This was a year of high expectations. We had two teams, HPT Delft/Amsterdam, and Aerovelo, coming in with the assumption that they would reset the world record. Reality collided with hopes, and yet this week of racing can’t be called a disappointment.
If the wind had been more cooperative during the last heat on Saturday, we would have had two more world records.
- Gareth Hanks
beating Ben Goodall setting a new trike record.
- local hero Teagan Patterson learning how to ride a recumbent, a shelled streamliner, and earning a 50 mph hat, all in one week.
- adding a third person, Rik Houwers, to the 80 mph club, which is still very exclusive.
- Numerous people setting personal bests.
- Having several people ride the fastest they have done in a couple of years, such as Damjan Zabovnik, who appears to have bounced back from a terrible week last year.
- Seeing all the new bikes, including Cygnus Chronos and Eta.
- Seeing a new seeding system for starts work to general satisfaction.
- Seeing that Ming Garden was open after all, after several people reporting that it was closed.
- Potentially losing the use of the Civic Center to work on bikes and to hold our meetings.
Here’s a few notes on each team, in order of top speed:
Human Power Team Delft / Amsterdam
As per usual, this team had a very technically sophisticated bike, two strong riders, and lots of hands to help out. They go home a little disappointed in not having reset their own men’s world record, but that is a pretty high bar to reach. Both Rik and Christien have great potential, and if they can be enticed back, this team will have two experienced riders.
Damjan went faster than he did in the last four years on Saturday morning, after running and dropping a chain the previous evening. He went even faster Saturday night; he is oh so close to 80 mph, but in conversation with him it is clear that he only cares about the world record. Good luck to him. He is an exemplar of the dedicated solo builder/racer who is also a bit of a mad scientist. He also showed his strength as a rider by going steadily faster on Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday evening runs.
This team came in with a lot of self generated hype about having a very fast bike and rider, with the expectation of resetting the record. It probably didn’t help that they had a video crew trailing around who were there on the assumption that Todd would win the event and set a new record. Unfortunately, although the bike was beautiful, and Todd did set a new personal best this week, the bike had not been tested before the meet, and it showed. Breaking four spokes during the week speaks of a poor design choice. Also, the configuration of the frame and fairing made it time consuming to load the rider. (Velox4 also had this issue to some extent). They didn’t get any new hats, but they also set the bar pretty high last year with their performance on Saturday morning 2013. They should be back next year, and Eta would then be fully sorted. Their account of the week is here.
This team was so focused on the goal of getting Jan Marcel to 80 mph that they built a new, smaller bike around him. They got very close, but Jan Marcel had a series of back luck including several dropped chains, and a slowly leaking front tire that still got him through the traps at over 76 mph. He managed to remount a chain twice during one run, and he says that he has worked out a way to patch a tire while riding, but he still can’t get his head around how to reinflate it.
It was great to see them back at Battle Mountain as they have the longest association with the event of any of the teams in attendance. It is always an absolute pleasure to geek out about bikes with Georgi and Steve. Barbara went faster than last year, and she went faster than her own record, but the winds were too high (and were a headwind/crosswind). She said she had a feeling that the wind was too high from seeing the banners at the traps. Ironically, the wind was dead still at both start and catch.
This team comes in and executes perfectly, resetting the trike record. Gareth went incredibly fast on Saturday night, but it didn’t count because of the wind. Hope to see them back, and to see their compatriot Ben Goodall as well.
Hans and Ellen were back with last year’s bike, and they went faster than last year, with Ellen getting a new personal best of a little more above 70 mph. Rumor has it that they will be back next year with a new rider for their bike, and Ellen will ride a trike.
It was good to see Greg racing again, after he went over 70 mph in the Varna Mephisto a couple of years back. This time, he was back with the (now second) fastest trike in the world, and he just barely missed going 70. His fellow racer, Peter, got 60 at age 60, and went home happy.
The Russians were back, this time with two young riders that were still a little slower than Sergey. Maybe with a little more seasoning, they will be able to catch up with him.
This was one of the nicest stories this year. Eric Ware told me that this team arose from a conversation at last year’s awards banquet, where it came out that a local woman raced bikes and was interested in racing a streamliner. Her crew came together from all over, drawn from the usual suspects. Larry built the bike, and Eric Ware and John Jackstone provided crew and support. Teagan got steadily faster as the week went on, and she should wear her 50 mph hat with pride.
This is what happens when an HPV enthuasiast attends the WHPSC just for fun, and ends up racing, just to see what he can do. He went 40 mph, which has made him somewhat of a hero to the coroplast velomobile community. It was clear from his infectious laughter that he was having the time of his life.
Team Slippery Slug
This is another story of people coming together to campaign a bike at Battle Mountain. Alan grace built this bike, completing it with not much time to spare, and the drawing on the UK HPV community for support. Longtime attendee Jonathan crewed, along with two young lads from Liverpool who will be bringing their streamliner to town next year. Alan was pleased to have gone 35 mph, but he sees that he needs to get a better bike to go faster.
Adam has been attending for many years, and taking really excellent pictures of the bikes. This year he finally translated his dreams into a bike. He didn’t make it down the course, but he should feel good about riding down the course in a bike that he made. Many, many people don’t even make it to the starting line.
All in all, it was a good week, with a final evening that would have been incredible if the wind had cooperated. Although only one record was reset, many people set new personal bests, and we have a bunch of riders knocking on the door of the 80 mph club. In addition, there were several teams attending that had bikes in the works for next year.
I’ll sign off this year with a picture of sunset on Saturday. Thanks for reading, everyone!