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Monday, June 7, 2010

JV's RAAM Bikes

 I had to do this for the mechanics on the crew, in preparation for making tool kits and bringing spares. Here is the full spec for my RAAM bikes:

Bike Primary Bike (flat) Secondary Bike (climbing/windy)
Frame Bacchetta CA2.0 L 700c Carbent Raven
Fork Easton EC-90 Aero Easton EC-90 Aero
Headset FSA Orbit X 1 1/8" FSA Orbit XL II 1 1/8"
Hdst. Adj. Easton Beartrap BFT
Seat BacchettaEuromesh 2 Velokraft L
Seat pad Bacchetta filter foam Hostel Shoppe dual layer
Seat Base Hardware 6mm allen bolts, 10mm nuts na
Seat struts Bacchetta na
Seat struts Hardware 5mm allen bolts, 8mm nuts 3mm allem bolts
Seat struts adjusters Velogenisis, 3mm allen bolts na
Stem Bacchetta Short Bacchetta Short
Bar Bacchetta Long Bacchetta Short
Grips Oury Oury
Front Brake X-Eyed Bacchetta Dual Pivot
Rear Brake X-Eyed Royal Gran Compe
Brake Levers Avid Ti Ultimate Avid Ti Ultimate
Pad Holders X-Eyed (Shimano Compatible) Dura Ace
Brake Pads Dura Ace Dura Ace
Brake Cables Gore Avid
Pedals Speedplay Zero Speedplay Zero
Crank Rotor 170mm Rotor 175mm
BB Rotor integrated Rotor integrated
Big Ring Rotor 54 Rotor 54
Middle Ring Rotor 39 Rotor 39
Granny Rotor 26 Rotor 26
Ring Bolts 5/6mm allen 5/6mm allen
Chain KMC DX10SL SRAM 1090R
Master Link KMC SRAM
Idler B Terra-Cycle Ti Yellow
Ft Derailleur Ultegra Triple Ultegra Triple
R Derailleur SRAM XX (torx T25) Dura Ace Triple
Derailleur Hangar Bacchetta 3mm allen Dedacciai, 3mm allen
Shifters SRAM TT-500 10s (torx T25) Dura Ace 10s
Der. Cables Avid Gore
Computer PowerTap Wireless PowerTap Wireless
Front light Surefire Surefire
Front light mount Ti One Armed Bandit Integrated
Rear light Planet Bike Superflash Red Planet Bike Superflash Red
Headrest no no
Cages 2 Black Blackburn Switchback  3  Velocity Velocage
Cage Hardware 3mm allen bolts 3mm allen bolts, 8mm nuts
Seat bag maybe no
Mirror no no
Bell no no


Rear hub PowerTap SL+ PowerTap SL+
Rear spokes 24 Sapim CX Ray 32 DT 2.0/1.8
Rear nipples Alloy 5.5mm bolt head Alloy
Rear rim Hed Jet9 C2 24h American Claasic Hurricane 32h
Rear rim strip Velox American Classic
Rear tube Panaracer Greenlite 60mm Panaracer Greenlite 60mm
Rear Valve Extender Problem Solvers 55mm, teflon tape no
Rear tire Conti 4000s 700x23c Conti 4000s 700x23c
Skewer HED American Classic
Cassette Dura Ace 11-28 10s SRAM XX 11-32 10s
Cover? Wheelbuilder no

Front hub Hed Sonic American Classic MTB
Front spokes 16 Sapim CX Ray 32 ?? 2.0/1.8
Front nipples Alloy 5.5mm bolt head Alloy
Front rim Hed Jet9 C2 16h American Claasic Hurricane 32h
Front rim strip Velox American Classic
Front tube Panaracer Greenlite 60mm Panaracer Greenlite 60mm
Front Valve Extender Problem Solvers 55mm, teflon tape no
Front tire Conti 4000s 700x23c Conti 4000s 700x23c
Skewer HED American Classic

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ed Llorca demonstrates CVC passing ettiquette on Stunt Road Descent.

The title of this is supposed to sound like the 1998 DVD Ballerini Shows Grace in Hell, a story of the late riders win at Paris-Roubaix.

I yell at the new guy in this one, as I knew he wanted to go left for water, and he had gone right first, making me incredibly nervous about what he was going to do next. I am learning that he can be trusted. I apologized for yelling at him at the bottom.

Anyway, this is another scenic desent in the Santa Monica Mountains, dropping 1300' in 4 miles. I can only imagine how fast Ed would go down this on a fast bent. ;-)

Ed Llorca demonstrates CVC passing ettiquette on Stunt Road Descent. from Jim Verheul on Vimeo.
GoPro HD on flashpoint bar mount, 1280x720p, 60fps, wide angle.

Cruisin' the Conejo Potrero Descent, passing technique.

Here is a short 5 minute descent that drops 1000 feet from Newbury Park , Ca, to the Oxnard plain. If you turn up the volume you can hear me apply the brakes hard a few times, and lightly during a few corners (trail braking).

I love the easy turns on top, its clear I can let it run for those. Then it tightens up a bit.

@ 0:37 you can see a rider has picked a really poor spot to stop, and I tell him so. He is just around a blind corner from the cyclists descending behind him, at the exact exit point of the turn, on a narrow shoulder that he cannot fit himself and his bike on, with his back to the place he might get hit from. Please think about other road users. There is a nice wide shoulder with much more visibility from both directions just a few feet down the hill. Fittingly, his jersey says he's armored. ;-)

@0:50 and 4:45 I pass too pairs of cyclists. I brake a bit on both occasion. I yell,"On your left" beforehand, and,"Thank you" as I pass. Both pairs are riding predictably and move a bit to the right or hold their line after I announce my presence. I try to always thank riders like that. Plus, I am pretty sure that even though they don't appear startled, my yell is only slightly less of a surprise than if I did not let them know.

Peak speed is over 50 where I pass the second pair of riders. Nice pavement!

CTC Potrero Descent from Jim Verheul on Vimeo.
This is from The Conejo Valley Cycling Clubs Cruising the Conejo flatland 68 mile ride. First you have to get to the flatland though, thus this 1000 foot drop from Dos Vientos to California State University at Channel Islands on the Oxnard Plain. Here is a map:


Monday, May 3, 2010

Cda and Crr testing highracer vs highracer with a powermeter & Golden Cheetah AeroLab

I am usually too busy or ADD affected to actually go out and test, so I just dump the data I have into tools and see what I get. The crit I do on Thursday nights is not completely flat, but it is a loop. It was also very windy this Thursday. I spend the whole warm up ant the last 19 laps of the event riding pretty much alone, and then a 4 lap cool down.

This was on Carbent Raven (27 degree seat angle) with American Classic Hurricane wheels, used Continental GP 4000S tires (100#f/120#r), one with a butyl tube and one with Panaracer Greenlite tube. One bottle on a seat back cage, no seat bag. I was wearing Defeet wool Kneekers, a JBV Coaching LS jersey, and a Giro Atmos helmet.

This is getting me interested in going down to the same industrial park on a calm weekend and actually riding to collect data, not to train.

