Monday, April 06, 2020

Plan 2020 - Clincher Rear Wheel, aka "The DT Wheel"

One of the many critical things I need for training is a clincher fixed gear rear wheel. For the uninitiated, it's not just a matter of "converting a wheel". A track rear wheel is narrower, has a different hub, and is a specialized piece of equipment. With all the wheels I have, one thing I don't have is a knock-about fixed gear training wheel.

I do have a nice hub, so using that as a starting point, I built myself a nice training wheel.

Wheel building kit

Back in the day I built a lot of wheels, but wheels back then were simpler things. Nowadays the rims are taller, have a lot of nooks and crannies where you can lose a spoke nipple or something, and usually have lower spoke counts. Weight doesn't count as much as aero, and there's a whole new category of rims for disc brakes. With disc brakes the rim isn't the brake so the rim can be lighter and, most importantly (ha!), it can have decals on the side.

I decided to get a rim with decals on the side. I went with DT R460 rims just because they looked cool, they were clinchers, and they were relatively inexpensive.

Before my bike shop days ended I had gathered some wheel building supplies through a DT sponsored, in-shop course. Can you believe someone came to the shop and taught us how to build wheels?

Part of the kit included the pen-like gizmo in my kit above, a device designed to hold a spoke nipple so you could thread it onto a spoke deep inside an aero wheel.

I never used it until I build this wheel.

I also used spoke nipple washers (never used until this build). They're the cone shaped washers in the bag in the top right of the bin.

The crooked screwdriver is made to screw on nipples quickly. It's like a speed handle screwdriver.

The old wheel, before I tore it apart. Note cog on hub.

Built wheel, still to be tensioned.

Building the wheel took forever, probably about 2.5 -3 hours. Building it ended up being a calming experience, meditative experience. For the first time in a while I was lost in the process, focussed, and only realized how much time it was taking when I realized that I had to keep an eye out so I wouldn't be late picking up Junior (this was before the shelter at home thing). I left the wheel untensioned so there's a bit left to go, but otherwise it's all set.

Cog. I didn't remove it, built the wheel with it on the hub.

It's a bit funny, we used to joke about using cogs so small you could change a spoke without removing the freewheel. Well, this was my race wheel from 2009, and I just left the cog on through the entire tear down and rebuild process.

The other side of the hub.

It may not be pristine but for now it'll do.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Plan 2020 - CycleOps 300 Pro

One of the most critical things in the 500m time trial is the start. Actually, it's the most critical thing, and it makes sense. The goal with the 500m time trial is to cover the distance as fast as possible. You can do one of two things to do that. You can go faster or you can get to speed quicker.

The problem with going faster is that you're working against aerodynamic drag, which increases exponentially. It will take an incredible amount of power to increase speed meaningfully, and at what I presume is the goal speed, about 40 mph, you're covering about 60 feet per second. There isn't a lot of time to go faster.

With limitations to top speed, it makes sense that the rider should accelerate to top speed as fast as possible.

And that's what all the big racers have been doing for the last 20 years. The top speeds are about the same so they work to get up to speed faster. That means every iota of power has to go into the pedals, not into moving the bike around. So no real rocking of the bike

I first saw the unusual starting technique with Chris Hoy in 2002. I wondered about his technique since there was no rocking of the bike initially. It was more like he was on a spin bike and pushing down. Ends up that is exactly it - you basically lock your leg, push down as hard as you can (which means pulling up on the bars), and you end up putting down massive power and saving your quads for later. Here he is in 2002 (and incidentally he does the 500m in 31 seconds, which would win Nationals for me by a wide margin). And here is a crazy fast sea level kilo in 2019 (go to 21:00). That guy does a 30 second 500m. It seems to me that a 34 second 500m will put me in the ball park for Nationals.

Everyone has acknowledged that starts are critical. Therefore riders practice starts all the time, going to the track if possible. There's a unique resistance with standing starts that simply not cannot be replicated on a trainer - it's high resistance at the start due to the rider/bike inertia, but then it turns into a speed thing, turning the pedals fast with high power. You can't replicate that with the light flywheels on trainers, the 6 lbs or even 12 lbs ones. There are whole training days for starts, using different gears, doing start efforts (50-100m), etc.

For me getting to a track is not possible so I needed to find an alternative. Based on some intranet help from fellow trackies, the low buck way to replicate starts is to get a high inertia wheel. There's a bazillion dollar machine out there but a cheap and usable alternative is the CycleOps 300 Pro. New they were about $1500-2500. I saw them at Interbike in 2009, but I remember thinking, "why would I want one?". I liked the 400 for its ability to adjust power (so you could record a ride and then "replay" it at home, or set power test steps, etc).

Picture from the post linked above.
The 400 (above) is a smart trainer, i.e. it can adjust resistance.
The 300 is not a smart trainer but uses the same frame and wheel.

The 300 was initially sold as a fixed gear bike but later it went freewheel, I think for mass market appeal. When I contacted Saris (the manufacturer) about conversion kits to fixed gear I was told that the 45 lbs wheel still has the fixed gear threads, they just put a one speed freewheel on. I'd just need to remove the freewheel and install a fixed cog and a lockring.

With that settled I decided to look for a 300. They're available locally for about $500, I saw them for less outside the area.

