Team Cygnus has developed a fully faired recumbent bicycle that can compete with the fastest recumbents in the world. The main goal is to use an optimum man-machine combination to break world records. The Cygnus team consists of technical specialists from various disciplines. Between them they have many years of experience with fully faired recumbents both in racing and in designing. All Cygnus team members are racers at the highest level. Every year they compete in national and international competitions such as Battle Mountain, the European Championship, the World Championship, and the Michigan Human Powered Speed Challenge, but they also attempt to break records on the tracks of RDW, DEKRA and Opel.

zaterdag 14 september 2013

Battle Mountain - Day 6

Today is the last day of the WHPSC. We have to get up early and that gets more difficult as the week progresses. Everybody is noticably tired. After breakfast we get everything in the car and leave for the track. The weather appears to be good. It is really busy, because no runs were made the last couple of evenings, and because there are only two chances left, this morning and tonight. Most riders usually skip the morning runs, but it still isn't sure if the weather tonight will be good enough to ride.

Jan-Marcel makes a good run in the second heat, but isn't pleased with the result. He gets out of the bike completely exhausted, but it's just too cold and damp for (personal) records. The weather is improving though. The warmth of the sun gets more strength. Thomas has a good start in the fourth heat, but moves over to the left side of the road after about a mile. He appears to have problems. Our procedures in case of problems works perfectly without any discussions. This results in a beautiful mid-course catch. Thomas is covered with bits of rubber, but the tire had not gone flat yet.

Within 5 minutes the tire has been changed and we are ready again to go back to the start. We only have to wait for the road to be reopened. We can use the on-deck position that Jan-Marcel had put in name on in the fifth heat for Thomas, so he can mske a run of 70.4 mph.

We go straight to the Civic Center for the riders meeting. The riders of the University of Toronto have made excellent runs and Team Cygnus falls a bit back in the statistics. David and Jan-Marcel both put their names on the list for the evening sessions; David for the first heat, Jan-Marcel for the third. Quickly back to the hotel for lunch, have about 5 minutes of pedalling as aa cooling-down and a powernap. Then we head back to the Civic Center for the traditional photoshoot.

State Trooper Arthur Aten is also present again and he issues a number of tickets again.

Again we go back to the hotel. Thomas and David will adjust the break lever; Jan-Marcel will try to his legt to feel normal again by pedalling a bit and having some powernaps.

The wind is pretty strong when we go to the track. It isn't looking good. David decides not to ride. The wind is far too strong. A lot of riders from the second heat also decide not to race. They all realize that the run won't be legal anyway because of the wind. Just before the third heat the windspeeds fall. Will we have a good evening session after all? Everybody in the last session decides to ride. It is sarting to get darker as the sun sets, but with our cameras we do not have any problem with that. Quickly behind eachother the riders get started and Jan-Marcel also has a good start. A bit leisurely, but that could be expected after the ride he made this morning. With a speed of over 78 mph he gets to be third in this competition. He is extracted from the bike with aching muscles. He will have to pedal some more the next couple of days.

It turns out that Sebastiaan Bowier has set a new world record of 83.13 mph and he is closely followed by Wil Baselmans who also has made excellent runs. Team Cygnus want to congratulate both of them again with their results. On to Battle Mountain 2014?

vrijdag 13 september 2013

Battle Mountain - Day 5

Jan-Marcel and Thomas have put their names on the list for the morning sessions. Because the weather forecast is reasonably well for the morning and windy in the evening, we will start in the morning runs. Jan-Marcel choose to start in the first heat; Thomas in the third.

The circumstances are looking good, the sun is rising and there is next to no wind. After about a mile Jan-Marcel feels that the bike isn't running effortlessly. When he looks at the SRM powermeter it is clear that something is wrong. He has to give too much energy for the speed he is going. He steers the bike to the left lane and then hears the sound of a tire going flat. The chase car could not reach him in time unfortunately, but the damage is small with just a few superficial scratches. They cleared the road very quickly. After the first session we drive back to the hotel in Battle Mountain to retrieve a new inner tube and tire, and then head back to the track again.