Anyway in the plot below you can see how well the tool (Roberts Chung's Aerolab in Golden Cheetah) works. The first level section is warming up alone, at a variety of speeds, but no coasting. The last level section is a 19 lap solo breakaway followed by 4 laps of cool down.

See the cool down laps slope up? My Cda goes from .268 to .286 there. Why? I was wearing a slightly heavier jacket, I had one more bottle, and I probably had one arm hanging or on my chest most of the time.

This is just a tease. The thing that really impressed me we how repeatable it is at a big variety of speeds and power levels. Maybe even bigger is that this was on the windiest day at the crit I have ever experienced! If it can look this steady lap to lap, I can't wait to see it on a calm day. The course has sections that are sheltered, some that are wide open and some where the wind can channel between buildings making it change direction.

At first I thought my Crr was different for the 2 level sections, but once I corrected for air density they were the same. Also, the course has 3 meters of elevation change per lap according to Aerolab shows an average of about 3 meters if you look at a bunch of laps. Good! In fact, I can look at the 1st 7 breakaway laps and see that my Cda was a bit lower, until I got smacked with a big gust of wind, probably from an angle. My Cda might have hit as low as .245 in the last 3 racing laps, due to a lull in the wind I guess.

I am working with Robert Chung to understand the data better, and how to interpret and apply it. An interesting question is what the drag of a reclined bent rider and bike does at different yaw angles. Are we more or less sensitive to that than our DF brethren?

Next I need to put the roof rack on my car so I can bring 2 bikes to the crit. Next up will be my 700c Bacchetta CarbonAero 2.0 with Hed Jet9s and a 22 degree seat angle, assuming is a bit calmer.

What I want to test later: bottle locations, wheels, clothes, and seat bags. 

Weather at the time in Camarillo.

Although you can use Golden Cheetah to download data from my Powertap powermeter, I used TrainingPeaks WKO+ 3.0 and imported the file into Golden Cheetah. GC is only supposed to support WKO+ 2.2 files, but it seems to work. 

Here is the link that Robert refers to in his comment, from someone else who has dome some Chung method aero testing.: Colin's Biking Bits

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Optima Baron that folds, very quickly.

This is the best folding recumbent I have ever seen, period!
A share from Becky's blog:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Anatomy of a failed breakaway.

I did this a few weeks ago, before my camera was being reliable, and before my new mic showed up. Crank the volume to hear me. I shot video at 4 or 5 other crits, but the camera shut down. Sad, as I would have been able to show you the best save after slamming the inside pedal into the pavement that I have ever seen a DF rider do.

I am starting to learn, always have the camera on. Never know what your going to catch....

So why do some breakaways fail, even with very strong riders? Watch:

Anatomy of a failed breakaway. from Jim Verheul on Vimeo.
Filmed with GoPro HD camera at 720p, 60fps. Edited and narrated with VideoPad free version. I need a better mic, you might have to really crank the sound to hear me talking. Vimeo reports the video at 28 minutes but its only a shade over 10.

Cheers, JV

Descending Decker Canyon (ATOC Stage 8) with Bruce and Matt.

Here is my second narrated road riding video. This is the same descent that will be featured on the last stage of this years Amgen Tour of California, 4 times. Bruce and Matt skillfully lead the way down. As I make these its occurring to me that they have some instructional value.

Bruce, Matt and I on Amgen Tour of California Stage 8 (Decker Canyon Descent) from Jim Verheul on Vimeo.
GoPro HD on Flashpoint bar mount, 1280x720p, 60fps, wide angle.

Oh, this is embarrassing: I refer to Bruce as Kurt a few time in the video. Yeeeeesh!!!

Here is a map:


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

High speed passing etiquette

Most cyclist agree that its a good idea to warn someone that you are about to pass them. You yell "on your left" or ring a bell. I like the bell myself. It seems more polite and cheerful, and saves my throat.

Keep in mind I speak as a rider who is commonly passed on the climbs, but does a lot of passing everywhere else. Its the bike.

Skilled racers in higher categories rarely do this amongst themselves, because most racers ride predictably enough that notifying them will not change a thing. Also most racers are not startled by being passed. Most race packs involve constant passing and being passed.

There are however a few riders that you do NOT want to notify. They will either move into your path or turn their shoulders to look at you, causing them to move into your path. Unless you know the rider, it can be hard to tell. But, some riders do not respond well to notification of a pass. Please don't be one of them.

Here is a video of this very thing happening tonight. One ding of a bell and the rider looks behind him, moving 3 feet to his left in the process.

CVC Tuesday Night Rock Store Ride (Also ATOC stage 8), passing etiquette from Jim Verheul on Vimeo.
GoPro HD on flashpoint bar mount, 1280x720p, 60fps, wide angle.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The latest tire rolling resistance data is out!!

Al Morrison puts all his data together once every year or 2. Al does a big service to the racing community with this.

If you put it into Excel or an other spreadsheet application, you can sort by only new tires, width, clinchers.....

Interesting observations from the data:
  • 25c Pro3 Race are indeed faster than the same tire in 23c, at the same pressure! 
  • Used tires are faster than new. Some get faster than others, depending on how much rubber hey had when new. I always thought that 4000Ss had a bit much rubber on them, and you can see how much they benefit from some miles.
  • Knowing how durable a lot of these tires are, I am still stuck riding Pro3 Race, and 4000Ss, but now have an interest in trying the Bontrager/Trek tires, and maybe the Pro3 Light. 
  • Urethane tubes roll just about as fast as latex without the air loss.
  • There are slower tires that he has not tested, but you can send him some. The fattest one is 27mm. 
If you read his test set up at the top of the document, its done on a smooth 79mm roller, corrected for temperature, and pretty repeatable.  Look at the standard deviations. There is a 12W per wheel difference between his fastest and slowest clinchers at the test speed, 30mph. That's 24W or lost power if you have 2 wheels on the ground. Since rolling resistance is linear with speed, that's 12W of lost power at 15mph. He says real world differences will be 50-100% greater. I am not sure how he got that, as the contact patch is very short and deep in his test set up.

Here is some data he took on a bumpy roller.
More air is almost always faster on smooth pavement, but not when its bumpy.

There has also been some work done by the esteemed Dr. Andrew Coggan correlating Al Morrison's roller data with rolling resistance on the road:

For the test methodology, see this article:

In brief, this is why we believe data taken on rollers is very useful indeed, as it accurately ranks tires in the right order, so you can choose intelligently, not based on marketing hype, or feel.

Anyway, if you want efficient tires, this is very useful data indeed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pictures of a 5' rider on Bacchetta Corsa 24

These are from my GoPro HD camera, but screen shots from QuickTime. Note the relaxed arms. In the future I'd like to recline her a bit more than 25 degrees and get rid of a bit of elbow bend. Ideally the bike would have a shorter boom, and the BB would be a bit higher, and the rear wheel a bit closer to her. The only solution I know to this is a custom bike, like a Carbent.

You can see the Rans stem here as the stem up to the bar is straight, not curved like the Bacchetta stems. The curve on the Rans takes place lower. Note the Gel flask within easy reach. BTW, we are on a 12% grade here.

