HPV 24 hour record attempt at the NCAT test track in Opelika, Alabama
What a journey it has been!
Sunday, Nov 20, 2005 - Ben rings the door bell and wakes me up. I told him to be at my house by 6:30 am and I forgot to set my alarm. We were on the road by 7:30 and made it to Gillette, WY after 13 hours of easy driving. Temperatures reached a high of 21 degrees C (70 degrees F) in Southern Montana. It would be the warmest temperatures of the entire trip. I woke up with a bit of a cough and knew immediately that I can contracted the nasty flu which had attacked the kids over the previous two weeks.
Monday, Nov 21, 2005 - Another long day of uneventful interstate flying landed us near Kansas City, MO. I was starting to cough a bit during the day and a spell before bed, then another in the morning. This was getting worrisome!
Tuesday, Nov 22, 2005 - Today we made it all the way to the Nashville area. The further south we get, the colder the temperatures get! Average daily high is now only 12 degrees C ! I am coughing more during the day now with more coughing before bed and waking up once at night to clear my chest out. I am starting to get a bit depressed about this whole thing. I am feeling really crappy and know this virus is only going to get worse. I also know that backing out at this point is NOT an option! Way too much effort by me and all of the other volunteers involved to even think about quitting at this point. I know that I will just have to suck it up and try my best. It's just not a whole lot of fun when you feel so under par. I am starting to check the Opelika, Alabama weather forecast each day using Bens computer that we set-up in the hotel room each night. So far, it looks like Friday is going to be the day with fairly cool temperatures and winds that look 'acceptable'. During slower speed tests in Calgary, sustained winds of 15 kph with gusts up to 20 kph or so seem to be acceptable, so I am hoping that this will remain true at my faster record attempt cruising speeds.
Wednesday, Nov 23, 2005 - A shorter day driving to our final destination in Opelika, Alabama. We are staying at the Hilton Garden Inn, only 10 or 15 minutes from the NCAT test track. We meet up with Rob Hitchcock at the hotel. Rob is my main HPVA official who flew in from Eureka, Ca. It is fairly windy today, but the forecast for Friday still looks barely acceptable with 10 mph winds. I didn't sleep very well due to this persistence cough which kept me awake for most of the night. Poor Ben who I am sharing a hotel room with!! He says he sleeps through my hacking, but I know he is just being polite.
Thursday, Nov 24, 2005 - Today I reached my lowest of lows. Feeling tired, uninspired and lack-luster due to this flu, we arrive at the NCAT test track at 10:00 am with Rob H to set up the timing equipment and run the streamliner on the track to make sure everything is cool. When we got to the track, we met Bob Atkins who is my second HPVA observer. While he and Rob set up the timing system, Ben and I worked on getting CriticalPower up and running.
On top of feeling so crappy, I was also feeling very nervous. The winds seemed fairly strong today and I was very concerned about Critical Powers average cruising speed. You see, I never did get a chance to test CP1 at it's planned cruising speed. The fastest I could go on the Glenmore soft track was around 35 kph, and the watts / speed measurements required to establish my actual drag coefficient required a paved surface, not a soft rubber one. The closest opportunity I had was at Race City Speedway where I did a few laps of the twisty road course and averaged only 40 kph because of the high winds that day. After that, the weather in Calgary got bad, and I didn't get another chance. I had never even tested the new carbon fairing shells, so I was pretty concerned about the test today at the NCAT track.
The test laps with CriticalPower were disappointing. I was doing laps that were averaging 40 kph with a top speed of only 47 kph. The winds of 10 to 15 mph (16 to 24 kph) were making anything faster almost impossible! In fact, the cross wind was so bad during the return long stretch, that it was lifting my canopy bubble up off the fairing shell!! The sustained winds weren't as bad as the gusts. When I was going down the straights, I could manage picking up a bit of speed because the winds were consistent, but when I turned the corner, the relative wind direction would change suddenly and blow me into a scary wobble. The gusts were the worst - surprise wobbles at random times!
