Report from the Mile 20.5 SAG Van

MM 20.5 runners

MM 20.5 runners

My day started really early because I needed to escore the XYL, Pat AD5BR, to her timer clock location at Mile Marker 1 on Broadway near Jones, and then deliver a 2nd clock down in front of the Alamo at Mile Marker 2 for Don W5DK.

Having that amber light bar running on a large white van, labeled clearly as a SAG Van, with all the appropriate “All Access” passes in the windshield, plus a friendly smile and a good story, made it much easier for the wife and I to get our two vehicles past the barricades which were up prior to 6am that morning.  Remember this was the starting end of the race course, so they started barricading earlier.

I set up Pat’s timer clock on the tripod at MM1, then zipped down Broadway and drove the wrong way down Alamo until I reached the Alamo.   (Police officer said to go that way.)  I set up the MM2 Timer on the tripod, with no Don W5DK in sight, but there was a cross walk alert that kept reminding me I had 15 seconds to cross, over and over and over again while I was there.   Hope Don didn’t go deaf from listening to it all morning.

I left MM2 and continued the wrong way down south toward Market Street, surprising a PD officer who didn’t expect a huge white van with blinky lights to sneak up behind him.  They moved the barricades and let me out into normal traffic.  I zipped down to Durango Street, and turned toward the Dome, finding water stations set up in the street in front of the Federal Building on both directions.  I hopped on the IH-37 south until I got to the West Southcross exit, and headed to my own assigned location.

SAG 20.5 N5NTG was here

SAG 20.5 N5NTG was here

Mile 20.5 is located at the intersection of Padre Drive and VFW Blvd, which is no where near Padre Island.  This area is in a blocked location, where the course comes down south on one side (Mission Pkwy), loops down south of Military and even Loop 410, before returning north to our location.   Roosevelt is blocked both directions north and south of us, and Southcross is blocked heading west from Roosevelt, but open east back to South Presa or IH-37.

This was the 2nd year that I’ve worked the SAG van for this location, so I sort of already knew what would or would not happen regarding traffic flow.  I was able to brief the local PD officers assigned to the nearby intersections, so they would be ready when cars started dodging around barricades, cutting thru the  back streets, etc.   We’ve got one apartment parking lot that only exits onto the course on VFW Blvd, only one way in or out for those residents.  So we had to set up traffic cones to allow them one lane of traffic away from the runners, for that purpose.  But then the spectators sat on the curb, blocking the road when cars came in/out of the complex, so we had to keep yelling “watch out” to protect their toes from being run over.  Traffic went a lot smoother this year than last.

One really strange thing happened, however, somebody stole our break point.  Actually, they set up the break point at mm 20.5 instead of mm 20.  Oops!  And when someone noticed it was missing, they sent two UPS trucks (the brown delivery vans) down the course complete with uniformed UPS drivers.  The volunteers quickly dismantled all the tables and supplies, loaded up the two UPS trucks, jumped on the back of the trucks plus a borrowed police officer’s 4×4 truck, and disappeared down the street. Only took about 10 minutes to totally clean up and move out.  Talk about quick service from UPS, and at 7:00 am on a Sunday Morning?   Wonder if they had bar codes on the tables for billing purposes?  Sorry, didn’t get my camera rolling in time, they were that fast.

Here are some photos from this location, plus further down the course.


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