FC508: What I've Learned
By Brenda Smith, crew chief for Barclay Beetle Brown
Barclay had a spectacular race with a very respectable finish in this year's Furnace Creek 508, despite some unbelievable obstacles. Racing in his fully faired Lightning F-40 recumbent bike, the Beetle was vying for a top position with the race leaders through the first half of the race. We have reason to believe he would have finished at the top, too... had it not been for a fiery high-speed blow-out on the downside of Townes Pass into Stovepipe Wells, the steepest descent of the course.
My crew partner, Barclay's girlfriend Jessica, is a gorgeous, bright, enthusiastic athlete (top level volleyball player) who is a really good sport about living in a smelly van for two days. Barclay insisted we had the qualifications to do this: namely, we have drivers licenses and know how to make tuna sandwiches. Barclay will share his views on the race, but from the crew perspective, here are my lessons from FC508 2000:
- You can never have too much duct tape and electrical tape.
- No matter how careful you are with the ice, the van floor gets soaked.
- The approach of a Banana Slug will make the cyclist go faster than any Power Gel or Rock & Roll tune ever could.
- If "girlfriend intuition" says that you've "leap frogged too far ahead of your rider," you probably have.
- "Hey, Mr. DJ, put a record on..." Oldies rock and roll is only entertaining for about 25 minutes on the external speakers, then it's time to put on some new stuff.
- When the brake friction on the wheel rim heats up to the point that it blows out the tire, you can actually see flames!!!
- When seeing her boyfriend crash his bike at high speed, a girlfriend will scream a string of expletives that would make a sailor blush.
- After a crash, never mention the word "hospital" if the bike is still operational.
- Making the downed cyclist repair his own tire is a good distraction from the pain of the injuries. Or the crew could actually learn to fix a flat.
- Again, Duct Tape! It will repair anything from a torn fairing to a torn-open ankle.
- Greek Salad at the Mad Greek will do wonders for body, mind and spirit.
- You can drive the crew van while seeing double (side-by-side F-40's!), or with eyes closed, provided this is your SECOND FC508 (not for rookie crew members).
- Lavatory facilities? Or is that just another 508 mirage?