Well, we got 4 difficult hours in, then decided to cancel and reset for later this week. Here is how the day went down:
Carter, his girl friend Kristen, my head official and friend Paul, and Helen enjoyed an awesome pasta dinner cooked by Helen on Friday night.
Helen and I were up at 6:00 am after a good nights sleep. By 7:00 am, all SIXTEEN of us were in our vehicles heading down the mountain to Skips house. Yes, I said 16:
- Greg & Helen
- Carter and his girl friend Kristen
- Helens sister Jennifer and her husband Cyrille and their 2 kids Stefan and Jaida
- My sister Theresa and her husband Pat and their two teen age boys Nick and Andrew
- My buddy Bryon Howard and his son Jacob and their friend Stephan who were staying at Pauls house next door
- My buddy Paul Okerberg.
That’s a LOT of heads to get organized!
Paul, Bryon and myself drove down to Skip’s house where I showed Bryon and Paul how to use the lap counting software, how to spot Carter and I through the scopes, and got the two-way radio set up in Skips house. Skip’s living room window has an amazing sweeping view of the west shore of Whitefish Lake where our 4.78 km rectangular course was set up. You can clearly view the south and north turn around buoys from two telescopes focused on the two ends of the course.
I spent a few hours on Friday with Jacob the surveyor from River Design taking accurate measurements of the exact GPS location of all 12 buoys defining our course. This is used to determine the total distance travelled on each lap, and is a requirement of both Guinness and the International Human Powered Vehicle Association.
The previous day (Thursday), Carter, myself, and the guys from Whitefish Lake Services hauled the 12 buoys out to my GPS coordinates and anchored them in place using cinder blocks.
After the briefing with Paul and Bryon, I headed down to the dock and started to get CP2 ready while Carter got his surf ski prepaired for the day. Helen and the rest of the crew arrived and proceeded to load supplies onto the support pontoon boat. Waiting for us at the dock was John S. form Great Falls who I met at the Race Across Flathead Lake and was super interested in helping out. He was kind enough to bring his inflatable motor boat which came in handy!
After Carter and I did a quick interview with a local TV station, John towed me and CP2 across the lake to the south turn around point while Carter paddled his surf ski to the north turn around point on our course while being followed by the pontoon boat.
When we were in position, my head official Paul started the countdown to 8:35 which was our official start time. When I heard “GO” on the radio, I was off, heading north down my line of buoys, while Carter was on his way south. We both were going the same way around the course, but started at opposite ends.
The water was a bit choppy, but I was hopefull that it would calm down. The forecast for the day was marginal with the definite possibility of being “ok” for us. Winds from the South at 7 to 9 kph with a period mid afternoon as high as 10 to 15 kph. This could have been acceptable if the winds were truly blowing from the South / southwest, and did not exceed 7 kph. Our course runs very close to a mountain that provides a good wind shadow assuming a typical south / southwest flow.
As it turned out, the winds blew from the south east, and due east at times, and were above 10 kph. This created very wavy conditions on the down wind leg – to the point of being able to surf the waves at we approached the north turn around.
After 4 hours, my average was at my goal of 11 kph, but it was starting to slip as my legs started to feel the strain of having to hammer into the building wind on the upwind leg. As the hours clicked by, I found myself pushing harder and harder into the waves just to stop that average from slipping.
Meanwhile, Carter had gained almost 2 km on me because he was flying downwind. In fact, he even expressed his concern about the legality of surfing the waves. He told the support boat that he felt that because he could surf, this was against the spirit of the Guinness rules, and the race, but he would continue if he got an “ok” from me and the officials. I told him that it was fine with me if he wanted to continue, but that I probably would not be able to continue due to how much speed I was loosing and the toll the additional effort was taking on my knees.
John got an update on the weather forecast and notified me that the winds were going to increase to 38 mph and 100% chance of rain for the evening. Carter and I met in the middle of the course and quickly discussed the situation. Carter decided that it would be the fair thing to do for him to stop due to all of the downwind surfing. For me, as I said, stopping was a given – there was just no point in continuing into the worsening conditions which are not advantageous to the CP2 hull. We decided to reset and wait for a better day next week.
Stay tuned.. We are watching the weather very closely. Wednesday or Thursday is the earliest.