The Great Race, Stage 7: Classic rally evokes full range of emotions

It’s hard to believe that a whole week has already passed since we started the journey of playing this fun “car guy’s game.” It has been an incredible experience so far and I’m sure the last two days are going to be just as wonderful, if not even more thrilling, challenging and exciting.

Today was a good day overall – once again, the trustworthy International made it the entire day without a single problem. It’s quite impressive that she has held up to the long, and sometimes grueling, days of driving without a single issue (someone knock on wood for us).Throughout this entire trip, the only work I’ve done to her is given her one quart of oil, tightened up the steering gear box, checked the rear end grease, and consistently checked all of her fluids and tire pressures.

We drove from Buffalo, N.Y., to Warren, Ohio, today and a good portion of the drive was through the Allegheny National Forest. It was a gorgeous drive, but definitely required my full attention to driving and Kacy’s full attention to navigating. The roads were winding and very hilly, so keeping the International at a consistent speed was quite challenging. I’ve learned that I should have brought a pair of driving gloves – I think this is the first time in my life that I have experienced the palms of my hands being bruised. At most points, it takes full strength to steer the pickup, especially on curvy roads at any more than about 35 mph.

As Jonathan mentioned in his recent post, there are a ton of emotions in participating in an event like The Great Race that range from total excitement and adrenaline to complete exhaustion, frustration and bewilderment. Today was one of those days when I experienced the full range. But the good news is we finished the day, learned several lessons and are ready to hit the road again tomorrow.
I will go into more details in a later posting about what I have come to realize is a typical range of emotions for an endurance race of this sort. I even had one lady tell me a few days ago that when she agreed to do this race with her husband, her immediate goal was to finish without being divorced! But the great thing about it all is that pretty much every race team is experiencing the same thing as we are, and at the end of the day we put the day behind us and gear up for the next day.

As Jonathan also mentioned, for anyone thinking of doing The Great Race, I highly recommend you do it at least two years in a row because there is so much you learn in the first year that you absolutely cannot prepare for otherwise. Then when you come back a second time, so much more of it will make sense and come a lot more naturally – and without so much struggle or frustration.

Tomorrow starts the haul to the finish line on Sunday – I can’t believe it’s already here, but I am anxious to arrive in Dearborn and celebrate crossing that checkered flag with all the other racers and the many friends I’ve made along this journey!

Read next Up next: The Great Race, Stage 8: Keeping cool on the course

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