New York was a landmark for us through the whole 50/50/50. There was an official race in Kingston, NY that fell on a day during the 50, to which we were able to make it work with our schedule. We thought this would be a fun way to mix it up, create a new experience for James, and give our friends a chance to race. Little did we know, this would create a nightmare for us, that dragged out well past the 50.
In case you don’t remember my ‘poop problem’ post, Casey Robles still had the runs, and was super sick. He had called his doctor at home, being that he was still super sick and was not improving. He got on IV because he was worried about dehydration the next day. Neither he nor Aaron Hopkinson were ready for this race. They thought that they would be able to train with James during the 50/50/50, but those dreams disappeared from the very first moment. They now were not only untrained, but had 0 sleep, lots of stress, and Casey had been very sick for several days.
They didn’t care, they figured they would do it and just enjoy the day. Casey is typically very competitive with his paces, but had decided to enjoy the day, goofing off, with Aaron and do it together. They had nothing to prove, and were looking forward to a day off, since James would have the volunteers in the race to assist him.
The drive this night was so rough!!!! There were so many rumble strips, and so many tolls. I would wake up to Casey and Aaron talking to the people at the toll booths. I could hear them plotting their costumes, accents, and personalities that they would use at the next toll. It was so, ridiculously hilarious! I wanted so bad to go up front and join in on the fun (I hate missing fun stuff!), but it was unreasonable to do so.
I remember at one point waking up swerving, I thought we were hanging off a cliff, like in a Scooby Doo cartoon. I sat up and we were driving through Manhattan, Brooklyn, etc. The roads were so narrow, there were tons of tunnels, and the roads were indescribably in bad condition. There were potholes every few seconds, rumble strips, swerving (to miss potholes)…it was horrible. It must have been a strategic drive for our mischievous drivers.
When we pulled into the area, James remembered that this was in the mountains. There would be lots of climbing today, and he was feeling unsettled about it. They jumped out of the RV and booked it to get their check-in stuff. I think we had like 30 minutes until the race was starting. Everyone took off (Brittany Chatwin Light, Christopher Parkins, James, Wingmen and everyone else doing it that day). It was me, the RV and the kids.
We had pulled right up to the race area (by transition) and parked. It was a legitimate parking spot, but we weren’t supposed to park there because of the race. We had told the cops that we were VIP and could go in, they totally bought it! I needed to take the RV and get it dumped. I did NOT want to lose this parking spot! I knew it would be impossible in this cute mountain town to find another place to park, plus everyone was expecting the RV to be there, not somewhere else. We grabbed orange cones that were by transition, and marked out spot, blocking it. I was praying that those cones would still be there when I got back…
I had seen a Camping World right off of the freeway, so I drove over there (with the windows down since the AC/generator didn’t work that morning, but for some reason the generator started working later that day). It was just a sales place, USELESS! I went to rvdump.com and tried to find places. The closest place was a KOA 25 miles away! Ugh! We put in so much driving during this journey, that adding another hour anywhere sucked! The good thing was that I didn’t have to move kids out of the RV, so the kids could at least keep snoozing and stay comfortable.
I pulled in and went into the office. After waiting my turn in line (some old guy chatting it up in front of me), I inquired where the septic was. This guy goes off on me! “I am so SICK AND TIRED of people coming here to just dump their RV. This is a CAMPGROUND, NOT A SEPTIC DUMP!!!!’ After a lengthy rant, and I was ready to rip him a new one, I gently said, “Then why do you have it listed on rvdump.com? If you don’t want people to come here for that, you should probably stop advertising it as a dump site…” I then started to be really nice and friendly with him. Just chatting it up. While we were visiting, and his fire was being put out, another guy came in. He was a jolly fellow and he started to chat with us. He asked about the RV, the journey, and was just excited beyond comprehension! They both promised to follow and cheer us on. I paid my fee and then headed back to the septic dump. The kids were sound asleep…yes!
I had to wait in line, again, which seemed like forever. It was finally my turn and I couldn’t find the hose that goes in my RV! I back-tracked in my mind, remembering that Brittany and I were the last ones to do it in Maine. I could NOT figure out what had happened to this hose! I had to go back up to the front, jogged about 1/4 mile, to buy a new $30 hose to dump it. My new friend in the office was so nice to me this time, and I made my purchase. When I got back to the RV, Quinn had woken up.
There was a playground right there. I had him jump the 2 feet from the RV into my arms (the electric stairs were still broken), “Oh yeah!” he says giggling with excitement as he made his way to the playground. I got to work, getting this thing taken care of. Just like Maine, I wanted to see if I could go more than 24 hours without filling the tank, so I put the hose in through a window, and sprayed out the toiled and rinsed it from the inside. Then when I was finished, I poured some Young Living Thieves Concentrate down the hole to work it’s magic. There were now 3 cars behind me waiting their turn. We have a saying in our family, “The line always comes behind us.” We rarely wait in line, and once it is our turn, there is always a new, long line behind us. It seems to ring true no matter where we are.
