THE WINNER, BREEZING
What is the fastest way to get from Joliet to Bloomington, Ill. and back again, without being "attached, pushed, launched, pulled, catapulted or in any other way transported by a motor or motorized vehicle?"
Evidently the fastest way is in a wheeled sailboat—followed closely by a truck carrying a huge fan. The second-fastest way is to jump on a bicycle and ride like fury.
In the Illinois Sesquicentennial's "Great Race," held last week under those trying conditions, a 36-year-old engineer, Carl Johnson, literally sailed home in front of the field to take the $1,000 first prize. Johnson's time in the 220-mile race was 9 hours, 2 minutes and 52 seconds. Dennis Blair, the cyclist who came in second, finished 8 minutes behind Johnson. Among the other competitors were:
A man who, after learning that everything had been entered but the kitchen sink, entered a kitchen sink. He mounted it on wheels and put up a shower curtain as a sail. He failed to finish.
A man who created a vacuum in front of his bicycle—placing a three-sided plastic shield ahead of it and a "vacuum tube" apparatus behind. A fan, attached to a car that followed him, blew into the tubes. He attained speeds of up to 50 miles per hour, was the early favorite, but was delayed by two slow freight trains.
A man who claimed to have developed "the copper-coated aspirin, the solid mahogany windshield, steam-powered television and the hyperbolic duck (i.e., the duck that floats)."
A girl, 18-year-old Maureen McCoy of Joliet, who cycled and swam the distance. She was riding along a back road when she came to the Mackinaw River and found the bridge was out. So she swam the river with her bicycle hooked on her arm; and then cycled on.
Even the race judges had a high old time. They observed the race from a giant balloon.