The Finish Line

The morning after the race, I woke up at 6 am ready for array standing! Except… we don’t have to array stand anymore! I got out of bed anyway, because I was well-rested and happy to greet the morning — who knew I could be such a chipper early riser?

I don’t like cities, but Adelaide isn’t so bad. In fact, I really like it here. There’s so much great food and reasonably-priced shopping, and it has a lot more room to breathe than most cities. On our first breakfast back in Adelaide, Hayden and I visited the elusive Adelaide Central Market — elusive only because we had gotten lost trying to find it the last time we were in Adelaide, not because it was hard to find. The market is basically a big indoor farmer’s market that’s open every day.

Afterwards, we hung out at the finish line for a bit to see the other teams that had arrived before us (Nuon, Twente, Tokai, Michigan, and Punch, in that order) and after us (Megalux). I traded one of my race crew shirts for a Tokai polo. I was so excited to have made my first trade! Later on, at the pack-down area, where all the teams assemble their stuff to get shipped back home, I traded for a Nuon polo. Yay! That evening, Hayden and I got more ice cream at Movenpick, because Movenpick.

The next morning, Hayden and I took the early shift babysitting Arctan in its tent alongside all the other solar cars. We had bento boxes for lunch — I have to talk about all the food we ate, because it’s been so good! — and then Bochum rolled in and I traded for a Bochum polo. More yay! Yay Bochum! (Their car is awesome.) We went back to the pack-down area because yay, packing, and packed more stuff. Hayden and I ended up at Movenpick again in the evening. Oops.

Hayden prepares to take a shower at the hostel after a run.
Hayden prepares to take a shower at the hostel after a run.
Hayden eats a donut.
Hayden eats a donut.

Sunday was the day of the parade! After our first run in weeks, Hayden and I upgraded our normal breakfast to an all-American Krispy Kreme donut feast. Apparently, donuts and milk isn’t a thing in Australia, so I received a confused look from the cashier when I asked for milk. She was nice about it and poured me a glass of milk Just For Me and only charged me 50 cents. Then somehow we got two free original glazed donuts, just for being Special. At least, Hayden said it was because we were Special.

Then it was time for the parade, which was really just a thinly veiled plot by WSC to escort all the solar cars out of Victoria Square to the pack-down area. While all the teams were loading their cars at the pack-down area, I traded my last Stanford shirts for Twente and EAFIT race shirts. Cool! I felt very content with my little collection. Hayden and I walked back to the hostel, and stopped for Italian food on the way. I got a really boring spaghetti dish and it was awesome. To wrap up the race, WSC hosted an awards ceremony, which was pretty cool. The shirt trading afterwards was absolute madness and I was glad that I had already given away all my shirts and could just stand there awkwardly (my life) with nothing to do.

The awards ceremony wasn’t really the close of WSC for each individual team, since we all had a bunch of packing left to do. On Monday, Hayden and I went on another run and got breakfast at his favorite place, MyWay Cafe. I don’t know what the big deal is about that place, but Hayden really likes it. I asked for milk and the cashier was so confused that she just gave it to us for free. I guess people don’t drink milk here. In the late afternoon, we took a couple hours to finish loading the solar car (goodbye Arctan) and then headed back to relax for a few hours. Hayden and I moved out of the hostel and into our wonderful hotel – I’m going to write a separate post for that later – and then headed to a team dinner hosted by WSC race official Wendy. The South African team was there along with Stanford, and I hadn’t yet met any of their team members so it was cool to talk to them.

We had a free day on Tuesday and then the very last solar car commitment was, you guessed it, more packing! The team headed to VW Solitaire for the last time and worked all day to pack the crates that were shipping home. My back still hurts from all the kneeling and bending and lugging, but ta-da! We’re done! That was the real close to WSC. Getting back to the hotel and collapsing on the nice bed.

I only realized at the end of this that, after the race, I tucked my camera away in its bag and removed my Official Media Team hat, so I have basically no photos of this entire week. And no regrets! I was done taking photos of solar cars.

And that’s it. That’s been the World Solar Challenge.


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