Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Amy & Hobart

Hi, this is Amy. My family has been involved with the race for 3 generations, I am a Kinetic Seer, and this year I’m piloting for the second time. I thought I would share my insights about the race with you here.

So, what is it like to do the Kinetic Grand Championship? Glorious would be the best answer. The Glorious Founder, Hobart Brown, likes to describe the race as the “Triathlon of the Art World.” It is three days long and each day has its challenges. There is also a difference between “racing” and “acing.”

Acing is for those intrepid (read crazy, stubborn, buff) people who want to do the ENTIRE course under their own power without the use of any push ropes or outside assistance. This is really hard to do. Those who Ace do not cheat (at least they aren’t caught.) If you and your machine can complete the race under your own power and within all the rules, you are and Ace Pilot. It is customary to rise when Ace Pilots enter a room and address them as “Professor.”

Racing is for the rest of us. Racers have fun on the course. We are happy to accept pushes (from people not motorized vehicles.) We may or may not have every bit of equipment needed for the whole race on the machine the whole time. We might even change pilots here and there. Racers sometimes even engage in “creative course manipulation.” i.e. cheating. But, because we are not registered as ACE, it doesn’t even matter. It’s all about having FUN and the GLORY.

So, how do you get the most out of your Kinetic Grand Championship experience if you are not IN the race?

First, listen to live and complete coverage on KHUM. I was in the race last year, and saw less of it than ever. Our coverage lets you be in all places simultaneously. Bring your radio with you when you come out on the course. Here are the best places to be:

(Please refer to the video from Day 1 of last year’s race for appropriate visuals.)

Arcata Plaza. Come by 10am and really see the machines and the pageantry. Every machine goes through a series of judging stations on the Plaza before the race begins. We are judged on ART (including the machine itself, the costumes, theme, skits, bribes, etc.) Engineering, Safety, and the very popular sobriety and brake checks. Once completed the machines park and you can see them up close and personal. Pose for pictures and ask for bribes.

The race begins at the noon whistle. The machines go down through the Arcata Bottoms to the

Manilla Community Center where they are off the clock and the pit crews change into sand gear. The MCC has a big Kinetic Fair every year with BBQ, music, kids activities and more. This is a great way to see more of the race and have some fun too.

From there, the machines head over the dunes to the shore and come down the beach a couple of miles. Then it’s up and over several dunes to the top of the big one:

Dead Man’s Drop! This is aptly named. This is a very steep, very big sand dune that we go DOWN with a sharp turn at the bottom. This is a real favorite of the crowd.

If you are going to Dead Man’s Drop: you can park off the road on the Manilla side of the Samoa Bridge and take the trail in to the drop.
BE WARNED the mosquitos are truly horrible. They congregate in large clouds and will bite you without mercy. You will NEED mosquito repellant with 100% DEET: do not use the eco-groovy stuff here, or you’ll be sorry. Also bring with you plenty of drinking water, sun screen, your radio, and rain gear. (Hey, it’s Humboldt—the weather could do anything and it usually does.)

From Dead Man’s Drop the machines go over the Samoa Bridge towards the glorious finish line at the

Gazebo in Oldtown Eureka. Once sculptures are on their way from Dead Man’s Drop, we advise all motorized vehicles to go AROUND the bay from Manilla to Eureka rather than take the bridge. The machines are peddled by mere humans (even the ACE machines) and they are SLOW going over the bridge. It is SAFER for the racers and their crews if you go around.


Anonymous said...

Is there going to be a slippery slimey slope, do you know?

Amy said...

No, unfortunately, there will not be a slippery slimey slope this year. The wonderful folks at Kinetic Universe have pulled off a major miracle just organizing the race using last year as a template. We hope that we will regain the slope and the bay crossing, what many of us call the real or original course next year.


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