Friday, July 16, 2010

Badwater 2010 - Pacing and Crewing for Iso,,,

Badwater is a daunting race that covers 135 miles, 3 mountain ranges, 13,000 feet of cumulative ascent, and temperatures that climb over 120 degrees.  The vistas along the course are just stunning. The race unfolds in front of you and allows you to see where you are going and see where you have been.

 I had plans to put together a long post chronicling the amazing experience I had pacing and crewing for Iso and friends this past week, but the images and memories are so numerous, I’m not sure I could properly convey it or do it justice...

Instead of trying in vain to describe something that maybe shouldn’t even be explained, I will leave you with just one image - the view from the top.

With less than 3 miles to go and the sunlight waning, we stopped for a minute.  Looking across the valley, stretching out along the winding portal road to Lone Pine, was a long line of blinking hazard lights from the crew cars, pacers and runners climbing this final ascent toward the finish on Mt. Whitney.   Each light representing a single runner, having a single unique experience, and yet each connected to create a long string of lights and a long connected chain of experiences.   Words don’t do justice to the power that image held for me, and the emotions that build when I recall it.

I found out later that a thousand miles away, my aunt and Godmother, Christine, died while I was out there in Death Valley.  I can’t tell you exactly where I was along the course when she died, but her long battle with leukemia was over and her string of lights ended with her passing.   Yet her passing created something for those who lost her.  Her death adds another experience, another flickering point of light to the chains of those who knew her and whose chains continue on. 

This race really impacted me.  I can’t adequately explain why or how, but I know another point of light was added to my chain.  Parts were both difficult and joyful, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. 

Thank you to Iso and my new friends from our crew for including me… 

Kevin Grabowski (Me), Dave Clark, Iso Yucra, Jerry Armstrong, Cindy Yankee and Marty Ellison.

Iso finished in 37:26 and became the first Bolivian to complete the race and the first person on the planet to compete the Brazil 135, the Arrowhead 135 and the Badwater 135 in the same year. (He also did Western States in 21 hours, 2 weeks before Badwater...)

1 comment:

  1. Kevin: Agreed hard to describe the experience, but your writings come close. Thanks! Bonnie Busch, Iowa, 2010 Badwater crew member for Brendan Mason, 46:23 finish.