After a few weeks of post-graduation work on our afterburner the damn thing finally lit off!

We started testing last week, but were having trouble getting ignition. We tried varying a few parameters, like increasing our fuel rate and changing our spray patterns. However the big breakthrough came when we tried turning down our core engine. At it’s maximum thrust setting the core JetCat engine would run at 125,000 RPM, which is really really fast (full size engines run less than half that). So when we turned down the engine, the speed of the flow in the afterburner was slowed down enough that our re-circulation zone was able to actually hold a flame.
The first test we only ran for about 3 seconds, and after a lot of cheering and some re-setting we set up for another full blown run. Here’s a video of our engine in action, this is about 5 minutes into the test which gave the huge thermal mass of the afterburner some time to get up to temperature:
We started at 50,000 RPM and were trying to see at what point we’d get a blow out at our f/a ratio (which also affects blow out velocity).
Unfortunately about when we reached 70,000 rpm’s we started burning the fuel trough that is attached to the end of the test stand above. When we tried taking out the fuel trough, which was slightly blocking the flow the afterburner wouldn’t light. As it turns out the trough was back pressuring the combustion chamber (increasing the pressure in the area where the flame is started and held) enough to give us a stable combustion.
Oh yeah and we raced today in Burlington Iowa. If you’ve never done the road race, everyone pretty much treats it like a big 80 mile group ride so they’re fresh for Snake Alley tomorrow. However three people apparently didn’t get the memo and stayed away ‘spoiling the day for the sprinters’. I left my own sprint waaaaaay to late and ended up 3rd or 4rd in the field sprint, oh well live and learn, tomorrow’s another day (taming the snake), and other generic make you feel good expression.

Getting to Post

It’s been a hectic week. After getting back from JMSR I had to scramble to pack up a good portion of stuff from my room for the parents to take back and get ready for graduation. Yes, believe it or not, they for some insane reason gave me a diploma.
It was fun seeing my parents and brother again, even though I’ll probably end up moving back in due to lack-o-job. That being said, take notice the lack of job part, so if anyone out there has the power, give me a job!

We had the usual graduation party on Saturday night after everyone from the Bike house was all set and graduated. It was fun, got to finialy party with my bigger than me little brother before waking up the next day for brunch with the parents before they all took off. After they were gone it was back to work, and by work I mean bike racing since I make more bike racing than in legitimate work.
The plan for Joey and me was to ride our bicycles down to Indy for the Eagle Park Contemporary Crit on Sunday, but partly to forgetfulness on my part and mostly to to hung-overed-ness we just decided to drive. It worked out alright, we rolled up late, got registered and lined up with a pretty small local field of 30 guys. Texas Roadhouse and Nuvo were both well represented and constituted a majority of the field. The course itself twisted through some narrow wooded roads, so out of sight was roughly 5 seconds.
Since the course seemed obviously suited for a breakaway, no one let any breakaway go. No group got more than a handful of seconds over the field, and the right combination of riders never seemed to get together. Not having teammates, I was content to follow moves that contained both Nuvo and Texas (which were chased down every time). So it came down to the field sprint, which was very civil compared to the crazed racing I experienced last weekend at Joe Martin. I stayed on John Puffer’s wheel, the sprinter of Texas Roadhouse, expecting him to make a move and get lead out. He opened up his sprint pretty early before the last corner and I was able to tag along before sprinting around his leeward side for the victory.

I was pretty stoked with this since Puffer’s a pretty well established sprinter in the Midwest and I’ve always wanted to see how I stacked up. Plus it’s nice to get a good result after getting your ass handed to you for four straight days.
Speaking of ass handing, I found more media from my southern excursion last week:
Like the most terrible hill ever put into a crit:

Wade testing out the quality of the pavement:
Another painful hill:
Look, if you look really closely there is actually proof that I was in this race:

Another angle of Wade crashing on the corner of doom that about 30 people went down on, also note that the pack takes a full freaking 30 seconds to go by:

So we rode to and from every stage, and on the way back we got some moto pacing work done, just so we could get an extra few hard K’s in after the 110 mile road race:
The start of the worst 9.5 minutes of my life:
Gettin’ prepped and working on blue steel:

