It has become a small tradition that many of the teams stop in Cleveland at a local brew pub to have a pint and snacks before driving the remaining 250 miles to South Bend. This year is no exception, but for I will not be going on to South Bend. I am very disappointed in not being able to finish and the feeling that I am abandoning my co-driver is overwhelming. We have made a great team and have had way to many laughs. It won't be the same for either of us after I depart for home a day early. Why you ask? I am attending the wedding of a good friend in Richmond, VA on Saturday and I do not want to miss it.
After a beer or two, the teams start departing for South Bend. In lieu of Brian driving me to the airport where I have a rental car waiting I call a cab. This will get Brian and the M Coupe carrying Woody and Neil on the road to Indiana sooner. The outright win will rest entirely in Brian's hands and his expertise at the dry skid pad on Saturday morning.
I arrive at the airport Hertz rental depot and pick up my car from the Gold Level aisle. It is a lovely Toyota Camry. I am on the road by 5:15 with a 6 hour drive ahead of me. I have told Suze that if I get too tired I will pull over to sleep. If I muscle through, I should be home by 11:00 or so.
As predicted, it is a lonely drive without Brian and the sadness of departing the other teams and the sense of accomplishment in finishing weighs heavy. There is always next year though!!!!