27 October 2013

2013 La Carrera Panamericana: Prerace Antics

Okay, after 3 days of not blogging, I caught up on my words in the truck but didn't proof them so here it goes!

A couple of weeks ago Gerie AKA Yeri Bledsoe let me know that there had been a rule change, when, I don’t know, but they now only allow 3 people to rotate in/out of the car instead of 4, like we used to do. The irony of it is that after several years of riding in the service truck, I am finally ready to navigate again. And the day I received my new race suit in the mail, Yeri emailed to say I was out of luck.  Other folks said not to worry, that I would be able to get into the car but I accepted that I might not be able to race, but I would still bring all of my equipment and be ready.

When I landed in Veracruz Geezer said he had talked to one of the LCP staff and she said I could race.  I was super excited and also a bit nervous, just because it has been a while and El Jefe is a radically different and faster car than it was in 2007 when I last navigated in it. 

We got to the Veracruz World Trade Center and it was so fantastic to see my old friends!  There were only about 20% of the cars there, evidently folks who were still working on their cars had them at the hotels.  What a contrast, being in a clean auditorium, with food and beverages available, and a short walk to our hotel, versus 2006 when we stood on the hot blacktop of the Costco parking lot for almost 4 days to prep El Jefe our rookie year.  Hotter than hell, no toilets, food, drink, etc.  Oh, and we had no idea what we were doing in 2006.

So Geezer took me back to the LCP HQ area to get me signed in and that’s when we were told we could only have 3 in the car.  Geezer said he had already decided that he would bow out and let the “kids” race and he’d ride in the truck. That didn’t sit well with me at all!  This is his race; he absolutely lives for La Carrera.  He doesn’t race Chihuahua and he quit racing Pikes Peak so LCP is it and I wasn’t about to take that away from him.  I was very honored and touched that he offered me his seat but I just couldn’t accept it.  But my Norwegian father had made up his mind.  It brought me to tears but there’s no arguing with him when he’s like that. 

Stewie arrived on Wednesday and our team was then complete:  Geezer, Rene, Stewie, me, Bimbo and Tonio.  El Jefe passed inspection without a problem, but we did get an instruction that we’d need to fortify the rollbar for next year.  The safety requirements get stricter every year.

Geezer is funny, every night he wanted to eat in the food court in the mall attached to the WTC and our hotel.  Okay, so I have been dying for real seafood for about a month and nothing I can buy or cook in Denver has satisfied me.  I remember the giant shrimp we ate in a palapa on the beach in 2006 and have been daydreaming of that shrimp.  But night after night he gets Chinese food or McDonald’s or whatever.  Luckily I found a little taco house called Los Trompos that had tacos arrancheras and I pretty much ate them all.  After 4 straight meals there they ran out of arranchera.  Ha!

Our class is super competitive this year with Studebakers like Paul Hladky’s and the Apple Farmer Studie which used to be the Habich speedster.  Rene said, “That’s okay, some of them will land in a tree and we’ll just drive by slow and steady.”  Not to wish anyone harm, but he really is not kidding.

The Navigator’s meeting is absolutely necessary but it lasted 2.5 hours and it was a bit brutal.  Gael did a great job and I always love that he smokes the entire time but this time he had an e-cig so we didn’t get to share in his pleasure.  A concern is that by a show of hands, it appeared that half of the field of 85 cars contain rookie navigators.  It’s gonna get crazy out there.

So after a brief family meeting about who was in and who was out, Geezer let me speak my peace and I told him I just couldn't take his seat and he acquiesced.  I felt so much better!  I have fun no matter what I'm doing and I came knowing I might not be able to race this time.  So....off we go!

Stewie brought Geezer donuts from Houston.

My brother eating McDonald's and me going native.

Rene stickers up my helmet with lucha libre stickers.

The homeys

My new Aussie friend Cowboy and his team's Holden

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