On your mark, get set, go … | AspenTimes.com

On your mark, get set, go …

Scott CondonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – Basalt Cub Scout Pack 242 wants Roaring Fork Valley residents to put a little zip in their lives.The Scouts are holding their annual Pinewood Derby, a race of miniature cars they carve out of wood blocks, on Friday, Jan. 21. This year the competition is open to everyone.The Scouts will hold their traditional races. In addition, there will be a Vintage Division and an Open Division that will race separately, Cub Master Jack Albright said. The Vintage Division is open to any former Scout who still has his Pinewood Derby car.”They can re-race them for fun and we can see some of the older cars,” Albright said. The invitation is also intended to get former Scouts involved with the Troop, he said.The Open Division is open to any boy or girl, man or woman in the valley with an interest in participating. The same rules apply as in the Scouts’ Pinewood Derby: The cars must be carved out of a specific-sized block of wood. Kits are available from Jack Albright at 379-3244. There will be a $5 fee for the kit.The Pinewood Derby is a big deal to most Scouts. “This is our big marquee event,” Albright said.It’s fun, but it also provides some worthwhile lessons. Boys can build their cars alone or work on them with their parents. “You can’t ever take that process away from me and my boys of building the cars together,” Albright said.They receive a rectangular block of wood with slots for the axles. The builders can add to the height but not the length. They can add weight but cannot exceed 5 ounces. Savvy racers have learned that wheel alignment and weight distribution are keys to successful cars, Albright said.Some of the wood-carved cars are elaborate; some are simple. Past entries have included cars carved like dice and pirate ships. One even had a Scout tucked in an aerodynamic position carved into it, Albright recalled.There are 47 boys, ages six through 10, in Basalt Cub Scout Troop 242. They will converge with their cars at 7 p.m. Friday in the Basalt Elementary School gym. The competition will start with a car design judged by Basalt Police Officers. The races will begin at 7:30 p.m. The public is welcome to watch.The races are run on aluminum tracks with a six-foot ramp and 24-foot run-out. “Our track is timed with an infra-red timer to the 1,000th of a second,” Albright said. “Even with that, we’ve had a tie.” The speed of the small cars are the equivalent of a real vehicle traveling at 180 to 220 mph, he said.Each den within the pack will compete separately, with competitors racing six times and rotating on the different tracks. The competition is head-to-head with each car’s slowest time thrown out and the other times accumulated and averaged. The fastest average time wins, and the winners in the dens will get a trophy.The winners in the five dens will move on to district competition in Glenwood Springs. Winners there will advance to the Western Colorado Council competition, typically held in Grand Junction.Competitors in the Vintage and Open divisions will get trophies – and have a some fun.scondon@aspentimes.com

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