The biggest problem was fit - I vaguely recalled being unimpressed with the bar drop when I sat on one in Vegas. When I looked at the local one I measured what the drop would be from saddle to bars. On my bike it's 14.5 cm. On a 300? About zero. When I measured where the "top tube" intersected the "head tube" it was about where I'd want the stem. With a huge amount of vertical adjustment, I figured that if I modified the frame so that the top of the head tube was as low as possible then I'd be good.

I bought the 300.

And got to work.

First off, the thing is really heavy. Shipping weight is 140 lbs, actual weight about 135 lbs. I struggled to get it out of the Suburban, and it noticeably weighed down the rear of the vehicle. In the process of moving it around I managed to break the plastic mount for the computer. On the good side I figured the weight would help anchor the bike, and the flywheel would really make a difference in replicating high inertia standing starts.

Stock head tube. Very tall.
Black insert in tube.

The black insert is a slippery plastic, sort of like cable housing liner. It's tough, resistant to rubbing forces, and flexible. It makes it possible to have a less than perfect head tube and still clamp the tube tightly. On a regular frame the seat post and stem have to be perfect to within 0.1 mm. With the sleeve, not so much - the tube is probably misshapen by a solid 2-3 mm from top to bottom, with significant distortion around the welds.

The clamp (with the big lever) looked to me like it can be removed. This was my big gamble. I figured they would make the frame modular, with a one piece cast piece for the clamp. No reason to do fancy brazing and lug work on this thing, so all the raised bits would probably be molded into the cast piece.

My request for help on Facebook.
The clamp assembly is circled in red.
The yellow vertical line is my lowering goal.

Note the spot weld bits on the clamp assemble. There are two on each side. When I removed the sleeve there were no weld marks at the top, only a lip to keep the clamp from sliding down too much. I gambled that the clamp assembly was slipped over the cap, a couple welding tacks put in place to hold it, and done. If they used more to hold it I'd be in trouble.

Starting cutting at work.

I didn't have a cutting wheel so I brought the 300 to work and borrowed one. When I started cutting I was afraid of ruining my $500 investment. Plus I'd never cut so much metal at once. I was timid, unsure, and eventually stopped.

Did the cut at home.
I started cutting the welds holding on the clamp assembly.

At home I was a bit less timid. I didn't have to clean up before close, I could work at my own pace (no work interruptions), etc. I generally work well like this although sometimes I end up veering down the wrong path. It's how I did the suspension and quarter panels of the Civic, built the inside of the trailer, fixed the Sentra, got the now-red frame repainted, and it would be how I approached modding the 300.

Cut head tube in front, the remaining frame in the rear.
I needed to cut out the rectangle for the stem clamp.

I tried to mirror the rectangle opening for the clamp wedge. I also notched the tube for the alignment bumps in the clamp assembly.

Notching the frame for the alignment notches.

One thing that I didn't anticipate was just how low I cut the head tube. I knew I cut it lower than the clamp height, and I planned on cutting down the clamp, but it was close. I underestimated how much the clamp overlapped the head tube - it went much further down than I thought it would.

Trial fitting the clamp assembly while holding the cut bit of the head tube.
Red thing is a flashlight to look inside the tubes.

At this point the clamp was about 5-8mm too tall - the lip that was supposed to sit on the top of the head tube (visible on the left side of the clamp) was 5-8mm away.

The pieces in my hand.

You can see how tall the clamp assembly is at the back, opposite the yellow lever. It's over 10mm tall, and I needed it much shorter.

The clamp assembly cut down.
I did smooth it out after.

I cut the back of the clamp assembly almost to the top - I'm just short of the cosmetic trim lip of the assembly.

You can also see the lip around the edge of the clamp assembly. There are notches cut out for the plastic sleeve. The springs spread the wedges in the clamp bit - there's another wedge that is not in the picture, and that one is the one that presses against the tube.

Close up of the finished product.
Note how low the head tube is now - the "stem" protrudes below the frame now.
I had to remove a stop that kept the "stem" from protruding down below.

I can't weld so I planned on using a metal epoxy to resecure the clamp assembly to the head tube. However, I actually did not do the last step in the process. I'll do it later but the metal epoxy I have was dried (I used it on the Honda quarter panels about 10 years ago!) and the clamp is holding fine right now without any adhesive.

The finished frame bit. 
The wheel still needs to be converted to a fixed gear.

The major mod is done now. I still have to remove the BMX freewheel off the wheel and install a fixed cog and lockring. I want to put different pedals on it also - the Keo Max pedals are too easy to slip out of, which is why I don't have them on my road bikes (I've unclipped multiple times during sprints). I may use my old SPD-Rs (the kind that don't unclip easily), or I'll use the one Look pedal that doesn't release accidentally, the original Look Keo Carbons that I still have in my pedals bin.

I gave it a test launch last night. I was in my PJs, no socks, and went to do some lifting before bed. I slipped on my shoes barefoot, adjusted the saddle, and did a Chris Hoy imitation. Junior has watched a bunch of starts with me and even he knows the drill.

Beep at 30 seconds.

Do what you need. Look around. Look down. Wiggle your hands on the bars. Think of the upcoming effort.

Beep at 10 seconds.

Focus. Hands still now. Prepare to send it.

Beep every second from 5 seconds.

At 2 seconds you lean a bit forward.

