Today was our last test day on the mountain until Race Week – July 4th thru 8th. So it was with a little twinge of mixed feelings this morning as we got up at 3:00am and headed up to the start line area. It sure will be nice to get a full night’s rest tomorrow, but it we will also really miss Colorado and Pikes Peak
when we head back to California.
The wind was still up, but somewhat lessened from yesterday’s howling gale. The guys did the usual start in the whole group – one of my favorite things to see – all the motors running together as they head out for the first scouting run. Jerome, one of the sweep riders is on a Pikes Peak Special edition Ducati Multistrada! How cool is that?
The pace of the day is fast. All the riders are down to business, eager to make the most of the day. Carlin & Greg focus on getting a feel for the rhythm of the course. There are more runs today than on any of our other test days. We tell the riders that we’re not looking at times and we aren't, but after they leave for a run the race officials bring the timing sheets to our pits and we can't resist taking a look.
We begin to notice some changes as both Greg and Carlin step up on the runs. The sliders on their boots and knees begin to wear away. Footpegs, shift levers, anything low on the bike – they all start to show angles that weren’t there at the start of the day.
Then we see the officials walking down the pit towards our pit. There is something about the way they come that is different than usual and we know something is up. They tell us that Carlin lost the transmission on #5. He is ok, but the bike is off the course and not running. He hitches a ride down with Greg and we’re happy to see that he is ok.
We get the full story from him. He has been riding at a greater lean angle with each pass, taking the bike over as far as he can, sliding not on just his knee, but also his entire leg. But this time at Engineer’s Corner which is a steep rising turn, his shift lever buries itself in the pavement where the corner rises up sharply. The shift at full power jams the transmission up a gear. He almost loses the entire bike, but saves it enough to make it thru the corner, then it jams completely and the bike stops rolling. Whoops. Stupid shifter.
We are already on repairs. Parts are on order and the team is rolling towards race week. Full Speed Ahead!