Sunday, 14 September 2014

Day 23: Battle Mountain, NV

Seven months ago, almost to the minute at the time of writing if you ignore the eight-hour time difference between Battle Mountain and Bury St. Edmunds, I was on a train and heading here.  I've managed to stay off the alcohol, thanks in no small part to everyone who has offered encouragement and support over those seven months, at home, here in Battle Mountain and from people who are not in Battle Mountain but damn' well ought to be (Hi, Frans!).  I was somewhat apprehensive about coming here given Al's description of the Usual Suspects as "a BEER-drinking club with a bicycle problem", so thank you all for helping to keep me busy and out of here.  Actually, I did go there on Friday night but only because their fags are the cheapest in town.  Yes, Annette and Miss von Brandenburg, I know.  One thing at a time, m'kay?

Last night World+Dog wanted to run in the morning.  Some of them twice.  With the good conditions of Friday, though, everyone went flat out like hell maximum attack and consequently many of the faster outfits opted to sit it out.  We poor unsung volunteers, though, still had to get up at five o'bloody-clock to accommodate the less bone-idle.  Bah!  It was warmer than Friday morning and pretty much flat calm over a lot of the course.  The important wind speed, though, is down at timing and there it was gusting above and below the limit.  Mostly above, sadly, as only Christien Veelenturf and Teagan Patterson made runs under legitimate conditions.  This was a chiz as Damjan ran a personal best 78.6 mph.

Eivie's crappy old Ford van having to work hard to keep up
Christien ran twice; her first run was a personal best of 68.82 mph, putting her third on the Ladies' all-time list behind Barbara and Ellen.  Eta etanother spoke, which proves that there is such a thing as trying to be too clever.  Or something.  Alan Grace cracked 35 mph in what will probably be his final run of the event; time constraints mean that the Slippery Slug is unlikely to be fitted into the evening runs.
And now a word from just about everybody...
As per usual Dr No has the full SP.

With everything done and dusted by nine o'clock we had plenty of time in hand before the debrief to watch Al Krause eating pancakes.  At the Colt this time, just as a change from the Wol.  After the meeting it was the by-now traditional photoshoot in front of the spiffy electromagickal sign, which the Natives are wont to call a "marquee".  Or possibly a "marquis", à la Française.

The teams, L-R: 2 Out Of 3 (Orin Peters); Tetiva 2; Eta; Varna Tempest; Velox S2; Beluga; Cygnus Chronos; All Overzealous; Completely Overzealous; Velox IV; Eivie 4; Slippery Slug.  Adam's Folly seems to have gone home.  I will not attempt to name all the people...
Bram and Annette Wielermaker are here this year supporting Delft in general and #1 son David in particular.  To which end they have hired a substantial RV.  The creepy picture in one of the windows was asking for it:

They've probably got Sergeant Aten out with his book of tickets again at the moment but frankly I'd rather finish typing this and then sit lie down with the new Ann Cleeves1. I expect the Scotsman did it.  Tonight I am hoping to escape the pressures of high office by pretending to be a dog spectator and thus may get to see the vehicles run flat-out for the first time in a Several of years.

I did hang out in the spectator area tonight.  The timing system played up to delay matters, doubly so when Jun found that the spare cable was 50 metres too short to reach the timing beam at the start of the traps.  And in any case the wind stubbornly refused to drop below the permitted level at timing; at start and catch it was flat calm.  Which was a chiz because Gareth exceeded his own day-old record with a 73.54 mph run and Barbara did 75.71 if I've read my writing correctly.  Yes.  Yes, she did; Jun has just put the results up.  Rik was unable to run as Velox IV had a Fairy Visitation during Christien's run and they apparently failed to get the offending wossname out of the tyre.
Ellen van Vugt at 63 mph.  Note ambient light and wind conditions, and this was in the second of the three sessions...
Back to the Wol Club for the Awards Bash.  Thanks to the door prize scheme I too now own a Tri-Sled water bottle.  Thanks to Team Cygnus I also own a packet of stroopwafels (only given to those held to be in Good Standing by, er, Team Cygnus) and also one of their latest T-shaped shirts:
Jan-Marcel is characteristically serious
The Wol Club has a new chef.  This is a Good Thing.  I had two dinners.  Scouser Ben (who isn't actually a Scouser) appeared to be taking the door prizes seriously enough to get riled when his number was repeatedly not called:
The Scousers: Pat is Interested while Ben gets Mardy...
The Polis did not hand out tickets for traffic violations this afternoon but Sergeant Aten did the necessary tonight.  Those who exceeded 70 mph got speeding tickets while the crash victims were cited for straying out of their lane.
The Crims L-R: Vadim, Alexey, Calvin, Christien, Rik, Damjan, Ellen, Gareth, Barbara, Jan-Marcel, Alan.  Todd concealed behind the Sarge.  Greg still hasn't had his from 2012...
The Presentation of Hats:
L-R: Teagan (50), Vadim (55), Alexey, Peter (both 60), Christien (65), Rik (80)
The Trisexuals Tricyclists:
L-R: Peter, Greg, Gareth
The Ladies:
L-R: Christien, Barbara, Ellen
Even without the heels Christien needs to be careful in case she finds herself accidentally married to Rod Stewart.

The Chaps:
L-R: Todd, Rik, Damjan
The Mgt and Supreme Rulers of the WHPSC:
Al & Alice Krause, may their House be Free From Tigers
And one of the most serious cases of seriousness yet seen in the fifteen years of the event:
Jan-Marcel, Thomas and Erika test the medals for CHOKLIT.  Scott Wilson gatecrashing in the background.
I managed to extricate myself in an only slightly prolonged manner and came back to the Super 8 to Do Webby SCIENCE.  Unfortunately I went out for a fag while the kettle was boiling and thus met Mike Sova on the stairs.  Party in the conference room, says Mikey.  That is why this Diarisation is later than usual.  But I'm still having a lie-in tomorrow morning.

On Flagging: Many of the riders do this even before reaching the timing traps.  However...  A few years back it was Decreed that henceforth we would have to have properly certified people to man the road closures rather than just any old herbert in a hi-vis weskit.  Thus we have had, for a Several of years now, the services of the inestimable Kristi and Geri-Ann (did I spell those names right, Ladies?).  Following the odd incident involving arsey motons and the ranch roads, this year we have two new flaggers, Rebecca and Rose.  That they are Kristi's sisters is entirely incidental.  We wouldn't be able to run at all without these wonderful and very funny people, so thanks a million and I hope you'll be able to keep helping us in future.

  1. "Thin Air", book six of the increasingly inaccurately-named "Shetland Quartet".

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