Pueblo, Colo., Sep. 19—Pea soup engulfed the riders for their ride out of Dodge City on Monday morning. Fog thick and dense swirled around the Comfort Suites hotel as a crowd gathered to see the Cannonballers off when suddenly an ominous figure stepped out of the darkness. The grim reaper carried a scythe with the green flag attached and stood ready to wave the riders across the line.
Sweep bus driver, Cole Deister, now dubbed the Grim Sweeper, showed up for duty as flagman in the creepy costume and the reaction was something to watch. Riders were both appalled and entertained by the outfit but generally steered clear. Cole drives the bus that carries the downed and a trip on the bus is certain death to a rider with a perfect score. There are 21 remaining such competitors, and none of them wants to meet Cole on the road.
The ride for Stage 9 was much smoother than feared, though German rider #33, Andreas Kaindl would not agree. As a strong repeat Cannonball contender, Andreas held a perfect score with #7 position before Monday’s catastrophic engine failure. Standing in the pits in downtown Pueblo, Colorado, all he could do was stare at this wounded machine with heartache.
Others were already changing out the gearing in anticipation of Tuesday’s trip into the Rockies. The dreaded Wolf Creek Pass, at an elevation of 10,826 feet, is foremost in everyone’s mind since it will certainly sideline the smaller engines. The 40-mile stretch to the top will test the strength of both rider and machine and prove once again the endurance of the competitors. Just how road worthy are the men and women and their machines? We’ll know better the answer by tonight.
View the Stage 9 below, and click here to download the full Stage 9 results.
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