A few months ago she told me to stop modifying the bike and let her start adapting to it as it was. This was good timing, as I had her pretty dialed in. She is quite comfortable on the bike.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Team Bent Up Cycles RAAM 2010 Bike Plan

OK, since there have been some interest and questions about his.....

Each rider will bring 2 bikes. The first will be fitted with a rear disc wheel or wheel covers, and an aero (40-60mm deep) front wheel. The second bike is for nasty winds and in case the primary has a mechanical problem. The secondary bike has an aero section (50-90mm deep) rear wheel and a something 32mm or less deep in the front. We were also shooting for an all 700c team, to make all the wheels interchangeable, until The Stick came along. He needs a stiffer wheel for the huge amounts of power he generates, so he is on 650c wheels. ;-)

Now for the bikes:

Willie Hunt
Primary: Carbent Raven Pro (700c)
Secondary: JVs Corsa Alta 700c (or his own 650c Corsa if he doesn't like the 700c) with VeloKraft Carbon Seat

Dana Lieberman
Primary: Carbent Raven Pro (700c)
Secondary: Carbent Raven Pro (700c)

The Stick
Primary: Bacchetta Carbon Aero 2.0 650c with Bacchetta Carbon Seat
Secondary:  Bacchetta Corsa (650c)  with Bacchetta Carbon Seat

Jim Verheul
Primary: Bacchetta Carbon Aero 2.0 700c with Bacchetta Euromesh II seat.
Secondary: Carbent Raven Pro (700c) with dual layer seat pad.

Each rider also brings one additional set of spare wheels. 

Interestingly it will be a 50/50 mix of Bacchettas and Carbents.

All the bikes have powermeters for pacing, and for pull length tweaking based on power to weight ratio for the current shift. 3 of us have Powertap hubs on all of our wheels. Quarq has just shipped The Stick a Cinqo prototype that they believe can handle all his power. If its like the last one he tried, we will know very shortly.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

2010 Tour of California Final Stage (8) is my Tuesday night training ride!!

...but we only do it once or twice. They have to do it 4 times!!

ToC web site.
Stage Map

...and some of the local Amgen riders did a video too:

Here is guide to the video:

The lake you see at about 00:06, with the heavily populated island, isWestlake. The shot before that, and many after are looking south into the Santa Monica Mountains from the Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village area.

The rider in the short sleeves is Gustavo Corona. He is a very strong climber, but I did lap the feild at the Thursday night crit with him once. He can get his head very low.

The other guy is usually someone I don't know, but in a few shots its Bruce Gustafson. Bruce comes out for the Tuesday night ride too sometimes. He dances by me on the climb, with 40 more watts at threshold, and at least 20 pounds less.

1:39: I used to teach classes in one of the buildings on the lower right.

1:49: We usually take the little detour on Lake Vista Drive, by Malibu Lake. Less traffic.

1:56: The Rock Store Cafe is where all the motorcyclists hang out on the weekends. 

2:01: They have a police officer with them, who at this point is presumably in front of them blocking traffic, as the rock face makes for a very blind turn.

2:05: The fork in the road is where Mulholland Highway, which the riders will come up, splits from Upper Encinal Canyon. When there is enough daylight after work, a lot of us add Upper Encinal to the loop.

2:20: That is the Decker Canyon descent into Westlake. If you want to see a riders eye view of the whole descent click here.

The course is interesting, in that its got a lot of twisty technical climbing, and descending. The Decker descent corners are tight even by Pro standards, and when you add in the off camber stuff and undulations, well lets hope nobody biffs it. The field will likely split up more times than it comes together on this course. Don't look for a big field sprint, it will be a smaller group.

I wonder if I can take a run down the descent with full road closure? ;-)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

PCH Randos Fall 2009 600K ride report (Salinas CA to Oxnard CA)

I know, its about time I wrote this. Perhaps its that I had to do a lot of work leading up to it, so afterwards I just wanted to rest. It was my first 600K, my first time riding through the night,  into the unknown. This was also my first experience as eventmaster for a brevet. This meant that RBA Greg J, Vickie B, and route approver Scott B had to get me up to speed on running a brevet, and right quick too. Without all their help, it would not have gone off nearly so smoothly.

Its funny, we planned this to be an Amtrak brevet, take the train North and ride South. Once we found 2 big support vehicles for the event, people started asking about riding up in them. In the end I think 12 riders went up in the 2 support vehicles and 6 took the train. Might as well fill the vehicles.

We had a nice dinner close to the hotel, then went to the train station to offer rides to the hotel. Buy the time we got there most riders had their bikes built and chose to ride to the hotel. Then I got busy putting every riders cell phone number into my cell. I wanted to experiment with better communication with riders on brevets. My first idea was have everybody sign up for Twitter and follow me and the other riders, on thier mobile device if they wanted. Not a lot of folks signed up for this. I figured that I could at least do broadcast text messages to the group. My idea was that the fastest riders could let the slowest know about road conditions and workarounds if detours were required. This might be exceptionally useful for riders near the time cut offs. I am not sure if this helped people of not, still looking for feedback, It seemed like something neat to try.

Then I got hold of Cathrine and Irene, our 2 pre-riders who started 48 hours before we would. This was good as I had to make a few corrections on the cue sheet. I also sent these out as a text message to the riders. Then Dana, Richard and I wrestled with Richard's front STI shifter and derailleur to try to give use of the small ring, and the big one, for the next day.

After all this, and a call to my girlfriend, I could not get to sleep, at all. I just laid there for 5 hours. I think I was a little nervous about my first solo overnight ride too. So up at 3:30, tried to get the riders together by ten of 4 to go over the corrections to the cue sheet, and we made sure everybody had a list of phone numbers (thanks Kathy). I was so busy with this I forgot to fire up my GPS and acquire all the satellites, and set my Powertap to recognize my Hed Jet9 C2 wheels. As I got done, riders were already rolling out the the lot, so I got rolling without my dashboard up and running. I tried to get to the front to make sure we all took the correct turns out of Salinas and stopped at all the stop sign. Thanks to the poor light, my eyes, and my not yet caught up GPS, I slightly overshot one turn. Luckily no one crashed and we made the correct turn, Sorry about that. After that I figured it was slightly downhill or flat for a while, so I might as well take off. Without the Powertap running yet, I don't really know how hard I was going. But, after a while most of the headlights in my rear view mirror disappeared, all except one. As I got to a few lights, eventually he caught me, and my suspicions were confirmed. It was Carlton.

We had some climbing coming so I figured he would get away from me for a bit. Turns out we had other obstacles too. We stuck mostly together, and then we hit the fog. Light at first, but then much thicker. So thick  that we once took a left after a red light, into the dark, I got disoriented enough to almost T-bone Carlton! We also hit a section were we almost overshot a stop sign because we could not see it. I think this is where a few other riders rode right thought the T and into the gravel. Later we hit more of it, so thick that it limited us to 15mph on downhills. It was very nerve wracking. Sometimes it would let up, and we would let it run, only to hit another patch and have to slam on the brakes. The 2010 route should miss a lot of this fog, and even if it rolls in, the road will be a lot simpler to follow.

