Against The Wind: A 2013 Human-Powered Vehicle

Well it’s that time of year again! Schools from all over the country recently finished competing in the massive human powered vehicle competitions held each year. Coastal Enterprises was proud to support Missouri S & T students by donating Precision Board Plus HDU which was used to make molds for the carbon fiber body of the 2013 “Colossus” vehicle.

We were able to catch up with Jonathan Sanders, student at Missouri S & T, to find out just what went down at the 2013 competitions. This year saw them compete with their new and improved vehicle, “Colossus”, which we featured in a previous blog.

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West Coast:

HPVC West, originally scheduled to take place at the NASA Ames facility, was moved to the San Jose State Univ. parking lot because of sequestration. According to Jonathan, the smaller course gave the advantage to the slower, more stables bikes and didn’t truly allow the faster bikes enough room to shine.

The competition went quite smoothly though, with only a single mechanical malfunction – a landing gear failure 15 seconds into the two and a half-hour long Endurance race. While that may sound serious, it was not catastrophic due to a hybrid design, which allowed them to stop by also using their feet. Overall, the 2012 champions still managed a third place finish, and hoped to do better in two weeks at HPVC East.

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East Coast:

Unfortunately, HPVC East in Michigan didn’t go quite as planned with not one but two drivetrain failures after hard pedaling overstressed the metal. Consequentially, replacing the parts took over 25 minutes of race time.

Things were looking good in the female sprint race with team member Nikia Chapman in first place until a crash barely a single foot from the finish line led to a broken seat-postition changer. Of course, setbacks such as this are always great lessons in teamwork and perseverance for everyone on the team amid hasty repairs and solutions.

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Ran in a double elimination bracket style, the physical energy required in the Sprint Races is massive. With the race time getting shorter and shorter between races, the probability of racers getting physically exhausted is high. Despite all mechanical problems, Missouri S & T was still able to finish 2nd place in the Male Sprint category, with an overall 2nd place finish for the team. Not bad for multiple ill-timed mechanical issues.


Coastal Enterprises would like to congratulate all participants in both HPVC races and we salute all of the innovative students participating in these forward-thinking programs.

Can’t wait to see what they put together for next year!