25 June 2012

The Great Race, Stage 2: Crossing the border

Today we made it across the border into Canada. The weather was not nearly as nice today as it was yesterday, with bouts of heavy rain at times. I certainly am not complaining about the rain though as our vehicles are enclosed. Many of the Great Race cars are open cars with some not having a windshield higher than your face. Those people get soaked. And those driving open cars that lack fenders not only get wet, but they have to deal with the spray from the wheels. 

This was the day that separated the men from the boys. Unlike the previous two days this was serious rally driving. The back roads of Canada were quite rough, curvy, and very hilly. This taxed all 40 horses under the hood of The Mighty Model A and the old girl was unable to hold the necessary speed on the steepest of these hills.  All of these speed losses meant we had to make up the lost time during the next possible maneuver. At one point during the day, two mistakes put us seven cars behind (or in Great Race score terms, seven minutes behind). The mistakes consisted of a speedometer calibration issue and then a missed turn while trying to deal with the speedometer issue. Out of pure luck and maybe some skillful driving (and I use that term loosely) we managed to safely pass all seven cars and made the next checkpoint only 23 seconds off. To us that was a HUGE victory given the fact we were feeling quite doomed at that point. 

The girls team had a good day given the tough route and the fact that they are driving arguably the worst vehicle on the race to take sharp curves at speed while climbing a steep hill. (But that striking International pickup piloted by two females under the age of 25 draws the largest cheers from the crowd at each city!) Unfortunately they missed one minor turn toward the end of the day that caused them to miss the final checkpoint. Missing the final checkpoint this resulted in a “DNF” score for the day. This isn’t as serious as it sounds as they drop your five worst “legs” from your score at the end of the day. Each day has four “legs” or “checkpoints.”  Hopefully we can both learn from our mistakes today and continue to climb up the rankings.

 

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