2018 Battle mountain Trip

The 2018 Battle Mountain World Human Powered Speed Challenge was held from September 10-14. Cal Poly sent 5 club members to scout the competition and look for ideas and inspiration for our own bike next year. We arrived in Battle Mountain late in the afternoon on Monday, the 10th.

Early the next morning, we drove out to the start of the 2.5 mile qualifiers to see the French Team Vélo Créné IUT Annecy and University of Liverpool Velocipede team's bikes, and then to the full 5 mile course where we saw the Delft & Amsterdam team practicing.

A complicated drivetrain is necessary to get higher gear ratios and fit around the compact frame of most bikes.

Later in the afternoon, the Battle Mountain Civic Center held a showcase for all the bikes. This was our chance to really talk to the teams about their designs, their manufacturing processes, and the problems they faced...and to just gawk at some sick bikes. It was incredibly interesting to see how differently every team had designed their bike and how they all overcame different obstacles. All the teams were wonderfully enthusiastic and open to sharing their ideas and innovations with us, which we are very grateful for.

For the evening heats, we watched the competition from the timing zone alongside many of the old racers and enthusiasts. The timing zone is a 200 meter stretch at the end of the race where speeds are recorded. Riders break into a full out sprint in a final push for a top speed. We witnessed the Delft & Amsterdam team hit 74.3 MPH which is the the 3rd fastest women's speed ever recorded. We also saw the Italian Policumbent team’s bike hit 82.8 MPH  which set a new Italian record, and made it the 4th fastest bike ever recorded.

The French Team Vélo Créné IUT Annecy push-starting their bike. At low speeds, the bikes have very little stability, and require a team to keep them from tipping.

The next morning we again returned to the course, this time at the catch zone to see a few qualifiers, and then rode up to the start of the course where 2 of our members, Derek Fromm and Max Chinowsky, got the chance to ride in the chase vehicle with the French Team Vélo Caréné IUT Annecy. The wind was fierce, so the French team decided not to finish their run. This allowed Derek and Max to witness a stressful, but revealing on-course catch.

We returned to the timing zone in the evening, but the wind refused to die down to legal levels, limiting the number of runs teams participated in. A few brave racers came out anyways, and later in the evening we got to see the Liverpool Velocipede hand-crank cycle break the Men's hand-cycle record with a speed of 51.6 MPH. Later in the event, the same bike annihilated the Women’s record with a speed of 46.5 MPH. They broke these records by 6 MPH and 17 MPH respectively. It was exhilarating to watch.

Our team traveled back to California the next day to prepare for the upcoming quarter.

A complete list of Battle Mountain times and records can be found here.


We'd like to give a huge thank you to all the teams at the competition. Everyone was very friendly and happy to answer our questions and we learned so much from each of you. We hope to see you all again next year with a bike of our own; don't be surprised if we steal some of your ideas. We'd also like to thank George and Carole Leone, and all of the IHPVA associates and enthusiasts for showing us around and hosting this competition year after year.


Congratulations to all the teams who broke records, and to everyone who was able to race at all!