06 April 2011

2010 LCP: Day 7: Aguascalientes to Zacatecas (EL FIN)

Today we depart Aguascalientes for the last day!  Every year at the end of the first day of racing, I'm exhausted and I say, "I can't believe it is only Day 1."  Then the next thing I know the whole damned thing is over!

This is how you start the morning when you are Rene Rodriguez N. - piloto famoso.

The Greenwood Brothers - always smiling!

A speed stage opened and quickly closed up again.  Lots of machine gun guys, that seems to be normal this year.

Now we see the reason for the delay and all the security - one of the two cars belonging to the CEO of Televisa had skidded off the road.

The napping photos make us look like we had tons of time to spare - we did not.

Todd taking a rare nap after arriving a bit early for noon service.

While Todd napped I whipped out the camping stove and started to make BURRITOS!! 

The Gypsy Wind and the Bag O'Nails, nose to nose at noon service.

Ben Greenwood shows how to make lunch at La Carrera.

Thumbs up from Gerie!

Antonio from the TBZ crew.

Rene and Geezer snarf down my burritos.

Antonio, Bimbo and Hugo getting busy.

Geezer air kisses me in thanks for the lunch.

Yep.  No shame in that pose.  Get it while you can.

Dave Fuss, navigator extraordinaire.

The happy (and dirty) couple - still hoping our stomachs will settle down soon.

Brian Jacobsen - we would not have survived this year without him.  What a trooper.

Dave Fuss and Steve Lawrence leaving noon service.

A little mishap in a service vehicle - we can relate.

Wonderful LCP Staff - we thank you all!

A man in a candy necklace always does it for me.

Bob at the second service outside of Zacatecas.

Una Cosa AKA a VW Thing!

Can't go wrong with a shiny black badass Maverick.  It's probably a Grabber too.

LCP buddies, racing partners, mechanics, Minnesota boys......old friends Todd and Dave.
Thierry & Eric, before the last speed stage of the 2010 LCP.  Photo courtesy of Brian Jacobsen.

Joyous rookie finishers, Ben & John Greenwood.  !Viva familia Greenwood!

Last minute tweaks for Gerie as he gets ready to run La Bufa for the last time in 2010.

Peace bro

There go my boys!

Brian, Todd and Dave on La Bufa, waiting for the race cars.
A cowboy either watching the race or waiting to cross the street.

I included this picture though it is hard to see the #354 white Mustang coupe on the left.  He was going about 4 mph and sounded terrible.  The reason I include the picture is not to point out that this is the same guy that stuck his trophy in my face and arrogantly told me he was in the FAST MOOSTANG at the end of Day 2.  I've already said earlier in the blog that if you run LCP long enough, or even just once, or even for one day, you will end up broken down, on the side of the road, on a trailer, or out for a day for repairs.  But when the FAST MOOSTANG literally putted by us on La Bufa I could not resist walking alongside him as he went by.  He finished 16th overall in Historic C.


El Jefe sounded and looked awesome!!!  !Viva Zacatecas!  Go Rene!

Rene's parents.

After we watched most of the racers head up La Bufa we returned to TumbaBurros de Zacatecas, Geezer's shop to regroup.  I made my annual visit to Rene's parent's house, which is just a few doors down from TBZ.  Sarah and I ran down there and knocked on the door.  It took Rene's dad a minute to figure out what the hell a road weary blonde and a sassy redhead were doing standing on his front step, and then broke out a big smile.  I have a hard time making my Spanish clear enough to understand so my visit is mostly full of smiles and hugs.  They are such dear, dear, people.  One of the hardest parts about La Carrera is not having time to slow down, to stop and to make time to connect with people like Rene's parents.  I told them I loved Rene and that he is a famous Mexican race car driver and when I saw the photo of them as a young couple on the wall, I commented on how much Rene looks like his father.

Rene's dear parents in Guadalupe.
After getting the trucks and trailers situated at TBZ, about 11 of us hopped into taxis and headed to our hotel in downtown Zacatecas, about 15 minutes away. By now all the race cars should be finished and partying!

A beautiful Dia De Los Muertos shrine at our hotel.

Linda Robertson goes gaga over TODD LANDON, as usual.  She loves to exclaim, "IS THAT TODD LANDON??" every time she sees him.  Makes me laugh every time.
The view of our beautiful hotel courtyard out our window.

Sarah and I headed downtown and the Cathedral for the festivities. 

I bumped into my Zacatecas stepsister, Claudia, and her son, Bernie along the way!  So nice to see her!
Rene with a very succesful 2010 LCP finish!  This was the first year that Team TBZ did not rotate drivers/navigators.  Rene drove the entire time with Geezer navigating - one for the record books!

John Greenwood with a stellar rookie finish in the Gypsy Wind with big brother, Ben.

Ben is always mackin on the hot chicks!

