Ragnar del Sol 2011 – February 25-26

Ragnar del Sol is a 197 mile relay race around Phoenix, Arizona. Twelve person teams, split between two vans run for almost 36 hours straight. It is a grueling race, time is spent running, resting, and eating. Somewhere, there is also some time for sleep, but not much.

For the first time, I was proud to help out my company’s team by driving one of the vans. My van was the second one out which was definitely a double edged sword. On one hand, we did not start until the afternoon on February 25 so we were able to sleep in somewhat. Unfortunately, being in van two also meant we finished at the finish line instead of earlier like our first van.

It was definitely an amazing experience. While we were waiting for our second to last runner to arrive so our last leg would begin, one of my teammates remarked how it felt like we had been together for weeks. Things that had happened just 14 hours prior seemed like days ago.

Yes, there were costumes.

It didn’t help that our van smelled like it had been lived in for weeks as well. I definitely want to drive again, I’m just going to make sure of some changes to help out like bringing bins or something for dirty laundry. I’m also going to make sure to pack a little differently to save on some space. I’m definitely going to use a different telephoto lens.

I had received a gift certificate to BorrowLenses and I finally used it this past weekend. Unfortunately, I should have chosen a slightly different lens. I picked the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L. I was torn between that one or the Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS. It was between those two because the gift certificate was for $100 and I wanted to be close to or under that. While I liked the f/2.8, I really would have benefited with the IS of the f/4. I had never used such a heavy lens and so I think part of the reason my photos weren’t as sharp as they could have been was because of that weight. The other thing I could have done (and probably should have done) was pay the little bit out of pocked and get the f/2.8 IS for the best of both worlds. Next year, if I don’t own one by then, I will definitely be renting either the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS or the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II. There were a couple of times that I wished I had a longer focal length, but I would rather have the wide aperture.

I am in awe of my teammates, especially the ones I rode with. We all supported each other and, through the weekend, I saw attitudes change. One runner went from (half-seriously) trying to give away each of her legs to saying she wants to run it again. Even I was nervous about being out there with them. I had no idea what was in store for me but by the end of the weekend, I was ready to commit to helping next year.

Even though I know it will be another tiring weekend of being in the cold, lacking sleep, and being in the cold, I’m ready to help again because it was just an excellent experience that I cannot wait to have again.


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