If you have been following the Oregon Manifest blog posts, you will already know that the UO Product Design program entered a bike design in the 2011 Oregon Manifest competition. You can read about the progression of the project and the resulting Campus Mini Velo Bike here on the blog “UO Product Design’s Campus Mini Velo Entered in Oregon Manifest 2011” and “More Relevant than A Segway: UO’s Oregon Manifest Entry Takes Shape.” See all the Oregon Manifest competition results on the Oregon Manifest website.
You might not know that last night at the Oregon Manifest Constructor’s Design Challenge Awards Gala at Chris King Precision Components, the University of Oregon Product Design bike entry, the Campus Mini Velo Bike won in the Student category.
There was a story that got the UO team to this point, and it needs to be told as the events of Saturday, September 24 will not be soon forgotten by the UO team.
Saturday night, the man of the hour was University of Oregon product design student, Scott Warneke, bike rider extraordinaire who rode the team’s Campus Mini Velo in the Constructor’s Design Challenge Field Test. Deserving of equal recognition are his illustrious, innovative, creative and ever supportive team mates, Jeremy Androschuk, Teressa Hamje, Adam Horbinski, Ian Kenny, Heath Korvola, and Matt Raphael; and instructors, Christian Freissler and James Molyneux. By nightfall on Saturday, the Field Test would have proven to provide an unexpected adventure and showcase exemplary teamwork, comraderie and compassion, and make Scott something of a legend.
The Constructor’s Design Challenge was to be a long and grueling ride. Bikers in the Oregon Manifest competition left first thing at 8am Saturday morning and would be heading back for a 50+ mile ride from a drop-off point in Buxton west of Portland. After the all-day trek, riders began showing up at the finish line around 3pm Saturday afternoon. But 4pm came and went and UO’s Scott still had not surfaced. Team members began to get concerned. Competitors continued to steadily roll in, but there was no sign of Scott who was riding a purely “urban utility” designed bike with small and hard 20′ wheels over terrain and elevations ideally suited to long distance road bikes.
By 5pm, teammates were concerned enough to strike out via car, tracing the course to find Scott. After about an hour of searching the route of narrow country lanes with steep hills, and lowland city streets, the team got a message from race officials that Scott was still riding, but dehydrated, hungry and exhausted. The team collectively decided to step up the search with a more urgent concern for Scott’s health and safety along with the realization that finishing the course might no longer be attainable. The UO rider was now considered missing-in-action.
Eventually, Scott was found on a forested country road off of Highway 30 (the course had twisted through northwest Portland’s hill and dale)—still going full throttle downhill, and only ready to stop to eat a powerbar and drink a bottled mineral water after laying down and then sitting on the side of the road to rest for a few minutes (see photo above with Heath Korvola photographing). His dedication to finishing the race was truly amazing—his team mates’ sense of support and care was nothing short of remarkable. Finding him and then getting him to rest for a short while on the roadside reassured the team he was faring adequately. While all team members agreed the overwhelming rigors and demands of the ride compelled them to realize finishing might not be the best option given Scott’s condition, it was Scott who decided (insisted) he wanted to make it to the finish and complete the race.
So what had happened? Turns out, at the ride’s start, Scott had quickly separated from the pack of other riders. He had encountered difficult riding conditions of gravel roads, drastically changing altitudes, attacking dogs and screeching peacocks, not to mention minor technical difficulties with one of the brake mechanisms. He made it to the all-important checkpoints: race officials and judges periodically along the course subjected bikes and riders to further testing. But when Scott arrived at the lunch site, the race crew had already packed up the food and drink. Scott completely missed lunch—the lunch checkpoint was already gone when he rode by. He was going to have to finish the ride eating only an energy bar and water.
Fastforward to the finish line: as all’s well that ends well. Recovering in what seemed like moments (he must have had youth and adrenaline on his side), Scott was able to pedal across the finish line to enthusiastic applause and accolades from the gathered Oregon Manifest crowd. Scott became the last of the 2011 Oregon Manifest riders to cross the finish line, but as his instructor, Christian Freissler commented: “the last will be the first.” His team mates were ecstatic. He had finished the race; he had ridden the Campus Mini Velo over the finish line…and through the last and final test…the puddle challenge!
Turns out, the UO team won in the student division…The rest of the Oregon Manifest night would be pure celebration. After all, the Ducks won!
Read the OregonLive article by Allan Brettman, “Biker Builders Endure 51-Mile ‘Field Test'”....
Read Portland Business Journal’s coverage by Erik Siemers, “Building a Better Bike..”
Post and photos: sabina samiee