At 1 second you throw your butt way back, and start launching forward so that...

At "GO!" your pelvis is thrusting forward so it's over your front hub, your left (track tilts to left so you start with left so you don't take yourself out) leg straightens, and you push down as hard as you can while you pull with your arms as hard as you can. It's like doing a dead lift, max power, hold your breath, just get the bike going.

And I almost flipped over the bars as the rear of the 300 came up off the ground.

Heh.

So I have some more mods to work on, to keep the 300 planted - apparently 135 lbs isn't distributed properly for standing starts.

And then I can work on some full power starts.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Plan 2020 - Gathering Supplies


So I've been working on lifting, I've been gathering the materials for the bike/s, and I've been consumed by researching stuff whenever possible.

Dolan Bike

The Dolan is a bit on standby. I have the frame (and fork, seat post, headset), the Zipp disc wheel, an ISM saddle, and a few possible front wheels.

I have, but need to install, a Zipp disc track axle, and (spoiler alert!) also the SRM crankset.

I'm also working on what bars and stem to put on the bike - sprint bar for sure, for other events, but I'm wondering if I can effectively use aero bars to improve my power/speed ratio at the end of the 500m. Each bar will require a proper stem for fit.

Dolan clincher rear wheel

I need to build my rear clincher wheel. I decided on a 24 hole DT rim with graphics on the side, because I'm all about the graphics. I have some Wheelsmith spokes from eons ago, and I'll be lacing those onto my old 32 hole Suntour Superbe track hub.

This is the wheel I'll use on the trainer and on rollers.

Dolan brake

Brake?! On a track bike?!

Yes.

For outdoor tests, standing start practice, and just getting used to the fixed gear, I'll be switching out the fork with my ENVE fork from the red Tsunami. I replaced the ENVE fork with a 3T team fork, as I really liked the 3T team fork on the black Tsunami.

I'll have a brake on the fork and will use a 'cross top-of-bar lever to actuate the brake. This way I can put a brake on the bike and ride it outside. I figure it'll be good for getting better with technique and even with aero testing.

The 'cross type lever will make it possible to mount the lever on pretty much any bar, including some of the swoopy track sprint bars.

Spin Bike, soon to be a CycleOps 300 Pro

Initially I was going to invest in a number of things for the spin bike. Stem adapter, stem, bars, a better BB adapter, a set of cranks, etc. I even contemplated getting yet another SRM for the spin bike.

Then someone suggested a fixed gear CycleOps 300 pro trainer. These came out long enough ago that I was working Interbike when they came out. And although I wasn't impressed with them at that time ("my spin bike does all that just without a powermeter") now I see the value in its massive, 45 lbs flywheel. It perfectly replicates the effort required for a standing start event. Apparently one successful Masters racer uses such a trainer to practice standing starts.

So I looked and lo and behold, a place very close by is selling 15 such trainers. 15! And at $550 asking, it costs way less than just a used SRM powermeter, forget about everything else.

Training Needs

That should situate me for a decent amount of time. I can train the following:

1. Standing Starts - CycleOps 300 Pro, outdoors on Dolan w/brake
2. Speed power - CycleOps 300 Pro, Dolan on trainer, outdoors on Dolan w/brake
3. Top speed - CycleOps 300 Pro, Dolan on trainer, outdoors on Dolan w/brake
4. Pedal fluidity - Dolan on rollers

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Plan 2020 - Physical Goals

2014 New Britain, standing

Power makes the world go 'round. And on the track, power makes the wheels go 'round.

Peak Power

Like horsepower in a car, ultimate power doesn't necessarily make you the faster. You need to apply it efficiently, in an efficient position, and actually use the power available to you. The quick lessons I've gotten on power is that it certainly helps to have power but it doesn't necessarily make you fast.

Having said that, having power is not a bad thing.

Using the reliable SRMs, my absolute peak power has been in the 1700w range, with several repeated efforts in the 1500w range, and somewhat easily repeatable 1300-1400 watt efforts. By "easily" I mean I can go and do an effort and pretty much know I'll be able to hit 1300w, but it's not easy by any means - it's a 100% effort.

I can make such efforts with no weight lifting, no non-cycling training. With that thought in mind, I plan on using weight lifting and possibly plyometrics to improve my power.

500m Specifics

When approaching the short, standing start time trials (500m, 1000m), a huge change in the last 10 years has been the emphasis on the start. Before that, sustained power was the thing. You got going and then sustained some insane power to the end.

Problem was that once up to speed, it took a lot of power to go just a teeny tiny bit faster.

The easiest place to make improvements was at the beginning, when you were accelerating.

Because of that, now the emphasis is on getting through the opening phase as quickly as possible, then hanging on for dear life until the finish.

Therefore my goal will be to really work on the start, both in terms of pure power but also in terms of technique.

Best power - 1700w

Goal power - 2000w

Keep in mind - avoid injuries

Sustained Power

Based on the best times in the world, for M50-54, the 500m time trial should take about 35-38 seconds. Any longer than that and it's probably not worth showing up. Obviously those times are incredible times, very, very fast, and involve very powerful starts.

(And yet those times are relatively slow - on the way to a record 1000m time - go to 20:30 into the linked clip, one rider put down a 30.1 second 500m, and he was only halfway through his effort! The Elite guys are crazy fast.)