Once the climbing really set in, Carlton got a minute on me. I refused to go hard that early in the ride. We got together shortly after just as we were getting onto PCH before Carmel by the Sea. This was downhilling, and the wind gusts picked up a bit. Running 90mm deep rims, I am kind of sensitive to that. At about 50, I got hit by a burst that moved me lateraly enough to convince me I must have a low rear tire! I stopped to repair. Carlton offered to stay with me but I insisted he keep rolling. Well, I spent five minutes scatching my head, checking for loose bearings, broken struts, loose spokes, tire damage. I even added a bit of air to the rear tire. I think it was just the wind. Oh well, live and learn. I took off towards Big Sur, hoping around every corner to see Carltons tail light.

There was almost nobody out on PCH. It was neat. It seemed that I was on the border of 2 different wind patterns, one warm and off the desert, one much cooler from the ocean. Glad I kept all my clothes on out of Carmel. More gusty cross winds. On the way to Big Sur I probably had to back off the power half a dozen times due to crosswinds on the downhills. This is the price of the deep wheels. As the triathletes say: "Run the deepest wheels you dare. If they don't kill you you'll be faster." Well, I am still alive.

PCH is not flat from Carmel down to Ragged Point, not at all. I think it get close to 100' of vertical per mile. Thats hilly. Up down up down. Oh, but it was sooooooo pretty, and the smells and sounds. One sound was from the crickets in the bushes, which sounded just like the turn alert on my GPS!! Every time they made me look! There as not a turn for over 100 miles!!! ...and I knew that. In fact I could recite most of the cue sheet from memory! But still, they made me look. You could hear the waves breaking down at the shoreline. Cool. Now remember that its still dark, and the sun is slowly coming up. The scenery was spectacular. At one point I actually took my camera out on a 30mph downgrade to try and catch the faint sunrise, and got passed by a truck just as I took the pic. Great idea for a route Greg!

Note the DeFeet Wool Kneekers and the light for my powertap, not yet turned on. Come on sun!

 There goes the garbage truck. Note the cables routed inside the bars in case I bang the bike into something, like, oh..... maybe asphalt. After the truck passed you can see I went back to riding on the white line. Its usually faster.

So much for staying on the white line. I must have been distracted by the camera.

Well I caught sight of Carlton as we approached Big Sur, and the sun was coming out! He stopped at a closed store before the control. As I went by he asked if that was the control. I said no we needed to go to the post office, which had a store that should be open. Now here is where I made my biggest mistake of the ride, and it cost me for a while. I kept riding. I knew the route by heart, and my GPS was working fine, but I was aware of some disagreement about exactly were what is in Big Sur. My GPS mileage was already over where I thought the PO was. I started to get really stressed that I might have missed it. I really pride myself on perfect navigation. Thats why I map all my events and use a GPS. No bunus miles. I got so stressed that my stomach got upset. How embarrassing would it be if the eventmaster with the GPS missed the first control. Finally I stopped at a hotel to ask about the PO. I had to climb a mud bank to get to the hotel. The good news: I was just about to start the climb up to it. So I was still going the right way. But, my stomach was pretty sour. I got to the PO just behind Carlton. He offered me to split a burrito. I would have declined solid food at that point anyway, but I was really not wanting to eat anything. His stomach was bugging him too. I got water and took off up the road to the Chevron, which was supposed to have a bathroom. It was an outhouse, off a short little trail behind the station. I took my time, shed some clothing, took a pic of the bike, and tried to relax. Then I got going. As I merged onto PCH Carlton was right behind me! Unfortunately, with all the up down, we really could not ride together. I tried to relax, but I could not eat much. I have now come to the belief that reduction of stress is the key to good results on ultra long events. Be prepared so you can always be as relaxed as possible on the bike.

Now PicasaWeb does not save time info for photos, so I am guessing that these were after Big Sur.

The sun is not really on the western slopes, but at least I am out of the fog.

Fog almost gone down on the water.
Pretty obvious where this one was taken, eh? About 20 miles south of Big Sur.

The up down gets worse as you get to ragged point, there are a few more extended climbs. The scenery continued to be phenomenal though. Sometimes we would ride above the fog over the water. the riding was a potpourri,  a bit technical at places: rough pavement,  DH corners, crosswinds, but most of it was really nice. Just just before the last climb to Ragged Point, I came across Michael, a recumbent rider from SLO, out on his Richard Sach's DF to join Dana for the trip south. He joined me to Ragged Point. I informed him that per the rules I could not draft him though. We pulled into ragged point and I got some Coke to settle my stomach a bit and more sunscreen, hit the bathroom, and we found a nice table to lounge at until Carlton arrived. We wound up talking to a few other cyclists there too. It was really turning into a nice day and warming up.

Michael lounging at Ragged Point. Note to self: next time find someone to take pics of all 3 of us! Duh....

The 3 of us headed out of Ragged together, but Michael went pretty hard, and took off after him. Once the terrain got consistant it was mostly cross tail wind motoring. I was over 25mph most of the time. Michael did a very good job of getting tight on my wheel and killing himself on the downgrades to stay there. This worked for quite a while. Then, somehow, I lost a bottle out of one of my seat cages. I have a feeling that I might not have put it all the way in. I looped back to grab it. Shortly after I got back to Michael, we split again. I was just out of sight of him when I took a left on green into Cambria. He did not know I was stopping there for a control. I spent about 10 minutes doing the typical things. It was getting hot enough that I got a ice bottle prepared and soaked my neck cooler and put it on.

On the way to Morro Bay I passed a lot more riders out enjoying the day. And then in Cayucos, I started to see Michael again. I played with him, ringing my bell as I got closer to see if he would look up suddenly recognizing it, wondering just how I got behind him. We road together again into Morro Bay, and then to Los Osos to eat at Ralphs. Just as we finished chatting with the locals and eating and were about to leave, Carlton joined us. We took off for Vickies in SLO, and Michael bid me adieu to head home. He got a hard 200K in. It was great to have some company for 70 miles.

Michael just before we parted in SLO.  

Got to apologize for my lame pics. Problem is I refuse to stop to take them. Next time I'll just have to hold the botton down and gram 10 shots or so. One of then is bound to be level and pointed the right way. Oh, here are bunch of better shots from Catherine and Irene, our pre-riders.

Vickies control in SLO should be used as a model for controls everywhere. You ride your bike right into the garage and park it, and if you need tools, just open your eyes. Grab food in the kitchen then relax in the garage in a Adirondack chair with your legs up and a big fan blowing on you. A friend of Vickies was running it, and I forget her name after 3 months, but once she realized that riders had arrived she was great about getting them whatever they desired. I enjoyed lounging around here and cooling off. I was starting to get a little fatigued. Carlton and Chris showed up before I left with Carlton. As the next terrain was rolling, we leapfrogged for a while until around Nipomo I think, where I rolled away. Just before the turn off of Thompson road I saw a woman selling fruit on the roadside. ...and she had a nice ripe banana! I made a U turn to get back to her and enquired as to its purchase. As I only wanted one, she did not want to charge me, but I insisted. As I was riding away it occured to me what I should have done. I should have bought a whole bunch and paid double and told her to hand one to every cyclist that passed, telling them: "JV thought you might like this". She didn't look to busy. Next time I will have to remember that. I would have been neat. After that it was a nice ride down to Bull Canyon and then Sisquoc. I stopped there and the store was open. I had a Coke and waited for Carlton, and sent some texts and tweets, and contemplated the climb up Foxen Canyon.

