Sunday, September 30, 2007
Sounds crazy, but I've played out this scenario enough times to just accept it! So knowing this I'll wait until the snow is on the ground to start so Sarah can ride her bent as much as possible. With any luck it will be working again by the time the ground is clear in March...=-)
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Click on the pic above to read Jon's report.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Once I was back in my warm apartment I took the whole thing off and reinstalled it using not one, but two of the brackets that normally hold the fender to the seatstay bridge on a DF bike. I can do this because I've now pretty much used up 3 sets of SKS fenders on my two Challenge bents. Not sure how that happened, but at least I've got some spare hardware out of the deal. Now that my rear fender is attached at 4 different spots it is seems a bit less wobbly than before. Not exactly a "pro" job, but hopefully it will hold together until I get something more solid dreamed up.
Thank God for zipties & electrical tape!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Nashbar came to the rescue with a coupon and a sale on pedals that combined made the lovely pair of ATAC XS pedals a decent deal. These will get installed on my Fujin and let me wear a variety of useful footwear on brevets without a huge weight penalty.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
- Ergonomics were excellent. Besides muscle soreness in my legs I felt completely comfortable over the 15.5hrs of the ride.
- Handling was superb regardless of speed or how I was feeling.
- The bike was fast - especially on the flats, gradual inclines and into headwinds. I lost the DFs on the steeper climbs, but the difference wasn't huge. With a bit more hill training I think I can stay in contact on most climbs.
- Fenders weren't tested by rain, but they stayed in place and didn't cause any issues.
- Solidlights 1203D provided ample light to ride by.
- Rear blinkie stayed in place and was very bright.
- Luggage worked well and provided enough storage during day when I shed my warm clothing.
- Mechanically the Fujin was trouble free. Shifting and braking worked well.
- I ate a reasonable amount at each control and drank well on the bike.
- My clothing choices worked for all but the coldest parts of the ride.
- Shimano dynohub had a lot of resistance. It was made for a 700c wheel and is spinning much faster in a small 406 wheel.
- I became tired in the last 100Ks of the ride - particularly on the climbs.
- I had some minor chaffing due to a seam in my Volae bents shorts.
- Work on lighting. I may invest in a SON 20" dynohub to replace my Shimano 406 wheel. I'm also thinking about getting a Dinotte light that I can use as a helmet light and as a bike headlight. I'll wait until after the new year to pull the trigger on this. Lighting options are changing uber fast these days.
- Buy spare 406 Stelvio to carry on brevets.
- Buy 650c Conti Ultra Gatorskin to use as rear tire. Not 100% if I'll carry a rear spare. If I do I can fold up the current Vred Fortezza and use it.
- Install FBS 70L under left side of seat for extra storage.
- Sort out rain gear. Needs to pack down small for easy storage when not used.
- Get some Time ATAC pedals for Fujin so I can use all my cycling footwear on this bike. The current eggbeaters only work with my 1 pair of road bike shoes - not great to walk in.
- Start bike commuting as early as possible in the spring to get my base mileage in early.
- I need to train with more weight or perhaps using the Taifun since it is a similar bike, but heavier.
- Investigate the chaffing due to my Volae shorts and see what can be done about it. This is the first time this has happened.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
The BC Randonneurs have started to post their ride reports and pictures from PBP 2007. If you haven't visited their site lately it is worth a trip. I have to give them credit for the sheer volume of great material on their website. It is an insomniac randonneur's dream come true.
Although I haven't made it to BC for a brevet yet I am a club member and will join again next year. I'm happy to support such a fine organization and have gleaned a lot of information/inspiration from their exploits. Congratulations to everyone that went to France. I hope to rub shoulders with some of you on a brevet in 2008.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
That is a Haluzak mount (bought from Zach Kaplan) secured to the frame with a 1/4" stainless steel bolt screwed into a "riv nut". The zip ties keep tension on the mount, and serve as a leash in case the bolt loosens or breaks. With this setup I get only a tiny bit of foot flash.
To stare down cagers, or to illuminate items on demand (e.g. road signs), I use a relatively low powered LED helmet light. It also lights up the cockpit area, and it allows you to read your computer. There is no glare, but I am careful to have nothing reflective facing me."
Looks like a great lighting solution.
The owners says:
"Dahon Helios P9 - really a Helios P8, now one year old and upgraded to 9-speed cassette (but still 11-32 overall), chain and grip-shift. Done several imperial centuries, quite a few 200km plus, and three rides just over 250km - all solo, in Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand."
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Fujin @ sunrise on Hwy 1A
Last year this time the High Pass Classic 300K was cancelled due to snow in the mountains as well as rain/freezing rain at lower elevations. I had been trying to contact the ride organizer to volunteer at the controls, but rec’d no reply. I found out later that the Alberta Randonneurs is “self-serve” brevet club with no formal controls or ride staff. This of course makes sense when you realize a strong ride turn out is 12 randonneurs and a more typical number is 4-7.
