Friday, March 06, 2009

Bethel Spring Series - Pre-Sweep Day (A Week Later)

I started writing this post last Friday, but I never got around to posting it. Then, after Saturday, I got really, really sick, and basically dropped out of sight, virtually and in reality.

With my health starting to bounce back, I figure posting this today is appropriate because, although the Sweep Day happened, the race didn't. So without any further ado, here is what I wrote last week (in italics), and some of this week's thoughts following it (in normal font):

"Apparently I'm still not well because I slept away the morning. But I got my butt into gear to get ready for tomorrow's sweep and Sunday's race. Weather permitting, of course.

Today I picked up two quiet Honda EU2000i generators, one for the start/finish area, one for the tent. These are so quiet you could put them under the table and still talk normally, so they'll be a huge improvement over the jackhammer-loud generator we had before.

I made another stop to pick up two power brooms, supplied by Valley Home and Garden Centre, a great hardware store in Simsbury, CT. They're Echo PAS systems, one with a brush attachment, one with a paddle. The paddle is supposed to be kinder, like for sweeping sand off of grass. Since I've had to do that before, I figured it wouldn't hurt. The brush is just a brush, like having six brooms sweeping at once, Gatling gun style.

I also picked up the van - it's been at the garage in Tariffville for, oh, like 3 or 4 weeks. As things kept breaking I kept thinking, "Well, I can squeegee the inside of the windows, I don't need to be able to aim the air at the window", but when the fan blower stopped working completely that was it. Without heat the van would be miserable to drive, miserable to change in, and really not all that much fun. Plus, when it gets warm, not having AC would be equally unpleasant.

So the van went in to get the "where the air gets blown" thing fixed as well as the blower motor. The garage gave a high estimate of $1000 to fix the directional thing (it's buried in the dash). This way I wouldn't have a heart attack when I picked up the van. I added on a tune up, oil change, belts, some other stuff, just because, well, might as well do it.

I picked up the van today and mentally held my breath when they gave me the bill.


Oh. Okay, so they're nice. And they even drove the van back home (I gave the guy a ride back to the garage).

With the weather as sketchy as it is, I almost called it off, but a quick check with my friend Gene convinced me to wait until tomorrow afternoon. Don't blame me, blame him.

So, tomorrow is Sweep, at 10 AM. I hope it takes less than 3 hours, 2 hours would be nice. Because it won't be a several hour marathon (like it has in the past), I'll award free races on the following schedule:

One hour = one week of free racing, up to 6 weeks.
Rain = 1 more free week of racing.

No refunds on free races (sorry!) but if one week is canceled you can use the race on a different weekend. And of course I reserve the right to increase the "award rate". I won't decrease it, so don't worry about that.

Anyway, this means I have to pack the van. And that means... a lot. To mentally write things down is one thing, to type them out is another. So to remind myself I'll start typing a bit:

- radios, both versions, charged
- battery charger
- chargers for Motorolas
- surge protector strips

- printer
- printer cable
- printer drivers to install

- two laptops
- wireless router
- (make sure new network is good)
- spreadsheet on laptop
- chargers for everything - phone, camera, laptops, printer, etc.
- cables for same

- tables - two folding, a few non-folding
- chairs (?)

- two generators
- leaf blower, wheeled and handheld
- gas cans, 5 gal x 2, 2.5 gal x 1, 1 gal x 1, 2 stroke x 1 (leave the 14 gallon one behind)
- 2 stroke oil
- gas stabilizer

- tents (2)
- sides to tents (7?)
- ropes etc to tie sides to tent
- gloves for workers
- extension cords just in case

- grate covers (all)
- cones, tall and short
- microwave
- checkbook
- cash drawer
- some cash for the drawer

Oh, can't forget:
- bike
- gear bag with shoes, clothing
- extra wheels
- pump
- thermos
- SRM and charger

Hmmm... I just finished packing the van, sort of. I have two more bins - radios, chargers, printer, mainly electronic type stuff. I forgot a LOT of stuff in the list above, but wandering around the garage, moving the blue car and poking around in front, I realized, "Oh, I need this. Oh, I need that."

So to the list above:
- propane tanks (3)
- heaters (only have one left?)
- camera tripod
- lap cards and holder
- white duct tape for finish line, just in case
- ANNUAL and ONE DAY LICENSE forms (that would have sucked if I forgot those)
- release forms (but someone else is bringing them, I'm just sayin')
- gas cleaner stuff for the van itself
- TV
- TiVO
- cables for above

And since it's kind of late, I'm going to bring the bike unbuilt. Just add race wheels, pump... I better get that stuff before I forget."

The van drove nicely, and it's pretty quiet when it's loaded down (it bounces around a lot when it's empty). I could even exceed 55 mph, something that it didn't like doing before, so that was a good sign.

Sweep took about 5 hours. At a week of racing per hour, that means the guys that helped out get a full Series of races, all of them, even the one that left early because he was about to get into trouble with his missus. And the guy who showed up late but refused any credit, I'll try and keep an eye out for him and force some race credit his direction.

Unfortunately, after all that work last week, I canceled the race. This week we'll give it a shot again. The weather seems to be cooperating a bit more, with temperatures expected to be higher than normal.

In the meantime I've built my bike, and I'll test it out tonight. I have to re-gather my bike stuff since my shoes and some other goodies are in the bike room.

Tomorrow morning (Saturday, March 7th, to be clear), I'll be checking out the course for sand and such. If it's wet I'll probably skip doing too much, but if it's dry, I'd like to try and get some sweeping done.

And then Sunday, hopefully, we can kick off this year's Series.

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