Now, for me, I rarely make 35 second efforts, so that's going to be the first challenge. And second, my best power numbers for 20-30 seconds usually involve pedaling toward a sprint and then sprinting, so a mid-upper power leading into peak power and quickly tapering off.

The 500m is a different creature, with peak power coming early in the 35 second effort, then as power drops the effort demands leg speed. This is a very tough effort because contraction fatigue (based on number of contractions) is more crippling than effort fatigue (based on pure muscular power). Contraction fatigue is why I shift during a sprint, to keep contraction count down. I can do a double or even triple peak sprint if I shift two or three times. But on the track it's one gear - I'm going to have to learn how to deal with contraction fatigue, meaning I have to be able to pedal hard really fast as I'm blowing up.

I'm still not sure how to train for this but I have a feeling it's going to hurt.

Best 35s power - 735w

Goal 35s power - 850w

Speed

One thing I really haven't tested is my top sustainable speed. It's one thing to accelerate to a speed, it's another to sit down and sustain it for 200-250 meters. Although I make short 30-32 mph efforts somewhat at will, sustaining 37-38 mph for any length of time will be hard. To sustain such a speed after accelerating from a standing start will be... challenging.

I'll be working on speed, both in terms of pedaling speed but also experimenting with gearing so I can optimize cadence and speed. In other words, if I'm really good at 125 rpm, I want to gear myself so that I'm at or maybe just over that when at top speed. I want to bisect top speed and cadence. Realistically I'll trade a bit of optimal rpm for quicker acceleration, so I may target a slightly higher sustained cadence. This way I use my "best" power/cadence for acceleration, then use a slightly less optimal cadence to hold on to the speed.

I'll practice by accelerating up to speed and holding it for a brief time - that will teach me the first half of the effort. The other thing I'll do is get a boost up to speed (MOSS or Maximum Optimal Spring Speed) and then work on sustaining the high speed for a certain period of time.

Goal: Not clear but first sustain 37 mph from a standing start. It may morph into "hit 40 mph from a standing start".

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Plan 2020 - Wheels

Track Wheels

Other than the rider's position (meaning the aero drag of the actual rider), the biggest aero improvements can be made on wheels.

Track wheels are different from road wheels

First, they have to be secured using a nut and bolt type system. They cannot use a quick release skewer.

The rear dropouts are horizontal, meaning you can move the hub fore and aft. Most road dropouts are vertical so no horizontal movement - you need much less force to hold a wheel in place in a vertical drop out versus a horizontal one. Because of that, although there are front wheel skewer adapters, in the rear it's generally best to have a very strong nut-bolt system, else the wheel will move under pressure, usually shifting sideways so that the tire rubs the frame. Alternatively some dropout screws, designed to limit axle movement within the dropout, will keep the wheel from moving. With such bolts a rider might opt to use a lighter nut-bolt system.

Second, track wheels have two threaded sections on the rear wheel, one for a single cog, with a reverse thread on top of that for a reverse thread lockring. The cog screws on normally, and when you pedal your pedaling action tightens the cog. Believe it or not, it's possible to unscrew that cog, if you backpedal hard, or skip and skid the rear wheel while backpedaling. Therefore the reverse thread locking is critical - it prevents back pressure from unscrewing the cog. It actually tightens if you manage to start unscrewing the cog. Also, for safety reasons, it's illegal to use a hub that doesn't have a reverse threaded lockring.

Although old fashioned road freewheel hubs are threaded the same as a track cog, the lack of a reverse lockring bit means you can't use a simple road freewheel hub on the track. Rear track hubs are unique.

Rear track wheels are also very narrow, 120mm from outside the locknut to outside the locknut. Rear road wheels are much wider, 135+mm. So you can't use a road rear wheel for track without a lot of work. You'd need to narrow it up and add that reverse lockring thread.

Front wheels are easy. They are the same width at the axle as a road hub, 100mm, and with a track adapter skewer, you can use pretty much any road front wheel on the track. There aren't any extraordinary forces on the front wheel so no issues using a skewer adapter system that clamps with a force similar to a quick release skewer.

Rolling resistance, comfort, and rigidity

Since trackies aren't worried about comfort, you can get away with quite narrow tires. Narrow tires are generally more aero, so I'll need to get a few 19mm and 21mm tires.

Also, since tracks are relatively smooth, and tire deflection is wasted energy, track riders tend to ride with a lot of air pressure in the tires. No need for big, cushy riding tires. They'd only absorb some sprint energy better utilized to driving the bike forward.

Likewise, because tracks tend to be sheltered a bit, control in crosswinds is less critical. U shaped rims aren't as critical, and in fact, for indoor tracks, many riders will use a disc front wheel, something completely unmanageable if riding out on the road.

Apparently, and I've yet to verify this, lateral stiffness is a thing, with significant G-forces acting on the rider on the banking. My early T-Town memories don't seem to reflect this but I was probably going too slow.

Wheel Aerodynamics

I did some extensive research on track racing wheel aerodynamics. This basically meant watching countless track videos on YouTube while riding the trainer. It also involved perusing some of the time trial forums to see exactly what people are using, what they've found to work.

