Thursday, September 15, 2011

New York & The TeamRWB Sept 11,2011 Memorial Run.

The drive to NYC from Boulder CO was fraught with danger,really.People in cages trying to kill me,run me aground.
The 2,300 miles from the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover UT to NYC took a wee bit longer than anticipated due to a massive storm front on the east coast.PA was getting hammered,upstate NY flooded out.But before I got to NYC ,the drivers in Indiana and Ohio were doing their best to run me off the road,not because they wanted to(although at times I wondered),but because they just weren't paying attention.The complacency that seems to take over people's senses while driving in a car is just astounding.The false sense of security that driving in their cage gives them while they text,check email,eat,check email AND eat,and their total disregard for the lack of protection that motorcyclists have is scary,really really scary.Motorcyclists are a dying breed,thanks in part to the myriad of distractions that car drivers are getting into while they are supposed to be paying attention to driving the damn car.


I've been a motorcyclist since I was 12,my first bike was a Bultaco 250 Pursang,a trials/enduro bike on which I learned and mastered the necessary skills of motorcycling.Most of my teenage motorcycling was off-road,an ISDE,a season as a sidecar monkey,and 1 or 2  Enduros a month back in Ireland,England and Scotland gave me a love of motorcycling and a knowledge of how to ride and control a motorcycle on and off road.Fortunatly,this is a big reason i'm alive today,I learned the necessary skills early on to do battle on the roads today,especially as I headed east into the battleground of NYC,which in reality is a great place to drive,if you know how.

I had to drive late into the evenings to try to make up time,the bad weather and distracted drivers didn't help.
No pictures either,I didn't stop to take out the camera to get a few images of a rainstorm.Suffice it to say,crappy and dangerous motorcycling weather.

Interestingly enough,in the nearly 2 years i've been on the road,i've only encountered about 3 bad rainstorms,this one being #3.
#2 was last year coming across Oklahoma on I-40 near the Texas border,a rain storm that as I continued riding west turned to hail in a matter of minutes that pelted the hell out of me,I actually thought it was going to crack the windshield.
The first one was when I  left Fl early last year,up around Ocala somewhere,a torrential downpour that came and went within a 20 minute period.
Other than that,I seem to have been lucky enough to have eluded most of the precipitation that I see on the weather reports,Luck 'O the Irish I guess,given the milage and distance I cover.

So I made it to NYC safely and thanks to a long time friend,Donna Distefano,who is now a famous jewelry designer here in New York City,am staying in a wonderful studio apartment on 20th & 7th in Chelsea.It's a perfect location for me to be in,Chelsea Piers and the West Side Hwy a few blocks away with it's fabulous sunsets.
It really feels great to be back in the city again,it only took me a day to get back in the swing of things here,and except for all the Bloomburg cleansing and re-gentrification of places like Alphabet City,I feel like I just got back here after a long vacation.

Looking north over the top of Union Square.

I'm still editing the pictures of the TeamRWB Memorial Run from Westpoint Cemetery to Liberty State Park in Jersey City,NJ,but I have some done that are already up on my Facebook page,alternatively,you can go to the TeamRWB Facebook Page and see more images there.

Having arrived at the Erwin home in Westpoint on Saturday night,Sept 10th,I got to witness an Ultra Run first hand and follow it most of the way.
The first part of the run from Westpoint Cemetery to Liberty State park in Jersey City NJ,a distance of approximatly 58 miles,started around 8pm with a stop at Empire Hook and Ladder Fire Station in Nyack,NY,the 26 mile mark,at around 1:30am,Sunday morning.

The group of eight stopped at Empire Hook and Ladder No.1 to pay respects to Welles Crowther,who lost his life in the Twin Towers on 9-11 while saving lives in the line of duty.
The group left their prayers,thoughts,memories and their red TeamRWB bandanas that they wore from Westpoint,now wet with the sweat of their run.A touching tribute to Welles,and only about halfway to Liberty State Park.At this point I left the group and headed down to Liberty State Park to await their arrival.I had intended to crash camp in the park for a few hours,but given the fact that it was 9-11,I figured that park Rangers would be out in full force that night making sure there were no unexpected surprises the next morning at any of the "Families and Victims" ceremonies taking place.So I rode back in to NYC to the apt on 20th and managed to get 3 hrs sleep until I got up at 5am and headed back out to meet the group at the park.

This was 7:45am,Mike Erwin takes stock of the damage,his heavily blistered feet,with the knowledge that he still had a full day,another 9 hours of running left to do.Remember,this is after running TWO full Marathons and a few more miles.
Serious respect for this group.

Ready to run for the rest of the day with smiles on their faces.

No one who ran that evening or the next day had to do it,they just wanted to,in their own way,show that they cared.All the teams that showed up on September 11th,2011 at Liberty State Park in support of TeamRWB and those who lost their lives on the same day 10 years ago are some of the most selfless people I met.
It's very difficult to put into words how much respect I have for all of these people.Having followed most of it on my motorcycle,not engaging in any running,most of the people I met all thanked me for being there and photographing the event.Thanked ME??
These were the people who ran all night and all the next day,not me,but here they were thanking ME?.

There were a few Special Forces guys there who ran WITH full gear on,like a 40lb pack and fatigues,and as I was leaving I passed one of the guys in his truck and he rolls down the window,waves to me and shouts "Thanks very much Murph for photographing the event".
These are very big people in my book.

Thank you guys,thank you very much.



zagbag said...

Awesome! Thanks for capturing some of these special moments Murph. Hit me up if you ever make it back to Austin TX. Peace, Steven

Charlie6 said...

great writeup Murph!


Josh Kennedy said...

Heck Murph, I'll thank you plenty of times before it's over. Great having you with us for the first 25mi, marvelous to have your professional skills to capture the some of the essence of the event. If you sail down to N. Alabama, be sure to give me a ring. Plenty of great riding around here.

WhereThe HellisMurph said...

Josh,thanks brother,great to be there.You guys all rock !!!!.
I'll be in Alabama on the way to Fl in a few weeks.Drop me an email with your info,love to stop by and say hi.