Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Day 2: Tehuacan to Puebla

Our badass car in a badass town

On Day 2 of the race, Emil made the following suggestion for my navigating. "Please only say 'caution' when it's really a caution. You keep saying 'careful!" and 'caution!' - I am always careful. Rather than telling me to be careful all the time, say something like 'SLOW DOWN NOW!' when it's really dangerous."

I showed him the route book and said "You see here - 'Left 3 with cliff', 'Right 3 with cliff', 'Left 4 with cliff'? When I see 'cliff', especially on a 3 or 4 turn, I'm gonna tell you to be cautious. I don't want to go off a cliff." Over the next few days, I did relax the "caution"s and "careful"s. You see enough cliffs go by and they start to become no big deal. Besides, I had to watch out for cows and donkeys.

In section 8 of the route to Puebla, the transit section had 76.5 topes within 50 km.

Topes are Mexican for "bye-bye undercarriage". They are speed bumps that usually quite steep but not all that wide. Even at the usual 45-degree angled approach, something is going to crunch. Some of the topes are wide and flat, so you can drive over them safely at a slow speed. Others are just evil.



In the towns, spectators usually gather at the steepest topes, hoping to see some damage. Unfortunately, we usually obliged.

Topes would become the bane of our existence for the entire race. Veterans of La Carrera were taking bets on how long our front splitter would remain on the car. Whenever another driver asked me what car I'm running and I told them, they said "Hey, how have the topes been for you?"

Our awards ceremony that night was at the main yard of the Secretaria de Turismo. I'm sad that I don't have a picture of it - it was quite beautiful.

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