I was hoping to complete the ride this year, but I had a work commitment that would see me at the office throughout the weekend. Given the late date I assumed the snow would be flying before another opportunity would arise. Luckily plans changed at work and I didn’t have to work the weekend..=-)
This was great, but only left me a few evenings to get a lot of work done on my Fujin that I had been putting off until winter. Things like mounting fenders, installing a Shimano dynohub and Solidlights 1203D headlight, installing some Radical designs bags to carry my gear and doing a general tune up/check over to make sure the Fujin was ready.
I got my gear together and even loaded by bent into the truck the night before to allow me to sleep in a tad longer. One of the biggest challenges for me when riding a brevet is getting out of a warm comfy bed at 5am and ride my bike in the freezing cold. Definitely one of the drawbacks of being solar powered! I did managed to get out of bed at 5:05am when my second alarm went off. I drank some chocolate milk and grabbed a Pepsi for some caffeine loading on the drive.
Just as I got to the ride start in Cochrane at 6:15am I saw 3 riders departing with lights ablaze and reflective gear shinning back in my headlights. I knew there was an early group leaving at 6am and figured that must be them. My plan was to ride with the 7am group. Pulling into the parking lot I saw two other vehicles and no other activity at all. I started to realize I was the 7am group!
I had my bike out and ready around 6:45am with no more vehicles arriving and a chill setting in I thought it best to hit the road. I was slightly bummed that I would not have any company, but on the bright side it meant I could ride my own pace the whole ride.
The ride up Hwy 1A to Hwy 40 is gradually uphill with only a few climbs of note, however, the persistent headwind on this road makes it fairly challenging considering how easy it appears. As you ride through the rolling hills at the edge of prairies you have a wonderful view of the foothills in the distance. I quickly realized three things on this stretch of road 1) training with a stripped down Fujin was not optimal preparation for riding a loaded Fujin 2) the Shimano dynohub produces a lot of drag 3) the combination of items 1 & 2 can really bring your moral down. It didn’t help that the pre-sunrise chill was a bit colder than I expected and I had some complaints from various bits of my anatomy!
I warmed up as I continued to ride and the sun threatened to rise. It was a beautiful morning to be in the country on a bicycle. When the sun finally did rise my morale took a turn for the better [remember I am solar powered] and I shut off the 1203D reducing my front wheel drag somewhat. I passed Ghost Reservoir and the marina next door. At one point I came across some fresh droppings on the road and was puzzled as all the fields were fenced. I got my answer 400m down the road when I approach a horse that was on the loose. Upon seeing my bent the horse started running along the road in the direction I needed to go. With fences on both sides of the road he had nowhere to go and I didn’t have much choice, but to keep on riding. Shortly we hit a downhill so I moved to the far left of the road and sped by him at 50kph. As soon as I was past he went right back to eating grass!
As I approached the turn off for Hwy 40 the headwind increased substantially. Having read Wim Kok’s great ride report I started to worry I’d be fighting the wind all day. Climbing
My newfound companions [Paul & Willi from
Riding alone on Hwy 40 was very pleasant as the wind died down to almost nothing, it was sunny & warm and the mix of coniferous trees & deciduous trees with their fall colours was pretty spectacular. Traffic was light and the motorists I did encounter were courteous. One thing I really liked about Hwy 40 was the absolute lack of frost heaves – smooth riding. I quickly arrived at the Fortress Junction control and met up with Paul & Willi. While getting stocked up on the usual Gatorade and chocolate milk I asked the owner how far it was to the top of
Fortress Junction to
Expecting a 40km ride to the pass I settled into a comfortable rhythm and let Paul & Willi go on some of the early steep climbs. The scenery became even more dramatic the higher I climbed with pockets of snow on the north faces of the mountains hinting at winter's rapid approach. I saw my DF buddies in a road-side rest stop, but decided to keep riding as I was feeling strong and they’d likely catch me before the summit in any case. At about 25kms I started up a long steep climb that just wouldn’t end. I was getting tired and a bit worried as I figured the final climb to the pass was 10kms off and probably much worse. I winched my way up the steep road and started to get suspicious that I might actually be on the final climb since there were no mtns higher than the ones I was about to cross. I turned out to be right as I came upon a sign marking the summit of
The descent from the pass was a lot of fun. Not my fastest on the Fujin, but 79kph is thrilling – especially after a long hard climb. There were some climbs to negotiate on the descent, but coming into them with so much momentum all I had to do was put in a little more energy and I was over the top and on to the next downhill. I lost sight of Paul and Willi fairly quickly as I exploited my recumbent’s aerodynamics as much as I could. At anything over 30kph I took the lane and used the smoother debris free road rather than risk the shoulder. After about 35kms of ear to ear grinning I pulled over to take a break and round up the troops. My DF friends showed up and we continued together along the mostly flat Hwy 541 to
Climbing the long-ish hill out of
Black Diamond to Bragg Creek [52km]
My DF companions set a blistering pace as we raced towards Hwy 549 and then Hwy 762. I hung on the back as best I could and a few times considered just letting them go so I could ride at my own pace, but it seemed foolish to give up the company and the benefit of the pace line until I really couldn’t stay in touch with them. Dale, in particular, was riding strongly at the front of the group. It was a good lesson for me to see how well he recovered and how poorly I was feeling. Things change on a long bicycle ride. When they are going well you need to be grateful and take advantage of them. When things are going poorly keep eating, drinking and turning the pedals – they will get better. I finally did lose the group on a climb near the turn off for Hwy 762. I watched them climb away from me and readjusted my pace. It was actually quite pleasant to be by myself for a while rolling along in solitude as the sun was setting.
