The bad news: I didn't win.
Why? Well, my fastest run was in one of the heat races, but I had mechanical failure (lost the chain) in the finals, which caused a crash.
Which means even though I set out to do only one of two things, in reality I did them both! Be the fastest, _and_ crash spectacularly for the collective amusement of the assembled masses.
In the finals, my opponents also suffered a mechanical failure, but having the virtue of four wheels, they stayed on the rails and managed to limp past the finish line. Meanwhile, I dusted myself off, bent a few things back into place, got the bike back on the rails, re-set the chain, and (slowly) pedaled across the line a short time later.
It was oodles of fun. The entrants all had a real camaraderie, a sense of fair play and always helped each other out. It took a while to get things organized, but then things ran smoothly. There were many thousands of spectators, even though it was 100 degrees. Both acanthusleaf and I battled the heat, and it was great to have a Racer's tent with lots of cold things to drink and salty foods. We both had a blast. There were loads of merchants, loads of steampunk groups and displays of wonderful inventions, and loads of general goofiness.
Pictures and such are soon to come. At this point, I'm exhausted and sunburned (kept sweating the sunblock off) and I will write more after I get some sleep and recover a bit.
There will be several heats of side-by-side racing. The first heat is at 12:30, the second heat is at 1:30, the third is at 2:30. Then there will be a break, with the fourth heat at 4:30 PM. The final race is after that, and will be between the two fastest teams of the day.
I'll be in the first race of the second heat, at about 1:30 or so. My contraption is called "Cyclotron", and the team name is "The South Pacific Coaster".
And 'heat' will be the word of the day - the weather forecast calls for it to reach nearly 100 on Sunday in Santa Rosa. Joy...
As for clothing, I kinda have it together. If it's really that hot that day, I'll be in modern cool clothes for the day, and perhaps I'll change to the railroad engineer outfit for my race. Or I might just stay in modern clothes for the race as well and wear the engineer's hat as a token gesture. That will be up to the meteorologists.
Racers need to be on site by 10:00, and I want to have some extra time for setting up the bike for the Santa Rosa tracks. So, at this point, I'm planning to bring everything with me to Bardic and to leave from there, spending the night at the event site. I know this messes up carpooling plans, but perhaps we can work something out?
BTW, the speed is improving. Some tweaks to the bike have further improved the stability and brought the time down to 37 seconds for the 700-foot run from a standing start. The better track in Santa Rosa might just allow me to trim the time a wee bit more. Maybe that will make it fast enough to be at least somewhat competitive...
Turns out that the all-metal color scheme is really too subtle. Unless the viewer knew that the whole thing was modern steel, it isn't clear at all that there is anything interesting to the construction of the bike. Even with that, I decided that I really can't afford to have it in pieces for very long, so I reassembled it and am planning to do evening test runs for the rest of the week. It looks OK now, and of course it won't rust, so at least I won't have to worry about that.
The final tally for the event itself is 22 entrants (!). They're expecting the racing to begin around noon and take most of the afternoon. There will be two side-by-side tracks in use, drag-race style. It should be quite the spectacle.