Sunday, January 7, 2007

Windscreen Blues

It all happened in Kolkota...
During our third day/night of constant running (day 6 in race time) we finally reached the part of the adventure where we new it was make it or break it time. After pulling down a whopping 2 hours sleep in the last three days it was decided that if we didn't do it here we wouldn't do it at all. It was at this point after making it through several traffic diversions (basically another term for "Take this shit road for awhile until we divert you to another even shittier road which will be followed by a bridge that's even shittier still.") we came upon another beautiful and brand new stretch of national highway. A thing to remember here is that there is really no rhyme or reason to where these bits of road begin or end (as you can see from the previous post) so when we stopped at the fork to ask for directions we were pleased to find out that "Yes friend, new road very smooth to Kolkota, good journey." And bang like a slow rocket we were off. And smooth it was, for a time... At this point I find it important to include a specific technical detail of the auto rickshaw. The headlight is actually attached to the front wheel and therefore only points in the direction in which the wheel is being turned, which at a whopping 6 watts or so sucks on the straight-aways much less a left turn or bloody ubend. Many teams had the forethought to add extra lighting which arriving the day of the race we had no time to suss out, besides we figured night driving was tempting fate anyways. So here we are back on this beautiful concrete paradise zipping along at 60kph able to see at a maximum about 20 yards ahead of us and to my surprise what should we come upon but a large pile of dirt blocking any further progress on the highway. Luckily at high speeds Higgings is pretty nimble and we were not the first to have approached that particular berm and I jacked it hard to the left hitting the most shallow part of the pile sending us safely over the top. Death averted once again and onwards we travel. As we pressed on somehow the road seemed to magically get darker which was either due to my completely cranked out eyeballs or was a sign from the mother gods that there was impending danger, which thankfully, I heeded. I pulled back on the throttle just as our crappy high beam shed waves onto a pile of dirt Higgins would have needed wings to get over. I abused the brakes once again and plowed into the front of it bringing our fancy highway journey to an abrupt conclusion. As we looked around confused and cursing our Indian friend and his directions we prodded some locals for info. Most pointed their scraggy digits to a dirt path that neither of us could believe was road of any kind, but sure enough we spied major truck traffic which is the true litmus for proper directions in India. We diverted down this path for what amounted to one massive pothole and the sight of major traffic slowly bouncing up and down like giant pogo sticks. We exchanged a glance that translated to "fuck this" and made a decision to head 60km back to the fork where we got our bunk directions. Stopping at the same petrol station for the second time we topped it off and headed the long way around pissed, tired and impatient. It's important to note here that the Calamity Crew stopped at this same petrol station 20min later to the excited jeers of the pump attendants whose information they dismissed as they could not see how we would have been there twice and now heading in the opposite direction. They ended up taking the connection at the end of the highway and had to actually carry their rickshaw some of the way. We feel we made the right choice but I digress... Totally irritated and having been behind the wheel for about eight hours and now back on more crappy roads after having wasted much time I came up with a theory. Perhaps not the most brilliant hypothesis but in my sleepless stupor it sounded like a grand idea. I theorized that if I just cane it down the road I would miss all the holes by flying over the top of them, and I did exactly that. I dismissed how brutally rough the ride was as we were making good time while in the back Jake prayed that Higgins would hold together. It was after about two hours of this abuse that a new noise started to emanate from the front end. By process of elimination I determined it was coming from somewhere around the windscreen so I put my hand up to it and it promptly fell out. Sadly I had to wake my passenger from the 30 seconds of sleep he had just gotten to help me put the sucker back in amidst a raft of cursing a team of sailors would be proud of. An hour later we were back on the road heading towards Kolkota which thanks to Jake's tenacity (and ability to drive through hallucinations) we would reach at a traffic-less dawn giving us a permanent and race winning lead.

6 comments:

Sean said...

Hell yes! Nice work boys, we knew you had it in ya. U-S-A!

Captain_Chaos said...

You bunch of pussies - this is where the calamity crew and captain chaos could have had you - as the beastie boys say "we travel on gravel dirt road or street!!"
we definatly over took you here - but as we are noble englishmen we went into Calcutta to get to the checkpoint - you lot cheated! - no checkpoint - no win!!
And i like your use of words here "We caned it!"
See you soon

Mischief said...

Bloody beaten by Americans.

At least I'm Vietnamese so I can hold my head up about having beaten them once already...

Raiders what do you know about this crash in Darj that I hear about?

And well done lads you may have sneaked up on us this time but the Dosa Boys will have ya next time!

Mischief said...

Lads. Check you lot out on Dazzzling.net!

http://www.dazzzling.net/unbelievable.htm#

Kevin said...

Pretty quiet since Jan. 7. Don't think I don't know what you're up to.

mischief said...

Hey guys what's happened? Where's the typical American gloating we had come to expect of the Rajasthan Raiders?!

mischief from The Dosa Boys