I left a bit after Carlton arrived. He was not too keen on heading out and wanted to stay a bit. I actually rode 50 bonus yards past the turn onto Foxen until I got myself oriented. The "climb" is really rather benign, most of it was big ring. It was very quiet and almost no traffic, I turned on my tail lights. And then I got thinking, do i have enough battery to got to the Buellton overnight control on this battery? How long had I run it already, and on what power? I kept it (a Dinotte 1200L) on low and kept moving. It occurred to me that my plan was to be at the overnight before dark, but I had been lounging around a bit much. I had also been experimenting with the higher power settings. Not smart. Luckily the only real climbing was the last few hundred feet of vertical. Or so I thought......

From here to the overnight, Vickie had added some valuable detail to the cue sheet. There are several unmarked and unsigned turns, and her landmarks and descriptions were spot on. I also had my eyes on the GPS, and the powertap, which I started at mile 100 to make my math easy. There is this left you have to make to stay on Foxen. You are on a DH, and after the turn its rather steep, but, um, up. This was a hard steep climb. but luckily short. I almost cramped. 1st gear, 5mph. After that it was a nice sleigh ride into Los Olivos. Then onto Ballard Canyon.

Ballard Canyon. I don't know what this looks like in the light, but in the dark, then best way I can put it is this: it alternates between bobsled course and roller coaster. Its the windiest piece of road I have ever ridden in the dark. Eventually it got less demanding and I could open it up and get to the overnight before my light died. That was a really fun little section, and a total surprise.

Overnight: I got there around 7:30pm I think. I spent over an hour. I took a shower, put on a fresh set of clothing, shoes, clean helmet with my flashlight on it. All clean and fresh. I took my time doing this. I emptied my bag and put in all fresh supplies, mounted a new battery pack and put my spare in my bag. There was no microwave in the hotel, so Mike B had loaned us one to use. On top of that Kathy had her crock pot of soup.  I really regret not having eaten more there. That soup was good! I should have tried a burrito too. Carlton showed up, but my mind was on not sleeping, and he wanted to sleep a bit. He had driven from Arizona for this, and I imagine his sleep going into this was worse then mine. I already knew my dream of a 24 hour ride was not going to happen, so I just told myself this:"Look, all you have to do it sit on the bike and ride it. You don't have to go hard at all, just sit and pedal." I had planned on riding through the night and it was time to do it. I think I left the overnight around 8:45pm. I also figured that if I went to sleep I'd be in no shape to get on the bike again later.

Kathy and the rest of the support crew were up all night taking care of the riders. I even told them before I set off that my feelings would not be hurt if I beat them to Oxnard.

So I set off, alone. Time to go see Lompoc, a little spur back out to the ocean I threw in to get some more mileage in before the finish in Oxnard. The 2010 ride will finish at Lisa and Greg's in Moorpark, so this won't be needed, which is good and bad. The shoulder of the road is pretty nice all the way through Lompoc and out to Surf  (yes, on the map its just called Surf). I left Beullton with jersey, shorts, a wicking T, thin wool socks and fleeced Lycra arm warmers. I had a long sleeve thermal jersey and wool kneekers with me just in case. But as it got colder I figured the cold would keep me more alert and awake. As long as my knees did not hurt and I was not shaking, cold was OK. On the way out to Surf I had a nice adrenaline boost. I hit a 1x1 in the shoulder. I had enough air in my tires not to pinch flat, but it sure scared me. Yeah, my brain was not 100% anymore or I would have seen it coming. I think only 4 or 5 of us made it out to Surf as the road was closed early Sunday for a launch at Vandenburgh AFB.

On the way back through Lompoc, I stopped at the Chevron and grabbed some more Coke. I was now running on that and Espresso gel. I had a nice conversation with a guy there who wondered what the hell I was doing at that hour on that funny looking bike. Nice guy actually. I remembered the next section, the San Julian Grade from the 300K. They were not good memories as is was over 110F and I ran out of water. This time it was cake. I stopped on top to put on my heavy jersey as the descent is over 50mph. At the bottom I took it off and stopped for more water and to clean my glasses. I have really come to appreciate those little pre-moistened lens wipes. The world is always better when you can see it all. Its a safety issue at night too.

On the 101 I had my light die when I was doing about 30. Luckily I just hit the brakes pulled over and grabbed the second battery pack. In retrospect I might have been smarted to reach to my head and turn on my flashlight. I have to admit with the 1200L on medium (800L) its nice to have motorists dim their lights for you. I stayed on the bike all the way to Santa Barbara. I sent a text message about a detour in the course to get there. My battery was almost dead though, need to prepare better next time. I was pretty addled by this point. My focus was on one thing: getting up Casitas Pass without cramping. I tried to get down as much gel and Salt Stick as I could. I worried that if I cramped on the climb,  I might not have enough coordination to get my feet down and might wind up crashing to the pavement. Not good.

I got the base and marveled at my headlight. It lit the trees hanging over the road and everything in the shoulder too. Time to go up to 1500'. Well, I stayed steady and did not fall, but it got very foggy by the top. The moisture was nice for my lungs, but I had been counting on letting it rip on the descents up here, as I knew the roads. Oh well, 15 mph instead of 40. It did not clear until after the last control at Lake Casitas. I was starting to really think about a warm burrito at this point. I also set a new goal. I would try to beat the sun to the finish. It cleared enough that I could let it run at 30-40 into Ventura. I made a last stop for root beer and coke at a Chevron. The rest of the ride was flat, and the wind had not really picked up yet. Riders later had it worse. I got to the hotel at 6:38, and although it was light, I could see no sun yet. There was a bit of fog though. I was pretty altered mentally. Luckily my GF Sabrina was there and took me to breakfast at Denny's. We got back to the hotel in time to great the next group of riders and meet the one who had had enough at the overnight. On the way home we stopped at Exotic Thai for more food. I ate a lot that day.

I have to say though, the lack of sleep did affect me mentally, but I can now see myself trying a 1000K someday without sleep. I felt better physically after this than after the 300 or 400K rides. Thats a function of taking better care of myself, having my position on the bike dialled in, and the bike itself of course. The Bacchetta Carbon Aero 2.0 was flawless. Comfortable, predictable and reliable all the way. Although they scared me a few times, I did not regret the deep section wheels either. No flats on the Conti 4000S tires either. The bike was close to 40 lbs with full bottles and all the spares I had.  I packed to finish, not to be fast.

Great course, and its going to be even better this year. I may try to do it again, spend less time off the bike and do it under 24 hours.

