Friday, July 17, 2009

Goin for Broken #2, Saturday afternoon.

It has been several months since the last post, and a LOT of interesting things have happened. But FIRST, we have to finish the race.

Saturday afternoon, 23 May 09, Fernley Raceway

One hour of track time after the green flag dropped at "Going for Broken", and 16 minutes of actual racing I came in for our first pit stop and driver change. I was hot, thirsty and could no longer feel my arms.

But I had survived. And better yet, so had the car.

A few moments of shaking my arms and clenching my fists brought the blood and sensations back into my upper extremities and I helped the team prepare for the next round of roundy-round.

After strapping in our new driver and performing basic system checks, I swapped video recorders and gave Kevin some last second tips and cautions. Then we slapped his helmet, guided him backwards out of our pit and sent him on his way with one last instruction... "Don't wad the car into a ball".

He went out and fought with glory, holding his own against some much faster machinery and some very talented drivers. More importantly he stayed away from the lousy drivers and crappy cars, giving us a good hour of consistent lap times and no black flags.

While he was out on the track, I set about transferring our flip video to an external hard drive in order to save space on my company owned laptop. This was to become my undoing, as we did not have electrical power, nor enough DC power outlets in "Brownie, the World's Greatest Crappy RV" (tm) to run the hard drive, laptop and video cameras at the same time, and my laptop battery was starting to run low. Ug.

I ended up having to to babysit the video equipment and make sure I swapped power adapters before each piece of equipment died. It was a juggling act that really killed my weekend and kept me from relaxing, enjoying myself or rubbing elbows with my new race friends.

At one point I got frustrated because the stupid Sony would not stay on, and we lost all but 5 minutes of footage from 2 of our drivers. Our Pit-mates from Free-Range-Racing clued me in to a setting on the camera that overrides the automatic sleep function which saved the day, but I had enough and swore to come up with a better solution for the next race.

Lurch was up next, and after refueling we spent much time adjusting the seat harness for his gargantuan 6 and a half foot, 1/8th Ton frame. Again the Bee went out and racked up lap after lap on a somewhat slower but steady pace. No black flags, no contact, no penalties. He came back into the pits and got out of the car whooping and hollering with a BIG ass grin on his bright red face.

Gargamel drove cleanup and kept up the good work. Round and round the bee went, stupid bouncing antenna balls announcing track position long before the car itself was visible from the pits. It would disappear behind the retaining wall on to of the hill, while the antennas hovered above giving away his position like the 2P opponent markings in a head to head video game.

A cold front came through and a micro-burst spurned a mini Tornado that swept through the pits, sending several shade tents sailing nearby while the rest of us hung on to ours for dear life while trying to remove the canvas.

And still the race went on.

No one wrecked the car, coolant stayed in the radiator, and I stayed continually busy until suddenly my second stint arrived. While I had NO idea what to expect the first time around, the second felt more like I was going back into battle.

Be brave. Show no weakness. Do not cry. "YU can DOOWIT!" I heard in my head from the movie "Waterboy" as I fetched my helmet and gloves from the RV.

"YUUU can DOOWIT!!" I heard again, this time louder and behind me. I spun around to find sweet-supportive-but-mind-reading-spouse smiling at me with big round happy eyes.

Whoah... I was just thinking... ha-ha, never mind, weird. I gave her a kiss and SWORE I heard her think "You look like a big blue panda", then I trotted off to strap into our little bucket of bolts with a big red tongue.

The sun was moving on and the shadows were getting longer.

I got off lucky the first round. Now the cars that were left were mooooving along and settled into a rhythm, and I had to find my own rhythm... somehow.

Next: Fernley, End of day 1

Previous: Just a Saturday drive in the country

From The begining of this mess: The Hook

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