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Saturday, March 28, 2015

First Annual 73rd Running of the Pines

So this was basically a Pinewood Derby for grownups. Well, mostly grownups. One of the fastest cars was entered by a 9 year old girl.

It was at the coolest little bike shop ever, Velo+, with employees and owner entering their own cars (some of them built just today). A keg of Boulevard was on hand, pizza from Jerry's Bait was brought in, it was a whole three ring circus.

It was strict BSA rules except bribery was encouraged and there was both a BSA class and a 'if it can go down the track' wide-open class.

I had my car from Cub Scouts, I guess it must be around 37 years old—give or take. I'm 45 now, so whatever age I was when we did the Derby in cub scouts minus that. It was a gram overweight so I had to shave some of the lead off the bottom to get it down to 142 grams.

And I borrowed some graphite to help it out.

My new car, the Sweet Transvestite, it wasn't visually what I intended but it got the job done. I bribed David just to brand it after the run because that was the penalty for bribery, your car got branded. I didn't want a cheat or anything, I just wanted the car branded and the bribes went to the Boy Scout troop who loaned us the track.

The Sweet Transvestite took a lot of weight to get to 142 grams actually. As painted it was only 65, so I put all the metal that came in the kit on there and then a bit of spare from someone else and then a big fat washer.

The most creative entry, by far, was an edible car featuring marshmallow peeps and whatnot. It had terrible ground clearance and didn't quite manage to get all the way down the track, but very, very original. And Mo really enjoyed eating the 'spectators' (the peeps leftover) and then eventually the car when the woman who had entered it gave it to her on account of how much Mo loves marshmallow peeps.

Generally, Mo thought the whole event was total bullshit but once the pizza and peeps were in play she settled in and had a good time.

There was a 3D printed car entered, too. Pretty cool. The guy had a misprint with him as well, I guess as good as those printers have gotten they sometimes get it wrong. It was the exact same car as his other one except in the middle it all of a sudden zigged over to one side.

There were quite a few vintage cars, but a lot of ones built just for this. The fastest overall turned out to be the Ragbrai Bus, which shows that aerodynamics matter far less than you'd think. The Ragbrai Bus was just a brick of wood on wheels, but it consistently outran everyone.

It was such a good time. I can't wait for next year, the Second Annual 73rd Running of the Pines.

I even have ideas for three more cars. Milk & Cheese, the comic book, drill holes in a block and paint it yellow, two big black eyebrows and you have Cheese. The other one, same eyebrows, cut a triangular top and paint it white: Milk. Dairy products gone bad as Derby cars.

The other is a coffin: that old saw of commuter cyclists that 'cars are coffins,' there's a theme right there.

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