Triathlon of the Art World

This is truly an "only in California" event.

71 photos
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Josh Keppel
The Kinetic Grand Championship includes two water crossings where human-powered machines must float, and propel themselves forward.
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Josh Keppel
The 42nd Annual Kinetic Grand Championship took place in Humboldt County over Memorial Day Weekend.
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The three-day, 42-mile course took human powered machines over mud, water, gravel, sand and roads.
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34 machines piloted by as many as ten and as few as one took on the course from Arcata to Ferndale, CA.
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Josh Keppel
The Kinetic Grand Championship includes two water crossings where human-powered machines must float, and propel themselves forward with human power.
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Josh Keppel
The race finishes each year on Memorial Day in Ferndale, CA where the race was started by Hobart Brown in 1969.
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Josh Keppel
The festivities started in the Arcata Plaza on Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend with machine registration, brake checks and judging.
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Josh Keppel
Teams are judged throughout the weekend for a number of things, including Engineering, Art, and Pageantry. Pageantry judges like Lindsay lined up to observe and take bribes before the race started.
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Racer Peter Wagner stretched across the street from his machine before the noon whistle sounded signaling the start of the race.
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Josh Keppel
When the noon whistle blows, racers scurry across the street to their awaiting machines that they then jump on and start to pedal around Arcata Plaza.
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Josh Keppel
Machines of all shapes and sizes circled the plaza at the start of the race to the cheers of the gathered masses.
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Josh Keppel
A wide range in ages of pilots are seen each year. According to the rules, "All pilots must be 16 or above. When on the road, pilot in control of vehicle must be 18 or above. No participants under 12."
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After a 12 year hiatus, Woody returned to the race and ended up being the 2010 Grand Champion taking home the Traveling Trophy. Congrats!
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Dia de los Tacos was one of my favorite sculptures.
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The two pilots sat behind the figures "driving" the taco truck.
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Max Boyum watched the machines circle the plaza and was surprised because he thought there were more. His friend and classmate Nolan Schwed (to his right) said, "I'm going for Mexico (Dia de los Tacos) because Max and I speak Spanish."
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Engineering expert Ken Beidleman created the Lost Coast Brewery Fire Dept Hookah-n-Ladder 420, complete with flaming hookah, for this year's race. Each year Beidleman starts the race with the water flotation devices pumped up and strapped on for all to see.
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Most machines are not only inventively engineered, they are also artistically decorated as well.
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Melvin has raced for 28 years now and has Aced each time (except maybe onc), including this year. To Ace, a team must only use human pedal power to propel their machine forward on the course (and follow a bunch of other rules).
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The Royal Kinetic Madness Band followed racers and spectators through the course for the three-day-weekend.
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Josh Keppel
Revenge of the Funguys in 3D boasted some of the largest wheels in the race.
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This gypsies floated through the race atop of a magic carpet.
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This five-person machine had four massive wheels.
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Salefish had a "For Sail Fish" sign on the front of the machine. They were one of the few teams to use wind power to help them through the course.
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Teams are required by the rules to carry all special terrain equipment on board as well as overnight stuff like a sleeping bag and toothbrush. My guess is the barrel at the back of this machine is stuffed.
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Bannana Slugs are a common sight in Humboldt County, but few are as fast and laid back as this Indefatigable Banana Slug by Melanie Bright.
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The last two machines Duane Flatmo has raced have been covered in recycled aluminum. This year the fish and dragon have a lobster sibling in The Crustation Wagon.
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The Crustation Wagon has a tail that raises to salute the fans and competitors. This sculpture will be seen at Burning Man 2010 with Honorarium installation The Kinetic Cab Company.
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After the machines circle the plaza for an undetermined amount of time (somewhere around ten minutes), a gate is opened and the machines race down the 8th Street towards the ocean.
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After a few miles of road racing, the machines have to tackle the sand, which is where the engineering really gets tested for the first time in the race. Here a Pocket Rocket pilot lets air out of the tires to help move in the soft sand.
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Engineering Judge Steve Cole (left) says, "The real test is always on the sand because the best plans of mice and men many times go a rye when you are on the sand."
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Pilot Ken Beidleman drives Hookah-n-Ladder over the sand with the front wheels raised off the ground. This machine won first place for Art this year.
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Pit crew member Natalie Arroyo walks along side Dia de los Tacos, the 2nd place Art award winner and the Racers Choice winner.
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Giving up their Ace award, Bubblicious Bubble Buggy gets pulled through the sand.
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After heading over the sand dunes and out to the beach, racers must tackle Dead Man's Drop, a favorite of spectators.
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