The Championship Run – The Final Stage
Posted on July 3, 2017
Find The Real Data
Sault Sainte Marie is a pretty town, but the day started with a splash. Heavy rain was coming down when we got up, then let up for a little while in time to get the car ready and packed for our early start.
Today’s stage to Traverse City is the Championship Run and it is the final opportunity to improve your scores and standing. The official start time is 7:30 AM and our start position for the day is 42 – and we’re in order of the overall standings from the day before so we’re going to be running with teams that are competing as well as we are. No Mayhem of the Rookies to deal with – we’re on our own.
We left earlier than usual after receiving our instructions to allow extra time in case there was some difficulty getting across the beautiful Mackinac Bridge on this holiday weekend. (Heavy traffic yesterday force the cancellation of the last leg!) The first part of the calibration run was in moderate rain and the Ranchero was running a bit slower than the posted times due to the cooler temperature and the lower pressure in the tires. (I never added any air the whole week!)
By the time we reached the starting point, the road was dry. But we would run into showers (some heavy) throughout the morning. The rain made it extremely important to “look sharp” and wet roads also demand more care and longer start and stop times. Just more fun to our fun filled week!
The Championship Run was a total of 5 legs. Team Altered States was firing on all cylinders and we were feeling like we were executing well despite the new variables introduced by the rain. We did have one point where we got caught a few seconds off the pace when the first checkpoint came in a space where we were trying to make up time after a turn, so we definitely lost a few points there!
The rest of the morning went well – until the last leg where we missed a speed change and ended up estimating our time loss and tried to compensate. That uncertainty caused a great deal of anxiety until we got our scores. Anxiety turned to disappointment when we learned we were 28 seconds late on
the at leg. The lesson learned is “Never guess.” What we should have done is found the car ahead of us and hacked off them to get a minute between us. That has it’s risks too, but at least you have something to work with other than a guess!
The day wasn’t a total washout though! Our score for the day was a respectable 39.0 seconds (5, 1, 4, 2, 28) but it dropped us to 38th place overall and 18th place in our division. Not bad, but we’ll have to be better next time. We’re just competitive enough now to be able to compete for the money. Time to get to work and practice, practice, practice!
The day wasn’t a total washout from a weather perspective either. As the morning progressed and we drew closer to the finish, the skies brightened and the dark clouds were replaced with white cumulus clouds as we arrived into stunning Traverse City, MI. The downtown was packed with people in for the July 4the weekend and the annual Cherry Festival – and of course, the finish of the 2017 Great Race.
We enjoyed a leisurely lunch (for a change!) and had the time to stroll through the town as the airshow roared above us and we sampled the cherries. (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone – the weather has been so cold the local cherries are still on the trees!) We checked into our hotel, The Great Wolf Lodge, which is an incredibly kitschy and incongruous collection of kiddie theme park, hunting lodge, and Pirates of the Caribbean motif. It works in a weird way.
The day was capped by the awards banquet and a party after where lots of stories were shared, friendships cemented, plans for the future made, and long goodbyes were conducted. We’ll be back!
In the morning, after a nice casual breakfast we’ll head back on the road, heading home via a side trip through Ontario, Canada and an overnight stay on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.