Maybe that's what I needed for this trip was Carlos, Hunter, and an unlimited supply of illegal drugs and alcohol. All I had was the Czarina and she's been on my case to blog about this trip because she took plenty of pictures. She was chomping at the bit to drive the course on Friday. We stayed at the Super 8 which was only a five block walk to the buses that lined up early in the morning for the start of the race.
So we boogied all the way to the starting line. It's changed a lot from the first time I ran the race in 1989. They used to dump you off in the middle of the darkness of the desert with a handful of barrels with fires burning for those who couldn't stand the night chill. Now there are flood lights everywhere and even a corral for the top runners to wait for the start. In fact, most of the first mile is pretty well lit because the race starts a good 15 minutes before the dawn of light. Of course in 1989 there were only about two thousand runners, now the entry list tops seven thousand.
Seven miles into the race you encounter this. Veyo, an extinct volcano, offers a pretty stiff climb that lasts for about three-quarters of a mile. From Veyo the course continues a steady climb for about a mile and a half. It's a real grind after the gentle downhills of the first seven miles. If you can survive until the halfway point the real fun begins.