I was also concerned about my hear rate. The previous night, I measured my resting heart rate in bed at 65 bpm which was more than 10 beats higher than my normal resting rate! I wore a heart rate monitor during the track tests today and my 100 watt heart rate was 125 bpm which is 30 beats HIGHER than normal. Normally, my 100 watt hear rate is only around 95 bpm.
During a particularly bad wind gust, I retracted my landing gear on one of the banked turns (without thinking) and because the bank is on the same side as the landing gear, I pushed myself over to the left and fell over crushing the left fairing shell. Ben and Rob rushed over to pull me out. We were able to pop the fairing shell back into shape, but now there were rough scrapes all down the side. That was a stupid mistake - one which I would not repeat. At least, not repeat on purpose!
I was measuring the CdA of CriticalPower at about .35 (sq ft) which is about .05 slower than what I was getting in Calgary with the old gray fiberglass fairing. I thought I could feel a bit of draft through the shell, so we put 3 coats of car wax over the shell to plug up any pin holes that might be letting air through. The CdA improved a bit to around .33 or so. This was a bit approximate because I wasn't exactly certain about what rolling resistance we were getting on my new tubular tires and front disc wheel. I was still disappointed because with the new carbon fairing and new tires and disc wheel, I would have expected vastly better CdA values.
After the crash and reviewing my disappointing speed / watts data and the ultra high heart rate and related effort that went into producing that result, I sat down with Rob, Ben and Bob and let them know that I was not very enthusiastic about the record attempt.
"Look - I have to be completely honest with you all. You guys have travelled thousands of miles and given up your Thanksgiving holiday to support me, and do not want to let you down like I know I am going to. A new 24 hour HPV record tomorrow is just not going to happen. You have to know this now. With this wind, getting CriticalPower up to speed is going to be very difficult, and I feel like crap. I'm just not sure I can put out the power that is required for record pace feeling the way I do. That said, if my first goal for tomorrow was to set a new record, my second goal is the same as if I was competing at Ironman - to FINISH. If it's what you want, then I'll still give it my best shot tomorrow."
We all agreed that proceeding with the record attempt as planned was the only option.
That night, Helen arrived (thank god). I can honestly say I don't think I have ever been more happy to see her! I gave her a hug at the hotel and with tears in my eyes, let her know how poorly things had gone at the track, and how badly I felt. I told her that I mostly felt bad for seemingly wasting every bodies time. They all have given up so much to help me achieve a dream. Helen is leaving the kids for 5 days and flying across the country to be with me, Rob is giving up his Thanksgiving holiday and travelling a couple of thousand miles to assist, Bob also gave up his holiday and drove for 3 hours from southern Alabama to be there, Buzz, the track manager is giving up one of his holiday days in the midst of writing his dissertation, to act as my third official, and Ben is giving up two whole weeks of his life just to be a part of this. I felt like I was letting everyone down. Helen tried to be as encouraging as she could. I think perhaps sometimes I can be quite negative, and Helen really helps me see the brighter side.
We all met for dinner at some GIGANTIC buffet restaurant - the only restaurant in the city that was open on Thanksgiving day! The restaurant was packed. Rob got his turkey dinner and I tried to eat as much as I could, but I just had no appetite.
We reviewed the weather forecast for Friday and the winds looked VERY promising 6 mph in the morning, then reducing to 4 mph for the remainder of the day, then increasing slightly throughout the night. Temperatures were forecasted to be quite cold though - oh well, you can't have everything. At least I shouldn't have any issues with over heating with the black fairing.
I woke up only twice through Thursday night with a coughing attack.
Friday, Nov 25, 2005 - RACE DAY!! - Ben and Rob went to the track at 7:00 am to set up the timing equipment and get the streamliner ready. Helen and I arrived at about 8:00 am.
