Friday, 18 September 2009

Day 13: Battle Mountain, NV

The usual crew of red-eyed zombies made its collective way out to the course in the pre-dawn gloom, did Stuffs and then hung around in the desert for a long time while qualibobs were run.  This, you see, is because we can in theory close the road for up to twenty minutes at a time from sunrise to 10:00 (as long as we don't hold up the school bus).  And the Stuffs includes such tasks as driving the full length of the course pausing at half mile intervals to drag the distance marker signs out of the brush and set them up at the roadside, where passing lorries can blow them over.

(Drains bottle of Negra Modelo)

Two riders on the short course today.  Greg would have broken his own record yet again had the wind been nice, but it wasn't.  Rob Hitchcock, who gets all sorts of odd e-mails about when his next record is coming out, when he's next going to be touring and so forth, put in a qualibobbing run in the ex-Matt Weaver camera bike the Kyle Edge.

Camera bike?  Instead of the rider viewing the oncoming scenery through a windscreen, s/he does so with the aid of a small video camera and display, which also means you can watch television at the same time.  Or something.  This is outdone in oddness by the lunatics who proceed down the course lying upon their back, head first and navigating with the aid of a mirror.  Ees crazy people, SeƱor!

Fewer riders on the full course this morning, not least because Fast Freddy and Turbo Tanya Markham had left for the giant InterBike show down the road in Lost Wages.  Jay Henry upped his game again by going over 60 mph; Greg had another run over the short course and this time did set a new mark at 41.5 mph.  I'm not supposed to tell anyone that a couple of the Cal Poly boys had a go, though, as they're not supposed to ride unless there's an ambulance on duty, oops...

Then back to town for a late breakfast.  In the afternoon, there was the IHPVA's AGM.  I have apparently been a member of this organisation for twelve years but as I have never paid a single cent for this privet hedge. I deemed it churlish to turn up and make sarky comments, so instead took the crappy Mustang out to play "Scandiwegian Rally Driver" up Mount Lewis.

This is the highest point in da 'hood, being about 9,600 feet big, or a smidge under 3,000 metres.  Battle Mountain itself is about half that.  And although the place is named for a skirmish which took place between settlers and Native Americans, it was later determined that the leader of the former made it up.

I returned to town in time to witness the Cal Poly boys apparently adapting the tail of Atlas to carry two dozen eggs, and Charlie Ollinger's masterclass in rubber band flicking.

Had I not been wearing sunglasses, he'd have had my eye out, the git.

Once more unto the course, for another evening spent largely talking bollocks in the middle of bugger all.  The first group of riders were wind-affected to a greater or lesser extent, and Jay contrived to crash again.  Relax, girls, he's OK.  Barbara was treating it as a rest day, hence only went 65.  From the second session, Sam did another pass at over 80 mph, Barclay did a 64 and the astonishing Greg made his fourth run of the day to move his record up to 42.3 mph.

Were I competent in the handling of my camera, I'd have had some lovely pictures of the second group passing the Badger Badger Badger Ranch Road some 750 metres before the measured 200, but as it was I got five lovely pictures of a completely empty road chiz.  On our return to town, the normally sugar- and caffeine-free Barclay started hyperventilating and twitching and generally not looking at all well.  This is clearly what happens when Jay, Barclay and Ben (the one who looks a bit like Art Garfunkel) are allowed out to play in the desert without parental supervision, and was nothing to do with Barclay partaking of The Sponsor's product, or at least not while The Sponsor's representative is within earshot.  Relax, girls, he's OK now.

Thought for the day: It has been determined that uttering the words "hold the bacon" immediately adds two dollars to the price of a dish, which explains the exorbitant cost of Paul Gracey's veggie pizza.  Battle Mountain is not a good place to be a vegetarian and when someone enquired about a low-fat diet upon teh Intarwebs a few weeks ago, the laughter could be heard from California to Slovenia.

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