Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Day 23: Battle Mountain NV

Sunday evening and Arnold is muttering "I must get the start order for tomorrow from Al'n'Alice!".  Three o'clock Monday morning and Marieke is awakened by Arnold furiously hammering at his laptop.  "???" she asked.  "I just remembered", sez Arnold, "I produce the start list!"  The Tour de France, I think, is not quite like this.

Wednesday morning was a game of two halves.  Not many vehicles on the short course today, and fewer since the Universidad La Salle machine ate both the toothed belts used in its final drive system.  And Valina again failed to get Bluenose very far down the road.  Better news for Russ as he got a wind-legal 55.4 mph and a new Hat, and for Karen who got a wind-legal 41.86 mph and a new world record for women's arms-only.  A whopping 17 mph increase over the previous one.

Russ steams gently after a Hat-winning 55 mph run in Greg's Milan SL
Lifting the lid on ARION 4 after Karen's record-breaking run
All change for the five-mile start.  We could have got things going earlier but instead stuck to the schedule, allowing the wind plenty of time to get frisky.  In the first heat Lieke and Guillaume were both fast but non-legal, while Matthias fluked into a wind-legal window and got 73.28 mph.  He claims still not to be pushing that hard.  Don't leave it too late, lad, in case the weather changes.

Being surplus to requirements in timing now that Danny Guthrie is here I made myself available as an official observer in a chase vehicle; in this case riding with the Liverpool crew following Ken Talbot.  The wind was now at similar levels to those encountered yesterday afternoon at the start, but it stayed calm enough for long enough for Larry to get a wind-legal 57.59.  Calvin had chain issues on starting, which required untaping Eta Prime, relocating the chain and retaping. and sticking him back in the line behind Fabien Canal in  Altaïr 6.  All very frustrating for Ken, stewing inside ARION 4 but we try to avoid having machines pass one another on the course.  Worse yet, both Calvin and Fabien pulled up on the course before the wind could blow them into the sticks.  Ken was having to steer hard left just to stay on the road, which eventually led to his front tyre rubbing on the wheel cutout in the body and letting all the air out.  We forgot that Mr Supervisor Friel was recording the whole run on his phone.  They'll have to edit out the Bad Swears.

Matthias receives some last-minute coaching from Hans while Ralf cleans the windscreen.  Again.
Arnold consults his electronic clipboard while Ken waits to start.
The evening weather today was the same as yesterday's, only cooler.  Only Jennifer and Calvin were daft enough to try running in either of the first two sessions; only Jennifer managed to make it down the course successfully.  Calvin went down at the start; his handlebar stem was later found to be loose though no-one is quite sure whether this was cause or effect.

Jennifer brings VeloX 8 into catch after a white-knuckle ride
It was, in short, not very exciting at catch.

It all proved a bit too much for Scott Wilson...
While I was down at catch a message came over the radio.  Could we ask the Team Policumbent guys to grab Taurus' seat out of the car and get it to start prontissimo?  Snag.  It wasn't there.  A silver Hyundai took off for town with the stereotypical Italian disregard for speed limits and returned in time for the heat with the missing seat.

Then Andrea decided not to run.

Just like last night, the wind died to nothing for heat three.  With Andrea sitting it out, Calvin got another go and did a 76.78, scattering catchers in his wake as he came in to land in the gathering dusk somewhat faster than optimal  Even Barclay Henry fell over.  Ishtey's 60.85 was only a fraction slower than his record-breaking run last night while Lieke's 74.3 is getting ever closer to the record.  If it gets warmer again towards the end of the week...

Staging for heat three: L-R Eta Prime, CO2, VeloX 8
Final run of the night was Ken Talbot in ARION 4, and this Unit is pleased to report that he broke Greg Westlake's mark by Quite A Lot, becoming the first handcyclist to crack 50 mph in the process.  His 51.58 mph sealed the Liverpool team's second World Record of the day, so Yay! for Karen, Ken, the whole team and Russ Bridge, who qualified for tonight's heats in the Milan SL but declined to run so Ken could have another crack.

Guarding the Ligtvoet Mustang against marauding, er, cows
Soup Dragon Update:  It's here and, as previously suspected, got quite badly damaged in transit by the useless cretinous morons of DHL.  Russ has been running the bare chassis on Poo Road and it appears to work more or less as intended.  The crack team of fettlers led by George Leone are e'en now fixing the bodywork and it is hoped that Russ will be able to qualify the bike tomorrow morning.  We're running the five-mile heats before the short course, so if all goes well Russ will be able to to run on the full course on Friday morning.  If it goes very well he could run tomorrow evening.  Fingers crossed, wood touched ect ect.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, the records of Ken and Karen are awesome! Russell gets a hat, that darn wind, the usual shenanigins, and one scary looking Mr. Thomas van Schaik behind the billboard (which has a typo on it)