Touring Tennessee and Kentucky On The Historic Dixie Highway
It was so late and I was so tired, I just couldn’t sit and think about writing last night. Hopefully I’ll remember enough this morning!
We had a lazy start in Chattanooga since our start position was 109 and the official start time was 7:00 AM. That meant we could pick up our instructions for the day at 8:19 (30 minutes before our departure time of 8:49.) Plenty of time to pack up and check out the car before heading over to the Chattanoogan Hotel where the start was located! Also lots of opportunity to share stories and hints and tips with other racers.
The calibration run was pretty long and gave us a good sense of how were were running against the Rallymaster’s speedometer (he might actually be devious and change it a click or two between days!) Turns out we were running about 12 second / hour slow. Once we reached the staging area for the start I adjusted the speedometer, Lauren finished calulating the morning’s legs, and we were ready to go!
We felt like we got off to a good start on the first leg and we were doing well executing the instructions. But we seemed to be gaining on the 1970 Pontiac GTO in front of us. Could we be running too fast? Or are they slow? You can’t really know, so you must run your own race!
We discussed our options for what to do in the event we overtook them before the end of the leg and what to do if the leg ended before we were up their tailpipes. Our best plan was to take a 10 second time allowance to put some space between us at the restart for the next leg. We finished the leg without having to take any evasive action and set up the time allowance for the start of the 2nd leg. (Turns out we scored a 1 on that leg!)
Just as the GTO was about to leave a yellow 1971 Corvette came roaring through the start and jumped right in front of the GTO. He missed the first instruction (a right turn at the light) then realized it too late and made the turn to end up behind the GTO and in front of us! We already had too little space between us and the GTO. Now we have to deal with this knucklehead!
Sure enough as the sun rises in the east, the Corvette is running slow so we start closing the gap. Now we have to decide another course of action. We determined that if we end up on his fiberglass ass, we’ll take a time delay. But then I though of a different solution. We had a stop coming up!
At the stops, the instructions are written with a 15 second pause (which you adjust based on your car’s performance chart.) We passed the Corvette at the stop while he paused and didn’t take our full pause (Yes, we stopped!) That means we were now about 6 seconds early, so we had to shave time off. So we slowed down long enough to eat up those 6 seconds. That maneuver caused the Corvette to end up right on our back bumper! Ha!
Some where along the way the GTO missed or made a wrong turn because now they were coming up fast and looking to get past us. We let them by while maintaining our speed and waved them “good luck!” Then our troubles began.
The next instruction was just a left turn, but the hint stated “1st paved road – look sharp.” What looked us like a gravel path was actually the road! As we were trying to discern if this is right we could see farther up the road it was paved. I slammed on the brakes, threw the car into a left power slide, turned almost 180 degrees (avoiding going into the farmer’s field!) and had gravel flying as the wheels spun trying to dig in to get back up the road.
We made it! But we had no idea how much time was lost on that whole episode. We’ll worry about that later. The next instruction was exactly the same left turn with a hint reading “1st road-look sharp (this road is paved.)” But we were still interpreting it as “1st paved road.” I actually saw the GTO turn left and saw the huge cloud of dust behind her so we knew that can’t be the right road! We went by the road, never to see another road on the left before we came to a stop sign. That was a sure sign we missed the turn because the next instruction was exactly like the current instruction with the same hint, and no stop sign indicated.
A quick U-turn and we were headed back to that “paved” road (confusing the line of racers who were coming in the direction we had just reversed!) We knew we needed to catch the GTO and position ourselves the proper distance between us.
We flew through the next instructions, ignoring all speed and timing exercises till we had the GTO in sight. Then we timed the distance between us to make sure we were pretty close to where we thought we should be and finished out the leg without further incident. (We ended up scoring a 31 on that leg!)
We made our way to Murfreesboro, TN where we met our friend Ben and his beautiful family. They came all the way from Nashville just to see us! It was great to spend some time with them, though we had to rush off to the next start.
The next couple of legs found us making some unforced
errors that required us adjusting and even hacking off one of the cars 3 minutes ahead of us! We ended the day with a lap around the NCM Motorsprts Racetrack and a wonderful dinner in Bowling Green, KY.
Now it’s off to Stage 4!