HOTS update 48 hours
part 1: the big dance.
the bailout is not simple.
there are three of us and three vehicles
trying to maintain some reasonable distance from the runners
so that drops can be retrieved from the road
and returned to the rock as expediently as possible.
i have the simplest job in the lead vehicle.
generally it is only a few runners that move to the front.
someone has to be around to remove them from the road if they call it.
ideally i situate myself for the night where the leaders will pass me before morning each day.
then i make a sweep of the front third
before moving ahead again during the day.
if there has been a small number drop i can drive back and one or both of the back vehicles ferries the dropped runners to me
then i can make the long drive to the rock.
we keep a room at the clarion pointe in kimball.
it doubles as a storage facility for the finish line materials
but it is primarily so that anyone “making a run” can sleep before returning to the field.
the distances are too far early on to make more than one run a day!
in the middle we have karl with the big 14 passenger van.
he patrols the middle third of the field.
and jan has the back third in a smaller van.
as people drop
they get ferried ahead and stashed in motels until we have a load.
but this is a complicated dance.
(probably made possible by cell phones)
it is driven by who has dropped
where they are
how many there are
who is teetering on the edge
and the sleep status of the drivers!
up to the starting cigarette
every minute is planned and scheduled.
from the starting cigarette we are responding to a fluid situation
and making plans as we go.
cell phones make it all possible.
the runners might feel abandoned
but there is a constant conversation going on
about how to return them to the rock as expediently as possible
(and still have coverage for the ones still on the ground)
the three of us have been texting in a group for the past hour
making arrangements for a run this morning.
we have the two from yesterday
and at least three more this morning.
those are being stashed in motels, restaurants, and convenience stores for carl’s pickup
once carl gets the ones from behind and starts forward i will take responsibility for the 75 miles between where i am stationed and morristown.
jan has the 75 miles from the tail end (supposed to be over the swinging bridge at bluff city by 48 hours) to morristown.
depending on rotation (and traffic) we can probably get to a drop in morristown within 4 hours,
things are still relatively simple.
day 1 all three of us start out together at the first checkpoint.
day 2 we still are seeing each other regularly
but by that night we will be only communicating by text group
or maybe see each other at an exchange point
(more often we leave the runners to be picked up later)
still, at the start of day 3 it is not so hard for two of us to cover the entire field.
but the range of that field will keep expanding for at least another day!
eventually the runners will be strung out for more than 200 miles along the road.
providing them some security
(ie they will be picked up within a half a day if they quit and at least taken to a motel)
is an event in itself!

Categories: HOTS