run, we saw a police car that pulled over a pickup truck that looked familiar. Plus some others from 12 Monkeys. We stopped and yes indeed... the cops caught the hit-and-run driver, found the pickup truck with a smashed driver's side mirror, and said the driver confessed. Great news!

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