This week, I have been occasionally checking the results of the 2013 World Human Powered Speed Challenge taking place for the 14th consecutive year on SR305 outside of Battle Mountain, Nevada. This is always a very interesting event to follow, and I am glad that Graeme Obree’s participation is bringing it a bit of extra attention this year. Obree qualified for the WHPSC finals with his run on Monday, but it appears that he spent the next couple days making modifications to his prone position “Beastie” for final runs today and tomorrow. As I have mentioned before, I will be surprised if he is able to exceed the 82.819 mph speed set by Sam Whittingham in 2009, but he also has the British record of 67.4 mph to shoot for as a secondary goal. Whether or not he reaches either goal though, it is exciting to see him attempting the speed record in an unconventional (par for the course for Obree) machine of his own design. As he said himself on Twitter today, “The fear isn’t not reaching 100mph, the fear is being 90, in a chair, in an old folks’ home, saying ‘I should have gone for that.” Well said, Graeme…those are words that all of us with grand plans and big ideas should take to heart.
Though Obree is attracting much of the attention in the cycling press, keep in mind that there are many other designers , engineers, and athletes at Battle Mountain this week with pretty amazing (and very fast) HPVs. See the links on the event pictures page, including the WHPSC Facebook group and Jim Nogami’s “Biking in a Big City” blog, for excellent coverage of the event. I know that I have been saying this for years, but I really wish I was at Battle Mountain right now to see this in person. One of these years, I’ll make it out there.
Update 9/16: As pointed out in the comments below, a new world record was set at Battle Mountain this year. Sebastiaan Bowier of the TUDelft team reached 83.13mph in Velox3. Congrats to the team on a great accomplishment! Obree didn’t reach his initial goals, but did manage to set a new prone position record. Hopefully we will see him back again next year to give it another try.