Rick Robson is following Graeme Obree as he attempts to break the human powered vehicle world speed record in the USA
A Sunday morning bike check before heading off for Battle Mountain revealed a punctured front tyre on The Beastie.
Not a problem on a normal bike, slightly trickier on The Beastie. While changing the tube Graeme decided it would be a good idea to replace the tyre too. With the quick release undone, the tube and tyre were replaced through the front window – the front wheel can’t easily be removed. “It’s a Boy!” Graeme shouts, with his hands inside the internals of The Beastie.
With tube and tyre replaced in less than five minutes, it was time to head north to Battle Mountain, the town once harshly given the tagline ‘The Armpit of America’.
We headed off to check out the route for Monday’s qualifying run. Having ridden a few time trials in my misspent youth, I have seen a various flat roads. Nothing prepared me for Highway 309, 14 miles south of Battle Mountain – yes, even better than the V718!
The smoothness of the road was also very impressive, the stones in the road surface were of finer grade than your average road and actually feel smooth running a hand across it. Organiser, Al Kraus, later explained that the surface on each direction was laid in one continuous run with no joins across the surface.
From the route we headed to the bike check area where the bike checker could sign off the machines ready for tomorrow’s qualifying runs.
With The Beastie given the all-clear to race, there was ample opportunity to cast an eye over the other competitors’ machines and chat with other riders and officials. The open and friendly nature of the sport quickly became apparent.
The pre-race meeting ran through the rules and regulations for riders and followers as well as introducing all the volunteers and helpers who make the week possible.
The Monday morning qualifying rides will establish which riders can run in the evening session, the fastest 15 qualify. Those outside of the top 15 will get to run in the next morning session and try to qualify for the evening runs.
Eight countries are represented at Battle Mountain with 28 machines, ranging from well-funded university/sponsored teams to individuals using off-the-shelf HPV’s and homemade ones such as The Beastie.
Graeme and The Beastie will be in action in the qualifying round at approximately 7am.
“It’s a boy!” Changing a front tyre, Beastie style
Obree reaches in to change The Beastie’s tube and tyre after a puncture
Pre-Speed Week meeting
The road: it’s pretty flat
Some slippery competition
Graeme Obree, ready on the road