It was sunny, but very cool and slightly windy - but way better than Thursday. By 9:00 am we were ready to go - timing equipment was up and running, my food and water bags in CriticalPower were filled, and Ben had even added a third coat of wax to the shells. At the last minute, I decided to add an additional layer of foam to the seat to lift my head up a tiny bit higher so I could see over the top of the fairing shell a bit better. During my test runs on Thursday, I noticed that I was having to tilt my head back quite a bit to see over the top of the fairing. I didn't think that the small additional rise would matter to my leg position, and knew that if I didn't like it after we started, that I could stuff the foam cushions into the rear of the fairing shell, and not break any HPVA rules regarding discarding anything from the vehicle during the record attempt.
We pulled CriticalPower back to just in front of the timing tape that ran across the track, then I sat in and Ben and Helen put the fairing shell on and the canopy bubble on. I wasn't nervous at all - just apprehensive about million things: being able to maintain my cruising speed, wondering exactly how this flu was going to effect me, worrying that the weather forecast would change and the winds would pick up, concern about my fitness - it had been a week since my last workout, and I was concerned about how much de-training had taken place during our long journey across the US to get to Opelika. I was also stressed about how the peak of my training had happened over 2 long months ago, and on slightly different lowracer geometry. I knew that my power output had been declining because of this and wasn't sure exactly how it would effect me during a 24 hour effort (not to mention that the longest I had ever ridden during training was only 15 hours).
Rob Hitchcock used his Cel phone to call the Universal clock and started a 3, 2, 1 count down. On "GO!", I proceeded to blast off the start line like a Saturn Rocket at Cape Canaveral. Well, not quite. Since my start had to originate behind the timing tape, I was actually on a ramp near the timing equipment that ran down to the track. It was quite bumpy and since the rules require that I self start and stop without assistance, I had to taxi using my landing gear, all the way down the ramp. Very slowly. Once I got down to the track, I picked up speed, then jerked the steering to the right which lifts me up onto two wheels, then pulled in the landing gear, locked it into place and closed the landing gear hatch cover with the pull-cord.
I was finally off! And I have to say that it felt GREAT! This was it - the moment I spent every waking minute for the last 6 months of my life working toward. My attempt at the 24 hour human powered vehicle record! After my first lap of 2.725 km in 5:38 (includes the slow taxi down the ramp) I decided to celebrate by clicking on my iPod Nano. I had been on a self-imposed music ban for the last 4 weeks. Yes, that even included the 4000 km drive from Calgary to Opelka (poor Ben - I won't blame him if never wants to speak to me again). The reason for this seemingly bizarre exercise was simply that abstinence makes the heart grow fonder - it's true. I love my music. We have 6800 songs using up over 33 gigs of space in iTunes on our music server at home (Don't copy music! All of our music at home is legal and purchased). My music is very important to me, and the one thing I was REALLY looking forward to was getting reacquainted with my favorite tunes, a pile of new music and some special playlists I had been working on for days before we left Calgary:
New pop punk like old and new Rancid, new Bastards, The Hives, the newest Transplants disc and some old Ramones. Some old rock classics like Fleetwood Mac (including the new stuff), new Sanata, ALL of Led Zeplin, April Wine, The Kings, Prism, Cheap Trick, Moody Blues, ELO, Frampton. A good collection of the best 80's like The The (my personal fav), B-52's, U2, Tin Tin, Madness, New Order, etc. Some harder stuff like Megadeath and Metallica and for some balance, I listen to a decent selection of old disco and newer Techno dance music.
My goal was to try to maintain record pace for as long as I could. That meant starting at 50 kph and hoping that with stops - both planned and unplanned, and with fatigue induced slow-down, I could finish with an average of just over 40 kph which would get me close to the record. My fastest lap was 57 kph and my maximum speed reached during that lap from the SRM meter was 67 kph.
Stop 1: At almost exactly 3 hours, I made my first pit stop and noted an average speed of 50 kph resulting from an average power output of 130 watts. I was very happy and it didn't seem that difficult. The slight wind was manageable, and was steadily reducing as the hours clicked by. Enthused about my initial performance, Ben and Helen extracted me from the vehicle and went to work re-filling my water bag and boost bag while I emptied my pee bag into the bushes. I woofed down a powerbar, got back in, and with cheers from everyone, off I went for another three hour interval. Total pit stop time was 12 minutes which was 3 minutes faster than my 15 minute plan.