When we get back at the start it is too late for Thomas to start in his heat, and we try to get Jan-Marcel in one of the later heats. Heat 4 is already full with other riders, but a fifth heat is added. The run is going well, but it isn't a personal record. With a speed of 123.2 km/h he is in a third position at the moment after Wil Baselmans en Sebastiaan Bowier and followed closely by Aurélien Bonneteau.

We will not start in the evening runs because the weather forecast is not looking good and we need our rest.

What is Thomas doing?
We will raffle off a t-shirt among the persons with the correct answer.

donderdag 12 september 2013

woensdag 11 september 2013

Battle Mountain - Day 3

To make sure that we all have a position in the evening sessions, David and Thomas will make a run on the long course this morning. Both are eager to show what they are worth. Because of the state of Thomas' ankle, we decide to let Thomas go first, so he will start David later on. Thomas is concerned that his ankle will be to painful to ride if he has to push David first. Luckily we have Rob Hitchcock to help us this morning; Jan-Marcel can stay in bed a little longer and will be able to ride as good as possible tonight.

Rob Hitchcock and Team Cygnus 

We are well before time on the parking lot at the "gravelpit" of the local mine. The team has really gotten into its stride, the car is unpacked and the warm-up bike is set up. David and Thomas can take their time warming up, because everybody has to wait for the schoolbus to pass and the qualification runs to be completed.

When it's time for Thomas' run, the winds have picked up and is no longer legal. It's a pity, but Thomas' legs aren't feeling as good as they can be after standing up most of the day during the "show and tell". Nevertheless he is able to reach a substantial 64.72 mph or 104.15 km/h. The speed is caused by the bad weather, because nobody reaches a speed above 65 mph.

A lot of riders decide not to run because of the weather and thus we are able to start David in the second heat when we get back. When we start David the bike is pulling to the right and David is heading for the stop sign on the side of the road. Luckily David can hit the brakes in time, and we can start him for the second time. Again the bike is pulling to the right. We decide to stop trying and determine the problem so we can solve it.

It is soon established that the infamous brake lever is causing the pulling. When it is rotated downwards it collides with the frame and limits steering to the left. Problem found and solved, so we put our name on the list for the last heat. Unfortunately it is too late so we cannot start anymore; NDOT cannot keep the road open for us any longer. David will have to try again tomorrow morning.

We can be short about the evening runs. It has been clouded all day and when we are about to leave for the track, we see several showers of rain passing by. When we are on our way, the road is wet and raindrops are still coming down. When we get to the start everybody is gathered by the side of the road. It is "cold", windy and moist. The evening session is cancelled. Riding in these circumstances is useless.

We do shake hands with State Trooper Arthur Aten. Indeed the State Trooper who got us all speeding tickets for exceeding the speedlimit last year. It is nice to see him again and he still recognizes all of us.

Battle Mountain - Day 2

The morning session is all about Thomas' qualifying run. The weather is good and he really wants to set a decent time. He succeeds with a speed of 96.2 km/h. This means we can sleep in the rest of the week. David and Jan-Marcel put their names on the list for the evening runs.

Immediately after the riders meeting, the show-and-tell begins. The local school pupils are coming to show their drawings, look at the bikes and gather autographs. Is is always a pleasant, but also a very busy affair. David is on the list for the first evening session, Jan-Marcel will the last one in the last session. After the lunch that follows on the show-and-tell we go swiftly back to the hotel. We want to get some power naps before we have to ride again.

Thomas en David had not seen the starting list yet, and go downstairs to have a look at it. Then it turns out that the list that was passed round in the civic center is different from this one. David isn't on the list anymore. They ask Chris Broome what is happening. He answers that there are faster riders who want to participate in the evening runs; end of discussion. This shakes up our plans for the day. This means that David and Thomas will have to make a morning run to show that they really are fast enough to be able to participate in the evening runs. The planned power naps are shortened and we leave for the track in a bit of a hurry.

Jan-Marcel has a nice warm-up ride and the rest of the team gets back into their usual relaxed state. The preparations at the track are calmly and efficiently. The set-back from earlier has not been forgotten, but we all realize that spending more energy on it is useless at this moment. Jan-Marcels ride is nicely executed with a speed of 121.6 km/h. He mentions afterwards: "I did give a lot, but I did not go all the way. I'm not feeling completely fit as yet; the day was too hectic for the preparation to be as good as can be."

