Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Steel Bridge Competition

On April 1st, 2009 at 7am, the Steel Bridge Team of University of British Columbia commenced its ~1163km journey down to Helena, Montana. 

April 1st
We rented two vans and 1 car for 14 people in total. I was in the van with Justin, Jared, Kurtis and well, a lot of steel. The road trip was amazingly long but I slept through most of it listening to Justin's er.. heavy metal lullaby. We crossed the border by White Rock and drove eastward across Washington, Idaho, and parts of Montana. 

The eastern part of Washington was quite beautiful. We passed by beautiful hills and fields, a huge windmill farm, an enormous reservoir with the dam barely visible in the distance, a picturesque castle and many more that I slept through. Idaho was quite flat and desert-like. I dozed off constantly during the ride, and every time I wake up, I see a different scene - snow, rain, sunny, snow, desert, a lot of snow, rain, a lot of rain, sun, snow, etc...

We stopped by Perkin's for lunch and along with my Granny's omelette, I had a cranberry cream muffin. It was the best muffin I have had in a long time so I thought that was worth mentioning. 

There were a lot of snacking along the way, but I suppose that's normal for road trips. 

When we finally arrived in Montana, it was late and everybody was exhausted, except for the ones who went to the gas station that same night and got alcohol. Cheap. I was 25 days until legal drinking age. 

April 2nd
It really didn't take all that long to explore around the capital of Montana. I didn't see most of it though because well, I had company. Melody and I had crepes for breakfast. It was absolutely to die for. I hadn't had crepes since last year and this creperie made my stay in Helena so much better. 

I had delicious crepes in France but hadn't had any since then that really made me go crazy. I am completely obsessed with them now and am currently finding the most authentic French creperie in Vancouver. 

Today was practice day. We went to Carroll College where the Steel Bridge Competition took place. It was interesting to see how the competition was set up and the bridges built by other universities in the Northwestern Region. There were some extremely creative ones and some that made you go "huh"?

Our construction team consisted of 3 members - Justin, Kim, and Kurtis. We helped to set up all the members and watched them practice. We had high hopes for nationals. We had really high hopes. We watched the other teams practise and timed them. We were feeling very optimistic!

April 3rd
Competition Day
First things first: Breakfast at the creperie. 

Other then the fact that Justin accidently dropped 3 bolts, we had a very decent construction time. We were happy... until the harsh judges looked and measured carefully at the bridge dimensions. Uh oh, disqualification. 

The weld was sticking out of the required length of the bridge. 
The width was too large!

14 teams competed in Montana, 8 teams got disqualified! That's horrifying! Over 50% of the participating universities competing in Montana got disqualified!
It was a sad day for everybody. We drowned our sorrows and disappointments with alcohol that night. 

April 4th
Time to go home. 
Of course, we all had crepes for breakfast! I also picked up a "bearclaw" from a bakery nearby for the road. It was like a apple strudel in a bearclaw shape pastry. It was delicious.

The road trip home was long. There was a traffic jam on the highway somewhere in Washington where an avalanche had occurred a couple of days earlier. We were stuck there for quite awhile. 

We got back to campus super late. As I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep, I had to listen to a Korean couple fight outside of my building. They were yelling so loudly and it was nearly 2am! I lied there thinking that even though we didn't do so well in the competition, I had a really good time. It was a fun trip and I'm definitely going on the trip next year!


  1. I like the university of british columbia lettering welded onto the bridge, pretty snazzy. Sucks that you couldnt compete...

    I wanna join for next year!

  2. Good! you should!

    Oh, I got summer housing. They finally offered me a place.