Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Day 21: Battle Mountain NV

Jun: So how was Alaska? See any BEARS?
Me: It was pretty cool, but the only BEARS I saw were in Canada.
Arnold: That's because they have better healthcare!

Maybe you had to be there.  Anyway, off we went into the pre-dawn dark to set timing Stuffs up.  This is actually pretty straightforward once Jun has remembered how it all goes together, that the light beam gadgets need batteries in them and that when using a plumb-line to make sure the sensors are set up exactly on the survey markers, that it helps if the said plumb-line is not two hundred metres away at the other end of the traps.  The current timing crew is Jun (important Stuffs), me (wind speed readings), Marieke Ligtvoet (radio goddess and hammer-wielder) and Garrie Hill, who sits at the start of the measured 200m and periodically waves his hand in front of the light beam to check it all works.

We also had some spiffy flags on big poles, which fit into tubes attached to spikes that are hammered into the dirt:

Marieke Thorsdottir
and a new wind speed meter, unfathomably called "Lucy", which we haven't figured out how to work properly yet.  We're sticking with the old one for now.  And among the things I didn't know before is that the roll of paper in the printer is wedged into place with a bar of soap robbed from the Super 8.

Once these things are sorted out, we can actually start on time and in budget.  The wind was not cooperative for the early runners and only four of the twelve runners had a reading below the permitted maximum.  This being qualifying over the short course it mostly didn't matter too much, though had Karen Darke had legal wind, her 39.11 mph would have smashed the existing women's arms-only record by about 15 mph chiz.

ARION 4 passing through timing
Fastest of all was Andrea Gallo in Taurus, whose 69.7 mph run was the second fastest ever on the short course.  Both Lieke de Cock and Jennifer Breet, sharing the HPT Deft/Amsterdam machine VeloX 8, were also over 60, as was Matthias K├Ânig in VeloX XS.  Greg Cantori, riding a stock Milan SL velomobile, did a respectable - and legal - 53.15 mph but there is a distinct possibility he's going to have to fly back to the east coast to save his boat from an impending series of hurricanes heading that way.  Several people have expressed an interest in having a run in the Milan in his absence.  The only issue was suffered by Junior trike rider Ishtey Amminger, who dropped the chain in Garrie Hill's CO2, fortunately close enough to a ranch road as to be able to pull over without drama.

Greg Cantori/Milan SL
Andrea Gallo/Taurus.  Prettier with the red nose it had last year, IMHO...
We were actually back in town by 10:00, which is normally when we're supposed to be packing up out on 305.  Lazy afternoon of watching Larry Lem stickering-up the Wahoo, feeding quarters into the washing machine and the drier, and catching up on sleep.  Or not, such as when Marieke set off the Mustang's alarm and couldn't figure which button to press to turn it off.

Something fishy going on here (ba-dum,tish)
Monday evening was something of a contrast to the morning session.  People weren't where they were supposed to be, delaying the start and things just snowballed from there.  Andrea was the first rider to start in the final heat, at 19:00.  Which is when out permit from the Department of Transportation says we're supposed to be finished.  No-one had a wind-legal run.  And Matthias, Calvin Moes in Eta Prime and Ken Talbot in ARION 4 all suffered punctures; both Matthias and Calvin crashing at speed.  Both riders are undamaged and the bikes should just need a bit of sanding and polishing, but Eta Prime look as though it would never stop spinning on its side.  "I was starting to get bored" Calvin observed later.

Once again Andrea was fastest, at 78.05 mph in spite of narrowly avoiding a couple of substantial deer strolling across the road.  The first, he said, was about 15m ahead of the bike.  The second was somewhat closer.  "I look on screen - only black!"  Both VeloX 8 riders was also over 70 mph wit Ellen van Vugt not far behind.  Light conditions in the evening do not appear to play nicely with my camera, so I suppose I'll have to RTFM.

Jennifer Breet/VeloX 8, testing the limits of my camera
The latest word on the Soup Dragon fiasco is, according to team member Barney Townsend:
Update on the Soup Dragon delivery by DHL: there is no update! After many depressing hours on hold on the phone today the result is that they “think” it’s still in the Cincinnati hub but they can’t be sure. And they claim that they have no phone number for that depot and can only contact them by email which has a 6 hour response time limit. So we won’t get another update until tomorrow morning.
In the meantime, Russ has been getting used to the camera business by riding an Optima Baron using his phone held in front of his face.  A prize for the rudest term that "DHL" might be short for.  "Drop it, Hide it, Leg it" is not snarky enough.

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