I also wanted to work within the experiences I had, meaning riding in some wind (2020 Nationals is at an outdoors track), front disc wheels (I had a 24" front once), and my budget. I love cross-tailwinds with my tall wheels because I can fly. I figure the same applies for the track, but I'll get about 80 meters of flying on the longest of straights before I'm turning again. I know front disc wheels are hard to control. And my budget it limited.

Remember that the front wheel is responsible for about 2/3 of the aero drag of the wheels. It also has a massive effect on handling, since it acts as a lever to turn the bars. The rear wheel is less important, but it affects handling very little. On the road my approach has been to use the tallest rear wheel available (90mm for the Stingers) with the tallest front wheel I can handle in moderate wind (75mm for the Stingers). In really windy conditions I'll use a shorter front wheel to improve control, dropping to a 45mm front wheel or even a non-aero 26?mm wheel.

With that in mind this is what I've gathered, with a "Wanted" list for each section.

Disc Wheels

The fastest wheels are lenticular (lens shaped) disc wheels, meaning they're a bit wider at the hub than at the rim. Viewed from above they're sort of lens shaped, like a flatter contact lens. These sail best when in an indirect headwind and they sail really well in a cross-tailwind.

The problem with a front wheel is that it catches massive air, like massive. On a 24" disc wheel I got blown across about 10 feet of road, almost into oncoming traffic, and I was going only 25 mph. With a full size 700c disc wheel, I would image it's only really usable indoors, with zero wind. My online findings seem to confirm this. Therefore a front disc will be for a different year, when Nationals is indoors, or, if conditions are absolutely ideal, for 2020.

Basically I'll see if I can pick up a lenticular front disc for a steal. Otherwise I'll let it go.

For the rear wheel, again, lenticular discs are fastest, but the flat discs (Zipp) are very close. For me I think it'll be virtually indistinguishable. The biggest issue with Zipp rear discs is that the track axle is pretty much nonexistent, unavailable. It's like the unicorn of wheel parts. List price is almost $300 so it blows the budget out of the water.

This meant I was searching primarily for semi-affordable rear disc wheels, like Corima and Fast Forward. If I could pick up a Zipp track disc I'd do that, as long as it was substantially cheaper than a lenticular.

Wanted: Lenticular rear disc. If a cheap Zipp rear disc shows up, so be it. Less expensive lenticular disc front wheel (since it won't be used much, if at all, in 2020).

Budget: $1000 lenticular rear, $650 flat rear, $900 lenticular front. I'd want a second rear wheel, probably a bargain flat disc wheel, as a spare.

Three and Five Spoke Wheels

With front discs being virtually unusable except indoors, I need to have a low spoke count front wheel. The fastest front wheel on the road has been the HED3, previously known as the Specialized TriSpoke. Fortunately for me this wheelset was my secret weapon back before aero wheels were a thing, and I have both a tubular front TriSpoke and a clincher front TriSpoke.

(I have a TriSpoke rear freehub and a 105 freehub fixed gear adapter but I learned that the TriSpoke uses a Dura-Ace freehub so the adapter doesn't work. I'm waiting to use that fixed gear adapter though as it's a unicorn item.)

I looked into 5 spoke front wheels but found that although they were stiffer, they weren't necessarily faster. If it was all about speed, the TriSpoke should work.

The only drawback with the TriSpoke is that it's flexible. How that affects me on the track I'm not sure, but for now the most cost effective approach will be to use the TriSpokes I have now.

Wanted: nothing, but if TriSpoke is too flexible maybe a 5 spoke front wheel.

Budget: nothing

Spoked Front Wheels

The final wheel for my track racing quiver would be a spoked front wheel, like the wheels I use for the road. I have a couple of them so I figured if the TriSpoke wasn't rideable I could use my Stinger7 front wheel.

At the worst I might invest in a Stinger9, a 90mm front wheel. I don't know if it would get me that much extra speed - it probably wouldn't - so the 7 should be a good fallback wheel. It's be fine in a mass start track race since that's what I use in mass start crits.

Plus I can use a 7 in a crit. I'd really want a 7, with the TriSpoke or a front disc my preference on the track.

Front wheels can be secured using a bolt-nut combination that looks like a quick release skewer without the lever. I have one set already, may need to buy another couple fronts. This means I can buy a quick release hub front wheel without worrying about track legality.

Wanted: A second Stinger 7 or a Stinger 9.

Budget: $500

Trainer wheel

Believe it or not I don't have a clincher track rear wheel, meaning one with the fixed gear and the narrow spacing of a track bike. I have two rear track wheels right now, one so bad its hub consists of steel sheets pressed together; I won't use that one. The other is nice, a 32H Suntour Superbe Pro hub wheel. It's laced with a narrow tubular rim right now.

I'd like to get a 24H clincher rim, a cool looking one with stickers on the side (no braking surface), and lace it onto the hub. It'd be 16 spokes on the drive side, cross 2, and 8 spokes radially laced on the non-drive side. I've done this before when building 24H rear wheels for the road and it works great. I just have to work out the spoke lengths for such a build.

This wheel would be my warm up wheel, trainer wheel, and ultra emergency spare rear wheel.

Although I'm not sure why I'd need a spoked clincher front wheel, I have a Eurus front wheel with a new rim, sitting in my inventory for literally 10-12 years. I'll lace over the new rim - it should work as a wheel for rollers, maybe for warm ups, or out-on-the-road experiments.