Stop 2: My second pit stop came at 4 hours, 53 minutes and was an hour sooner than planned due to some soreness in my knees and ankles. I could sense that the discomfort was due to my altered seat position from the added seat cushion. I removed the cushion from the seat, returning my body position to normal and added a small cushion to my head to lift it forward more. I thought that maybe all it would take to improve the view over the fairing top was to tilt my head forward a bit more. I got Ben to cut off the top of the cushion insert and tape it to my head cushion. This stop was only 9 minutes and my average was still a very surprising 46.6 kph. The SRM was reading 123 watts average, so my output was slowing a bit - probably due to the discomfort in my knees and ankle. I downed a few Advil and with more cheers from my crew + a pile of other people who had stopped by the track to watch, I was off again.
By now the wind had diminished to almost nothing and I found that maintaining a decent speed was much easier. Also my legs started to feel better now that my body position had returned to normal, and found that I could see just fine over the top of the fairing with the forward head tilt provided by my new head cushion addition.
Stop 3: My third stop was unplanned. After briefly stopping peddling to pee, the chain fell off my main chain ring. I have no idea why this happened, as it had never happened before. It could be that since I had slowed so much, I was wobbling from side to side to maintain balance, and when I resume peddling, the chain may have swayed off the ring a bit. The sudden crank could have pulled it off. Yes, I know... I need to put a chain guide everywhere!! And I have learned my lesson. Anyhow, the chain derailment just so happened to coincide with the corner which is slightly banked. I knew what was about to happen... I was starting to slow down a lot, so had to pull out my landing gear which is on the right hand side - the same side as the banked corner. I was hoping that if I timed it right, I could come to a stop and balance on the landing gear until my crew could save me. Didn't work. The landing gear went out, I landed on it, then the corner bank pushed me over to the left. There was no avoiding it. I tumbled over and down into the ditch. I was upside down in the ditch and waited for what seemed like an eternity for someone to realize that I hadn't shown up at their end of the track on time. Since I was at the far end of the track, my radio wasn't working and I tried yelling. I listened for the sound of the truck, but all I heard was silence.
Eventually, I pushed the frame off me and broke the fairing shell away, hauled the frame back up to the track and put the chain back on myself. The truck eventually arrived with Ben, Rob and Helen all in a panic. Luckily, Helen had water and food on board, so they were able to refill my supplies, strap me back in and send me back on my way. This stop was a costly 18 long minutes. Average speed up to the crash at 6 hours, 39 minutes was still a healthy 45.8 kph and 304.6 km in total. "You are STILL above record pace!!!" I was shocked, but pleasantly surprised to hear.
Stop 4: My next stop was semi-planned and only an hour and a quarter after the crash. It was getting dark and I wanted to plug my HID headlight battery in to be ready for lights-out time. Stop 4 lasted for 13 1/2 minutes at 7 hours, 46 minutes in, and 345 km. My average speed was 44.5 kph and I was STILL unbelievably on record pace.
It started getting dark and the longest, loneliest, most difficult part of the day was now upon me. I was pleasantly surprised at the power of my 35 watt HID headlight. At the farthest end of the 1 km long straight-way, my light would illuminate the trees at the far end of the track - almost a kilometer away! I could clearly see the reflective lane markings and all of the signs to the very far end of the track. In some ways, it was even easier to see at night due to the reflective markers. The road directly in front of me was fully illuminated, as were the right and left sides of the road, and trees and bushes. It was a light cannon!
Rob and Buzz moved the 3 portable light towers I had rented into position, but they were not required at all. Just to be safe, however, I wanted to keep them on in case my light burned out for any reason. Then at least I would have some light to see where I was going. The light towers were fairly spread out, so there was no way we could use them solely - not on a track this size.
