Monday, 12 September 2011

Day 10: Battle Mountain, NV

The alarm goes off at 05:30.  Note to self: "sleep" is not the same as "snooze".  Fill myself with coffee and the motor-car with motor-spirit.  The Conoco station did not require a ZIP code to be entered into its pumps last year; now it does chiz.  And I've subsequently discovered that the Shell station at the other end of town is way cheaper.  Then out to the course for qualifying runs on the short 2.5 mile course.  Missing are the Avos Arrow (rider Greg Westlake not due to arrive in Reno until about the time of typing) and the Velociraptor (rider Steve Copeland still knackered from drive from West Virginia).  Things all go pretty smoothly, particularly since the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) have a much more laissez-faire approach this year.  Partly because Al'n'Alice are back in charge, but mostly because former boss man Randy Hesterlee and his moustache have been promoted.

Jan-Marcel goes up in the world...
 Tiffany Underwood, in the new Firefly, unshipped her chain on her first attempt, but qualified successfully on the second.  Not so fortunate was the Cygnus.  The bike uses a sprocket from a multi-speed cassette as its final drive cog at the wheel.  Such sprockets are carefully machined to aid gear changing and don't work well in this role.  Thus the chain kept coming off.  They are attacking the offending cog with a file and an angle grinder so they can refit it it the other way round, and also intend to confect a guard to help prevent the chain from going walkies again.

Todd Reichert ties himself in knots
Sam Whittingham in the Varna Tempest is the quickest, at 66.7 mph, from Sebastiaan Bowier ["Oh Christ, not another high-speed Seb" - Ed.] in Human Power Team Delft's machine, VeloX.  Wind speeds were too high for most runs to mean anything, but Gert-Jan Wijers, also in the VeloX, did 61+ mph with legal wind.  Full results from this morning my be found here: clicky.

Lunch munched, tabs obtained and some car park loafing and photography before heading back inside to Do Things on that Internet, that they have now.

Thomas & Jan-Marcel bidding for the Sportsmanship Award

I emerged a couple of hours later to find a beautiful early afternoon had turned teh suxx0r, with a strong wind blowing bikes over and heavy rain clearly visible not far away.  A nice rainbow as we set out for the course was good to look at, but did not bode well.  The rain did hold off, but the wind didn't although it grew less strong the later it got.  The only rider of three to post a time in the first session of Eric Ware in the Wedge, who clocked a wind-assisted 73+ mph.  Trefor Evans in the Vortex deliberately missed the time tapes after hitting the gouge in the road two miles out and believing "something was rubbing".  Tiffany Underwood had a flat halfway down the course.

Trefor Evans in Vortex, approaching Ranch Road 2
And only two riders ran in the second session.  Sam Whittingham in the Varna Tempest ran only ~78 and said conditions weren't bad at all; Todd Reichert in Vortex clocked an impressive 71+.  But the wind speed was way too high for any of tonight's runs to count.  Pack up and back to the motel where, natch, it is dead calm.  Meeting and then off to the new-for-this-year Chinese restaurant.  Nosh gets the seal of approval from the event's three Orientals - Preston Seu, Larry Lem and Jun Nogami.  Sadly Amanda Chu could not be here to make it four.

Time to melt some ice now, as my back aches and my feet are killing me.  I think I'll volunteer to drive the sweep car for the rest of the week...  Jonathan did it tonight and reports that the Challenger is restricted to 115 mph, irrespective of whether one has released the parking brake or not.  Now he really will have to crash it into a bulldozer in the final reel.

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