This past weekend, ARFE Management almost did not participate in the USARA National Championship.
We were not on time for the pre-race meeting. We almost missed the pre-race meeting! We were so late that we did not stop at the famed Gateway to the West on our way there. This is what the thing looks like from I-55:
We watched our smart, wonderful team run 250 people through a Leave No Trace presentation from the wayyyy back.
This brings our tally of people educated in Leave No Trace by ARFE's involvement, by the way, to a whopping 2000. Way to go, team!
We also did not get a good night's sleep before the race. Instead, we spent it meandering around the huge Wal-Mart SuperCenter in lovely Potosi, MO. When we finally did get to our campsite, we speculated that it must be a beautiful campsite, although we did not see any of it, because it was pitch black.
We did not see the campsite the next morning, either. (Still pitch black when we left.)
We almost did not find our team before they left, because this is what race start looked like:
We just barely found them, thanks to our trusty Crew Queen. After race start we had breakfast in the lovely Trout Lodge YMCA and almost did not see our team go by our their way to the first checkpoint, because we thought they were misguided, badly lost, Loch Ness monsters:
Your Crew Queen, Crew Minion, and Gatorade Jim then drove off to our first checkpoint, where we were not active:
and where we most certainly did not abuse a certain food-scientist-turned-cabana-boy so much that he felt compelled to leave on his bicycle, taking our mascot with him:
Whatever happened, we most certainly did not fall out of our chairs because we were sleeping while teams were being checked in, and certainly not in full view of a camera:
We spotted ARFE-SmartWool in 28th place, far behind where we thought they would be, but who are we to talk? We were most clearly Not Racing. Still, they looked like they were having fun, and we were pleased for it.
we drove onto the next checkpoint, not finding at first try, or even second try, but we were not late! we sat about with some great supporters for team Road Rash from Nebraska, and Jerry and Sherry Simpson, of SportRaxx, and their crazy awesome dog-with-the-handlebar-ears Gonzo. (Gonzo did not like our Sprocket. I suspect that's largely because Gonzo spotted Sprocket being dressed up like a patsy at the pre-race meeting the previous night:)
From there we trudged back to HQ, where we were to spell the folks who'd been working since race start, and were told that we could sleep for the next three hours! Oh, joy!
We piled into our team's room (who knew what they were doing, anyway? Racing, or summat?), and did not get three hours of sleep. We got half an hour of sleep, and then were told that the first teams were coming into the finish, stat!
Two of us piled out of the room, where we did not realize that it felt warmer outside because it was not yet the deep of night (our sleep cycles were all verklempt, you see), found a room to cram into, rather than mucking about outside, and cranked up the heaters for the racers that were coming in.
Then we did not fall asleep or make much coherent conversation until the Team M.O.A.T., our pals from the northeast EMS, Washington State wunderkinds DART-Nuun came in. Crew Minion waited anxiously for a little while longer, looking for ARFE pals Timberland, before she gave in to sleep. She's told she missed Team ARFE-SmartWool by a mere 1/2 an hour, but the Crew Queen was on hand to welcome in her racers, and all was good.
What? You want to know what happened during the race? Well, this is what we have racing teams for. Stay tuned for a race report from Team ARFE-SmartWool.