Stop 5: My 5th pit stop came at 9 hours, 35 minutes in. Pit stops at night were planned for every 2 hours so I could change my 7200 mAh lithium polymer batteries for freshly charged packs. I was starting to feel tired, my average lap times were slowing and I was discouraged by the time I probably lost on the chain derailment and resulting crash. However, I was very surprised to hear from Rob that I was STILL on record pace! I couldn't believe it. In fact, I remember telling him that I thought he must have been joking. 418 km, and 43.7 kph average. I was amazed that I was able to keep the pace up for that long. I did 2 laps and realized that I should have put more clothes on because I was freezing! The temperatures were rapidly dropping and I was still just wearing cycling shorts and a jersey. I stop in again for 8 minutes to put pants, a sweater and vest on. These unplanned stops were really starting to add up and impact my times!
Stop 6: My 6th stop was at 10 hours, 37 minutes, only an hour from my last stop. It was getting very cold - around 1 or 2 degrees C (about 34 F) and my wind shield was fogging up. The anti-fog solution wasn't working and I had to lift the canopy bubble up with my left hand to look under it to see the road. I stopped in to have Ben cut a small hole directly in front of the bubble so I could see through it. It was a short stop of only 5 minutes. My average was still at record pace - 42.8 kph and 446 km total.
And here is where things started to run very smoothly, but also started to get more difficult. It was very, very dark - no moon at all and no clouds in the sky. It was lonely - I had my music which was still keeping me relatively entertained, but I was really starting to get tired. The 2 hour intervals between battery replacements was feeling longer and longer and longer and I had a really difficult time keeping the pace up. I remember looking up to the starry sky on each loop around the far-side and noting the exact position of the stars. I saw them every single time I lapped around and watched them slowly make their way from the horizon to behind me where I couldn't see them any more. That really put just how incredibly long this event was into perspective for me. Every time I would pass by the timing strips, I would look over to the warm and bright burning fire that my crew was sitting around. I would carefully inspect the group and look for any unusual activity like flashlights moving and bustling about. This meant that a battery change pit stop was due. My 2 hour stops were flagged by Ben waving a flash light back and forth to signal that it was time to pull in. These stops became my sole focus and motivation during these long, dark evening hours. Once I saw people starting to move about I became elated and knew that it would only be a matter of a couple of laps more before I would see that lovely flashlight being waved over-head. Happiness was a flashlight being waved at you. Then I could get out and lie down in the car with the heat on FULL and close my eyes for a few minutes. "Come on Greg - time to go. You are still on record pace" I would hear. I would reply in my mind: "Oh, no. No more. Just let me lie here for only a minute more". But I always got up, woofed down a Red Bull and a bar, crawled back into my cage and started another endless two hour interval.
Stop 7: Stop 7 was at 11 hours, 40 minutes and lasted 6 minutes. 500.48 km total and 42.9 kph. Still BARELY on record pace.
Stop 8: Stop 8 was at 13 hours, 42 minutes and lasted 9 minutes. 590 km total and 43 kph. I had picked up a bit of speed and was still on record pace.
Stop 9: Stop 9 was at 15 hours, 42 minutes and lasted 8 minutes. 669 km total and 42.6 km average. Just BARELY above record pace of 42.5 kph.
Stop 10: Stop 10 was unplanned at 17 hours, 11 minutes. My chain came off again! And yes, it came off just as I was rounding the corner. Again. So, again I bounced off the extended landing gear and ended up in the ditch. I waited for the crew to come and extract me so we could fix the chain. Luckily, Ben had a freshly charged battery with him and Helen had some water and food. We used this unplanned stop as a planned pit stop, replaced the battery and replenished the food and got me on my way after only 10 minutes which included fixing the chain - pretty good. I was unbelievably STILL near record pace (just barely under actually): 42.4 kph and a total of 728.9 km travelled.
