We pulled in to Calgary at about 2:30 this afternoon. We were the fourth team to cross the finish line (Michigan, FH Bochum, and Waterloo were ahead of us). The crowds in Calgary were unlike any we have seen before. The entire day, there were groups of people standing along the road to get a glimpse of solar cars driving by. As we approached Calgary, the crowds got larger and more frequent, until our arrival at the University of Calgary, where a crowd of several thousand was waiting at the finish line.
This morning was a little bumpy. We blew more fuses on the power trackers, forcing us to stop for 15 minutes just as we pulled on to the Trans-Canadian Highway. After the fix, we were greeted by a 20-MPH headwind, forcing us to significantly reduce our target speed. However, this was still faster than most teams that passed us while we were stopped (just about everyone), so we ended up passing them throughout the day.
Our strategy team had played the day a little conservatively to make sure we had enough power left for the last large hills in to Calgary. As a result, we had 25% of our battery left when we entered the Calgary city limits, allowing Adem to drive the car wide open at the speed limit. We even had enough power to turn the headlights on at the end, just for fun!
Once the race ended, the celebrations began. Socializing with the teams now that they are not concerned about the race is even more fun than it was before. The traditional swapping of team t-shirts also occurred; much of our team got shirts from FH Bochum and Iowa State. We plan to eat dinner with the Principia team tonight, which will be an excellent closure to this race where so much help was exchanged.
Our run today was not fast enough to change our overall standing (something drastic would have had to happen), so we finished the race in 5th place. Considering all the problems we have overcome, we are very happy with the finish we had. A special thanks goes out to all of our families, supporters, and sponsors for allowing this project to happen. Almost every single team member would agree that this has been the single most valuable experience of their lives to date, and it would not be possible without all of you.
Stay tuned for more reflections and summaries on the race!