We have been told that seeing the race more than once is difficult to impossible. At best, we are told, we may see the race two to three times. We do not have an arsenal of digital cameras equipped with long-to-pornographically-long lenses swinging from our necks, nor are we wearing vests and carrying helmets, thus we do not look the part.

The race “office” is basically two folding tables end-to-end behind which are a number of cardboard boxes, stacks of laminated cards, color-coded stickers in various sizes, and a gorgeous young woman wearing leopard skin tights and a slinky designer boat-neck top. She speaks English well enough for us to understand immediately and unequivocally just how ridiculous our slapdash request for passes is. For the next hour we stay rooted (fixed and pressing) to our spot on floor and adopt a necessarily oblique, circuitous and strategically disorganized manner of argument and case making. We basically stonewall and lie and smile and do everything possible to not not-get passes. And we do, more or less.