Raceday is sneaking up, how are you getting ready?

After two weeks off for spring break, we find ourselves right in the heat of things with just 4 weeks to go.  Push practice started this week and has enjoyed absurdly comfortable March temperatures.  Rolls are scheduled for all 8 remaining days before raceday, so lets hope the good weather continues unabated.  So that’s how our 10 (hopefully 11, SAE?) orgs are preparing, what are you doing to get in shape?  Nothing yet?  Don’t worry, we’ve got some ideas for you:

Pre-Order the second-ever BAA T-shirt

We’re making T-shirts for the first time since 2008, and I think you’re going to want one. They will be available at carnival and we got a great deal which we’re passing on to you:

  • $10 for members
  • $15 for non-members
Pre-ordering will ensure that we have your size saved for you when you show up to carnival.  Payment will be collected when the shirt is picked up.  We have both Men’s and Women’s shirt types.  Pre-order now by filling out this super quick form

Rolls Report: March 3 & 4

With precipitation on 7 of the last 10 days and temperatures swinging from the 20s to the 60s faster than you can add or remove layers, it’s hard to know what to expect, but buggy demonstrated some toughness and got in two solid days this weekend.  Saturday was pretty enjoyable with lots of sun and no wind making it more comfortable than the thermometers (or smartphones) were indicating.  Sunday was less pleasant and teams seemed worn out from it.  Snow came and went a few times during Sunday but never stuck to the ground enough to warrant Sweepstakes to cancel although Fringe, SDC, and PiKA (I think) all scratched for the day before 9.

In attendance
(Sweepstakes hasn’t updated their roll-count spreadsheet, which – it is now revealed – I depend on since my memory isn’t up to the task.  So we’ll call this an approximate account of things until they get that updated)

Org Saturday Sunday
Apex  Camo
CIA  #18, Ascension, Freyja, Firebird  #18, Ascension, Firebird, Quasar
DeltaForce  Perun  Perun
Fringe  Bonsai, Borealis, Bedlam, Banyan  Bonsai, Borealis, Bedlam
PiKA  Raptor, Zeus  Raptor, Zeus
SDC  Bane, Avarice, Malice  Bane, Avarice, Malice
SigEp  Mamba, Peregrine, Barracuda  Mamba
SigNu  Krait
Spirit  Zuke, Seraph, Fuko  Zuke, Seraph, Fuko
No-Shows  AEPi, SAE

Observations (Saturday Gallery | Sunday Gallery) [Sunday was too cold to take pictures.  I only took about 25 down from my usual ~250] Continue reading

Rolls Report! Spring 2012 gets going

When the alarm went off it was dark and it looked cold and I considered getting back in bed.  What was I thinking?!  Rolls are awesome, I just needed a reminder, and the first day of rolls did the job.  Apex made it out, PiKA made it back out, CIA rolled the first new buggy of 2012, and 6 other teams came out to start the spring with a healthy crowd.  Sunday was deemed too cold to roll (26 F, 8mph wind) so everyone had a short buggy weekend to get back into the groove.

In Attendance

Org Saturday
Apex Camo
CIA #18, Ascension, Firebird, Quasar
DeltaForce Perun
Fringe Banyan, Bedlam
PiKA Raptor, Chimera
SDC Bane, Avarice, Malice
SigEp Peregrine, Barracuda
SigNu Krait
Spirit Zuke, Fuko
No-Shows AEPi, KapSig, SAE

Observations (Saturday Gallery) Continue reading

Pre-season updates and build status guesses

Assuming there’s no blizzard (none on the horizon), enough teams get capes done (they are scheduling now), and the weather stays mild (current forecast: partly cloudy and low 30’s), we could be 5 days from starting another season of spring freerolls!

To set the mood, I’ve included a slightly obfuscated picture from exactly 8 years ago today, during my last build, Blackjack.

Here’s what’s going on the last days of the off-season …

Apex absorbs Pioneers

The newest of the new upstart teams has been working the buggy social network as much as any group of freshmen with no buggy experience could hope to do and it’s recently paid off to some degree.  Apex [a group which started as some enthusiastic residents of The Residence on 5th (hence the original team name, “Rez Buggy”)] is taking over Pioneers’ assets and becoming a legit independent.  I can’t imagine that taking over where Pioneers left off was a huge head start, but it’s certainly better than working out of your dorm room.  They’ve got the ancient and decrepit Camo to start off with which is a tough start compared to DeltaForce’s experience with PiRho Perun, but what doesn’t kill them (and it won’t) will make them stronger.  Follow along @apexbuggy and offer some support and tips.

