Morocco week 2: Our eventful second week

Morocco week 2: Our eventful second week

It’s no holiday! We are still working six days a week to optimize Green Spirit and prepare for the Moroccan Solar Challenge. Let’s go by some team members to see what they have been doing.

Aymar has been in meetings non-stop. Meetings within the team itself, but also meetings with the other solar teams and Classic Events. He's also "putting out fires", so minor things that come up, daily.

Our software engineer Caitlin has been working on the development of a secret software for within the convoy cars. This program will make life easier for the whole convoy!

Patrick, one of our electrical engineers, has been making a spare motor controller PCB (Printed Circuit Board). If the PCB in Green Spirit happens to break before or during the race, we have another one that we can mount on quite quickly.

Alje and Caroline have been creating content for our partners in the Moroccan desert. They went on a small roadtrip in the outback to find aesthetic spots for shooting pictures and videos. Besides that, they made sure that our socials are filled with content so the people at home know what we are up to!

Rick and Maurice have been finishing up one of the most important parts of our solar challenge preparation: the roadbook. The roadbook describes every single kilometer of the race in detail. We drove the entire solar challenge route in advance and documented a ton of factors. To name a few: road quality, speed limits, potholes and speed bumps. Our holy roadbook ensures that we’re prepared to take on the solar challenge!

Convoy training

On Friday we started at 06:30 for an intense day of convoy training on Moroccan roads. We decided to train riding in convoy with a part of the team to prepare for the actual solar challenge. The goal of the day was to practice our protocols, get used to driving as a convoy and familiarize ourselves with the long days in the car that we will experience during the race.

We started off the trip at the official starting point of the Moroccan Solar Challenge 2021: the stadium in Agadir. From that point on, we drove the first 240 km of the actual race, with only a 30 minute break when we reached the control stop.

The most intimidating part of the route are the fierce Atlas-mountains. To be honest, as a team we were quite nervous to drive the mountains in convoy for the first time. We set up a special mountain protocol that helped us navigate the mountains in a safe manner.

It was very good training as we got used to the different environment, though this time it wasn’t as scary since we did not drive our actual solar car; we just used a normal car and pretended it was Green Spirit. Right now it’s not even possible to drive a solar car on public roads, even if we wanted to. Only after a solar car passes the scrutineering it’s officially deemed roadworthy!

After driving for about 240 km we finally reached our destination of the day: the control stop. A control stop is a short break in which the race convoy has to drive to a designated spot - usually a fueling station - then get out of the vehicle and run to a big red button to press it. Once this button has been pressed, a mandatory 30 minute timer starts.

In this half an hour the team can swap the solar car driver, the convoy drivers and also provide mental support to the solar car driver who just got out of the blazing hot solar car. Though half an hour sounds like a lot during a race, in reality the time flies by very quickly since all the aforementioned has to be arranged. When we finished the control stop we got in the car again for another 240 km back to Agadir.

Overall the convoy training was a huge success and really taught us a lot. We are planning to do more training in the upcoming weeks to further improve; because practice makes perfect! 

Staying fit

To perform at our best during the solar challenge, we have to make sure that our team is both physically and mentally fit. That’s why some athletic team members decided to wake up at 06:30 to start off the working day with some exercise.  

One group always goes for a jog in and around the city of Agadir, also running past the beautiful beach. While running they also got a sneak peak of the sunrise, though it was too early to see it fully…  

Another group, including our solar car drivers, do some fitness exercises in the morning. Think of push-ups, squats, sit-ups and more. After the sweaty workout some also jumped in the (mind you, cold) pool to swim some laps.

Free time

On our free day many team members decided to take a well-deserved break. To indulge in Moroccan culture and experience their cuisine, a group went to Agadir Boulevard to eat tasteful tagines at the local restaurants. Though hard to find, there were even vegetarian options available!

Another group went karting at the karting centre in Agadir. There was some fierce competition going on within the team. Funnily enough, after racing a few laps we almost got the lap record of the month! 

Our second week in Morocco was as eventful, if not more, as our first. We again learned a lot and got the chance to train ourselves further. The Moroccan Solar Challenge 2021 will start in two weeks. We are eager to show our abilities out in the field!

Do you like these blogs? Stay tuned for more of them in the upcoming weeks!