This past weekend, I participated in the Kinetic Grand Championship – a 42 mile, 3 day race over land, sand, mud and water across Humboldt County. The people who participate in this race only use man-powered machines, “sculptures”, usually propelled by bicycles somehow built into the sculpture. It’s a pretty difficult race to explain. I really had no concept of what it was before I participated in it these past few days, but I will do my best to explain.
It all started on Thursday with Tahn going to visit her Grandpa.
Tahn all packed and ready to go.
I hated leaving her, but I decided it was too difficult to bring her along. I was going to be on the go the entire weekend, I didn’t want to create extra stress for her or me.
Thursday night was hard without Tahn.
Tahn's bed without Tahn. It sucked.
Early Friday Morning, my friends Jessica, Izzy, and their sweet little girl and I set off to Humboldt County – not a short drive to say the least.
We arrived at the warehouse where the “sculpture” we were going to help race was being stored. Friends of ours had spent nearly every weekend in the past four months working hard on the sculpture.
Our sculpture, the “Corpi Cruiser” was built of 90% recycled materials. (It’s very living simply of them, isn’t it?) The Corpi Cruiser was a “salmon” (I believe…) with 7 seats – 6 seats were propelling the sculpture forward. The 7th seat was the “barnacle seat,” and we got extra points for having it.
This is the front of the Sculpture - not a great picture, but hopefully you get the idea. The "scales" of the fish are recycled CDs and DVDs.
This is the back of the Sculpture, before it was completly assembled.
Some of the seats inside the Sculpture.
Inside the Sculpture, looking out the front.
Oh, about the points. This race is not a typical race. Although we were technically racing, many, many other factors were important to help win the race. I won’t go into them here, but the rules are quite silly and very ridiculous. Let’s just say that some very creative people run the race, so any creativeness and bribery went a long way.
Here are my two favorite rules:
It is mandatory that all Sculpture Pilots, Pit Crew, Officials, Spectators, Law Enforcers, Communicators, Volunteers, Merchants, and even innocent bystanders put great effort into having great fun for it is such Craziness as this that keeps us all Sane! If you insist on being a grumpy racer and not having fun, you may declare “diplomatic immunity” (since you are surely from another planet) and not be cited by overly excited officials for that infraction, but we reserve the right to adjudicate any such declaration.
The sole purpose of this race is to have fun. So, many of the rules revolve around having fun.
In case of sunshine, the race shall be run anyway.
Since the race is run in Humboldt County, it rains most of the time, so most of the time; this race is run in the rain.
A few other details about the Kinetic Grand Championship:
-“A Pilot” is what the racers are referred to. If you chose, you can to rotate pilots.
-“Pit Crew” is the support people who help the vehicle as needed. And, trust me, the vehicle needs a lot of help.
-“Peons” is another group of support people but technically they cannot help with the sculpture.
I was originally signed up as a member of the “Pit Crew” – but I was allowed to ride the sculpture a few times.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
The first day:
After seeing the Corpi Cruiser, Jessica, Izzy, their little girl and I went to dinner, then went to our beautiful campsite to set up camp.
(Quick side note: I hate camping. I hate it. HATE it. And, I am sorry to say, but, this camping experience did not change my mind on it. Most of the time I was cold or wet, or cold and wet – it rained and I just didn’t enjoy it. But, it was a beautiful campsite and if I had an RV to sleep in I would have been a much happier camper…)
That first night it rained – and was very cold. Unfortunately, my “summer” sleeping bag was not sufficient for the freezing cold night. So, I spent most of my night waking up because I was cold. It was not good. Thankfully, one of my friends gave me a great sleeping bag so the rest of the weekend I was very warm.
And, also, my camera got some sap on it so as of the first morning and my camera did not work. I am waiting on pictures from Jessica to continue my story of the Kinetic Grand Championship.
But, until then, here is the Kinetic Grand Championship, by the numbers:
32 – the number of feet the Corpi Cruiser
3 – the number of nights I slept outside/ in a truck
4 – the number of nights I was suppose to sleep outside/ in a truck
7 – the number of seats on the Corpi Cruiser
6 – the number of seats on the Corpi Cruiser at the end of the race
1 – the number of shoes I wrecked
5 – the number of nights I was away from Tahn
Countless – the number of people who experienced hypothermia (including myself)
21 – the number of months of age Jessica and Izzy’s little girl is (and who is unbelievably good)
To be continued….