Canadian Cyclist


December 5/05 10:37 am - HPV Record Attempt

Posted by Editoress on 12/5/05

Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) 24 hour record attempt NCAT test track, Opelika, Alabama (November 25th)
Courtesy Greg Kolodziejzyk

Editor's note: be sure to check out the wbsites listed at the end of the report for photos

What a day!!! It was the experience of a lifetime.

Our 4 day / 4000 km drive from Calgary to Opelika, Alabama was apparently a good incubation environment for the virus that attacked my lungs and throat on the record attempt day. I haven't been sick in over a year, and this was one wicked flu!

On Thursday we had the track to test out the streamliner, run some tests and set up the timing equipment, etc. It was pretty windy and I couldn't get my human powered vehicle "CriticalPower" up to the speed I needed to set a new world record. That, combined with my 5 hours sleep the previous night due to coughing my lungs out, was the reason I sat my crew down and told them that I would give it my best try, but that anything even close to a record was just not going to happen. Everyone agreed that we should all give it a go nevertheless.

On the record attempt day, Friday, temperatures were fairly cold, but the winds were down substantially in the morning. I figured that I would try as hard as I could to maintain my goal speed of 50 kph for as long as possible, and that's how my first hour went. Then it just continued on for 18 more hours!!!

I would pull in for pit stops every three hours and my crew would tell me that I was still at world record pace and I didn't believe them!

Then I started having some problems. There were three chain derailments which each caused a crash. By the time my crew realized I wasn't passing the timing strips on time and found me somewhere on the 2.72 km track, many precious minutes had passed by. These costly stops added up, and by hour 20, I was off record pace. Then my steering mechanism broke and I crashed - race over.

I did 304 laps at a lap distance of 2.725 km = 828.4 km in 20 hours, 22 minutes. To put that into perspective, I basically peddled a bicycle in one day, the same distance as a full day driving on our journey from Calgary to Alabama!

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!!

If you asked me last night if I wanted to try it again, I would have said no-way! But time has this way of erasing the unpleasant memories and replacing them with the happy details. Just this morning I was pondering ways of improving CriticalPower...

For further details of the day, some photos and some video clips

Greg's web site


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