PiKA is officially allowed to participate

I don’t think I knew this was up in the air, but apparently it was just recently officially determined that PiKA would be allowed to roll this spring.  That’s great to hear.  I am very curious to see what size operation they attempt to operate from their dispersed, off-campus setup.  I see a Carson Palmer parallel.  Performing well the last couple of years, but not quite to their glory-day standards, forced to sit out the first half of the season and kind of pissed about it, but not without the fire to get back into it.  Then getting the chance to be back in and forcing some critics to admit they’ve still got it, but in the end, it takes time to adapt to the new scene and you finish .500.  Except, I bet they’ll even do better than finish .500.

Build Forecasts

I attempted this medium-difficulty prediction task back in 2009 and it was a fun exercise to get my head back in the game, so let’s try it again. Continue reading

BAA Member Perk: Carnival Hotel Deal

UPDATE:  All reservations must be made by Friday March 23rd.

Now you can’t say we never did anything nice for ya.

After weeks of late-night, never-back-down, tooth-and-nail negotiation sessions, the Buggy Alumni Association is proud to announce the first ever members-only hotel discount.  That’s right, we’ve secured a limited number of rooms at the luxurious Hampton Inn during the peak-demand days around carnival at a below-market rate.

The details:

  • Hampton Inn – University Center @ 3315 Hamlet St. (just off of Blvd of the Allies, 1 mile from the Chute)
  • Stay any or all of the nights between 4/18 (Wed) and  including 4/21 (Sat)
  • Pay just $129 + taxes per night while those suckers who don’t love buggy enough to support the BAA will be paying $179 + taxes
  • Reservations must be made by 3/19 or before the limited supply is exhausted
  • Amenities include, but may not be limited to: Free hot breakfast buffet, free shuttle service within 3 miles, free wireless internet, and free company of other enthusiastic buggy alumni in “carnival mode”

How do you get in on this? Continue reading

Remember buggy? It’s coming …

Classes are back in session, the (so far, mild) winter is moving right along, teams are presumably hard at work in their garages getting into the meat of their 2012 builds.  For alumni who aren’t taking classes, mostly stay inside, and don’t get to build buggies anymore this can be a bit of a slow time.  Once it gets going though, it all happens real fast, so we’re doing a bit of thinking ahead now.

For starters, the rolls schedule for this semester has been updated and can now be perused on the front page.  The first weekend of rolls is tentatively Feb. 4th and 5th which is just under 3 weeks away.  This of course is always at the mercy of the Pittsburgh weather; recent actual first days of rolls have been later:

Here at the BAA headquarters, we’re shaking off the off-season rust and setting up for what we want to do this spring.  We’ll be posting more details on each of these, but to just to set the stage …
  • Sponsorships for Jumbotrons — Those 15′ screens don’t come cheap, and our lead-truck auction raises just a piece of the funds needed.  Surely our network of alumni know companies that might want to have an ad next to the screen, right?
  • Timing system — For the past two years we’ve supported Sweepstakes’ upgrade to digital photofinish timing on raceday, first with cash then with manpower and know-how.  We need to consider whether we can help improve the system further and make sure we’re spreading and documenting the knowledge of how to operate it.
  • Succession plan — The BAA committee is likely to see some turnover soon so we need to be looking to recruit new talent and get a workable policy in place for leadership changes and division of labor.
  • Website improvements — This is always on my list.  I’ve got some things in the works.  Anyone else is free to help or point out bugs.
  • Now is the time to suggest things that the BAA could or should be doing to make buggy bigger and better, do it!
As if all of that wasn’t enough for the first post of 2o12, AEPi alum and BAA member Bryan Arsham just posted a couple of buggy-themed covers that ought to keep  you in the buggy spirit through the long dark nights until rolls start.  Without further ado … Continue reading

Apex Buggy gets some funding, looking for advice

We’ve mentioned the guys from Apex Buggy a couple of times in the rolls reports.  They are a group of mostly freshmen, mostly living in a new dorm called “The Residence on 5th” or “The Rez” for short.  Despite being on campus for only a few months, they’ve done an impressive amount of work towards starting a team including soliciting design and build advice from anyone that will talk, and doggedly seeking funding from private donations, and the various official channels.  They are also the organization that recently inspired us to once again consider making seed grants to new orgs (see the New Org Grants thread in our project zone), a discussion we haven’t yet concluded.

