Thursday, October 30, 2008
Where It Ends Is Really Where It All Begins
I remember all the excitement of the final hours in Nuevo Laredo prior to all the teams leaving all the fanfare of hundreds of thousands of fans all of who were trying to meet the teams and see the cars... Make that "historical" cars because that's exactly what they are now as much so as the drivers are and rightfully so. Since 1950 pilotos from all over the world have come to try their luck and skill out on the Great Mexican Race and everyone that has now has written their names in the history of racing in what is in fact one of the most grueling races in history.
What you won't read about in many other places is how many of them are just this very moment realizing what they have done and how rewarding it all is. Don't forget that only hours ago they were in the height of battle with mortal enemies and now they are friends for life born into a racing fraternity unlike no other in the world and will share a camaraderie that will last each of them a life time. At this very moment several of them are thinking to themselves about how they look forward to someday telling their children or grandchildren about the time they raced in La Carrera Panamericana. The truth is, it's an emotional feeling and more times than not, overwhelming.
There are some of them now that are dead beat tired and just want to take a hot shower, lay down and relax partly because their bodies need to begin regaining strength and stamina which has been left on the last 2000 miles of highway throughout some of the most amazing places many of them have ever been. They won't even begin to recall the amazingly wonderful people they have met until the trip home as well as food, sites, close calls and more. Right now some of them are fast asleep in their hotel rooms, some are sick having enjoyed one too many cervezaa or too much uncooked vegetables something that will be a constant reminder for weeks to come. Some will go to someplace for a quite dinner where they can drink a toast to each other and say, "By God, we did it." Later tonight there will be the usual long wait as the awards celebration will be much too long and God forbid if it's held in the same place as it was last year. Don't get me wrong... it was an awesome place. Plenty of room, good lighting, nice atmosphere and so on. The only problem was after it was over and they said good night everyone walked outside only to realize there was no way to get back to our hotels. No taxis, a long ways from town and a lot of people. Thanks for coming, now you're on you're own.
Tonight will be one for a few new friends to say good bye knowing many of them will never see each other again. Almost seems unfair and yet they will both share the exact same dreams and memories for years to come. In the morning each of them will pack the trailers one last time before hitting the road to return to their families at which time reliving the La Carrera Panamericana will officially begin.