PPIHC 2017 - Update 4

Quite possibly the longest week of some of the team members’ lives started yesterday, with technical inspection for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb marking the first event of race week. Technical inspection yesterday was passed without a hitch, giving the team quite a lot of free time to focus our efforts on making sure that RW-3x was ready for practice on the mountain this morning; new tires were mounted, the cooling system was flushed and all air bubbles were cleared, and spare electronics boards were constructed. In addition to these technical tasks, the last and final group of Buckeye Current team members arrived in Colorado, giving us new hands and help in the pits.

Testing this morning unfortunately proved a little bit testing at first. Last night while work was being done on the bike to get it ready, one of the cooling fittings was hit and offset slightly, causing the fitting to break loose. During the sighting lap on the middle section of the mountain, Rob noticed water dripping off the bike during his run and cautiously made his way back down with the rest of the riders. In the pits, the team began to troubleshoot where exactly the leak was coming from, and, after finding the source, quickly replaced the fitting and had the bike race-ready again. However, because of this delay the team missed the very first of the 20-minute sessions up the mountain.

After that initial mishap, though, RW-3x performed as well as it had the past few days at practice tracks around Colorado. We are still constantly making small changes to help improve the system even more, but have an intensified focus now on also making sure Rob is as comfortable as possible with the bike. We’re making suspension and handling adjustments based on his feedback after each lap up the mountain, and are pouring over race data to make sure that all the bike’s systems are functioning correctly. Rob is shaving off seconds off each run, and we’re doing everything we can to keep that trajectory as we approach race day.