A dear friend of ours has passed away well before his time. Today, we would like to honor & remember the machine who has gotten us this far.
There was this old gray truck we had. Not old in years but certainly in soul. From day one it was put to work carrying an entire event in its bed. Providing as much as he could, which was always enough.
Gray was purchase one for Pangea Adventure Racing and he hustled straight out of the gate knowing he was born to work.
His skin soon showed scratches. Dents were to follow. Gray's aesthetic beauty grew with each blemish because this F-250 was more than a truck. Gray was a living emblem of this company. He was our symbolic aura and a consistent companion that the racers could bank on seeing when they arrived for adventure.
The sad news is that Gray is gone. Essentially terminal. Taken apart into a thousand pieces.
From his inception at the 2007 Turkey Burn
until his final days after the 2012 Sunshine Sea 2 Sea
had evolved with the company. He saw and provided all it took for a company to continually do more and accomplish great things.
The Sea 2 Sea was symbolic. For the racers, it was about showing off the potential and intensity of the human spirit. Powering themselves over a great distance without the help of modern-day machines. For Gray, he remained the wingman to their success guiding the fleet of steel and bolts that truly enabled them to prove it. He was not the foe. He was the ultimate ally.
Like a reverse John Henry, all the people survived. Symbolically, the first human powered team did indeed cross the finish line before Gray could arrive. And as the race continued on, he was still working until the last human powered team came through.
And he continued to work in the following days hauling, retrieving, and doing whatever else it took to put a cap on that great event. He didn't get a day off to recover; a day to sleep and tend to his wounds. It was back to work. Hoisting jacks and laying tracks like usual.
On the second day following the event, late that night, Gray laid down and died. On the way back home, on the side of the road, he laid down and died nearly ten miles from Home TA.
Catastrophic engine failure. His heart gave out.
Sitting bedside, looking at a friend taken apart and exposed, I realized that I couldn't tell you the difference between a heart and an engine. Between a lung and an air filter. Between a container of rich red blood or rich black oil. And I know I couldn't tell you how to fix any of those things either.
I can only tell you that the same stages of loss and grief are present.
And when it's time for acceptance, it is time to celebrate. Celebrate how far Pangea has come on the strength of Gray's chassis. From the winners popping champagne corks from his bed in 2007...to the children who proudly cheered all the finshers from it in 2012...Gray has rolled with our ever changing vision of what an adventure racing community should be.
Like a chain of friends across this state (and beyond), link to link we have bonded together under the flag of adventure. And this whole time Gray was the proverbial force that hauled us all to where we needed to be.
It's really not even necessary to personify this pile of steel because it inherently had so much character to begin with. But truthfully, a man ain't nothin but a man the same way a truck ain't nothin but a truck.
And while it is easy to think of Gray as old John Henry in this tale, he was actually the trusty hammer that Henry wielded with such effectiveness. Hoisting jacks and laying tracks in our attempt to unite people.
This loss has taken more than a bit of vinegar out of Pangea...but our heart still beats and we must move forward. Our work is surely not even close to being done.
So as one door closes and another one opens, we are confident that Pangea will find a way to move on and continue to link this world back together one racer at a time...one volunteer at a time..one family member at a time.
But I can't help but think that it will take a while for me not to turn my head at the sound of a humming diesel. Off in the distance somewhere, an unheralded friend working away with no complaints from either of us. Fighting and uniting as the first and best tool we'll ever have.
-Pangea Adventue Racing