I, much like most people on the spectrum, don't like change. Coming off my favorite week of the year at the Supernats is always a rough experience. I mean, not to take away from anything else I do all year, but when an event is so intense for five days and takes every ounce of energy and concentration that I have, well, the event certainly sets itself apart.
However, it is over and when I got up and headed to the elevator it began to hit me that it was over. At this point I wanted to avoid any reminder of what was. My goal was to get to the taxi without seeing or feeling anything, but still in the lobby were many karters and crews with their various team attire.
In the taxi, as seems to happen every year, the cab driver asks, "what brought you out to Vegas?" and I can never lie and give a non-answer so I always talk about the race, what I do, and how I can't wait until next year.
At the airport, as I sat with my laptop writing, I saw many winners walk by me with their trophies. The event is international with over 20 countries represented so it is no surprise to see so many people in the airport. Each person I saw I smiled on the inside because I knew exactly how hard they had to work to win that and what it represented and yet no one knows who I am or what I do there (except for the TSA agents that once again inquired about my flags. It works great when the checkered flag comes out first, but yesterday the black flag with white X came out first and that got a strange look as if the flag represented some sort of anarchist movement (it doesn't, NASCAR and Indycar use it as a stronger version of the black i.e. run all you want but you are no longer getting credit for the laps you are doing, and I've introduced it at the USAC .25 races as the 3 strikes flag). Anyway, seeing people at the airport too is a saddening experience because this is just further proof that the event is over as everyone is heading home back home.
The spectacle that is the Supernats is amazing. From the temporary track to the jammed pits with karts everywhere is amazing and that's how I want to remember it; full of life. Slowly though each Monday after Super Sunday the life is seeped away. The trailers leave, the drivers leave, and eventually it will become a barren parking lot that is primarily used during the World Series of Poker.
Eventually it was time for my plane to leave and my seat was on the right and as we took off I could see the Rio and the back parking lot. The gigantic trailers and tents were gone and the only barriers left on the track appeared to be the main straight that I am stationed on. I'm sure now the only remnants that there ever was a kart track there is the rubber on the road (If you have Google Earth you can actually see rubber on the road from previous years!).
So now, the marvelous spectacle that was is gone. It hurt to see the lot I saw just 20 hours previous to that be full of life and spirit be reduced to simply a parking lot. Of course, that is what it is, but to me it is more. Each year I feel like, no, I know I grow as a person at that event. To me it isn't a parking lot but the site of the hardest, yet best five days of the year. While I will be counting down the days until November 2012 rolls around that lot will remain lifeless. Cars will come and cars will go, perhaps a semi will park in it, but it won't have the smell of engine exhaust in the air, the sound of "Book it!" won't be echoing around the PA system (karters will get that reference) and there won't be any international attention to it. After all, for 51 weeks of the year it is just a parking lot, but 50 weeks from now or so, well, the magic will happen again and the people will come from Europe, Australia, South America, and everywhere else to take part in the most fantastic karting event in the world and that lot will go back to the state that I remember it.