Day 0.5, or The Day of Moderate Success.

June 22, 2012

The VW made it through the day! We did too, though probably more worse for wear. The starter has been more cooperative than the engine, as well- it no longer starts when we first turn the key, but it will the second time. It’s learning from the Imperial, it does the same thing when it’s cold.

We headed out to the Hagerty garage again, this morning just to pick up the starter. Then it was back to the Holiday Inn to go through the rally school – a necessity for us greenthumbs. Or is it oilhorns? The school was great, reminding us of things we’d forgotten, and teaching us things we’d yet to think about. John Classen and Bill Croker did a great job at showing the basics, and making sure we knew the most important parts- staying on course, primarily, and various ways to time things like starts and speed changes.

After that, it was out on the road to try our “skills” on the Trophy Run! It went immeasurably better than the last TSD, we didn’t get lost once! When we got through, we found out that put us ahead of a few of the rookie teams already. However, our mentors in the “NO XQS” Imperial ended up creeping up on us by the end of the 3rd leg (as we got stuck behind the Volvo moving a bit slowly). They told us that our speedometer was running slow, since they had been steadily gaining on us. Completely believable, since it started to stick, too. So far, we’d run a few MPH (indicated) above the target speed, based off the previously tested 50MPH. We guessed that we should move up to 5+ the target speed.

We guessed wrong. Our final times were +9, +56, +58 and -1:58. We had gone from being a consistent minute below time to 2 minutes fast. Clearly, some kinks to be worked out. Kink 1: the speedometer. Without a Timewise speedometer, we were stuck with the cable-driven stock VDO gauge, so after dinner we headed out with the Imperial to do a proper calibration run. This is what we came back with:
"Calibrated" speedometer
Each tape slice is 5MPH, 20-45. This should give us a better idea of our speed. Hopefully.

So, all things considered, we may have to resort to our previous team name: “Hopeless Optimism”. Tomorrow is another day, and we need our intelligence sleep. Beauty sleep? Pah! Who needs beauty when you’re trying to hit times?

Oh, I almost forgot. The room here at the Holiday Inn has a great view:

4 comments about “Day 0.5, or The Day of Moderate Success.”

    • Hey Brian. Not a bad idea, but there are three issues with that, two technological, one rules-based.

      1. Most GPS units have a refresh speed of 1 or 2 hertz. That would be nowhere near fast enough to account for the very minute throttle changes required to keep the speed steady (we’re talking tenths of an MPH kind of steady). We would need at least a race system with 10 or more hertz update rates.
      2. The VW, being an old VW, runs a 6V electrical system. There’s very few ways to power 12V gadgets from it. Even if we had the fancy speedometer, we’d have to carry a separate 12V battery just to power it.
      3. Most importantly, not allowed. The only tools we’re allowed is our clock, our stopwatch, and the speedo (either the Timewise unit or the stock, BUT NOT BOTH). Not even calculators are allowed, and phones have to be off during the day.

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