Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's Winter in Goat Land

wESd here, since Jeff has been spending any spare time on the new www.mombat.com website I figured I would check in and let everyone know what has been going on at the shop.
We measured up Matt's beloved Rock Lobster to get its geometry for his Ti Goat and will hopefully place the order once we go over the details with him next week. Its finally just about to cold for a night ride on Tuesdays so we started our trainer ride tonight and It has reminded me just how bad riding the trainer hurts.
Russ called to let us know that Mark's frame should be headed our way very soon. I can't wait to see how the flames look in another color to compare to Sinjin's.
I called Swobo to order some more wool jerseys and we will have them stitched up as soon as we get them to fill in stock.

Thats about it for now, more soon

Monday, January 21, 2008

Pinewood Derby and "Do your best"

As a few of you know, I am Cubmaster for Pack 171 here in Mooresville, NC. For those not familiar with the program, Cub Scouts is for boys in Grades 1-5 and our pack has about 75 boys in it. The flagship event each year is the Pinewood Derby.

The Cub Scout motto is "Do your best" but as I have heard, that changes to "Have your dad do his best" when it comes to the Pinewood Derby. Each boy receives a small chunk of pine plus four plastic wheels and four nails. The idea is to sculpt the wood into something that travels down a 20' track as fast as possible. The cars have a maximum height, wheelbase and weight. The wheels and axles can be "smoothed" but not really modified. As with all racing, the winner is th one who can bend the rules the most without actually breaking them.

Dads armed with cordless drills hover near the weigh in area ready to drill out that .005 ounce in order to hit 5.0 ounces exactly. In gravity racing, every ounce counts. Being in the heart of NASCAR country, it seems like half the dads work in race shops and the cars reflect it. Some of these things are works of art with paint work that would put a Mercedes to shame and polished axles gleaming with some unobtanium lubricant.

To try and channel all of these creative juices, I started an adults/siblings race last year. We changed the rules to allow axle and wheel modifications and upped the weight to 10 ounces. There ended up being 15 adult/sibling cars which was great but there were still a lot of "adult" kids cars. Not everyone got the memo! It's tough to see the kids who actually built their own cars (as evidenced by the hand painted racing stripes on the asymmetrical body) get whooped on by kids who had no part of the building process (as evidenced by the look on the kids face when he sees his car for the first time at check in). Not sure who the "winners" and "losers" are in this process?

It is a tough process to sort out and we generally get a pretty short time to do it. Typically, a Cubmaster serves two years and the first one is spend trying to learn the system. The second year you get to improve on the mistakes made the first year and then it is time to pass it on to the next generation of leaders. Maybe, some future leader will figure out the Pinewood conundrum, since I wasn't able to.