I passed my normal pit stop area and the chain fell off again!!!! ARGH!!! I was just in front of where the crew usually parked the truck, so I thought that it would only be a minute or two before they saw me as they drove the truck back from the last chain derailment. I heard the truck pull into it's parking spot behind me and started yelling. Then I heard Ben start the truck up, and proceed to turn around and take off in the opposite direction!!! He had heard me yell, but since he couldn't see me (my headlight was pointing forward), he though I had rounded the far corner. I had to wait until he made a full lap around the track and the clock was definitely CLICKING! We found that the screw holding my chain guide in place had come loose and moved the chain guide out which was the cause of the chain derailments. We screwed it back into place, replaced the chain again, and I was off.
I knew now that there would be no way of getting back on record pace. It was now a matter of finishing this, and I had 7 hours to go. Talk about depressing. Unless you have tried a 24 hour race, then you have no way of knowing what this feels like. By this time, I had already cycled for over 17 hours - almost 3/4 of the way through the entire event, yet I knew in my mind that I STILL had 7 hours to go, and 7 hours was a long, long, long time!
Stop 11: My next stop was almost exactly 2 hours later at 19 hours, 7 minutes and 794 km. Since my speed was now off record pace, I took an extra long pit stop break of 27 minutes and Rob drove me up to the bathrooms in the NCAT office building. By this time, almost everyone in the crew was taking turns sleeping - everyone was pretty fried.
Stop 12: At 20 hours, 22 minutes and 57 seconds, I lost all steering control and crashed for the 4th and final time. All of the previous crashes on the left side had bent and weakened the steel remote steering arm attached to the front fork. It broke and down I went. It wasn't something that was reparable, so we called it a day. If it hadn't been for the chain derailments, this steel arm would not have broken - that, plus it was something that I had always meant to replace with carbon (the entire front steel fork), but didn't have time.
If not for the enthusiasm, support and encouragement from my crew: Rob Hitchcock (HPVA), Ben Eadie, my wife Helen, Bob "maximus" Atkins (HPVA), Buzz Powell, this amazing day would not have happened. I thank each of them from the bottom of my heart!!
Here are the final stats:
After reviewing these stats, I realize that all I would really need to do is to eliminate one hour of pit stop time and I would have finished with a new record (well, close to it anyhow). The unplanned stops due to the chain issues and resulting crashes were probably responsible for over an hour of unproductive clock-ticking. I really should be able to limit pit stops to 10 minutes every 2 hours. For a 24 hour event, that would be 12 pit stops and 2 hours total. If my watts end up at a still-low, but more reasonable 115 watts average, then according to my calculations using the known CdA and Crr, 22 hours at 115 watts would equal 635 miles or 1021 km which is right at the current record.
If you add some warmer weather, my rolling resistance (Crr) will improve which will make me faster yet. My normal warm-weather Crr of .0048 would have produced 652 miles or 1050 km on 115 watts of power - well over the current record. An improvement in the CdA of CriticalPower from it's current .32 to .3 would equate to even more miles - 665.7 in fact, or 1071 km. 50 km over the current record.
What would I change for the next attempt? Well, first off I am looking at that dismal wattage value. 100 watts for 20 hours really sucks. In training, on Sept 8th (my last really super long training ride), my average watts ended up at 127 for a 12 hour ride. Next time, I won't be sick, and next time I will make sure that my training peak is no more than 2 weeks prior to race day. Almost 2.5 months from my longest training ride is NOT acceptable. The reason for this of course, was out of my control. CriticalPower was not ready, and the weather in Calgary got bad and made the long outside rides impossible. You just can't get the same kind of intensity on a long indoor ride as you can outside.
Second - of course, is to simply add more and better chain guides. That's an easy and obvious one - lesson learned!
Third is to convert that steel fork to carbon and in turn, beef up that steering linkage. 2 or 3 crashed on it should not break it.
The fourth thing I would do is to make a proper transparent cover for the headlight and recess the light back into the frame. This will return the nose of CritialPower to it's original smoothly rounded and aerodynamic shape.
Fifth is to build proper rear and front wheel fairings. If you look at the photos, you will notice that the rear wheel fairing isn't as smoothly shaped as it should be. It should really be designed from a NACA 6 or 7 series airfoil. The front wheel could use a smooth fairing also.