Wanted: 24H disc brake clincher rim

Budget: $100

Conclusion

I have some wheel shopping to do.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Plan 2020 - Dolan DF4 Frame

The first step in the whole process was to get a frame. Track frames are different from road frames, and I'd want the frame to be UCI compliant as well, something my beloved Tsunamis are not.

Here's the big thing with track frames: the bars are really narrow.

Wait. Bars? You were talking about frames. Why the bar comment?

It all comes down to that. Nowadays a regular track bar is 33-35 cm wide. In contrast, on the road it's normal to see 40-42 cm, although that's coming down a bit. I'm running 41 cm bars on my Tsunamis, and they look narrow under me.

The ultra narrow track bars cause a problem though. The reach to the bar is shorter, due to the reduced width. If you're reaching 3 cm to each side that's 3 cm of length. If your bars are 3 cm narrower on each side, you have 3 cm more arm "left over".

You need a longer frame.

Therein lies the problem for me. I'm already pushing it with my odd proportions, short legs, long torso. My frame is basically a 50 cm (high) frame, a size which normally comes with a 52-53 cm long top tube. However my frame has a 56.5 cm top tube, and, additionally, has a steeper seat tube angle. That pushes the top tube forward, effectively making it about a 57-57.5 cm top tube. And my head tube, at 12 cm total height, requires a 3 cm drop stem.

I can't commission another Tsunami because they're not UCI compliant.

So I Googled all the track frames I could find. I looked at their frame geometry charts. I needed to find a UCI compliant 50 cm seat tube frame with a 74.5-75 deg seat tube angle, a 57 cm top tube, and a 12 cm head tube. It had to be aero. It had to be a real track frame, not a fixie bike.

And I needed to get it done for less than $2000 shipped.

Dolan DF4

The only frame I could find was the Dolan DF4. A world class frame, no less, raced professionally. Aero design. 50 cm seat tube. 57 cm top tube. 74.5 deg seat tube angle. 12 cm head tube.

It was exactly what I needed.

And with a pre-season discount, it fell way below my $2000 budget, shipped.

Dolan DF4 - size 57 (!!)
It's their second largest size frame.

First, the frame is UCI certified. That means I can do official events, like Worlds. At the very least I know that the frame is okay for Nationals, which is my focus.

The second most important feature of the frame is the geometry - it almost mirrors the Tsunamis. Very long top tube (0.5 cm longer), steep seat tube (1 deg shallower), and short head tube (same height as Tsunami). Although I'll have to move my saddle up within the seat post clamp, I'm at the UCI limit on the Tsunami for a sprint bike (zero setback to nose of saddle) so I should be fine on the Dolan.

The third most important feature, because without it I'd have eliminated it from consideration, is that it is aero. No vintage round tube stuff - this frame is meant to go fast.

After that it's all gravy.

Aero tubing, aero seat post

The aero isn't obvious until you turn the frame. The frame gets real thin real quick.

Cut out for rear tire, but tire will not be as close as on the Tsunami

In my research I've found evidence that a cut out will save a fraction of time, and help a less than optimal rear wheel. In less scientific findings, I think it looks cool. Either way, this frame has a rear wheel cut out.

Rear dropouts.
I need to order spares.

Carbon fiber isn't very strong - it's just a plastic reinforced by carbon fibers. So contact points under pressure tend to be constructed of metal inserts. The rear dropouts on a track frame see a lot of abuse, so those are metal. I forgot to order spares. I'll want to get some dropout screws while I'm at it.

Potential Weak Points

I saw two potential weak points in the frame when researching online. The first was that the rear dropouts are pretty short. This helps handle a problem the longer dropouts had, where the weight of the rider bend the top part of the dropout up. This caused the opening to widen, making it difficult to secure the wheel. If you look at the geometry picture in the Dolan site, you can see the older DF3, with the super long dropouts.

The problem with a short dropout is that you can't move the wheel very much to take up chain slack. This means getting multiple chains for various gear combinations.

Since I prefer a very, very short chain stay, I'd probably want to keep the rear wheel as forward as possible anyway, so this "weakness" becomes a non-issue for me.

The second weak point is the seat post clamp. It's a wedge clamp with a very small bolt, with a very high torque rating. There are reports that it's virtually impossible to tighten enough to deal with jolts, like when you hit a seam on the track.

The workaround is pretty easy - you put a piece of pipe in the seat tube. Cut to the right length, the seat post will just sit on it. I have ideas for that "pipe" as well, so that critical cutting shouldn't be an issue.

So that's the frame. Next up, the wheels.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Plan 2020 - New Project for 2020

Plan 2020 - The Track

I was about to post some random stuff on a bike forum when I realized that this is the kind of stuff I'd post on my blog, so I'm putting it here instead.

My big thing for this year, 2020, is to give track racing a shot.

Again.

I gave it a shot in 2009 pretty seriously, making the hike up to the New Hampshire track as much as possible to get some racing in my legs. In the scheme of things, though, I gave it a pretty low key approach. I used a bike that I got back in the 80s, a bike so bad the rep was selling the frame and fork, with nice $40 headset, for $100. I got a rear wheel from one of the guys (I think it was free?), and then... well, I forgot about it. I used it twice in the early 90s, at T-Town, but that was it.

