As we are well on our way up Panament springs heading to mile 80ish I pull up next to Pam Reed's crew van, so I knew she had to be close. As we stopped to get ready for Susannah a couple of people from her van came over and said hello and asked how we were doing and who our runner was and the wave time we started. (as I was driving I didn't realize I had drove by Pam) I asked how Pam was doing and they said she was doing good but had some stomach issues she had been dealing with with a long time. (In the back of my mind I was excited to actually be next Pam on the course, even though she wasn't feeling good I was hoping we could be with her for a while, I mean she is the superstar and knows how to win at this race!)
As the night was clearly working its way to morning, we had special request for food, our Susannah is a Gourmet runner with a special palate. Requests for Mac'n cheese (glute free, specially bought from Whole Foods) with graded cheese (chucks) and Cracked Pepper was ordered. At one time the cracked pepper was forgot and immediately handed back to return to the chief!! In a nice but stern Aussie accent.. "ughh, there's no crack'd pepper!" Another gourmet item of the day, which I soon nicknamed a "CheeseBurger" was a rice cake, with Our Mate spread with sliced baby Roma tomato's! Check out the picture:
Our items included the same rice cake with Sliced Avocado's and yup, Cracked Pepper!! A lot of it! We actually tried to make soup one time, as we did last year, but the burner for the soup was in the support car and I tried to warm it up on the engine, as last year, but this time it was too difficult because we didn't have a can only a cup and that made it hard b/c the cup would start to melt or burn, lol. At the time I was under the hood, Pam runs by and goes "are you guys okay?" I said yeah, just trying to warm up soup. She goes "ohh, nice idea, if you need anything my crew can help." So very nice, I said, thank you. (HFS, I was talking to Pam Reed at 3 am in the middle of no where!)
As the sun started to come up we actually started to play leap frog with Pam. Even though Pam is actually 2 hours ahead of us b/c she started at 10am, I so bad just wanted to pass her for good as I thought it would bring extra pep to Susannah. The morning Sunrise was amazing and heading into Darwin I actually started to pull more than our mile stop just to leap from Pam farther so she would know that we are right behind her, somewhat of a mental game, or at least my thought of a mental game with Pam. Susannah and Pam finally ran/walked together for about 45 mins and then we finally got ahead of her. But it was not for long b/c Pam made sure to stay close and almost seemed to run when she didn't want to but knew she had to. Eventually Pam passed us again and as the winding road heading to Lonepine started Pam laid the hammer down and within a matter of an hour she was out of sight. My thought to a great a champion that knows the course and knows when and where to push!
As we passed Darwin check point, 90 miles @ 22 hrs 5 mins (14:43pace) it was time to wake up the support crew and Geraldine was ready for some sleep. She did an amazing job all night and was cooked herself. As the shift change came on, we soon found our self basically in No Man's Land! No one behind or in front of us for a about 2-3 hours. Then as we got closer to Lonepine a few other 10am starters were catching us and I was glad to see others as well as Susannah was to give her the drive to continue to push, as she seemed to slow down in this alone long stretch. (As last year, I distinctly remember this part of the course b/c as I said it seems so long and you can see from about mile 100 to Lonepine at 122!! and it mentally just sucks it out of you being on the course for 22+ hours. You're tired, close but so far from the end, and you just want to get there!
Susannah did great as we pushed into Lonepine with a few food items to get her morning energy. Mostly she was calling for anything caffeine, so espresso beans, and Coke Zero seemed to do the trick. At one time Susannah need a yogurt to settle her stomach, most likely from too much caffeine and no sold type food. The thing was the damn yogurt was frozen solid into the ice/water/dry ice in the cooler. Nic had attempted to get it out but no luck. We asked Susannah if there was anything else we could get her which was probably a bad idea, but in her nice Aussie voice just replied, "I really need that to settle my stomach, there is nothing else!" I quickly shouted from the drivers seat, "You will have it at the next stop!" She just smiled and said Okay, thanks! As I raced up to the next stop Nic was telling me there was no way to get it out b/c so much of it was frozen in and we would have to dump everything out to get it and that wasn't possible. I told him if we have to dump it out, then we have to dump it! I quickly jumped in the back and started ravaging through the ice and water to move stuff out of the way. My hand immediately froze from the cold but I couldn't think about that, I needed that Yogurt. Finally, I was able to clear some things out of the way and get to the yogurt. I came out in a solid block of frozen water/ice and sure enough it was solid. I busted it apart, handed it to Nic, we opened it, drained the water that had seeped into it, told him to scrap the top layer off it, stick the spoon in but DON'T STIR IT!! ( we stirred an early yogurt and she said she liked the chunks in it so don't mix it, lol.. runners!!) We had a few minutes before she got to us and I repacked all the cooler, Nic ran out to give her the yogurt and she was in heaven!
We finally reached Lonepine, mile 122 at 31 hrs 44 mins (15:16pace). We quickly dumped the support car off at the hotel, rearranged the MotherShip because you can only one crew vehicle on the portal road up to Mt. Whitney.
These pics are heading into Lonepine.
I will continue to part 3.. the final push to the Finish..