One week. So much to get done. So much time, yet so little.
The rear Cusco diff showed up at IAG on Thursday. Pete and I had dropped the car off on Wednesday, as that was the only day I really had the time to do so. The work to install the front and rear diffs commenced on Friday, and I'd hoped that the install would go smoothly enough that I could pick the car up Friday night.
No such luck. Pete came over around 5PM, and I called to see if the car was ready. JJ said, no, and it probably wouldn't be, but he'd call me back around 7 to update me on what was going on. True to his word, he called back around 7, and the work to install the diffs hadn't gone nearly as well as it could have. The front diff was needing to be shimmed in order to get acceptable backlash, and they didn't have enough shims to do the job in house. They couldn't get any more until Monday. :(
Since I wasn't going to be driving the car on Sunday at all, I decided to drop the rims off today to get the sticker Hoosier A6s mounted up. The next event would be Nationals, so they were needed. My poor car was stranded on a lift, with the transmission cracked open in the clean room.
I do want to drive it around a bit on the street just to get somewhat acclimated to the car. I also would like to get the diffs broken in before Nationals.
Oh, yeah, getting the car to Nationals. Eesh.... When I got home from dropping the car off Wednesday evening, there was an email message from Gabe, starting off with :
"I have to miss nationals..."
I had to reread that part a couple of times before it sank in. My initial thought was simply, "Shit." I continued to read.
"I crashed my bike last night and landed on my chin."
Okay, all selfish thoughts out the window. Mark Bettin, a longtime member of Corner-Carvers, recently passed away due to a bicycling accident, so the dangers of biking are very fresh in my mind. Even as I finish reading the email, I'm hitting dial on the cell.
He's okay, just really banged up, and buzzing nicely on Percocet. He was wearing a helmet, but landed squarely on his chin when the chain on his bike "jumped" as he was switching gears during a ride with his girlfriend. Thankfully Mary was there with him, as he said a couple of riders not too far behind them just rode on by without offering assistance. :( He tore up his chin bad enough to need around twenty stitches (he says it looks like a goatee right now), and one tooth was cracked badly enough that it needed extraction on Wednesday afternoon. Five or six others will need to be fixed with screws and/or crowns over the next month. Between the multiple dental surgeries and the fact that he used up all of his accumulated leave for the "sick time" instead of hanging onto it for the trip to Nebraska, he just can't afford to go to Nationals right now. The real kicker is that he hasn't been at his new job long enough for the dental plan to kick in. :(
So, I did put out a plea to see if anyone else in the area might be able to take the car out for me. Billy Brooks offered to fly out to Maryland and drive the car to Lincoln, but local RX8 driver Shawn Roberts has also offered to take it out. Thankfully, I wasn't planning to do the ProSolo Finale this year (thanks to skewed index numbers, I couldn't justify the wear and tear on the car and tires when I figured my chances of making the Challenge were between slim and none, not to mention how impossible it would be for me to win L2). I shouldn't have to drive it myself.
So, in one week... the latest chapter in Nationals autocross will begin. The action will be broadcast all over the web -- Twitter updates will be available on @CamaroWRX (me), @patred48 (Pat), @AutocrossersInc (AI), @AtlRegionSCCA (Atlanta Region), @WDCRSoloNats (DC Region at Nationals), and @WDCR (DC Region), among others. WDCRSoloNats also will have a blog page to follow, and I'm sure the amusing aspect will be documented at SoloLOL too.
It's a new venue, I'm in a new car with new diffs that I haven't even competed on yet.... and it's all in one week.