Up to this point it had felt like us and Asheville were the only two teams in the race! We had started an hour and a half after the previous starters and hours behind the other 100 plus teams that were competing. As we pulled into exchange zone 10/11, however, we came across the first few of all other vans that we would pass. I bumped into fellow blogger Dave and his team and we exchanged tales of the race so far. Their team seemed genuinely interested in how the race was panning out between us and Asheville and it appeared that word had got around that there was a highly competitive duel going on at the ‘back’ of the race. As it was just getting dark now it was time to get out the reflective vests and headlamps and start getting ready for the night ahead.
Legs 11 and 12 did not disappoint as the 4 speedsters got to work and laid their respective markers down. By the time Rocky Falcone handed over to Richard at the Tangier Outlet in Blowing Rock and Van 1 set off for its second shift, less than a minute separated the teams, CRC with the slight advantage. By now of course everyone had run and we could start to get a feel for how the race may develope further down the line. It was clear that both teams were definitely pretty evenly matched. Our Van 1 had edged Asheville’s but mainly due to the problems they had encountered on leg 3. If Daniel was sufficiently recovered for the rest of the race that would clearly make a significant difference to the outcome. With regard to Van 2, meanwhile, Asheville appeared to have the upper hand overall and their last four runners looked capable of doing significant damage given even a merest sniff of the lead.
A third of the race had been completed, honors even....
Josh finishing off Leg 11
Rocky sets off towards Blowing Rock. Jubbs, Asheville's potent closer, lurking menacingly in the background
The sun sets on rotation 1 of the competition