Human Powered Vehicle Challenge

ASMEWe are all back safely from California and getting back into the swing of things. It was a long drive and a lot of work, but we are very happy we were able to compete. We received an award and met our goal of getting our college, university, city, and state recognition at the ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge as the only team from Texas. Representing Texas proudly, Nathan and I took turns wearing a cowboy hat for part of the competition. I think it was partially the influence of driving a huge rental Ford F250 Super Duty to California when we normally drive compact cars.

Almost immediately after we brought the vehicle out the first day of the competition (Friday) all of the teams were oooohing and ahhhing over our design. No other team's designs possessed a reverse and/or electrical system. When the judges inspected the vehicle, they said many positive comments about it. After the reverse was demonstrated, one of them said "wow it actually works", making us smile. The word of our design spread amongst the competing teams, and they kept sending team members over to see our design. That was a rewarding experience. It made us very proud of all of our hard work especially since the majority of the other teams had at least twice as much manpower, many resources in place, and did not have to work much for their funding.

On Saturday and Sunday, the races took place (drag, utility endurance, and speed endurance). We competed in the unrestricted category in which there were fifteen vehicles competing in total. The speed category had sixteen vehicles, I believe. Saturday morning started off with the drag event in which we placed fourth for the ladies and ninth for the men. Our vehicle was not constructed for speed, so it was a great surprise that we placed so highly in the female drag. Unfortunately, the drag took a large toll on our left pedal and crankarm which we did not discover until after the first lap of the utility endurance event when the pedal fell off. The threads were stripped on both parts, so two of the team members drove around to locate the needed parts while the other two members prepared the vehicle. The parts took a while to find, so by the time the vehicle was repaired only a few more laps could be completed. This set us back considering this was the main event for which we designed our vehicle. We did get it fixed though and completed the speed endurance event on Sunday which was a large challenge in itself due to our heavy vehicle and small number of team members in comparison to the competition.

ASMEOverall we placed eighth in the unrestricted category. The judges and HPVC committee members told us we did very well for a rookie team. They awarded us with the Tough as Nails award for a reliable and durable design which we hope to display proudly in the College of Technology. The results of the competition on the ASME HPVC website can be found here. Also, the most recent team picture is attached which we took the week of the competition at school. I will be posting more pictures of the competition including other vehicles on the website by the end of next weekend, so check back then to see them if you would like.

We hope our efforts, successes, and shortcomings will encourage future teams to partake in the project and build on our knowledge base. The competition alone taught us many lessons we are eager to share with a new team. It'll be great to see the Cougars out there in the future. We had a great start and can bring even more to the competition in the future.

Thank you again to everyone that supported us in getting here.

Best regards,

Lesley Grimes
Team Leader
Team Recumbent