Back 2 School…again

It should be easy to tell from my recent lack of blog postings that my ample amount of free time has been reduced. The reason? Yet another year of scholastic adventure. Yes for the fifth time around I returned to Purdue University to stare down the barrel of a gun filled with learning. If you are confused right now, allow me to explain. Most collegiate degrees are meant to be obtained in a mere four years, the last of these four years being your senior year. However, for some truly exemplary students, the University may wish to keep the student an entire extra year and elevate them to the status of “Super” Senior. Being a “Super” senior has quite a few cushy benefits, another year of avoiding the responsibilities of the real world, another year of the Neon Cactus, one more year of collegiate racing, and another year spent in my favorite state of the Union: Indiana! Some of the additional benefits of being a super senior include taking some odd classes to help you graduate. During my sophomore year I took Italian 101. Unknown to me at the time I had to take another Italian class in order for my first Italian class to count towards graduation. However, the first 101 did not go so well, so the prospect of taking another was a dreadful one. Before you start thinking I’m now forced to fake my way through another forign language class by mumbling let me tell you that I found the answer:Italian 330: Italian Cinema (with subtitles!!). So far we’ve watched Cabiria, a silent movie from 1914 that ground along for a whole two and a half hours accompanied by a single piano that would be at home in a Vaudeville theater.

The entire year will not be devoted to odd GenEd classes. I will also be taking actual Aerospace Engineering classes also. One year long class involves designing a thrust augmentor (afterburner) for model airplane turbojet engine:
As far as bicycle racing has been going two weekends ago was the Marion NRC classic, which sucked for me. Ten turns in 0.8 miles ain’t quite my style of racing, but it suited Ryan and Derek just fine, both of who finished in the money. The next day went slightly better, Panther missed the race winning breakaway, but I got into a late move with MWCCC alumni Phil Mooney, and stayed away for 6th place.

Last weekend however there were no races, except for one way up north in Michigan. But we had a better idea. Instead of driving 12 hours for racing, we decided to throw Derek a going away party. That was a lot of fun and Derek left for Korea on Sunday. Next weekend I’ll be going back up into Michigan for a Labor Day filled with some good racing.

Check out this video that somehow ended up on our Panther Website:
(it really speaks to my feelings)

Also, check out the exciting finish to Tuesday’s Vuelta a Espana stage. Go to 0:50 to see what happens when 100 riders all lock it up on wet pavement.


A Day at Purdue

Purdue is a University with character. It is by no means your average campus. I’ve seen most of the campuses in the big ten, all of the campuses seem to have an aesthetic harmony about them. Purdue is no exception, except it seems to fall short.

Most of my time is spent in the Armstrong hall of Engineering, named after our most popular and reclusive graduate, Neil Armstrong, the man who first stood on the moon, looked back to Earth and said “Fuck you, Commie Bastards, We Win”.

The building itself is built with the same red brick that every other building at Purdue has. But this building brings Purdue into the 21st Century. Not only does the interior have sparse to no furnishings or decorations, but the Spartan interior makes students feel like they are not going to school but going to the future. From the outside the Aerospace building itself looks like it could take off at any moment and belongs in orbit. The strange acute angles that plague the building make this new seat of the Engineering Department the most inefficient use of floor space on the University (besides the Football Stadium, thanks Joe Tiller).

The building lucky enough to be my 2nd most favorite place to spend my time is the Purdue Engineering Library. This is another great place to study. At UofM’s Engineering College there is the 3D sine-cosine field, which is really a grass field that attempts to fuse Engineering mathematics with grass, which results in a turf management nightmare. At Purdue’s Library we have our own sad excuse for Engineering Art: These are no simple neon tube lights, but neon test beakers. The point of this, I still don’t know even though I’ve spent many hours pondering its meaning. The study areas of the library itself is dank and depressing enough to make a Spanish Inquisitor feel right at home. This particular picture is taken on the Mezzanine (fancy, right?). To the left of the picture are the stacks, and on the right are the study areas, separated by thin metal walls that are warm and cozy. On this particular floor, the ceiling is roughly 8 feet tall and the floor is made of metal, which amplifies every step or chair movement . I’ve never been on a submarine but imagine this is as close as I will ever get.

Lastly, thanks to my 12th grade Art History Teacher, every monument, building, or structure in general that has a slender shape could be a phallic symbol . This thought struck me today while passing our schools bell tower. Purdue was founded as an Agricultural school and is now famous for it’s Engineering School (which is a sausage fest itself). This theory fits well, worshiping fertility (ag school) and…………Engineers (thanks Ms. Rohde).