It had been over 90 minutes since I had left my parking spot. The 25 miles had taken a REALLY long time! The kids were waking up one-by-one as I drove back, pleading to the man upstairs that no one had moved my parking cones. On my way out of the KOA, the gentleman in the office (not the employee) stopped me, “I looked it up! This is so exciting! I will follow you through the rest of the journey.” I smiled, it made me feel happy that this guy was so excited about it. To make things even better, luck was in my favor… When I got back in town, my cones were just where I had placed them. I was filled with gratitude for this tender mercy!!!
It was now late in the morning, and I knew that we only had a little bit of time before our friends would be finishing their half-iron distance race. The girls went with Zyto girls to see if there were little shops close, but there really weren’t any with trinkets they were looking for. So we deep cleaned and organized the RV instead and just hung out while we waited. The kids got out and played on the grass and played babies with Quinn, not concerned with anything else in this world. (I can still remember where we stored specific things in the RV, and the tricks we used to make everything fit, unofficially.)
Not too long after we got back, Dallas Makin and I got a call from James. He was out in the middle of nowhere, had abandoned the race course because of the intense climbing, and was in need of nutrition. He had randomly found a couple of dudes, that recognized him, and were with him. They decided that they would rather spend their day with the Iron Cowboy, rather than doing their event. He dropped us a pin, and he rode back and forth until we got there. Because it was way out there, it took 40 min or so. Dallas gave him some TLC when we found him, we filled him up, and then we stashed some goods for later, for whenever he needed them.
As we drove up and down, up and down, up and down, to get back to the RV, our stomachs began to rumble. It was lunch time, and we knew the kids too would be hungry by the time we got back. We went across the street to get a table, knowing we would need a lot of seats! It was an Italian place, and I couldn’t wait to eat some red sauce Italian food! Yum! Brittany soon finished and met us over there. The film guys had also chosen that restaurant to eat, so we joined tables. We just visited and enjoyed hanging out. Parkins was roaming around, no clue what he was doing, but he had already eaten, so he stopped in to say hi. The Wingmen finally found us and told their story for the day. For example, starting several minutes after the start. Or, how Casey sang as they swam, keeping his head above water. They never disappoint anyone with their adventures!
After a nice lunch, we went back across the street to the RV and I turned to Wingmen, “Have you seen the septic hose? I couldn’t find it, and I had to spend $30 to buy a new one.” “Oh yeah, it’s right here, we moved it. Someone told us that it was supposed to go in this spot, so we moved it.” I responded with a smirk, “Well, now we have 2…just in case…”
The afternoon had moved quickly before our eyes. James would soon be transitioning for the run. Casey and Aaron plotted strategically, to surprise James with something to remember…something they like to call “Ass-less Chaps.” What they didn’t realize, is that all chaps don’t have a bum cover. This made it even funnier every time they called them “ass-less chaps.” We went to the park, right by the RV (best parking spot ever!) and the girls set up the shirt table. People starting coming in for the 5k and the night was so nice.
There was part of this run that was on the run course, but not really part of the race. The awesome people with the race series HITS were aware of our plan. The have been SO AWESOME to work with since we became friends back in 2012 for James’ world record. I mean, these guys are the best! The 5k was awesome, and the Wingmen chaffed their inner thighs as they proudly wore their “ass-less chaps” through the whole thing!
When the 5k and photos were done, James was back out on the run. All of us peeps were hanging around the RV. “We should eat together!” We grabbed food from a pub for the kids, they wanted BLT’s for their ‘party’ in the RV. The adults went to a sushi place, that happened to be right in front of the RV (we were downtown in front of a bunch of shops, mostly restaurants), so we all piled into the sushi shop. I could see the hesitation on the employee’s faces, even though the restaurant was completely empty.
This night at sushi was one of the most precious memories that we all have from the 50. The only thing missing was the Iron Cowboy himself. Our film guys for this part of the journey were Sean and Jared Cook, two of the coolest dudes ever! Having them out there seriously made the 50/50/50 more fun! They joined us for dinner, and we were all together. It was seriously awesome! Our sushi came out on a large ship, something you would see on Mulan. We sat there, laughed, ate, and enjoyed the fact that time had stood still for the first time in 35 days. The kids were happy, James was taken care of, and life just stood still as we humbly enjoyed this evening. It was incredible, and I will remember it forever.
We got sushi for James, “What do you have that isn’t spicy?” Well, that was an epic fail! He doesn’t do ANY spice and we ended up with sushi that was too spicy, oops! His day was rough…he ended up with a bit of climbing, even though he tried to avoid it. He was tired, and his mind left reality as quickly as we would allow it. Dallas worked on him, knowing that he was headed back to Utah in just one more day.
The next day we were contacted by our friend/coach David Warden. “Casey has been reported for doping to USADA! Because he had the saline IV before the race, he is temporarily banned from racing. You too James, could be in big trouble!” And so it began…