FC508, What I’ve learned
By Brenda Smith, Crew chief for Barclay Beetle Brown’s FC508 Oct 2000
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 2 days. Barclay insisted we had the qualifications to do this: Namely, we have driver’s 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-40s!), or with eyes closed, provided this is your SECOND FC508 (not for rookie crew members).
- Lavatory facilities? Or is that just another 508 mirage?