OK, I think we’ve got this figured out!

The official start of the Great Race was an amazing spectacular coordinated with The Historic Main Street Cruise in Jacksonville. If you are a car lover, the fantastic cars that came out to see the equally incredible Great Race cars was enough to have you drooling! Jacksonville put on a terrific show!

However, the temperature and humidity were something else! It took over 2 hours to get the cars through the start and the high heat and humidity was a shocker for a lot of the teams. But once we were under way the muscle memory kicks in and we’re right back in the groove!

Our calibration run was more of the same as the day before – still trying to dial in the
speedometer. We decide to do it through brute force and change the factor after each interval of timing on the run. Stopping on the shoulder of I-95 is not for the faint of heart! With traffic whizzing by at over 70 mph, you need to keep your wits about you. Especially when trying to re-enter the traffic flow! But we finally were able to get the speedometer to match what we think is a reasonable timing with the official speed. (We would later find that while close, we need to tweak it just a little bit more!)

Stage 1 consisted of 6 legs which starts us following the old Dixie Highway from Jacksonville, FL to Tifton, GA. The Dixie highway is really just a name given to the route followed from the south to the midwest United States. Though initially conceived as a single route, it was ultimately defined as a network or roads marked by a “DH” marker. Our route from Florida to Georgia covered some spectacular countryside with some long, flat, and straight extended runs at 50 and 45 mph. Arriving in Tifton was great – and the welcome and the food was unbelievable! The folks in Tifton certainly know how to make you feel welcome – and the dinner was by far among the best we’ve ever had in any Great Race town!

Four of the six legs were very technical, requiring conscientious attention to detail and flawless execution of instructions. We did very well on those legs with a couple of 1s and 7s (late.) On the legs with the extended periods at 50 mph and 45 mph we were significantly late to the checkpoints, indicating that there is still too much of a factor dialed in to our speedometer.

But we’re close! We’ve dialed a new factor in and tomorrow we think we’ll be back to our old form! We actually had an excellent day working together as a team and are really thrilled at how well we are solving problems and working out solutions. The first challenge was on the start where a couple of rally cars were involved in a traffic incident with a local car that caused significant delays for several teams. We were able to handle the crisis well and managed to get started almost on time.

We also executed the rest of the rally instructions almost perfectly. We were able to make up all the time lost during each of the maneuvers and we thing our scores would be significantly better if our timing on the speedo was correct.

One really bright note for the day: Helen and Alan have achieved 3 aces so far! They’re off to a great start and have set the bar for us!