Somehow, oddly, the second day of getting up at 3:00 is even easier than the first. Today the moon was full and just about to set behind the mountain when we headed thru the gate. It was gone by the time we reached our pit area, making it very dark out as we unloaded and set up the tire warmers.
Riders meeting at 5:00am. The rain yesterday afternoon cleared the course of some of the dust, but the officials warned us about water on the course up at 11 Mile Water Station. The first lap will be the entire section for the day, including the newly paved area, but at very low speed and tightly grouped with the race officials leading the pack. After that the riders will have runs part of the way up – to the corner called Brown Bush and back down. Only after that will the runs go thru the entire section.
Looking at a map of the race course, today we are at the start line and just below Glen Cove is where our section ends. The new pavement is just past the area called Half Way Picnic Ground all the way to Glen Cove. After the first run, we get Greg & Carlin’s assessment of the new pavement. It is going to be fast but will require every bit of the rider’s attention and skill to get through it quickly and safely. When the road here was dirt, it was very wide, with sweeping corners and it was fairly easy for the riders to straighten out. Now in its paved form it is much narrower – as much as 12 feet narrower in some places. The road has become more of a ribbon and some corners have a new double apex shape.
Once the first couple runs have proceeded safely, the officials allow full throttle runs for the entire section. As always the riders go up, then return to the pit for adjustments & changes then go back out again. Today though has a different feel – it is a good day, a fun day that feels nothing like work. When the riders do happy sideways slides into the pits we know that we’re all having a good time.
Suddenly it is 8:30 and time for the last run. This morning flew by. Tonight we don’t have a curfew – the next practice day won’t be until Friday. This week the crew will stay in Colorado sorting out details and making some changes to the race motorcycles. The riders fly home for a couple of days then on Thursday night we’ll gather the team again and begin three more practice days. Check in on Friday for an update – it should be a good one as we have something special planned for Greg and Carlin.