Monday, February 13, 2012

Plug Out Challenge!!

This past Saturday RideOn competed in our first pre-Little 500 team event, the Plug Out Challenge!! During this event, put together by IUSA and IUSF, we rode on bikes that are plugged into the wall. During a workout they turn the rider's mechanical energy into electrical energy, which is then fed back into the grid. Not only do these bikes provide a great workout, they reduce energy bills and make the SRSC more sustainable! The Plug Out challenge measured the wattage output of all competing teams and the team with the highest output would WIN!

On the day of the event Mary and I went to the SRSC in the morning to scope out our competition and try to form a strategy. There were 11 women's teams scheduled to compete and we wanted to make a name for ourselves! During each team's 18 minute set, all 4 riders must take the bike (only) once. This means we would all be riding the same bike, and although three of our team's scheduled riders were about the same size and could ride at the same seat height, I am a shorty and needed a different size. In watching other teams we realized that many precious seconds are lost in the time it takes riders to adjust the seat up or down, so we decided to get rid of that problem!! Our strategy, from here on referred to as "The Thoe," was for the person getting onto the bike (tall person) to begin her set standing, while the person getting off the bike (me) would adjust the seat height. We would only adjust the height once and would have almost zero down-time. Brilliant!

When we got to the SRSC to check in, a handful of women's teams had already completed their runs, the leader-board showed Teter in the lead putting out an incredible average of 261 watts! In second was Army Women with 207, followed by Kappa Delta with 206 watts. Clearly our work was cut out for us. After checking in Laura, Mary, Molly, and I were given a 20 minute warm up period to get all those big muscles on our legs fired up. We did a few practice runs of "The Thoe" and posed for some beautiful pictures.

We decided that I would ride first, followed by Laura and then Molly, each of us doing 4 minute sets; Mary was charged with finishing out the remaining 6 minutes of our 18 minute set. At least that was the plan. At the event's start, we were not allowed to begin pedaling the bike that our wattage was being recorded on, so when time started and I tried to pedal I was in for a rude surprise. The frat guy pedaling before me might have been a bit stronger than I and he had the resistance dialed up incredibly high. Just to get my legs spinning I was cranking out 350 watts of power...not good for the rest of my 4 minute set. After 3:30 I was feeling the effects of my start and called Laura over to jump on, she got on and pedaled away as I completed "The Thoe." Laura beasted through her 4 minutes before calling to Molly to hop on. Molly spun away for 3:45 before Mary jumped on. With over 6:30 left on the clock, and no possibility to switch riders again, Mary was left to power out the remainder of our time. And that she did!! With lots of encouragement from the rest of us, and legs of steel, Mary chewed up that 6:30 like it was nothing.

After those exhausting 18 minutes were finished the lovely IUSA gentleman quickly looked at our wattage, 227! That was good enough to slot us in at second right behind Teter. As we moved over to the cool down station we were all feeling pretty good about the numbers we had just laid down. Not only that, but we had just put out a higher wattage than two teams that finished higher than us in last year's race!

Throughout the final few teams of the evening, Delta Gamma did manage to knock us down to 3rd place, but that's still a result we're SUPER proud of. We beat some really good teams, and based on how tired we all were the rest of the night, we definitely left everything we had on the bike!!

Plug Out final standings:

1 comment:

Molly Carroll said...

Fabulous article- heinous... and i do mean heinous... pictures of me. Let's be clear- I am holding the bike seat in the second picture. The bike seat.