|Scott Bennett and Brad Gobright - new Naked Edge record holders|
Wells/Griebel set the record of 26m33s about a month ago when they broke Bennett/Gobright's record of 29 minutes and change. These teams have continually one-upped each other, but tonight it was in doubt.
Bennett and Gobright arrived in Eldo this afternoon and took a warm-up lap on the Edge. EpicTV had a couple of cameraman out to capture the action. One was stationed on a fixed line near the top of the route. The other was on the ground with a $30K digital camera writing to a 128GB solid state drive at the rate of a gigabyte a minute.
The team didn't get started until 6:50 p.m. The light was so dim that I couldn't shoot anything at all. They soloed up to the Edge with Bennett leading the way, as he would for the entire climb. Brad has climbed the Edge sans rope a number of times, so he's a good guy to anchor the team - he's not going to fall. While that is probably true, the team used a couple of Ropeman devices this time to add some additional security. Wells/Griebel use three of these devices.
Scott started leading the first pitch 6m10s after leaving the bridge, putting them 10 seconds behind the record pace. I thought Scott was a bit slower than normal on the first pitch, pausing for seconds to place two pieces of gear. Still, he polished off the 75-foot 11a pitch in 2.5 minutes. He accelerated from there and both climbers topped out by 19m30, a minute ahead of record pace now.
As Scott topped out he was breathing so hard that he warmed the cameraman to give him some room or he'd hurl on him. I didn't think they'd break the record at this point. I didn't think they'd be fast enough on the descent, despite the cushion. I was wrong. These guys can fly and they are seriously fit.
The hit the middle of the bridge at 26m16s. They didn't break it by much, but they are the new Kings of Eldo. Congrats, guys.
I have it on good authority that this war isn't over... Stay tuned.