Day 5: An ACE in the hole!
Today was a good day for us. There’s a reason the title is ACE in the hole.
We began the morning with the usual drill of getting directions and heading off to the starting line. Today’s starting line was in a residential neighborhood, and everyone was fairly close together. We were somewhat worried about our leave time, because a crane was supposed to show up at any minute and scare us all away. Another funny part was we thought that we had 6 minutes till start, so we casually got in the car and as we were about ready to go, all of a sudden Austin says , “GO GO!” We were at first puzzled what he meant, turns out we had a little more than thirty seconds until we had to start. We made it with a couple seconds to spare, and then we were off and running.
Within a few turns a large tractor was blocking the road, taking up almost the entire highway , which caused not only us, but many other racers to lose time. Luckily, we were able to make up most of the time. I say most because all of a sudden with little warning we were upon a mark. Oh well. So we continued onward. The course was set up in a funny way, because we looped back twice. One of which was going the opposite direction we had just been. On our third leg we got stuck behind a load of traffic, a combine, and some construction work. Boy it was farmer’s day, because we saw all sorts of large farm equipment on the road. We were not able to make up all the time again, so it was decided that we needed to use a discrepancy sheet. What a discrepancy sheet does is if there is something out of your control, such as a train being in front of you or something that you can’t make up the time for, you note it as a “discrepancy”. We had originally said, in the beginning of the race, that we should not use discrepancy sheets. The reason being, because last years team was stuck and had tried to make up time. They did not have a clear idea of how much time they needed to make up, so they decided to use a discrepancy sheet. As they pulled up to the finish line to get there times, they saw that the person had an ACE sticker in their hand. They were all very excited as they turned in their sheet, and sure enough the guy at the station said that they had an ACE ,which is awarded for completing a leg with under one second of error…until they handed him the sheet.
The rest of the day was smooth sailing. Today’s lunch break was in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Again we had the wonderful community welcome, with the city police letting us in, and a crowd of people clapping as we paraded through the throngs of spectators. It was a nice town that was right next to the water, on the Pasquotank River. It was nice to talk to the other racers at lunch, because that is where we found out that we were not the only ones affected by all the obstacles of the day.
Soon enough we saddled up and went back to racing. We did not miss a single turn or direction the whole day, which is an accomplishment on its own. After enjoying the scenery we eventually made it into our finish town of New Bern, North Carolina. As we turned the corner to the finish line we saw Amanda Gutierrez, Vice President for the Automotive Restoration Program waving to us.
After we crossed the finish line we were handed our results. We had been anxiously awaiting this moment. Aside from the earlier mishap, we felt very good about what happened today. After turning in our discrepancy the staff person had to write on our sheet, to adjust the time. We saw the ACE sticker, and hoped that it would not be a repeat of last year. Luckily for us it was not. We received our first ACE sticker ever! Soon after we pulled into parking and proudly put that sticker on Eliza. We had been discussing that when we got an ACE sticker that we would have a celebratory steak dinner to celebrate. It just so happened that Mrs. Gutierrez already had a reservation at such a restaurant, before any of us knew about the ACE. The rest of the scores were great, aside from one leg, but everybody had issues on that one so we weren’t alone.
Here were our scores for the day.
First Leg 0:13
Second Leg 0:01
Third Leg 0:42
Fourth Leg 0:00 ACE!
Fifth Leg 0:02
Sixth Leg 0:05
Seventh Leg 0:06
It looks like we did pretty good. Our overall position has been bumped up to 44th place and we are currently leading in our division! Our closest competitor in our division, Ponca City, is in a close 46th place overall. The balance can still easily sway, so let’s hope we can hold our lead! It was a great day, and should only refine what we are doing right as the week progresses. Hopefully this will be the first of many more to come.