First day in the saddle, and a little saddle sore
Today was our first real day of racing. We started out by leaving the hotel at 8:15 and heading to the beach for our ceremonial kickoff. In actuality we would begin about an hour after our liturgical opening and have our real start on the side of a road with no one to cheer us on but ourselves and the other teams eagerly waiting their scheduled departure.
At the beach the cars were all ushered in and parked in their respective areas of departure around the time that they were to be let off. Our entourage had some time to talk to folks coming to check out our car, as well as see the other cars, since they were all together and in a very scenic location. Soon enough we all had to pile in and head to the banner. Before we took off the third guy in line driving a blue speedster, somehow broke off his clutch pedal and had to be pushed started across the start line. We saw him later on the road so it appears as though he was able to get a workaround in the hour before the true start. The Announcer for the entire race, “Motormouth” gave us a wonderful introduction, about ourselves and the college. From there we were off to find our true start.
The plan was for Jake & Austin to start us off navigating and driving. We began fairly strong and made it decently up to lunch. Our main concern was that we were creeping up on the car that was supposed to be exactly one minute ahead of us at all times. At one point we were stopped side by side at a stop sign. This had us extremely worried.
Eventually we made it to our lunch break in Rochester, New Hampshire. This was a provided lunch, so all we had to do was walk up get our hamburger, sides, drink, & enjoy. We were able to discuss with the 1940 coupe driver that we creeped up, whom were also concerned. When talking to another group we found out that we had been calculating something wrong, making all of our stops a little faster, which explained why we were creeping up on the coupe. Luckily we got that sorted out. Overall the lunch stop was great because it was neat to see all of the cars lining the streets, and the town coming out to see us, making a small impromptu car show.
Soon enough we got back in the saddle and continued. Jake & Austin still had the helm, to use the new methods, so that we might have something to compare later. Unfortunately a large setback occurred when we skipped a turn and has to wait around 45 seconds to get back on the road, due to oncoming traffic. That and we were getting passed by other vehicles, which was kind of confusing as well. Eventually with a few other things happening we just had to ignore everybody & persevere. We found out that Jake has some pretty good reaction time, because he was able to give us quite a ride when seeing a street that we had to suddenly turn on when we were going around 40mph, (really Brian I swear we are being good).
After a checkpoint and some fairly relaxed cruising around we were feeling pretty good. Eventually doing a loop and getting to our final checkpoint. There was an obvious sigh of relief when we were finally off the clock and waiting to get back, which was still over half an hour away. After our time on the highway we made it into Lowell, Massachusetts. I thought it was a nifty town As soon as we entered there were all sorts of old brick industrial buildings, some run down, and some not so much. After following directions, and the other racers, we made it into the heart of downtown and parked so we could have dinner.
We also received our times for the day. Funny enough we had two really good legs on the race course, one being 5 seconds off and another being a mere 1 second off. What was most surprising about these, was that they occurred at the times when we were most off time, or so we thought. So now we have to rethink our strategy.
What was also really neat was that not only were all the race cars parked out, but some of the locals cars were out as well, and the area was packed with people. Everybody’s cars had to be parked till 8, after which everybody took off to go to their hotels.
Now we are at our hotel room and getting ready to figure out a strategy, game plan, what worked and didn’t for tomorrow.
On a parting note I have received some questions about the reference of Eliza and her being our “Fair Lady”. In later 1956 the musical “My Fair Lady” came out on Broadway. Some of you may have seen the 1964 version starring Audrey Hepburn & Rex Harrison. Anyways, the main character of the musical is named Eliza, and since our 1957 Ford is a Fairlane we figured she was our “Fair Lady”.
We had some of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Hopefully we can have more good than anything tomorrow.