How can it be said any more enthusiastically…?
I was finally able to set foot on the Circuit of The Americas, 3.4 mile, 20 corners, 133 feet of elevation change track today! I participated, along with around 5000 (!) other runners/race fans from the Austin, Texas area, in CoTA’s first race, albeit human-powered: the Inaugural 2012 Formula Run.
Yesterday I got up extra early & left my home to travel 90 miles to reach CoTA. But, upon almost arriving, I was faced with a traffic jam that Elroy, TX has NEVER seen the likes of! It took me about 20 minutes to creep the last 2 miles of my trip down highway FM812, to reach Circuit of The Americas Boulevard. Once onsite, I was able to get my run registration pack (my T-shirt & racing ID #).
An unseasonably rare occurrence of thick early morning fog had slowed everything down. That was the explanation for the traffic & subsequent starting delay to the 5K run. Standing among the mass of humanity on the front straight, one could barely see the signature Turn 1, up in the mist… (Click on all theses pix to enlarge; you’ll better enjoy their full scope!)
I was able to reach a few fellow race fans by phone, at the track, but there were too many people gathered there to actually find them. I finally did meet up with SAF1C fan James Street. He was a great walking companion to enjoy exploring the circuit with. His wife Susan was able to witness me being there with her camera.
The race started about 8:35am & I never saw such a unified mass movement of humankind – over 5000 people starting a 5K run/walk, making racing history at CoTA.
After almost 2 years of reading peoples’ impressions, seeing track construction progress picture taken, reviewing the variety of uploaded video snippets & even trying some of the track racing simulations; none of these were sufficient to prepare me for the actual surreal experience of seeing/feeling the extreme rise, fall & dramatic flow of the specially prepared CoTA asphalt surface & track direction. Turn 1 is SUCH a dramatic rise & direction change! And then, it’s almost 180 degree hairpin transformation has it fall back down the hill to challenge future drivers in a series of curves, switchbacks & chicanes.
CoTA has 2 sections of turns sections that are not unlike those of Silverstone & Hockenheim. Actually being there, on the track, was the culmination of all my anticipation. Words will continue to escape me as to the drama this track provides, even while just strolling on it.
So, I will stop the blathering & show you some of the break-taking CoTA track images I was able to capture, as it emerged from the unexpected fog banks…
Racing Ready was SO very pleased to be a part of CoTA’s initial history, this weekend. All the participants’ comments I overheard were very positive (except for the traffic jam, of course). I’m sure there were some lessons learned this morning & some traffic movement protocols are being considered for modification & hopeful improvement this coming week.