On Friday the university of Liverpool team aka "The Liverpooligans" arrived at Battle Mountain, Nevada in high spirits. We managed a few short test runs over the weekend and made some final tweaks to the bike.
Sunday evening's meeting and introductions to all the teams and bikes was a nostalgic one. There are more bikes, with bigger teams, from further afar than there ever has been at the event. The excitement was plain to see all around and we were pumped for the first qualification runs on Monday morning.
We pulled numbers out of a hat to determine the order in which we could select our start order. I got a good number and ended up being first off in the first heat. Launch time 7am. We picked this heat because the forecast showed the lowest wind speeds. Fully fared bikes are susceptible to wind and notoriously tricky to handle.
After a half decent nights sleep and an early start we headed for the course whilst it was still dark. Upon arrival it was cold but calm.
I started my warm up and the legs felt good. A few minutes before our launch time, the dutch team of Delft University arrived and managed to beach their truck on the verge by the side of the road. An unfortunate accident, but it meant the competition was delayed until they could move the truck off the road.
what followed was half an hour of uncertainty, me getting cold and the winds picking up to almost unride-able conditions. When they finally allowed us to launch I was shivering and distracted so it was never going to be the best run.
I spent the next 2.5 miles battling gusty winds and struggling to stay upright. Not wanting to take any risks... and fearing a crash... I wobbled through the traps at an embarrassingly low speed of 46mph. The lowest speed i've ever produced at Battle Mountain, but in undoubtedly the toughest conditions.
The result of this is that I haven't ridden fast enough to get seeded in the top 15 who are allowed to run the full 5 mile course in the evenings.
We are going to be attempting to qualify again tomorrow on the 2.5 mile course. Praying for good conditions!
I was grumpy and frustrated ... until I had lunch. Now the world is a happy place again :)