If you've read this far, thanks!  .....and plan to join us this fall and have your own memories to share!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My best shifting recumbent drivetrain yet: Sram XX rear derailleur, SRAM TT-500 shifters, KMC DX10SC chain, Shimano cassette

Over 30 years of riding with derailleur drivetrains, I have used mostly Shimano systems. From Altus in the 80s to many years on Ultegra and Dura Ace STI 8spd on the road and Deore XT off road. I did spend a few years on Sachs 8spd Ergopower. Since getting bent (riding recumbents) in 2003 I have been on Shimano 9 and 10 speed systems, the only non Shimano parts being the occasional stock Bacchetta SRAM 9spd Rocket shifters, SRAM chains, and SRAM and Interloc Racing cassettes. Most of my shifters have been Shimano 9 or 10 speed Dura Ace Bar-Cons.

When I originally built my new Bacchetta CA2.0 in September of 2009, it was with a full Shimano drivetrain: Dura Ace 10s Bar Cons, Dura Ace RD-7703 rear derailleur, Ultegra triple front derailleur, Dura Ace 11-28 cassette, and Dura Ace chain. About 1000Km of randoneurring later, I needed a new chain. My brother John had been praising the KMC DX10SC, as the best bang for the buck option for 10s drivetrains, and the most durable for cyclocross. I ordered 3 in silver. You can also save ~20g per chain with the KMC X10SL.

Shimano rear derailleurs have upper jockey pulleys with over a millimeter of lateral play. This this is supposed to make them self centering, and less sensitive to cable adjustment. The shifters also have a certain amount of overshift built in to them to work with the upper pulley. This works well with Shimano chains. Unfortunately, the KMC chain is a bit shiftier. Unless you consciously try to minimize the amount that you over shift with the Dura Ace shifters, it will occasionally try to jump 2 cogs when you try to shift one. That is annoying, especially when you are going hard and have to deal with 2 jolts to your legs rather than one per shift.

After 2 weeks of this, I got lucky. Dana offered to let me demo a SRAM XX rear derailleur and SRAM TT-500 shifters. Cool! This was my first experience with a SRAM rear derailleur. Both pulleys use ceramic sealed bearings. They feel just as good as the old Suntour sealed pulleys I used to use on MTBs, and have no lateral play in either pulley. The RD is about 10 grams lighter than a Dura Ace long cage. Most of that is probably due to the carbon fiber cage plates. The shifters are about 30g lighter than the Dura Ace ones, and don't have plastic covers that can move or slip off. They don't have a friction mode though. You can save another 15g with the SRAM TT-900 shifters. Keep in mind though that they are carbon, and bar end shifters are one of the first things to hit the ground if you happen to knock your bike over, or worse. There are even SRAM bar end shifters with a return to center feature, no matter what gear you are in the lever is always at the same angle after the shift. I have not tried these but worry about not having any tactile or visual indicator of what cog I am in, and they have skinny levers, and they are heavier.

The shifting of this combination is the best I have ever experienced on a bent. It works very well with both a Dura Ace 11-28 or the much more affordable Ultegra 11-28 cassette. It just feels like there is better direct control of the what gear you are in. No build in play or overshift needed. I am still using a Ultegra triple front derailleur, as SRAM has nothing to compete with it, yet.

There are a couple of issues that I have had to deal within making this change:
  • Although the RD will handle up to a 36t cog, more than any current top end Shimano unit, and it has a long cage, it does not handle as much chain wrap. It was designed for those wide range cassettes and a double crank, not the triple that most bent riders use. Using the best current tactic for setting chain length with my 54/39/26 chainrings (make the chain just long enough that you can ride in the big chainring and biggest rear cog combo) I could only use the biggest 3 cogs on the cassette when in the small chainring without having the chain go slack. Besides the lack of a B pivot spring, the issue is the stop on the outer cage plate. It prevents the unit from taking unit more chain slack. I have run for weeks with that stop removed. However this means that if you have a flat and pull out the rear wheel, the cage will wrap a lot more and make it more challenging to out the wheel back on. I am going to put the stock stop back on and just live with more frequent chainring shifts on climbs. If you have less than the 28 tooth difference between largest and smallest chainring that I have, this will affect you less.
  • The rear shifter puts the shift  lever position in a different range than the Dura Ace shifter. it does not go as far down and forward to get to the small cog, but it goes farther upward to get to the big cog. With my shifters flared out at about 30 degrees from horizontal, this causes not issues with my hand when in the big cog. However, I have learned to adopt a new shifting technique when using the biggest 2 cogs: grasp my grip with my finger and palm facing upwards, and use my palm to move the lever. This works well. More varied hand movement to shift may be a good thing for those of us doing stupid long rides and races. 
  • Unlike the rear shifter, the front one goes farther forward when in the small ring. I have left a touch of slack in the cable to mitigate this. Even if I did not, its not really a problem.
  • There is no cable adjusting barrel on the RD. I have added a Jagwire Adjuster at the front end of the last piece of cable housing, which is easy to reach when riding. Easier than reaching the RD itself actually. 
  • You need Torx wrenches to work on SRAM components. I rarely need to do that on the road, plus in a pinch you can fake it with allen wrenches and screwdrivers. You can also replace the torx pieces with something else if you prefer. I am fine with them as they are.
Bottom line: In spite of the fact that I have plenty of Shimano parts around, I will be keeping this set up for far longer than any demo period. 

Update 011310: It has been brought to my attention that only being able to use the 3 biggest cogs on the cassette when in the granny ring might be an issue for some. I have done some more experiments. But here is why is does not bother me too much:

  • Chain bracing still affects how stiff a frame feels under pedalling forces, even on a CA 2.0. The bigger the chainring you are in, the stiffer the boom is. So, I tend to only use the granny ring for the gears it adds relative to the middle ring, i.e. the 2 smallest cogs. Once I get to the 21t cog I tend to shift to the middle ring, On flat rides, I ride almost exclusively in the big ring. 
  • A Shimano rear derailleur has some adverse behaviors when pushed too far beyond its total teeth capacity too. Instead of a slack chain, the spring loaded B pivot moves the derailleur so far back that the chain passing under the upper jockey pulley hits the chain heading forward. This causes some more drag and noise than a slack chain.
  • The slack chain you get with the SRAM rear derailleur does not seem to allow the chain to slap laterally too much, I have not been able to get it to hit the front fork or brake even in 26t chainring and 13t cog combo.
So what have I done to the bike? I took 1 link (1") out of the chain. This is now the absolute minimum chain length. I also experimented with the adjusting screw on the B pivot to take up a bit more slack. I did only enough so as to not adversely affect the shifting quality in the big ring. Result: I can now get 5 cogs down on the cassette without slack (down to the 17t cog). Again, this is using an 11-28t cassette. With a 11-32 or 36, the cassettes that this unit was designed for, you would adjust the B pivot even more which would help reduce chain slack too. I will say this though, not having a spring in the B pivot, the XX is less adaptable to different sized cassettes. If you want to run a 23 or 25 big cog on your cassette, look elsewhere. As a guy who prefers small gaps between cogs, like most racers, I am OK with a 10 speed 11-28 cassette, as long as its got a 14t cog!! ;-)

