It’s 4 a.m. and you’re wide awake.
It’s Day 3 of competition, but you’re not fishing. You’re going home.
As you lie there — half-listening to the Weather Channel — you watch as your roommate prepares for the day ahead. He made the cut, and he’ll be fishing. And though you’re happy for him, it’s salt to the wound.
As he exits the room, you wish him luck, then lie there with a sick, hollow feeling. An emptiness you’ll carry for days.
By 9 a.m., you’ve packed your gear and made a trip to the hotel breakfast bar. The options include boxed eggs and something they’re calling meat. You pass, opting for a bowl of cereal and some fruit.
After that, you check out, carry your gear to the truck, then gather your extension cord and orange safety cones. It’s time to head to the Expo.
When you arrive, there’s already a small crowd perusing various exhibits adjacent to the weigh-in stage. Among them are Shimano, Power-Pole and Mercury — sponsors whose tents you’ll work for the next few hours.
Flanking the stage are massive JumboTron screens, airing live coverage of the leaders, who are well into their morning of competition. More salt to the wound.