Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A Visit to W.L. Gore

Yesterday, the 10th of December, Hanna Oh and I visited the Gore-Tex factory in Elkton, MD. We’d like to show you photos of our incredible tour, but photography was prohibited.

Gore-Tex is a product that was discovered by W.L. Gore while an employee of DuPont. DuPont wasn’t interested in the application and gave Mr. Gore the rights to pursue what would become a multi-million dollar business.

You’re probably aware of Cross-Tech, the membrane barrier in your turnout gear. And, the Gore product that’s in the liners of your gloves and boots.

Then, there’s sporting apparel, for skiing, hunting or whatever.

Gore has been a sponsor of the Challenge for neigh on 20 years. And, all indications are for another 20.

We visited their environmental chamber- a one-of-a-kind, where not only the temperature can be controlled, but relative humidity and thermal loads, via radiant heat and wind velocity. An animated mannequin can be used to test a whole variety of human movements while wearing any number of garments.

Other laboratories were testing abrasion or resistance to delamination or integrity for bursting under pressure.

So, a big shout-out and expression of appreciation to a company that is uniquely American with a huge contribution in industry, sport and more recently medical applications such as stents and grafts.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Challenge Advisory Board

The CAB met on the course, Saturday morning, October 27. The intention was to meet in the white tent, at the finish line side, but the group never migrated there and other members joined the discussion on the course.

John Granby kept the minutes and I'm going to address a number of the topics. We're listening and my comments will be included in the rules and procedures, as published on the official website, effective for the next season.

The first topic that I'm going to address is the concerns about the PPE as worn by some of the teams from outside of North America. We agree. In some countries, interior fire suppression is not a part of the Op Plan.

First, all gear must include liners. Period. Second, boots must, at a minimum have a protective shank and toe cap. If they do not, then loaners are available. As per NFPA 1971, a vapor barrier is an integral part of the protection. So, we see no hardship in being required to check out a pair of boots.

As far as gloves are concerned, liners must be present. Again, we'll have an ample supply for those who do not present with regulation structural fire suppression gloves.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Season Count Down

Road Crew at Work at Keiser Sports Health in Fresno
As I write this, we’re assembling the massive end of year mailing. Thousands of certificates, sorted and collated by country, with the precise postage affixed.

This is a daunting task, but it will get done this week.

Another topic that we’ll be addressing will be the recommendations of the Challenge Advisory Board (CAB) meeting that took place on 10th Street in Sacramento on Saturday morning.

There’s a number of innovations suggested and I’ll be writing about them, in singular Blogger postings, starting with my next one, later this week.

I’m also working on an exhaustive discussion of the physics of the shot mallet, adding what I hope is new insights and dispelling some myths- like the fact that the shot is not lead; that was outlawed by California decades ago.

For you loyal readers of this space, I thank you for your dedication to our sport.

In the meantime, Todd, Gunny Daly and Joey Campbell are in Freno, deep into the off-season M&R (Maintenance and Repair) that is so necessary to keep this fleet on the road.