Update 01312010: As I have been asked a few more questions, time for an update. There is one more downside to a B-pivot that is not spring loaded. On a bike with a Shimano rear derailleur, you can put it in the big ring and small cog (as you should do every time you do a rear wheel swap) undo the brake quick release, then the quick release skewer on the wheel, and give the wheel a solid whack down and forward. You can have the wheel out in under 2 seconds if the bike is already in the right gear. That does not work with the XX rear derailleur. In fact if you do it hard enough you might damage the derailleur or hangar. With the spring loaded B pivot on a Shimano rear derailleur, as you move the wheel down and forward, it reduces chain tension, causing the B-pivot to move the upper jockey pulley rearward and downward and out of the was of the cassette as the whee exits. So, with my current B pivot adjustment, the upper pulley stays where it is until I manually move it back. Not what most experienced race mechanics are used to, and more time consuming and awkward without someone or something else to hold the bike. So I thought to myself, perhaps if I had the B pivot on the XX adjusted to where it needed to be for a 11-32 or 11-36, the cassettes that it was designed for. Well I cranked the B pivot adjuster all the way out, and its still an issue. On such a big cassette I would also be using a longer chain, but on this derailleur, that would make no difference in the position of the upper jockey pulley, so I did not try it.

I still love the way this set up shifts thought.

Also, you may notice some product links to specific vendors in my posts here. Those vendors give me a small commission if you click on the link and buy the product. So, if you cannot buy these parts at your local bike shop, please use my links to get them from Bent Up Cycles, or Amazon.  Product links with pictures:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Reflective vest for randonneuring and night riding thats aerodynamic , light, and stylish.

I have been doing brevets now for a few months, a few that involved night riding. The rules say that "During hours of darkness or other low-light conditions, all riders must wear a reflective vest, sash, Sam Browne belt, or some other device that clearly places reflective material on the front and back of the rider."    I have used some cheap running vests, with velcro and mesh, but they flop around and get caught on stuff, and they are not aerodynamic at all. I also don't like velcro with other stuff in the laundry, or catching other stuff in my bag or jersey pocket.  On my last 200Km brevet, that started in the dark, I tried one of these: Nathan Flash L.E.D. Reflective Vest (Small / Medium, Yellow). Its Lycra!! It stays put, and its aerodynamic. It also takes very little space once you take it off. I bet its the lightest solution too. A note on sizing: I am 185 pounds and wear mostly size L, but I got a S/M in this vest and its perfect. If your chest is over about 46", get the bigger one. Its very elastic though, and the S/M was only slightly loose on my 100 pound GF. I think it comes in white too, but the yellow went well with my stylish PCH Randos Kit.

PCH 200Km Brevet Ride Report 010210

Here we go, blogging!!

I did my first full brevet series last year (200Km, 300Km, 400Km, 600Km), all with the PCH Randonneurs.  Although I don't think I can fit a full series in this year with Team RAAM and Battle Mountain on my schedule, I really could not miss out on the first 200K of the year. Its all in my back yard. Fresh brick oven pizza at the finish control was a nice enticement too, and of course good weather was scheduled.

This time the registration list was published before the event, so I could see who was coming. Most of the brevets I have done have been pretty lonely.I was happy to see Wade Baker signed up as he finished 30 minutes ahead of me on the 300K last year. I was also looking forward to seeing how I fared relative to Jim Swarzman, who has had some good results and sure looks like a fit rider. Dan Crain was another rider I hoped might help form a front group, but he switched to a tandem for this ride. Given the course profile, 4000' of climbing in the first 100Km,  I figured Wade and Jim would get around Lake Casitas a bit in front of me, and I would be chasing and hopefully catch them sometime on PCH on the way home. I was curious to see how this would play out.

Java Kai opened early just for us to register and get a morning fix. . If you are ever in Moorpark and need a coffee or smoothie.......   I think I must have missed several people I wanted to say hi to before the start. Wade and I apparently can not recognize each other without helmets and sunglasses on. He thinks I am Ron Smith, and I was not sure if he was who he was. I think one of my neighbors on a Bacchetta, Ed North, was there but I did not see him, nor Bill from Oregon. I fired up my video camera for the pre ride meeting, but the video camera must not have shut off properly and the video will not play. Next time.

At the start, I asked Wade if we were going to go hard. He said no, he was going to draft me, but who knows if he was kidding or not. We left the start in Moorpark just before dawn, a few minutes after 6:30am. The first 3 miles are slightly downhill, followed by five miles that go up 650'. I like to keep my power at about 200W on the flats and under 250W on the climbs for 6 hour plus rides. At 200W I was slowly riding away from the rest of the 65 riders. I am riding a Bacchetta CA2.0, with Hed Jet9 C2 wheels, so I have a bit of an advantage aerodynamically.

As I started climbing Grimes Canyon Road, I kept an eye in my mirror for company. As I got to the top of Grimes, 2 riders had closed most of the gap that I established on LA Avenue. Now there was a bit more flat before the final 200' climb to the top of Stockton Road. I got to the top of Stockton Road, and the first secret control, just before Wade and one other rider. I had seen them coming and picked up my power just a bit to make sure I got to the control first and would not have to wait and then have to re-pass them on the fast descent that followed. As we were all stopped I joked,"Why are you guys breathing so hard?"

After that I was off on fast roads, and did not see anybody behind me. I was keeping a close eye out for the right turn on Berylwood Road, as most of my training routes in the area go straight past it. I was riding without a GPS, or even a convenient cue sheet, so I was sure that would be the turn I would miss. I got close to the second section of LA Avenue and hit the second secret control. I chatted quickly with Lisa, got my card signed and took of again. I was still wearing 2 layers of arm warmer. It was supposed to be 45F at the start, but it was warmer. I did not go for the full finger gloves or cap under my helmet it was so warm. Once on the road though, there were sections were it felt like it was in the 30s! Still no pursuers in sight. I got all the way to the corner of Wells and Foothill in Saticoy alone. Then I spent some time looking for the info control. I goave up and rode on. Then after a minute I turned around for another look. It had to be there! As I was finishing my second look, Wade, Jim, Dan's tandem, the other fast tandem, and a few other riders showed up. We all quickly agreed that the info was not there and that we would mention something about Bingu the lost dog we saw on a sign.

As we left that spot, it was very gradual climbing, followed by some fast descending. As I roade away fron the group, Jim says,"See you on Casitas." That was my guess too. Wrong! 3 minutes later I stupidly ride through some fresh glass and immediately loose all air in my rear tire, a Conti 4000S. I pull over the the left side of the road where there is a curb to sit on, and try to signal to the riders coming. I think they must have been paying better attention than I was. I got to work, found a gaping gash in my sidewall, and booted it with a piece of Michelin Pro3 Race casing. I did not bring any CO2 for this ride, so I had to pump it up with my hand pump. Willie rode by and asked if I needed anything, and about 30s after that I was on the road again, chasing Willie and Dan on the tandem.

