At 2am on Saturday morning, Rachel and I reached the parking lot at Diablo. We decided to just lay our sleeping bags behind the car and catch some sleep in the lot before the sun rose. With the exception of one short visit from the security guard, it was a pleasant camping spot.
Once the sun came out, we ran over to the local Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and then I started practicing the course. After a few runs I decided to play it safe on race day. I chose to run the course at a comfortable pace instead of trying to crush the entire track - which meant running the risk of going off course or wrecking.
That night we hiked up the hill and set up my tent on the edge of the woods. It was another pleasant night of camping, even with the nonstop rain and thunder storms. The next morning we threw the tent and bags into our backpacks and quickly hiked back to the parking lot - all the while getting some confused looks from some of the Diablo staff. We just acted like there was nothing strange about us emerging from the woods on the edge of their park and again headed to Dunkin to start the day.
I took a couple more practice runs that morning to check out the condition of the track and then headed to the car to run through the race in my head. At 1:45 I headed to the start box and at 2pm I was headed down the hill. I kept to my original plan - avoiding any wrecks, but still pushing the pace while staying in my comfort zone. There were a few spots that I knew I'd run faster during practice, but overall the run was what I'd hoped for. When all was said and done, I'd landed in 7th place (out of 32 racers) - not bad for my first rodeo. I've now got a good sense of my abilities and have already started visualizing ways to speed up my run next time out.
After the race on Sunday we headed to NYC to visit some friends. It was a dizzying night, stopping by four people's houses and catching up on lost time with some of my absolute favorite people. Monday morning we grabbed breakfast with my friend Darryl and again hit the road - seven hours later we were back in Richmond. It was a LONG weekend, but man was it fun! I'm [reluctantly] taking a few weeks off from racing, then the bus will be headed to Snowhoe Resort in West Virginia. I hope to get two practice weekends in before their first race on June 21st.