Monday, June 11, 2012

An Embarassment of Riches: Race Day 2012

You know, it's not every day you see a Conestoga wagon going faster than the space shuttle. — Gary Sibert

So, how'd we do?

What I can tell you is this: we did well. We did very well.

We did so well I kinda felt bad about it, actually.

What I can't do is show you a lot of pictures of it. That was the day my new camera and my new high-capacity SD card decided that they really didn't like each other, and I was too busy clicking away to notice the little red telltale that said "Demo Mode" — only the most recent photo was stored in memory. By the time I'd realized this, all the heats with Fiona and Aiden had passed.

One picture will remain etched in my memory for some time, though: The shocked look Aiden had on his face when Time Machine crossed the finish line, well in first. He was not expecting that. (Neither was I, for that matter!)

Aiden getting a good look.

What I was not expecting was to win on speed. I hadn't really set out to compete in that category; I figured I had no chance. Turns out I was wrong. There were Fiona and Aiden, being called up to the podium, again and again, not just for the categories we'd been working towards, but for speed, as well.

Taking the podium — again — this time in the "family" category, for speed.

I can think of only three reasons for our sudden jump to the top in this category:

  1. The new rules prohibited some of the more esoteric means for achieving speed.
  2. The Siberts weren't there.
  3. The McKeevers weren't there.

The last two, I think, were the main reasons. Both had large families, were exceptionally creative, and knew how to get the last hundredth of a second out of their cars. And, both families decided to skip the derby this year. Suddenly, the simple speed mods I'd made (polishing the axles, mostly) stood a chance. It took me a minute to realize I'd been counting on their competition. I'd hated that a lot of the good work we'd done in previous years had gone unrecognized, while certain families dominated. Suddenly, we were that family, and I was extremely conscious of it.

It got worse as they started calling out the prizes for the "family" category, because very few people had entered. I even saw the judges' sheets, where they tried to distribute the prizes more evenly, but we still walked away with a lot of the top honors for creativity and speed.

Our enormous pile of loot.

So. Um. Sorry, other families. We'll try to do worse next year....