Now, I had been using Hammer Espresso Gel for fuel up to this point, and I am sensitive to stimulants, so I was pretty pissed at myself and in a chasing mood. Willie only had a 53x13, compared to my 54x11, so I caught him on the descent into Ventura. I passed Dan in there too, a few times, as I lose a lot of time relative to him at stop signs. Willie never really got a good draft off me, but we were together through Ventura and onto the bike path to Ojai. Its a very gradual climb, and I was riding just a bit faster than he was. I later found out that his bladder was even closer to bursting than mine at that point, and he had to stop. I passed a few DF riders on the path, but I do not know if they were Brevet riders, I also lost more time to cyclists and roller bladers at the stop signs. As I got of the path and up to Santa Ana Road, I caught the fastest tandem. They had the good sense to get on my wheel all the way to the Corner Market control. I have to admit that I wanted to let them pull a bit, but my whole digestive tract was about to explode. I wanted to be first into the bathroom I remembered was in the back of the market.

As I got to the Market, there were four riders there getting ready to go. I did not even see them, I was racing for the bathroom. It was worth it, no line! I do have to apologize for the state of the air after my departure. No fan. Boy, did I feel better though!! I paid the cashier for my water, and had to ask about his outrageous accent. He's Syrian/Guatemalan. Thats a mix I have never heard before. I let him know about the other 55 riders that would be asking for receipts in the next few hours. I got back on the road just before the tandem, after offering them my left over water. Once on the road there was no one in site. Its 8% for a bit here getting up to the lake, and very pretty once you do.

Once I hit Casitas Pass road I started trying to figure out how many people were still ahead of me. Problem is I had not kept an eye on who had passed while I was flat fixing. Oh well, just keep the power steady. I passed who I later learned was Jim Olsen on the way to the little climbs around the lake. I passed him in one of those typical recumbent aero advantage situations, on a slight ride following a steady downhill. I fully expected him to come back to me on the climbs, but the espresso gel was working overtime. I allowed myself to exceed my 250W limit, as I figured there was plenty of descending to recover on, and these were the last real climbs on the course. I also had been eating every 20 minutes, and trying to put down over 250 calories/hr. I am getting better about eating enough, and I figured that would help me get away with pushing it a bit.

As I got near the top of the highest climb of the ride, about 1200', I could see the last section of road to the summit to my left. I kept watching the piece of road to see if I was near anyone else. I got lucky! I saw Wade's TdF climbers jacket! I stered counting seconds until I passed that spot. 90 seconds. Come to find out later, Jim was 20 seconds behind him there. I came over the top and kept the power up until I was doing over 40mph. I let it run on the descent, but not enough to scare myself. I have learned the value of relaxation on long rides. The last climb on this section comes halfway down the descent, a 300' winding affair at 8% or more. The top of it opens up to a view of the Pacific. Very nice. There were quite a few riders and groups heading the other way for me to wave at. Somewhere after the turn onto Rt. 192, I passed who I later learned was Bruno. This again perfect recumbent terrain, slight downhill with a headwind.

Approaching Carpinteria, I saw a small group ahead, and Wade in it. I was about a second off the back as we approached a stop sign before Linden Road. That left me a 15 second gap to close, which I did by Linden. Jim or Wade commented,"Oh look, he's caught us already!" I went a bit too hard on the climbs, but that was nice reward. Wade and I stopped at the light at Capinteria Ave, then went to the 76 station to get receipts, and Jim disappeared, to an ATM according to Wade. I left the 76 before Wade. He was drinking a V8. That what I should have been doing! I had only a few Saltstick Electrolyte Caps left, the rest of what I had was Hammer Endurolytes, and they do not have enough sodium for me if I go hard. I also should have grabbed a fresh gel flask from my bag and put it in my jersey pocket. Oh, and I should have re-applied sunscreen. I was in a hurry to get out of there. As I left Jim appeared in my mirror and we chatted for a second. He bid me adieu as the terrain from there on was flat and fast, except for the 200 foot climb out of town to the top of Rincon Hill Road. he was close enough to get on my wheel for a while. On the descent of Rincon I kept an eye in my mirror. There is a bridge followed by a 90 degree turn over bumps that is usually sandy near the bottom, and I did not know if he knew the roads. Once I saw him exit the turn upright, I put my mind on enjoying some 25mph+ cruising on the 101 freeway and highway 1 back to Ventura.

What I always forget is that once you get on the 101 and then old Hwy 1, the pavement is pretty rough, especially at 25mph+. My stomach got a bit upset. I have a new tool to fight that though. I try to relax. I think to myself, hey, I am riding my nice bike, and in sunny Socal. 15 years ago a January ride would have been in the snow, and 7 years ago I could not even ride a bike anymore. This helps me relax and enjoy the ride. The chop on the Pacific was impressive. Coming into Rincon Beach I had to ride out near the yellow line a few times to avoid the spray. going through Port Hueneme I was doing over 25 most of the time, on smoother roads now. I was remembering the 400K in September, when I first discovered I could do 24mph on this bike with 200W. Fast. Well It eventually dawned on me that if I am doing 26 or 27 at that power level, I must have some tail wind, and there is a 90 degree turn in the course coming.

Well after turning NE out of Pt Mugu, I got hit with a nice cross-head wind. I was dong 16-19mph now. The 90mm deep front wheel was quite manageable though. I also finally sopped and re-applied sunscreen to my fragile face. Then I realized no way could I get to Moorpark on one Endurolyte without cramping, so I stopped at my favorite Mobil station in Camarillo for a bathroom stop, and some V8. I also finally shed my arm and leg warmers, as I must have been over 75F! Knowing the area I just assumed that once I hit Camarillo, there would a nice tailwind up Santa Rosa Road, and I could come in under 7 hours. Nope. That has to be the first time ever I have had to fight a headwind up the Santa Rosa valley. I could still ride 250W+ on the steeper grades, but there were really only 2 left, the one on Moorpark and then the short grade on Tierra Rejada, after that its all 30-40mph to the turn to the finish control and PIZZAAA!!!!!

I finished in 7:10 elapsed time, my powertap says I spent 6:40 of that riding. I thought I spent over 5 minutes on my flat, but my powertap was still on afterwards, so maybe I got it done quicker. If I had enough good electrolytes, and if I took the time to take care of all my needs at the controls I could have saved at least another 10 minutes. Still need to plan better to get really good at this.

Great spread of food out when I got to the Jones'! I got my pick of pizza toppings, lots of other munchies.... It was really nice to have some good food and a place to relax before going home. So just as I am going to leave, Greg tells me my rear tire is flat, again! I catch a ride with Jim S and Nicole to my car and come back and fetch my bike. The next day I would discover not 1, but 3 gashes in my rear tire sidewall. 1 was booted, but the other 2 should have blown out too. Glad I replaced the latex tube with butyl when I flatted on the road. Good thing I noly put 100psi in with the hand pump too. Get this though: the second flat at the Jones' was from the edge of the boot chafing through the tube. Wow, I did get lucky!  Next time I'll just bring a spare tire, like I did on the series last year.