Anyhow, they’ve secured enough funding to get going and they’re currently planning their first build for the winter months.  Now’s our chance to help out.  Apex front-man Connor e-mailed me asking some specific questions, but I’d like to use the opportunity to generally improve our informational resources for new teams. If you’re reading this, you know a thing or two that could help a new team.  Take a moment and either:

  • Edit one of the Reference pages below to share generally-useful buggy info with the community
  • Email info@cmubuggy.org with tips or suggestions and we’ll do the ground work of sharing them with Apex and adding them to the Reference section
  • Email Apex’s front-man Connor directly (cmhayes@andrew.cmu.edu) if you want to get your advice straight to the customer
  • Post a comment on this post with your favorite tip or trick for building a buggy or getting to raceday with limited funds.
Specific Questions from Apex
  • “At the moment we need carbon fiber, a vacuum pump, and a vacuum bag. Those are the big 3
    things to get started.  Do you know any alumni specifically who could help us get those materials for good prices?”
  • “If there is anyone out there who wants to talk to us about carbon fiber, lay-up schedules, directional weaknesses, twill vs straight weave and all of that stuff it would be greatly appreciated.”

Reference Section pages to work on

These pages are just beginning.  Anything you can add in terms of which tools and materials are most important, good suppliers for critical materials, or cheap and clever substitutes for expensive specialty tools and materials would be super helpful!

Good luck Apex, hope to see you out in February.

End of the Semester Rolls Report: Nov 21

Last rolls of the semester, temps close to 60, and plans to do another live broadcast from the chute … I was excited for rolls this Sunday.  And then I woke up at 10:30.  Oops.  My sincere apologies to anyone who tried to watch the live stream.  After working out the technical details last week, we uncovered and even larger weakness: the human factor.  For what it’s worth, I paid my penance with a solid hangover.  Luckily Zack Waldman has my back so we’ve got a rolls report.

In attendance

Org Sunday
CIA Ascension, Firebird, Freyja, Renaissance
DeltaForce Moby Dick
Fringe Bonsai, Borealis, Banyan, Bedlam
SDC Bane, Avarice, Malice, Rage
SigEp Mamba, Peregrine
Spirit Zuke, Seraph, Haraka

Observations (Sunday Gallery) Continue reading

Live Streaming for the last rolls of the year

Rolls on Saturday have been canceled on account of wintery temperatures, but Sunday is still on, and it’ll be the last day of rolls.

Last Sunday’s experiment with live-broadcasting rolls didn’t turn any heads at ESPN, but I’d call it reasonably successful, so we’re going to try it again.  If you don’t want to brave the TSA or the November winds to catch the last day of rolls, just tune in between 7-9am on Sunday at:


I’m planning on trying a different perspective or maybe even moving around a couple of times, so comment if you have any fun ideas.  Suggestions are also welcome for conversation topics to serve as the commentary on the broadcast.

Rolls Report: Nov 12 & 13

13 times through the order in one weekend is enough to wear out fresh, energetic teams in September.  For the teams running a little lower than they’d like on manpower (almost all of them) here in mid-November, this weekend was a real endurance test.  But the drivers got huge amounts of practice and for the most part everyone had their act together.  We also had some fun producing content this weekend with black and white photography on Saturday and a live streaming broadcast from the chute on Sunday.

In attendance

Org Saturday Sunday
AEPi Kamikaze
CIA Ascension, Freyja, Firebird, Quasar Ascension, Firebird, Freyja, Renaissance
DeltaForce (Perun) (Perun)
Fringe Bonsai, Borealis, Banyan, Bedlam Bonsai, Borealis, Banyan, Bedlam
SDC Bane, Avarice, Malice, Rage Avarice, Malice, Rage
SigEp Mamba, Pandora Mamba, Barracuda, Pandora
SigNu Bungarus Krait
Spirit Zuke, Seraph Zuke, Seraph, Haraka

Observations (Saturday Gallery in B&W | Sunday Gallery) Continue reading