When you’re racing the Rockwell Relay, time becomes very, very strange. Weird even.
At one moment it’s early morning and you’re nervously awaiting the start of the race. Then the first teammate is racing and you’re cheering him on. Then — very quickly — your second teammate is out and you’re cheering her on. Then it’s your turn and you’re going with all your might. Then your fourth teammate is off and racing and you’re cheering her on.
And then it’s time to start that rotation again.
By the time this happens, you have two completely contradictory impressions. First, that you’ve been doing this race for all your life — that it’s just one endless cycle.
Secondly — and for me, this is the stronger impression — it’s that you’ve only been out racing for a very short time. That it’s still morning. Hey, you’ve each only gone on one middling-length ride after all, and you each got your respective rides out of the way pretty darn quickly.
So how was it possible that the sun was going down as Kenny was riding his second time?
And why — why? — did the wind have to kick back up, pushing hard against Kenny for the whole ride?
These are mysteries we will likely never answer.
What we do know is that while Kenny rode, a beautiful full moon came up, so that it was never really completely dark.
So, as Kenny rode his leg and we found it impossible to get photos of him, we turned on each other:
And then I got a shot of The Hammer and Heather, doing…some kind of dance or something. But the photo turned out different than I expected.
Wow, I think that was the chupacabra behind them. It’ too bad that’s such a dark, grainy, blurry shot.
Once you’re riding in the dark, time gets even more strange and distorted during the Rockwell Relay. I think this is because there just aren’t the visual cues you’re used to during the day time to help you get a sense of time passing.
It’s just dark. And you feel a little bit weird, a little bit uneasy, getting ready for your ride.
Photos get really difficult to take:
The only way I know that’s Kenny is because I recognize the Orbea.
We’d stare off into the dark, waiting to see a headlamp. Then we’d cheer for Kenny — at least we assumed it was Kenny — as we saw the light go by. And then we’d repeat.
When we got to within ten miles of the exchange, we left him, feeling just a little bit reluctant. It’s not easy to leave a teammate riding in the eerie darkness like that.
The Hammer’s Turn
Since I had already done the work of getting The Hammer’s bike ready, it was easy to get her ready:
Wow, those reflective belts really…reflect.
Then we stood around, waiting. Hoping that every light was Kenny’s. And soon enough, one was.
Kenny pulled in, having — as Kenny does — completely demolished himself on the ride. Kenny always gives it everything he’s got. That’s why he’s Kenny.
In endurance running relay races (like Ragnar), someone you pass is known as “roadkill.”
The Hammer was heading out with a monster climb in front of her.
Soon, that climb would be brimming with roadkill.
Which is where we’ll pick up next in the next installment of this story.