14 January, 2017

Food and Shelter (Behind the 25, part 3)

Baby, it's cold outside. Well, chilly, at least. So what are you gonna do about it?

One of the most human ways to deal with the elements is to find food and shelter. At the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, you can find both at the Thunderhill Grill.

08 January, 2017

Run the ground game (Timber! part 4)

The history of the forestry industry spans ages, continents, and cultures. And for certain, these four chapters have been but a glimpse into one microcosm of that tradition. But even in that glimpse, I've learned so much about the process, and I hope you have as well.

We started with a 200-foot-tall Redwood tree. In part one, we saw how Matt, the arborist, erected infrastructure to move himself and his tools up and down the tree. In part two, he completed the "limbing" process, forming a bed of branches, and also removed the top of the tree (which was too narrow for him to safely climb). Part three took us through the hinge-cutting technique, which Matt demonstrated at ground level, and then put into practice 100+ feet in the air.

Of course, the process doesn't end there. Once each log reaches the ground and Matt declares the all-clear, it's time to get back to work.

31 December, 2016

Fractal Nature (Behind the 25, part 2)

Chilly. Again. It's race day — Saturday morning. It was below freezing overnight, and now the ground's cold. The cars are cold. The tires are cold… Everything's cold, really. But it'll be sunrise soon, and it's already time to get back to work.

Race day is really day four of the race — most teams got here on Wednesday. And that's not even counting the months or years of car and team development to even get to this point.

If you take a step back and think about it, though, racing has a fractal nature to it. Every little piece is kinda similar to every other little piece, and then each little piece gives you its own little glimpse of the big picture. And no matter how close or far you get, what you see tells you a bit about the details that you'd see from other distances.

So even if you only show up on Saturday morning, you can still get a sense of the preparation that happened in the days, months, and years prior. There are multiple cars, because endurance races are all about contingencies, and unfortunate situations do happen. There's a pit cart, because you can't have a race team without logistics, and the essence of logistics is movement. And it's this pit cart, because the details of the race effort reflect the personalities and identities of the people involved. The details show you the bigger picture.

16 December, 2016

Behind the 25: A Journey to the Center of the Race

Sunrise. The warm, orange glow of a brand new day starts to soften the chill of another Thunderhill night. It's not really day yet, but things are moving in that direction. That's how it always goes. Park. Pop the hatch. Get your stuff. You know the drill.

Five years, huh? That was quick…

The amazing thing about this race is that there's so much depth. Everyone who returns brings a little more experience. The same tenacity as last year is a little more effective now than it was then. Somehow, the relentless march of 25 Hours is a little more fluid; the surprises are a little less surprising. You spend less time figuring out how to handle each situation, and more time figuring out how to handle it better.

Make no mistake, there'll still be curve-balls. If you don't keep your eyes open, things'll go pear-shaped in a hurry. But every December, you come back a little bit better, and those same curve balls don't seem to curve quite as much as they once did.