Sorry for the late blog post but racing has kept every one of us busier than we could ever imagine. We did want to keep everyone up to date on what has been happening though!
We began the day in Mansfield, Ohio in a parking lot at Ohio State University with Oregon State with us. We cooked our oatmeal, we made our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and we charged the battery up as much as we could. This is our basic process every morning of racing and it went off without a hook.
We left the stop on time and got on the road with Jack driving Impulse and nothing seemed to go wrong throughout the day! We never had to complete a tire change, driver changes went smoothly and quickly, and we approached Ann Arbor in a reasonable time frame.
On our approach to the University of Michigan campus we were all in frantic conversation about race strategy. Do we go faster and try to prevent solar cars from passing us as well as potentially avoiding some poor weather or stay at a slower speed and maintain our battery charge. In either case we were going to make it to Ann Arbor on time and under our own power.
Well we finally did make it to Ann Arbor and we were welcomed by all of the other teams who had arrived before us, the race officials, and GM who set up a wonderful hospitality tent for us. Free food is always welcome for college students – especially those busy with racing!
Day 3 marked the end of stage 2 of the American Solar Challenge and Congratulations CalSol members on taking Impulse this far on solar power alone! We found out our official times and they moved us up to 5th place! We are all very proud of our achievement so far and we look to keep it up as the days go on.
So far this race has been a test of both our car’s endurance and our own as team members. Low amounts of sleep have become common place, non-stop movement is crucial to success, and you must ALWAYS be ready to act. If you aren’t prepared for any situation then when they come up – and they will – the team will suffer for it. We have learned this lesson the hard way time and time again over the past few weeks, but it has made us much more prepared for each task ahead.
This experience is worth more than any class you can take or any lecture that we sit through during the school year. With just about all of us being rookie racers, every mistake is a valuable learning opportunity. Because of this we have a team meeting every night and we discuss what went wrong throughout the day, what went right, and what we need to do for the next day of racing. It has been invaluable to our success so far; it has streamlined strategy and communication which has made race days even better.
Glad everyone could catch up on our progress and stayed posted for the day 4 blog post!