Geezer working the crowd.  Photo courtesy of Michael Emery, Lucha Libre Racing.
I actually missed seeing Geezer and Rene and the TBZ crew downtown - I guess they didn't stay too long.  I was sad not to celebrate with them.  Sarah and I hobnobbed and ran around and luckily I hadn't started drinking yet as my stomach was still giving me fits, because Dave Fuss found me and asked me if I could drive the Gypsy Wind back to the TBZ shop.  We were having trouble coordinating getting the cars out of downtown; it is always a crowded cluster down there.  I was stoked to get to drive!  Dave and I jumped in the GW and snuck out of the party area.  He asked if I knew how to get out of downtown...."Sure!" 

I figured if I pointed it the right way from where we were and kept heading downhill and to the left, we'd be okay.  We got lucky and ended up on the ramp to the highway straightaway.  I drove the GW quite a bit last summer in Colorado so she is comfortable to me and I was enjoying the drive after spending 8 days watching other people get to race.  But after my quick success getting us out of downtown I missed the turn to the shop, which is a really difficult one, and we spent an extra 15 minutes getting to the shop, which we could see but not get too.  Luckily we were both in good spirits and though it was getting dark, it was all good!  And I enjoyed the time with Dave now that the pressure of the race is done.

The TBZ shop full of race cars - Geezer loves it that way!
Once again I got in a taxi to head back downtown in the hopes of making it to the donkey walk on time.  My stomach was still jacked and I hadn't eaten properly in 3 days but the walk is not to be missed. 
A beautiful shot of the BON back at the hotel.

And the donkey walk begins.  I wasn't going to drink but then I decided that maybe a little tequila in me would kill whatever bug was in my stomach - it was worth a shot!
Pictures from the donkey walk are always jacked!!!

Ben, John and Dave firing up the first shots of tequila!

Jake!  What are you doing to Sarah?????

The beautiful party setup at the Quinta Real, a 400 year old bullring turned five star hotel in Zacatecas where the final awards ceremony was held.
The donkey walk ends up at the bullring, and like most of the logistics this year, it was a cluster inside.  It was pretty chilly outside so it was nice to be inside where it was warm, but we were also packed in like farm animals, in line to get into the bullring, we guessed.  It was rowdy and festive and everyone was happy.  As we got closer to entering we heard that they actually had a guest list and each driver and copilot could bring in a "date" and a certain number of crew people.  So we started pairing up right away and joking about who was dating who.  No one cared so long as we all got in.


I love the grumpy Geezer look here - I think he's hungry!  :)

I love the Original PanAm racers - they are all winners!

Eric and Fuss.

Eric on the podium representing Thierry and the BON, a 1st place finish on Day 7!  A consolation for all the missing and screwed up finishing times, I guess.

This was not for fun - it was FREEZING and the ceremony was going on forever.  We were lucky enough to join the table of crazy Canadians.

Ahhh...the morning after!  The race is over but there's no stopping yet.  We've got to get back to the shop, rustle up the gear, trucks, trailers, say goodbye, and get on the long road to make it to Laredo, Texas, tonight.

We found Sarah and said goodbye.  Geezer was going to drop her off at the bus station later today, where she'd catch a bus to Aguascalientes, stay in a hotel overnight and then taxi to the airport early in the morning to fly to Denver.  The girl is made for adventure.  It was a quick goodbye as I knew I'd see her in a few days in Denver before she returned to her home in Brisbane, Australia.

One last Mexican joyride - Todd and Kristin drive the BON back to TBZ before putting her on the trailer for the long ride home.

La Carrera was over yesterday and there are still LCP Porsches broken down on the road - seriously!

Geezer's office at TBZ with all the racing memorabilia.  It's his happy place.
Todd grabs his new father-in-law and pops open champagne to celebrate a another successful Mustangs To Go and TBZ finish.

Priceless times with my dad.
A pensive Gerie.

Rene's 1952 Chevy - it's a secret, but he's a Chevy guy!

What a long strange trip it's been.......

Another amazing crew:  Todd, Geezer, K, Brian, Dave.
Brian and Dave napping on the way home.

I'll be brief about the trip home.  We did not get an early enough start out of Zacatecas and we had wheel bearing trouble in the trailer just outside of Monterrey.  We took the BON out of the enclosed trailer, removed the trailer wheel, Todd started driving the BON and we got rolling again.  The fix was quick but it put us even further behind and it was dark as we hit a bad traffic jam on the tollway loop around Monterrey.  Monterrey makes me nervous.  Our options were to drive about 8 miles east into the heart of Monterrey to find a hotel near the airport, or keep going towards Nuevo Laredo and make the border.  Neither was a good choice.  We chose to keep going.  We hit a few road blocks and police/army checkpoints but luckily we were passed through.  I don't remember what time we hit the border but it was close to midnight. 

As we made the border and crossed into Laredo, TX, it was Friday night, two days before Halloween, and spooky backyard parties were in full swing just a block from the border.  We found our hotel a few miles up I35 and literally crashed.  I don't always realize the stress and tension I'm holding in during the race until I get back on U.S. soil and let down a bit.  I was very grateful to be home!

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