In 2009 I was so low key about track that I stopped at the bike shop on the way to the first race to get a crankset for it. The arms worked loose (incompatible bottom bracket axle and crank arms) but the set up worked for a couple trips.

Eventually I got some better cranks, figured out a better handlebar, and used my old TriSpoke front wheel. Then life intruded - I haven't been on a track since August 2009.

The Riggio, version 1.0 I think, with left over cranks.

This time... this time I'm going to be a bit more serious.

It all started sometime in the middle of 2019 when I started looking into the 500m times for the M50-54 age group. See, in 2009, when I went to the track, I felt pretty unconfident in myself as far as bike racing went. I was struggling on the road, and when I went to the track I felt like I'd just stepped into a world full of riders like me, but better - good jumps, good sprints, but better.

Too good for me.

At least that was my attitude. Definitely a down type attitude, but learning quickly.

"He's Not The Only One"

I remember distinctly watching one race at the track. I was in a, "Wow, everyone is so fast here" kind of mood, watching a blazing fast A race, the racers slicing and dicing, huge attacks, huge counters... just so impressive.

I'd just commented to myself, out loud, that the rider "that didn't even win the A race" had such powerful legs. I must have said it in a half-intimidated, half-in-awe way.

The rider next to me hear what I said. An A rider himself, he leaned over to me.

"He's not the only one with big legs you know," he commented, pointedly looking down at my legs.

Huh.

I filed that comment away.

Before the season was up I'd won at least one Keirin race. I'd won a scratch race. I'd really done terrible at a pursuit. I tried a Madison. I even got my front wheel to touch the roller on the back of the motorcycle. I started feeling like maybe I could do this.

Then the season ended and, as I said before, life intruded. Track racing, for me, came to a full stop.

Fast forward 10 years to mid-2019.

Zwift and The Long Sprint

By 2019 it's been 4 years since I've been on Zwift, and I've pretty much done all my hard training on Zwift, except for actual races. Zwift has pushed me to go really, really hard on the trainer, sprinting for 20-30 seconds, uncomfortably long sprints for me. I prefer a 10-15 second sprint, so to jump 4 seconds before a 22 second sprint... I mentally cursed Zwift co-founder Eric Min (the guy I could never beat at SUNY Tuesday Night Sprints) a few times after one of my first attempts doing a long sprint in the Zwift world (Watopia green, for those that Zwift).

This was in 2015 - I'd stopped training in mid-June, so by July I was suffering on the bike.

Slowly, though, I started figuring out the longer sprints. I learned to sprint a bit longer. I managed to hold out just another few seconds. I got comfortable expecting a 25 second effort, as unpleasant as it might have been just a year before. I started to expect more from myself in those long sprints.

In early 2015 I won a race by following a move 30 seconds from the finish. Although I suffered like mad, although I didn't actually sprint, I won the race by a huge margin, the biggest since, well, since a one off race about 20 years prior.

The Zwift Win race

What's that got to do with Plan 2020?

Let me explain.

In the last 10 years three local racers, all Masters women that did Bethel and raced in the area, have gone on to do some incredible things on the track, winning National titles, even multiple World titles. The latest was this year, when CK won three Golds (and more) at Worlds plus a whole slew of medals at Nationals. With everything getting uploaded to YouTube and the internet I could watch some of the events, see pictures, and check times. Since I was on Zwift all the time, I would put YouTube on a different screen and watch bike racing while I Zwifted.

Specifically, I watched track racing.

So I watched clips of a lot of women doing the 500m TT (Elite Women do the 500m, Elite Men do the 1000m aka "The Kilo".. importantly Masters Men over 50 do the 500m). I looked at their bar set up, if they did drop bars or aero bars. Drop bars meant you could have lower drops and a further forward saddle. Aero bars meant bars had to clear the tire and the saddle had to be 5 cm further back. With such a short event it seems that most riders use drop bars, although technically aero bars, if you can put down big power on them, should be faster.

I watched the Elite men also, but mainly to watch their starts (it's a very unique part of track racing, unlike a normal acceleration on a road bike) and to see what sort of insane 500m times they'd set. Due to the length of the Kilo they all use aero bars so no questions there on set up.

Of course, if I looked hard enough, the M50-54 stuff was up there also, like their 500m TTs. See, once men hit 50 years old, they do "only" a 500m TT, not the infamous Kilo. For me the Kilo seemed a bit much, sprint until you blow up and then sprint for another 30 seconds... No.

The 500m though, that seemed more realistic. It seems a really good time for the 500m is about 35 seconds, which, coincidentally, is just a bit longer than the effort needed to do a 21-22 second time in Zwift's Watopia sprint. A proper sprint in Zwift involves about a 7-8 second acceleration before the line, then a 20-22 second effort to get to the finish, although I generally explode just short of the banner.

That all seemed great but with Nationals historically held in California or somewhere in the MidWest, it was unrealistic for me to contemplate doing Nationals.

I shelved thoughts of track Nationals.

2020 Masters National Track Championships

Then the kicker. In October 2019 USA Cycling announced that the 2020 Masters National Track Championships would be held in Pennsylvania, at T-Town, at the track I raced on in 1992. Compared to the far reaches of the West Coast, PA is literally a 4.5 hour drive away. It was doable.

I started thinking about it a lot.

