By the time I get to Phoenix I’ll be pretty wrecked. It was a long day of travelling to get to our hotel. Up before 5am, a taxi to the airport, a 9 hour-ish flight to Atlanta (3.5 films watched… Delta’s film selection is pretty good), a 4 hour wait in Atlanta, followed by a 4 hour flight to Phoenix, a trip to the car hire centre, and some overly-interesting night navigation to get to the hotel in Glendale where we are staying. Phew.
Race preparations started with a long night’s sleep last night. They continued with the continuing energy loading of a buffet breakfast (energy supplies having been well refreshed by the christmas holidays). A look out the window of my hotel bedroom would have been sufficient to locate the nearest Walmart (they’re the biggest employer in Arizona apparently, so I didn’t think it would be hard to find one, but that was still a bit easier than expected). The hire car proved handy for transporting the various bits and pieces I bought for potential race food and drink. As usual for race preparations, my shopping trolley made it look like a 5 year old had been let loose to buy any food he wanted.
After a little bit of navigation familiarisation, we eventually made it over to Camelback Ranch at about 4 in the afternoon to get race registration out of the way. It didn’t take too long. We also chose our fabulous accommodation for the 3 days of the race (a large tent, with 2 cot-beds). We managed to get one right at the edge of the track, which should help for logistics later on.
The atmosphere at the race location seemed to be nice and relaxed. We’ve already got to know one or two others doing the races (after they guessed we were runners when we were wandering past the technical food section of walmart!). So far the race is living up its reputation of being a hospitable and friendly event.
A little web reading earlier led me to discover that Joe Fejes, last year’s winner of the 72 hour race here, did over 150 miles in a 24 hour race recently, smashing the American 200Km record along the way. It looks like he’s in spectacularly good form to defend his title.
The weather here is very nice indeed during the day, with the sun warming things up nicely to the high teens. There is absolutely no wind whatsoever at the moment. At night it feels pretty cool though. There was even some ice on the car windscreen this morning. The forecast is showing the next 3 days to be pretty similar. Overall that’s pretty good running weather. The temperature variation is likely to require a lot of clothes changes over the course of the race.
The hardest task of the day remains… I’ll have to try to locate a steakhouse or something similar for my pre-race dinner. And then one last normal night’s sleep before the short trip down the road to Camelback Ranch for the not so short 72 hour run starting at 9am tomorrow morning.
Thanks to everyone who has sent messages of support. Hopefully things will go well. Not long to go now….