2018 Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Experience (Part 3)
Team Leono Inside The Room @ The Ranch (Furnace Creek)
Our room that was reserved by Tess at the Furnace Inn Ranch was good for one day from 1:00 PM of Sunday to 12:00 NN of Monday with the hope that we could be extended up to 5:00 PM or 6:00 PM with an additional cost. However, the Hotel Administration would not allow us to extend our stay for another 5 or 6 hours because all the rooms were fully booked and reserved for the whole week. We tried our best to plea for their understanding to extend our stay but they could only allow us an extended period of stay up to 2:00 PM of Monday. And this was final!
Let me describe to you our situation in the room. We were 5 persons in one room but there are two double beds which could only accommodate only 4 of us (two persons on each bed). To remedy the situation, we had to pay an extra bed to be inserted in the room. Because of the bags and luggages; food; coolers; and other needs for the race were all inside the room, we had a very limited space for the folding bed to be fully deployed, instead, we got only the mattress from the folding bed to be placed on the floor in between the two double beds. The tallest among us volunteered to be the “Floor Manager”! It’s was good we had a very good coordination in the use of the single bathroom and toilet during the duration of our stay in this room.
The room has a Wi-Fi connection but it could only be used by two devices only per room. With the five of us, I was given the priority as I was the one who was posting some Updates on Facebook. However, there was a time that I could no longer connect when I disconnected myself so that others can use the allowed two slots per room. When I could no longer get any connection, I opted to have a dedicated Wi-Fi connection for myself by paying $10.00 from my Debit Card for the duration of 24 hours. This was the ONLY way for me to send some more “Updates” on Facebook before we left Furnace Creek. I knew that once the race starts, I will no longer have a Cellphone Signal up to Lone Pine, California or at Panamint Springs (Mile #70+)
While some of us were resting inside the room with the Full Power of the Air Con, Tess, Jas, and Khris were busy organizing our things but somehow all of us were able to rest. In the evening of Sunday, we started to get some Ice from the Ice Maker Machine of the Hotel at the front edge of the building. We were able to fill our Coolers with Ice for Free! From here on, it was just a waiting game and trying to maximize our rest and sleep inside our room. Night came but the extreme heat outside the building was almost the same during day time. After supper at the Diner, we just returned back to our room, take a shower, and then went to bed. I could no longer remember how many hours I was able to sleep during nighttime. I was too tired for the day. However, every time I go to the Bathroom to pee, I would observe that Tess was still awake. I wonder why she was not yet sleeping. Is she nervous, anxious, or have some things playing in her mind? Or is she checking on her cellphone or Facebook? I didn’t bother to ask.
We woke up at about 7:00 AM and we had to line up for the Bathroom and take turns. Hahaha! We were back to the Diner for our brunch…again! We did a lot of conversation in the room about how to fit in everything in the Support Vehicle and how we will be able to support Tess in an efficient clockwork manner. I would be the driver and the rest of the team will have to take their part of making sure Tess will finish the race. However, Tess had all the pressure on her as she is the Main Actress in this event.
After our Brunch, we started to bring all of our things to the Support Vehicle and it was Khris’ responsibility and work on making sure that all of our stuff was loaded properly before the 1:00 PM check-out time from the our room. Starting at 12:00 Noon we were disturbed by visits from the Hotel Staff reminding us of our check-out time by 1:00 PM. They made a lot of calls and visits to us and told us to leave the room until we finally left the room at 2:00 PM.
Waiting Game Before Leaving Furnace Creek
Tess told us that she will stay in one of the Team Tabios Rooms while the four of us as her Support Crew went to the Diner to pass the time and then pick her up near their Hotel Building anytime between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM. We waited inside the Diner for 3+ hours and we reviewed our plan on how to support Tess during the run. We made also our plan on how to resupply our needs for water and ice along the route as we anticipated for a higher and extreme heat/temperature the following day. On the last few minutes of our stay at the Diner, we ordered two Pizza for our anticipated Dinner food once the race starts at the Badwater Basin.
We left the Diner at 5:00 PM and parked a few meters away from the Team Tabios’ Hotel Building because there was no parking space available. We, instead, looked for a shaded area where we could wait for Tess. At exactly 5:30 PM, we left the Ranch Inn with Tess and dropped by the Gasoline Station at the entry road to the Ranch to fill up our gas tank on Full Tank. We panicked when a CLOSED sign poster was shown hanging at the Cashier’s counter. Jasper said that we could still pump the needed gas using her Credit/Debit Card of which we did. We were already fully-loaded and prepared for the event as we left Furnace Creek to the starting area in Badwater Basin, 17.5 miles away.
The two-lane/two-way road (one lane in each direction) from Furnace Creek to the Badwater Basin was busy with traffic due to the presence of the Support Vehicles. I drove slowly within the permitted speed from 30MPH up to 40 MPH until we reached the starting area in almost 30 minutes. We had enough time to take some pictures of the surroundings and watched the other runners and their Support Crew arrived at the Parking Area. After the usual Check-In procedures of Weighing and Final Check on the gear of each of the runners, they were advised to proceed to the Badwater Basin Sign which is on top of a wooden platform. More pictorials were done by the runners and their Support Crew on this spot while the start time was about to be reached.
Start Ceremony & Race Proper
The First Wave of Runners where Tess belongs starts at 8:00 PM and 30 minutes before that, a Simple Ceremony was held. There was a Short Prayer, Singing of the US National Anthem, and more Group Pictures of the Runners on video and still shots. Cris Kostman went on his way to shot a video of each of the runners using his cellphone while a group Pictorial was taken on them. He reviewed the runners on the cut-off times of each of the Time Stations but he emphasized that he wanted all the runners to reach Stovepipe Wells, whether they are within or not within the cut-off time. The RD is really a “hands-on” guy who treats his runners as his brothers and sisters. No wonder that this Badwater Event is a community of runners who know each other and help each other to finish the race.
Finally, the race started at exactly 8:00 PM and the runners started running, jogging, walking from the wooden platform of Badwater Basin, turning left on the concrete pavement/pathway going up to the curb of the Parking Area until the runners finally reached the left side of the road leading to Furnace Creek. The runners automatically formed a single file with reflectorized vests, blinking red lights on their back and front, and headlight on their head or using hand-held flashlight.
Each of the Support Vehicle was advised not to rush out from the Parking Area as there were Marshals who would control the traffic for all the vehicles leaving the Badwater Basin. The Traffic Marshals made sure that the Support Vehicles will not clog up with a file of vehicles along the road with short distance between each vehicle. I had the experience of being shout at by one of the Traffic Marshals when I interpreted his “hand signal” as a “go”, but instead, he was signaling me to proceed slowly and stop for a verbal instructions from him. Shit! I am a RD in the most popular ultra marathon race in the Philippines and here I am as a Driver being shout out by a Traffic Marshal??? Fuck You, Man!!! If only you know who I am.
To be continued….