CIA Buggy

Buggy is awesome!!! I got to roll three times last weekend and four times this weekend, now I know how the game goes. First, I get up at 4:30 (and yes, this is what my weekends will look like from now on!), eat a yogurt and walk to CMU. There, the drivers get into their buggies and do the drop testSounds dangerous! - They don't actually drop us from the air, they just let us go on a downhill slope, to test the brakes every morning before rolls. We get rolled back to our headquarters, which is in the Atrium of a building, so we're actually inside. Other organizations only have a tent...

We get out of the buggies again, with help of the mechanics, who have to screw the lid open and undo the harnesses that hold us in place for the case of a crash. Crashes aren't a problem, there are hay bales at all the critical spots. It's certainly a shock, but we are quite safe. The buggies need to conform to safety regulations and we wear helmets, gogglesgrosse Fliegerbrille, lunettes, gloves and a mouth guarda plastic that we had to heat and put in our mouth so that is has the right shape for our teeth, like the boxers have.

Also, in the beginning we start with six blue plastic bags attached to the buggy, they are small parachutes that slow us down. Every roll, we can take off one bag. So far, they just let us go at the top of the hill, the next level will be with a push off and then a full run push off! I'm really looking forward to full speed, it's so exciting!

So back to the routine. After getting out, the drivers go on a course walk. We get explanations from the head drivers, learn to know every pothole on the street and where the best line for our buggy is. Rolls start around 7, and the organizations take turns rolling all their buggies. So when it is our turn, we get rolled to the start line, roll one after the other and get pushed back uphill to the finish line. There are many new pushers, and depending on who is pushing which part it goes really fast. During this part, we mainly have to stay on a straight line that evades most of the potholes, and correct if pushers tork (push more on one side).

Then we get lifted up and put on the sidewalk, wheel back to our homebase and wait for the next roll, while the other organizations roll their buggies. My buggy is really cozy, I can even pull my arms back against my body, to release the pressure on the shoulders a bit. Even though you can hear everything that is going on outside, you can't really talk to people because the sound doesn't get out well. So usually the mechanics will just open the hatch and we'll pop out our shoulders.

So far we have seen mechanics, pushers and drivers in action. But there is a fourth function, and that's support. There are two orientation points on the freerollthe downhill part of the race where nobody pushes and we're on our own where somebody stands with a flag. The flaggers show you where you should go for those two difficult spots, and they have a yellow flag that indicates that you have to brake immediately, because there is some problem ahead. The support people also do a lot of organization.

All in all, buggy is a lot of fun, and my organization is just awesome! This is also a great opportunity to get to know Americans, and they're all very cool and interesting people. We are called the CIA, and they actually found words that go with the abbreviation: Carnegie Involvement Association. Our specialty is to have mechanics in suits push on exhibition race, which is the fun race before race day (in April, during the Spring Carnival). This all makes me a very happy small person!

2 responses to “CIA Buggy”

  1. Sounds like fun!

    Thank you so much for the long article. I'm glad to read that you've found your sweet spot! Getting up at 4:30 every weekend? Didn't you say you worked till 2am? Seems like you're determined to get rid of your need for long sleep — hope you can stand it...

    For those who still wonder what this is all about here are two links:
    the official site
    the site of the Buggy Alumni Association.

    Greetings from Alcossebre!

    Submitted by Hans

  2. Race and buggy

    Now, I'am really troubled. I thought to have sent my comment, but am unable to find it on your blog. Also, once again:

    your hobbies seem to be a full-time job, starting at 4.30 am - horror. Is there any time left for studies? Or "gibt es Gott den Seinen im Schlaf"? Anyway, it is good to see that you are fully integrated into the American way of life. I'am just back from Korea, a postcard should reach you shortly. Elisa

    Submitted by Elisa