Sixth is to build a smoother canopy cover. The rear of the canopy bubble should really extend back to the rear of the fairing shell. The edges could fit onto the fairing shell with fillets also.
Seventh thing is to find a really decent two-way radio headset. One that I could rely on to communicate with my crew from anywhere on the track. I'll look into a motorcycle helmet set-up.
And last, I would like to figure out a way if possible to avoid having to tape the fairing shells every time I prepare for take-off after a pit stop. When it gets cold, the duct tape doesn't want to stick to the carbon. The tape is required to both seal up the seam between the two fairing shells and to help hold them together and onto the frame. During a particularly harsh head-on collision with a middle line reflector, the bottom left hand fairing shell snapped off it's Dura-lock (velcro-like) tabs and I had to make a quick pit stop so Ben could re-snap the shell onto the frame.
The trip home
The 4000 km trip home from Alabama took 5 days. The first couple of days driving proceeded a few tornados in the area and a rain downpour forcing us off the interstate. The last 3 days were white knuckled snow storm driving - not fun. That's an average of 800 km per day of driving which really puts what I accomplished with Critical Power into perspective. In 20.5 hours, I cycled 826 km which was more than the average distance we drove each day!
I am SO glad to be home. 8000 km of driving, 14 days of dealing with this flu (I'm STILL sick!!!) and 22.5 hours of cycling Critical Power streamliner around the track in Alabama has been quite a taxing endeavor! Time to rest, recover and get my life back in order.
Here are the photos:
(by Ben Eadie and Helen K)
1. Thursday, Nov 24 - The warm-up day
2. Friday, Nov 25 - HPV 24 hour distance record attempt
3. Sunday, Nov 27 - Packing up
4. VIDEO #1 of CriticalPower at the track
5. VIDEO #2 of CriticalPower at the track
Thursday, Nov 24 - The "warm-up day"
(click on a photo to enlarge)
Greg and Rob waxing the fairing shells.
Rob Hitchcock looking all official
Ben waxing fairing. Note the scars from the crash.
Rob setting up the timing tapes
The master control center housing the timing equipment
The Suburban with CP1, and all the supplies being unloaded
First thing - a couple of laps around the track on the CP1 frame
Landing gear test
All looks good
Full fairing test
Rob and Bob "Maximus" Atkins fixing the timing tapes
Timing tape test
I used the SRM meter to calculate the CdA of Critical power WITHOUT the bubble canopy. The reason was incase night operations made visibility difficult. In that case, I could switch over to my aero helmet and skirt which was carried on-board. The CdA ended up being prohibitively larger, so the decision was made to try to work with the canopy bubble
Langing gear test
Fresh scratches after the test day crash
Thursday, Nov 25 - HPV 24 hour distance record attempt
(click on a photo to enlarge)
Ben and I are getting ready to start
CriticalPower ready for a very long day!
One last check to make sure all is good
Ben with the wind gauge. The winds look calm
We are ready to start. Ben puts the shell on, and Rob and Bob are standing by
The start to a long, long day with a smile.
CriticalPower was on the ramp leading down to the track for the start because it was the only level and flat area that was behind the start tapes
CP1 ready for blast off
Taxing down the ramp. Ben is running along side to make sure that any bumps in the road don't flip me over.
This is a shot of the main timing screen. Every line is a lap
Bob Atkins was stationed at the timing station.
The rented PT cruiser made for a perfect place to keep the timing equipment and computer
Rob hauls the light towers out to the track
Helen with water. I drank copious amounts of water!
The wind gauge
The 35 watt HID headlight was SUPER bright!
Near the end - I am drinking a Red Bull and trying to warm up in the Suburban.
Sunday, Nov 27 - Packing up
(click on a photo to enlarge)
Sleep never felt so great!
Surveying the damage
Rob packing up the timing equipment
packing up the Suburban for a 5 day trip home
These are Buzz's trucks that run circles on the track 24 hours a day, 5 days a week.
All packed up and ready to hit the road.
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