The Team

Human Power TeamThe Human Power Team is a student team co-operative between the Delft University of Technology and the VU University of Amsterdam, with the objective to design and build an aerodynamic recumbent that is meant to break the world speed record.

The team was founded in September 2010, and in September 2011 it obtained a European and student record with a speed of 129 km/h, and in September 2013 that new world record was placed at 133.78 km/h, both by the cyclist Sebastiaan Bowier. This happened at the yearly World Human Powered Speed Challenge event in Battle Mountain, Nevada, United States of America.

At this moment, the fourth team of students is preparing for the new world record attempt with a new high-tech recumbent: the VeloX IV. The technical part of the project is in the hands of the students from the TU. Just as important, is the guidance and training of the cyclists, which is in the hands of the VU students. This co-operation makes the Human Power Team a unique student team.

Battle Mountain: The last racing day

Today might have been the most exciting day of the week: it was the last racing day. Almost everyone gave it all yesterday evening and tried to go as fast as possible. This morning it was their last chance, because in the evening the wind would be too strong. We already planned that Christien would do her record attempt today, but Rik wanted to go again too.

Christien started off first and went 110.76 km/h with legal wind, a very good run but unfortunately not a world record. Christien didn’t want to give up, however, and she wanted to go again, but first it was up to Rik. He had not totally recovered from yesterday yet and went 122.2 km/h. During her second attempt Christien went slower than during her first run, because she used a lot of her power already. This time she went 106.96 km/h.

Our cyclists are though. During the meeting they indicated that they wanted to go again in the evening, just in case the wind would be legal. Both of them went full out twice in the past 24 hours and they still wanted to go again. However, as expected, the wind was too strong in the evening and no one was able to finish with legal wind. A record was not an option, but maybe the cyclists were still able to break a personal record.

Christien went first again and she visibly struggled with the wind. During the sprint she got a flat tire due to which she almost got off the road. Fortunately she stayed up and she was able to finish the run. However, breaking was difficult with a flat tire and that is why Christien came in too hard at catch and crashed. Rik would go after in the next heat but the team wasn’t able to repair the tire in time, very unfortunate for Rik because he really wanted to go again before the week was over.

We might not have a record, but both cyclists did very well this week and we are very proud of them as a team. This night they both received a hat with the speeds (per 5mph) that they had reached during the week. Christien got a 65 mph hat and Rik a 80 mph one. Of this last one only three exist in the world. Now Rik may officialy call himself the third fastest man in the world!

The team will be packing everything tomorrow morning and will leave to San Francisco to stay there for a week to get some rest. After that we will be returning to the Netherlands and team 5 will take over.


Battle Mountain: The fifth racing day

Today was the fifth racing day already and it was finally Christiens time to race, and she did very well too! There was no wind in the morning and the team was really sure that she could go this time. Everyone was nervous though. At the catch area various team members were waiting for the message that Christien had started. The start didn’t go perfect but when she was successfully launched she was able to complete the run with an official speed of 104.45 km/h! Christien told us that she didn’t use all her power and she felt she would be able to go much faster. Tomorrow morning it will be her final chance to use all of it to break the women record of 121.8 km/h!

In the afternoon the team didn’t have anything planned as the VeloX IV didn’t need any repairing. A few team members have been analyzing the SRM data of Christien and others had time to participate in the dragrace that had been organized in town.

Drag Race     Drag Race

By the end of the afternoon the team returned to the track again. This would be the last night that Rik would be able to do a record attempt, because the wind would be too strong tomorrow evening. The conditions were perfect this evening, except for a slight head wind. Rik would go full power and he did. The run went very well, but unfortunately it was not fast enough for a record: 132.26 km/h, but he got very close. Rik came out of the bike extremely frustrated, which is to be expected. The team was having a tough time too. This was the last chance to break the men world speed record. Still Rik did a very good job, and we are extremely proud of him.

Tomorrow we will have one last attempt to break a record with Christien. The run will take place at 7:45 a.m. local time. We know Christien has the power to break it but it will be extremely nerve wrecking again. Hopefully we will still be able to return home with a world record.


Battle Mountain: The fourth racing day

Today was the fourth racing day and Christien was still having bad luck. Until now she has only been able to complete her qualification run but it has never been her fault that she couldn't go. Most of the time there was too much wind. The one time she was able to go she crashed because there was grease lying on the track.

Today was no different. During the first heat in the morning the wind was perfect, but at the start the camera screen shut down. This couldn't be fixed in time and therefore we missed the heat. There was only one option left and that was going for a shorter run. However the wind was picking up speed fast and therefore this was cancelled too.

Disappointed, the team went back to the Civic Center. We fixed the camera screen there and we cleaned and polished the VeloX IV to get it smooth again for the evening runs.

Fixing the VeloX IV     Catch

We went to try again in the evening. Christien had to have a run. Rik would not go this time as he had not fully recovered yet. When we got to the highway the wind was still blowing strong. At the finish the speed decreased but at the start it kept on going strongly. Barbara, Ellen and Christien therefore all decided not to go. Even the trikes were doubting whether it was safe to go or not.

So unfortunately again no runs today. Tomorrow morning we have to get up earlier for Christiens run. We are not giving up and are hoping for some better luck!


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