I caught up with them at Hwy 762 as they were donning night gear and turning on their lights. However, when they set off I didn’t even bother trying to stay with them as there was a significant climb within sight. I was into unknown territory as far as ride distance was concerned and length of time riding. I felt a bit down emotionally and quite tired physically. Although I only had 50-60kms left it seemed at times a really long way to go at my turtle like speed on the hills. It was really beautiful riding alone through the country side, the fragrance of wood smoke in the air and deer jumping fences along the side of the road. My Solidlights provided lots of light for me to see by and the virtual absence of vehicles made me very grateful to whoever had selected this route. I reflected on the many things I had learned this year. I thought I was an experienced cyclist before I started randonneuring, but in many ways I am just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible – that is a very exciting and humbling feeling. Happily I started to feel better and my speed picked up as I was getting close to Bragg Creek. Of course traffic also picked up the closer I got to town and I found it very hard to see the road when oncoming traffic sped past with blinding lights.
These guys are fast!
Bragg Creek to Cochrane [31km]
Paul, Willi & Dale were at the Bragg Creek gas station when I pulled in. Willi suggested we ride the last portion of the route together for safety. It was a good idea and very thoughtful of them to wait for me. I got my card signed and quickly downed some chocolate milk so I wouldn’t hold everyone up too much. It was getting quite cold by this point and I was looking forward to completing the ride. We bombed down Hwy 22 towards Cochrane on a slight downhill for the first 10kms. The only challenge being a new construction area at the junction of Hwy 8. Riding through some rough dirt and gravel on my Fujin at speed in the dark with car headlights and reflective safety tape all over the place was completely surreal! I half expected to go down, but I ended up making it through without any drama. The road turned uphill towards Hwy 1 and I could tell I didn’t have the energy to stay with the group. They pulled ahead a bit, but waited at the Hwy 1 junction. The climb that followed also split the group, but this time Dale and I stayed together at the back while Paul and Willi danced up the hill. I just didn’t have the leg power left to do any dancing…=-) Paul and Willi waited again at the top of the long climb and we rode together the rest of the way downhill to Cochrane to complete the ride at 22:10.
What a great day to ride in the mountains. It felt like summer most of the time and even felt a bit too hot at times. Considering last year’s ride was cancelled due to snow/freezing rain this edition was spectacular. One of the benefits of randoneering in
Official Distance = 310km
Bike Computer Distance = 315km
Ride Time: 15:25hrs
Time On Bike: 12:51hrs
Time Off Bike: 2:34hrs
Avg Speed Overall: 20.4kph
Avg Speed On Bike: 24.5kph
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
I installed the Solidlights 1203D on the Fujin's BB where there is a handy tab just for this purpose. This tab makes for a very secure attachment of the headlight which is teamed up with a Shimano dynohub built into a 32H 406 Velocity Razor rim. Interesting note the Shimano hub actually generates more resistance without any load than with a small load - strange, but true. Luckily the 1203D actually draws a small amount of power when turned off so they are a good combination.
Having water dumped down the back of your jersey can get old as I found out on my Taifun thus fenders were a must have item for riding this bike in all weather conditions. The front is a SKS fender from a set meant for Challenge bents. It require that some material be removed from around the area of the fork and brakes to fit. I'm using zipties with eyelets to attach the fender at the bottom. I'd like a more rigid mount for this fender so I'll have to have something fabricated over the winter - perhaps a visit to Jeremy's shop will be in order.
The rear fender is from a 700c SKS P35 Chromoplastic set. It works better and looks nicer than the rear SKS fender I got as part of the Challenge fender set - go figure. It mounts at the brake bridge, through the lower disc brake mount on the left and through a hole in the frame near the dropout on the right. I had to move my Planet Bike Superflash down and use the same mounting hole as the fender. In the upper disc mount hole, where it had been attached, the Superflash and fender strut interfered with each other.
I'm using a Fastback Systems bottle holder under the left side of the seat to keep my water bottle handy and a Fastback Systems Norback frame bag attached under the seat to hold tools plus spare parts.
I removed the Fastback Systems 70L bag that used to live on the left side of my Fujin tucked under the seat. The 70L was perfect for day rides in nice weather as it had just enough storage without letting you get carried away. In its place I mounted a Radical Designs Solo Racer seat bag that provides two 5L compartments on either side of the seat that don't interfere with the rear wheel or chain. Although this isn't a huge amount of storage it is quite a lot more than the 70L. I'll put the 70L back on when I am going on shorter rides or in addition to the Solo Racer when I need a lot of storage or want to put a hydration bladder in it.
I had to remove the water bottle cage I had attached to the top rear of my seat as it interfered with the Solo Racer. I'll just put that water bottle into the seat bag.
I added quite a lot of reflective tape to various parts of the Fujin. I think it will be particularly effective on the rear fender.