Thursday, 13 September 2018

Day 24: Battle Mountain NV

It is only Thursday.  This photo sums up the state of the volunteers:

Yesterday afternoon's cloud prevailed overnight, thus it was 17C in town and 14C as we set up out on the course.  Unfortunately it was still 14C when we packed up again three hours later, though at least the wind was rather more benign this morning.  This Unit was back in timing today as Garrie Hill is off to Reno because Reasons.  To try to take advantage of the early morning calm we ran three heats on the five-mile course first, before switching to the short course later.  Mostly it seemed to work.  Fabien proved a lack of recumbent experience is not such a great handicap as he powered Altaïr 6 through the traps at 76.99 mph, closely followed by Matthias with 76.44.  Karen ran the long course for the first time, the wind was kind and she put more than 5 mph onto the World Record she set yesterday, lifting it to 46.05 mph.  This is more than the outright record was twenty-four hours ago1.  Mike Sova2 says he's going to e-mail former record holder Greg Westlake this afternoon to take the piss for being beaten by a GURL.

Karen Darke & ARION 4 on their way to a second world record in 24 hours
Soup Dragon Update:  After some heroic overnight work, the Soup Dragon was well enough to run in qualifying this morning.  Russ described the experience as "far and away the most terrifying thing I've ever done", adding that he was semi-stoned on the lingering epoxy fumes inside the bike.  His 53.81 mph run isn't fast enough to allow him to run on the long course tonight but will let him into the morning long runs tomorrow.  He doesn't seem particularly impressed with either the strength or handling of the bike; he reckons that the team3 has built a racing bike enclosed in a plastic bag while everyone else has built a crash structure and stuck a drive train in it.  Things are wobbling, and flexing, and not inspiring confidence.  The peanut gallery was well impressed with the bike's landing gear though.  Because camera I only got a picture of most of the bike at the start of timing.  Soz.

Most of Soup Dragon passing through the timing traps
At the non-business end of timing you get to spend a lot of time cheerfully waving to passing traffic.  I now know what Missis Kwin feels like, although the Nevada desert does not smell of paint.  Though it can smell a bit of turpentine after it rains.  The ones who don't wave back are usually grumpy buggers in outsized motorhomes.  Oh,  and the driver of a gravel truck, who opted for jazz hands instead.

I intended to upload this morning's photos and have a snooze.  It wasn't to be, as I got sidetracked by Frank Lem's attempts to teach Katelyn (12) to ride a recumbent.  Katelyn (12) is the granddaughter of the Super 8's manager Bertha and has expressed an interest in taking on the Seiran, the bike built by Mark Anderson and Eric Ware for Teagan Patterson to ride a couple of years ago.  Katelyn (12) is already almost tall enough, but the bike's tyres are shot and some other bits need work before it can be ridden in earnest again.  Bertha and Katelyn (12) were, however, out watching tonight's runs.  Get 'em young, as my Jesuit friends4 might say.

At or near which point the world's fastest mammal Todd Reichert, wife Jenny and the unborn Reichert Jr showed up to watch.  "We'd better check in" said Jenny, shortly after evil Frank Lem approached waving a phone playing the Imperial March from "Star Wars".  Fifteen minutes later they had moved ten feet closer to the door of the Super 8 and were probably saved from having to sleep in their car by the departure of most of the impromptu welcoming committee for the 305.

...also starring Frank Lem, as The Evil One
Which was an anti-climax.  No wind-legal runs at all.  Again.  Doubly annoying as it meant Fabien's 80.83 mph run doesn't count for Hat purposes.  Pretty sky does not make up for that chiz.

Calvin Moes/Eta Prime
Sunset, Nevada, Thursday
Soup Dragon Update #2: Glen Thompson stood up at tonight's debrief and announced that the Soup Dragon was going back to the Soup Wells and would take no further part in the proceedings.  A total pisser after all the trials and tribulations the LBSU team has undergone and the monumental effort to get the bike running at all, but they feel that the wobbly wheel bearings and imprecise steering make the machine too unpredictable when it matters.  Russ opined that "they need to find someone younger, stronger and childless", adding that a rather more crashworthy vehicle retaining the same shape wouldn't be a bad idea either.

1: At the time of writing
2: Co-designer/builder of the Avos Arrow, formerly the world's fastest handcycle, that's who
3: Euphemism meaning "Mike Burrows"
4: Of whom I have none


  1. Thanks mr Larrington for your updates!!!

  2. There is an unborn Reichert Jr. on the way! Congrats to the happy couple.