Its that time of the year again. Teams from around the world flock to a small town in Nevada (near the salt flats) to try their vehicle in a challenge to set the human-powered speed record. This is the final test for the vehicle we have built this summer. Upon arriving, the vehicle was nearly complete. Saturday and Sunday, we have been testing out the stability of the vehicle to make sure it is rideable (with only 4 degrees of steering, this was questionable). Sure enough, our design was sound and Todd, Calvin and Trefor quickly got the hang of the tiny amount of steering.
Getting the hang of the new bike required us to develop new techniques for launching the vehicle (since it is not stable at low speed) and handing off control to the rider. We tested everything on some of the side roads in the area to make it as similar as possible to the real course on Highway 305.
We had chase bikes at all times to make sure we could catch the bike if things went wrong, and to be sure the rider was aware of traffic on the road. Out in the dessert, there isn’t much traffic, so we were able to get some good, long runs in.
This morning, we completed the qualifying runs and will be running later this evening in the first set of real runs. We have been working hard on fixing the last few problems (not fully smooth shifting, padding to lock in the rider, unbalanced wheels, …) but are confident the vehicle will be ready to set some impressive speeds this evening. If you are interested in following todays results, as well as results from the rest of the week, they can be found at the Human-Powered Speed Challenge results page. It should be updated daily, but I can’t guarantee anything.