Whittney Is In!

SUN_7542.jpgEvery Speed Challenge crew member, official, volunteer and rider got up extra early today, when a 5:00 a.m. power outage caused hotel smoke detectors to start chirping away. That simply meant that we had extra time to wait at the start line this morning. SUN_7599.jpg
Last night’s tech help from other teams helped the Miners solve many of their problems. Even though these are one-of-a-kind bikes, and there are no bike shops within 200 miles of Battle Mountain, you’d be surprised what parts you can cobble together at a farm or automotive store. Just as NASA did with Apollo 13, improvisation was the name of the Miners’ game last night. They made chain guards from plastic container lids, devised an idler pulley from an industrial fuel pump bearing, and took a chain ring from Whittney’s road bike to help improve MinerDetails’ steering range.
SUN_7562_2.jpgThey had lots of moral support from other cycling crews, and even world-record holder Sam Wittingham’s “starter”, Steve Nash, pitched in to help. Steve’s experience was a huge help, because all the modifications have changed the bike’s handling characteristics and Whittney and David had to relearn their starting techniques. Both S&T riders had a few “false starts” that put a few more scratches on MinerDetails’ shiny skin. Whittney managed the entire 2 1/4-mile qualifying course in good shape, but David ran out of time before N-DOT’s rules mandated re-opening the highway to regular traffic.
MinerDetails is a very twitchy bike, so this afternoon they’ll head out to another under-used road to practice. Before that all the bikes will be displayed at the Battle Mountain Civic Center, where the public can see the bikes up close, get riders’ autographs, and we get a free lunch.