Stevenson Kinetic Sculpture Race
September 8, 2001
Last Saturday my family and I attended the Stevenson, WA, Kinetic Sculpture Race. I took along my "Happy Camper" amphibious bike, which has gone by the names Lampi Limo, and Bantam Menace Pot Racer in other races.
Several other vehicles were entered, ranging from "Saturnalien" to "Mona Butterfly" and "Kineticus Maximus", among others. Pictures will be available later this week, as words to describe these vessels leave much to be desired.
Anyway, during the water portion of the course we encountered shallow water as well as copious quantities of milfoil. The propeller on my bike worked so-so in its new rearward facing orientation, as the propeller was designed to be an air puller rather than a water pusher. Also, it was supposed to be a surface piercing prop. Unfortunately, since the race was the first time it had been tested in the new configuration there was not a lot I could do about it.
Soon after running into a batch of weeds I noticed that the pedaling effort was getting harder and harder. In fact, with the 20-25 mph head wind, I was making absolutely no forward progress whatsoever. Sigh. I disconnected the prop drive, reconnected the half submerged rear wheel/paddle wheel drive and slowly, tediously made my way across the lagoon. At least this year the weeds did not foul the prop chain drive!
Kineticus Maximus, a prop driven craft, also managed to snag these weeds. They ended up stopping a couple of times to remove handful after handful of the weeds from their big 20 inch prop. Still, they managed to cross the lagoon faster than my bike.
On the second water crossing I did not bother connecting the prop drive. However, I did remove the wad o' weeds from the prop prior to entering the water.
At the water exits my darling 7 year old daughter met me with a handful of freshly picked flowers. Awww, what a sweetie! She then proceeded to run alongside as I went to the mud pit (first time) and the finish line (second time). She had her exercise for the day. With her I might even have a pit crew person in future races!
The fastest vehicle across the water, indeed the winner of the race, turned out to be another paddle wheeled vehicle, Saturnalien. This vehicle is more of a boat with retractable wheels than a road vehicle, and the speed of its transitions from land to water and back made it ideal for this course.
The Stevenson course is ideal for spectators, too. The water exit is but a short walking distance from the mud pit and, since the racers are sent along a longer route, it is possible to see the same vehicle go through the mud, too.
It was a beautiful day, and I think pretty much everyone who came had a good time.
Thank you, Ken Cohen, for arranging this event.
Take a look here for pictures.
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