Ice Racing


Wow, I realized when I made a post for an AT hike that I hadn’t gone back and done a write-up for the ice race.  I’ve been so busy with work and with my last Masters class that I didn’t have time.  I’m a little more free now so here goes.

The Sunday race in northern NH would take about 4 hours of travel time to get there.  This was complicated by the fact that Chrystal went to a law student conference in Cambridge on Saturday.  So I headed to Boston picked her up and then went straight to EMS in Nashua to make some climbing gear purchases tax free.  After this we had the pleasure of getting to my parents house which was all locked up and I didn’t have the right key.  Super!  No place to sleep.  Well luckily my buddy Dennis lives in Goffstown about 15 minutes away.  He and Mandi, his wife, were gracious enough to let us flop in their living room for the night.

The day of the race was cold, probably mid to low twenties.  Fortunately there was no wind though.  We got to the race site and drove on to the ice.  Wow, is all I could muster after getting out on the access “road” to the course.  In the days preceding the race there was a significant snowfall which would normally be good.  However after plowing the course the weather turned warmer and it rained just a day or two before.  All this resulted in hard snowbanks lining an almost glass smooth course.

With no exaggeration, it was possible to turn the wheel lock to lock with almost no change in direction of the car.  ANY decisions to turn must be made well in advance.  We were able to have a recon lap of the course at very slow speed just to get a look.  This was very helpful because it really underscored how early turns must be initiated.  

The rules for ice racing are much more relaxed than autoX.  We were able to ride along with anyone at anytime.  We were also able to take an instructor for every run.  This was super helpful for both Chrystal and I.  And yup Chrystal drove my car!  She did pretty good too!  The other thing is there was a practice course that we could use at any time we weren’t working or racing.

I overheard on woman describe the day as “ice ballet, not ice racing.”  This was very true on our first runs.  The first turn was an decreasing radius turn after the only straight on the course.  Bad news.  It was sooooo aggravating to realize that I didn’t start the turn early enough and then have to way 5 seconds for the car to slide to the outside of the turn which then bumped me back into a position where I could do something.

We ended up with only three timed runs, which was disappointing.  On the plus side, which made the event totally worth it, was the practice course.  The practice course was about the same size as the race course.  It was also open for almost then entire afternoon.  Both of us got 8 or 10 runs each on the practice course.  This was a blast.  I’m not sure how we did because the results haven’t been posted.  Chrystal made some significant improvements.  She had one small slip up in her last lap, which was going awesome, and she stuffed it into the snowbank.  Luckily by that time the banks were a little softer and there was no permanent damage.  I couldn’t say much to her because I also sent the car into the snow badly enough to have to get a push by 4 people to get out.

We both had a lot of fun at the event.  I don’t think I would make it a point to go to another event with the same conditions.  I’ll try and go when it is a little more snow on the ground. 



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