During the riders meeting we ask how many starting lists will be used next time. We are told that there will be only one from now on. We really hope so, because we cannot plan properly with changing starting lists. We go to the Chinese restaurant again for dinner. Rob Hitchcock is willing to aid the team tomorrow morning, so Jan-Marcel does not have to get up early with the rest of the team, when David, Thomas and Frans will go to the track again.

dinsdag 10 september 2013

Battle Mountain - Day 1

The qualifying runs were this morning. Thomas was scheduled in the first session, David in the second and Jan-Marcel in the fourth. Thomas had a good start; Frans and Jan-Marcel were in the chase car. After about 1 mile team Delft/Amsterdam was on the side of the road. They had started before us, but apparently had some malfunction of the bike. Later it turned out to be a problem with the drive chain.

Within the next mile Thomas moves to the left lane. He also appears to have some sort of problem. We overtake him quickly, park the car off the road and catch Thomas. We get him out of the bike fast, and clear the road for following competitors. Thomas was under the impression that the chain had come off. He was pedalling into thin air. When we are back at the start the chain is in its correct position on the sprocket.

David made a good qualifying run. He did not go too fast because of the fast winds. Jan-Marcel also qualifies without any problem. The windspeeds had even gone up. Thomas gets another chance to qualify in the last session. Unfortinately he has a flat tire; this time we aren't fast enough to catch him. He managed to bring the bike to an almost standstill before he toppled over, so the only damage was some superficial scratching in the paint. This has been smoothed away in the afternoon.

Jan-Marcel was the only one to run in the evening sessions. The run was okay. Not really fast, but that could not be expected because of the wind. At catch something unexpected happens. The first deceleration went well, but close to the catch area the break lever fell off the handlebar, so he could not break anymore. With an estimated speed of about 35 km/h he sped through catch. Just after catch he managed to put the lever back on the handlebar, and could decelerate again. Nobody was close enough to be able to catch him, so he fell over about 75 meters before the road block. The damage is again just some superficial scratching in the paint.

After the riders meeting (this can be followed live on ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/whpsc ) we had a good meal at the Chinese restaurant. Tomorrow morning we will get up early again for Thomas' qualifying run.

zaterdag 7 september 2013

Battle Mountain - On our way (part two)

This morning, after breakfast, we loaded everything in the car again and were off to Barnes and Noble. When you like books/reading, this is the place to be. Then on to REI, an outdoor sports shop with a wide range of products. Scheels was the last stop; this is the shop with the Ferris Wheel. On the parking lot outside was a RV-show. We had seen those big mobile homes more often, but never from the inside. Well: Been there, done that. Luxury houses on wheels with travertin on the floor, luxury kitchen, washing machine and dryer. A lot different from camping with a small tent.

We stopped at Fuddruckers for a big hamburger and continued to Battle Mountain. We arrived around 17.20 hours. We unpacked the car and went for a dip in the swimming pool. It is relatively quiet around here. We already encountered Al and Alice, as well as Eric Ware, John Jackstone, Dave Larrington, Craig Johnsons, Larry Lem, Tom Amick, Chris Broome and Ben Goodall and his wife Yol. We did see Georgy, but haven't spoken with him yet.

Now it is time for us to get some sleep. Tomorrow we will put the bike back together again.

Battle Mountain - On our way (part 1)

This year we did not encounter any problems while travelling to America. We arrived at Schiphol Airport in time, we could all sit in a normal chair in the plane, and the flight was pleasant.

David could jump the line at the car rental company in San Francisco, because he had already booked and paid for the car at home. They did try to get him to take another car, but of course he did not fall for that. A bigger car does not always offer more room on the inside. Or has a back seat that cannot be partially folded.

Within 45 minutes we could even pack the car. We crossed the new Baybridge on our way to Sacramento. As always we had a meal at Chipotle. After that we drove the last bit to Reno. We will stay at La Quinta, the same hotel as last year. We plan to visit REI, Barnes and Noble en Scheels tomorrow, and then we will drive to Battle Mountain.