After posting about the speculation about the speed of Rocket, I decided to post the same message on Modern Vespa.
My reason was that I am actually making a small effort to create a small buzz about Rocket, as I am considering the possibility of writing a book, or at least short story about the Cannonball and our relationship on the ride.
The posting got positive reviews until one of the fellow Cannonball runners decided that they didn't appreciate that someone who did not finish, and ended up ninth on the final point totals, would write about the event. Another poster initially liked the concept of the message, but turned to point out negatives as well. Posts stated that Rocket wasn't really that fast and that I wasn't much of a rider. It ended up with a few private messages and emails letting me know that I overstepped the initial intent and was accusing others of accusing me of cheating.
They never accused me of anything and were simply checking out my scooter. In hindsight, I should have left it alone and not posted at all. I am just hoping it didn't damage relationships that I value greatly.
My opinion is that Rocket, being a 200cc scooter, had a big advantage, 7%, over the usually faster 250cc scooters of several of the serious riders. I passed a few of these fast scooters along the way. Being fast, while riding fast and efficiently, few navigation mistakes and fast stops, led be to be in first place after 8 days. It was a good lead that I believe was stretched further after the first three legs of day 9. The reality is that it broke and I didn't have the proper part to make the replacement. I had a belt and rollers and the variator and clutch holder, but didn't have the variator or an 18mm socket for the variator. Ed stopped to help and we ended up stripping one of the bolts that must be removed to access the transmission. At the hotel, we found that the heat had seized the variator and back plate to the shaft, requiring a puller. Mark had one and did the removal for us. At that point, if I had a new variator, we could have made the repair and only lost that one last leg of Day 9. A reasonable run on Day 10 would have ended with a slim possibility of a win, but more likely third place. And I would have completed the entire run.
It was still a very fun two weeks. It was emotional too with highs and lows that will stay with me for a long time. The others on the ride, some of whom didn't appreciate my post, became nice friends and I am hoping to reinforce that with future rides and gatherings.