Friday, 14 September 2012

Day 13: Battle Mountain, NV

First some good news.  By dint of carefully wedging a piece of folded-up fag packet under the plug of the car end of the iPod lead, I can have Musical Tunes once more.  The discovery of this solution, however, caused a certain amount of anxiety yesterday afternoon when the motorcar wouldn't start.  I was afeared that leaving the iPod's power lead plugged in had caused the motorcar to run out of electricity and panicked a little before realising that the shifter was in "D", not "P".  Now, was I hallucinating or did some bloke called "Andy Murray" really win the US Open last weekend?

Anyway, back to the bikes ["And the trikes" - G. Hanks, Australia].  Usual pre-dawn start for the wicked, with three runners over the short course and twelve over the long version.  The wind was mostly cooperative with only Jim Glover and Yannick Lutz having Evil breezes.  Arnold Ligtvoet (Bossman of Dutch recumbent builders RaptoBike) wanted to have a go at driving the sweep car so by dint of carefully not volunteering for any other post, I found myself actually on holibobs.  I could have slept in but you don't come all this way to the event and then miss bits of it.  Well, I don't.  I started out in the catch area, where all and sundry were entertained by Aussie motormouth Adrian Gotts while waiting for the bikes to show up.

Adrian Gotts signals to the approaching Jim Glover

Will Hilgenberg bring Gemini into catch
After that I moved up to Badger Ranch Road to join Jonathan and the ambulance crew.  Jonathan seemed more interested in observing ground squirrels than anything going on on 305.  The wind was all benign and there were some good runs; Toronto's Marc Dutras just missing 60 mph in Vortex and a fine 66+ for Giovanni Rey on his first run in Primal 2 on the full course.  Second to last of the morning was Thomas van Schaik, and was he ever moving when he came past us.

Thomas flat-out at Badger Ranch Road

Back at the motel there is consternation.  Thomas has been credited with some improbably poor speeds.  Most are firmly of the opinion that Something Has Gone Wrong.  The timers go into a huddle and check their sums while we chat among ourselves.  Will Hilgenberg reckons that sticking a Playboy centrefold to the inside of Glowworm's fairing might encourage Phil to push a bit harder.  Later I spot the phrase or saying "expanding the envelope" on Charlie Ollinger's T-shaped shirt.  I read this as "expanding the antelope" (link may be a bit wonky on ickle laptops).

Off to the Civic Center for the debrief.  Thomas is credited with a fully-legal 73.85 mph.  He's been knocking on the door of 70 since the 2010 event,so this was a very popular result.  Lunch, teh Intarwebs and a bit of loafing follow before heading out for the evening runs.  The wind seems about the same as yesterday but its certainly warmer, which ought to help speeds.  I have elected to join Vicky Johnsen at Ranch Road 1 - this is about a mile from the start hence the machines are running more slowly and should be easier to photograph.  At least, that's the theory but I came back to base with a fair number of photos of half a vehicle.  One day I'll RTFM.

From the first heat, both David Verbroekken and Gio Rey failed to finish, the latter going down 500m from the finish line chiz.  In the interval, this lady came to pick up her post and stayed for a while to watch:

Mail collection inna-Wild-West-stylee
We were also visited by a local rancher whose Hank name I shall Fillippini cloak in tactful anonymity.  He was Not Happy about the road closure, but fortunately did not appear to be armed.  The Highway Patrol officer hanging out at catch came up to our post just in case the chap in question did come back wiv a shootah.  He didn't.
Evil wind for much of the second session but for the third evening in a row the tandem record fell, going back to the Tom Amick/Phil Plath pairing at 72.26 mph.  All the third group were OK for wind.  Barbara Buatois had switched to the older Varna Tempest in which she set the current record.  "Better gears, better bearings and we know it works..."  She ran just over 73 mph.  Sebastiaan was again quick with a 79.5 and Gareth Hanks pushed the trike mark a bit further to 70.7 mph.  Trefor Evans pulled up in Bluenose as the bike's windscreen is so scratched and battered that in the gathering gloom he was flying blind.  The chase crew rescued him before he could fall over.

Gareth Hanks accelerates past Ranch Road 1

Results are cropping up at random intervals in all sorts of odd places but a good place to start is on the blog of chief timer Jun Nogami.  The final word of the day, though, should go to Jan-Marcel van Dijken.  There is discussion on the repatriation of the old tyres set out on the course by the Delft crew before the event.

Adrian: Can we get a truck or a big trailer?  I reckon I can only carry ten in my Nissan Altima.
J-MvD: If you open your mouth you could carry twenty!

The room is paralysed with laughter for at least two minutes.

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