I had to be realistic though. I headed over to Analytical Cycling, a site that calculates bike racing things like speed or elapsed time based on your power output.

And wouldn't you know it, they have a 500m TT page.

I plugged in some regular race numbers that I've put down, and came up with about a 37 second time. I put in some higher numbers, like half way between race peak and training peak (the latter being 500w higher at times).

36 seconds.

I bumped the 35 second average power up 100w, about 80w higher than my PR.

34.9 seconds.

Huh.

Now, I'm pretty skeptical of the Analytical Cycling page as it were, because another one of their pages doesn't accurately chart what I experience with wheel weight differences, at least not in the magnitude that I experience wheel weight differences. It's a long story, has some explanation back there, but that's for a different day.

Anyway, theoretical is always theoretical until it's actual.

So I posed the question to more knowledgeable and experienced track racers. Their verdict was that the Analytical Cycling page numbers were pretty good rough estimations of real world stuff. Obviously things change in real life, wind, sloppy riding, etc, but one rider even showed a chart of his actual time in a 500m vs AC's model, and the two were virtually identical.

Possible?

I started thinking that this could be possible, and there were two contributing factors.

One contributing factor - I haven't lifted seriously, for bike racing, since I was in high school, and I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, back then I succeeded only in injuring myself and basically turning myself off of weight lifting for forever.

(I lifted a bit in 2008 or so, and got a bit stronger, but realize now I was doing it all wrong - wrong muscles, wrong emphasis - it was more vanity than purposeful lifting.)

Recently an Australian cycling website put up some track training stuff. I know the site because many years ago that same site asked permission to publish a letter I wrote CyclingNews about sprinting. I read they Up Up UP stuff over and over and I feel like I understand more of what I need to do to get fit for efforts like the 500m or the flying 200m. It's nothing like what I've done before.

Over the summer I started doing body weight squats (just body weight, meaning no additional weight). My legs were screaming after 15 or 20 of them, although in short order I was doing 40 or 50 at a time. World class sprinters are expected to be doing about twice their body weight in squats, and here I was with zero pounds struggling.

I had a lot of room for improvement.

Another contributing factor - for my power I am relatively small aerodynamically. I don't need to put down the same kind of power as a taller rider. One recurring theme that pops up when I post a picture of me in the field goes along the lines of, "That's not fair, you're too low!"

Obstacles

There are the obstacles of course.

The first is most obvious - I have very little experience on the track, with literally zero experience doing a standing start, zero experience in the 500m, and two ever flying 200m events (with predictably terrible results). I have to do as many track days as possible to make up for this, and practice starts on a heavy flywheel stationary bike (which I have, actually) or on a track bike on the trainer.

The next is the lack of absolute power. Depending on who you ask, I'm down 500-800w peak power, and I'm basing my competitiveness on a 35 second average power that I've never hit. This is with no weight lifting but still, it's a huge margin. I have to develop ultimate strength over the next few months, and get some explosiveness in there as well.

The third is lack of "speed power". My trademark sprint technique is to shift into a higher gear as I sprint. I like keeping my rpm within about 8-10 rpm during my entire sprint. Track sprinting is different - the numbers I see are things like "peak rpm 145" and "if you drop below 130 rpm you'll lose a lot of time in the last 50m". This will take some hard efforts, but I'm trusting in the UpUpUp observation that "speed power" can be developed in the final 6-8 weeks of training.

The fourth is my lack of scientific training. As my former leadout man, teammate, best man, winter training camp host, etc, pointed out, "You're the most unscientific training person there is". And he meant that in a nice way! I don't "train", I just ride. What's interesting is that most of my training rides are exactly what are described in UpUpUp, super easy with some very short, sharp efforts. I'll have to increase the number of short, sharp efforts, but I can deal with those. It's the aerobic stuff that kills me, anything over a minute or two.

Need Clearance to Pursue Goal

I spoke with the Missus about this because going to the track for giggles and committing to traveling to Nationals were two different things. I've literally never done a Nationals, ever, and I won't be going there just to say I participated. I'm going because I want to compete.

To do this I'd have to invest in a proper bike, start lifting seriously, and make time to race on the track.

Money is a big thing. I figured $2k max on a frame, $1.5k on wheels, $100 saddle, $300 bars, $1000? on my last remaining SRM (upgrade or at least servicing it), some more here and there. A stem. Narrow tires. Strap system for the pedals. Possibly size 40.5 shoes (my 41s seem a bit long).

We're talking $5k here, for an incomplete bike, without travel, without time factored in. I have never spent that much money in a year on my bike.

EVER.

Even my SRM equipped Campy Record Cannondale bike cost less than that, and that was a complete bike where I recovered $1200 selling off unnecessary parts. Before that? I don't think I spent more than $2500 at a time except maybe for the tandem.

This is literally the largest investment in my racing that I've ever made.

To be fair, my track set up would be usable for many, many years. It will be a world class frame, aero enough to hold its own, with a good SRM crank, rear disc wheel, front TriSpoke (that I own), possible front disc wheel (if doing an indoors Nationals), all proven equipment. I could race track for a while on my planned set up. But it would be useless anywhere else - I wouldn't be able to use the frame, rear wheel, bars, etc, anywhere except on the track.

Plan 2020 is a Go

After a short discussion, the Missus said yes. She was literally nodding yes before I got done with my presentation.

I mean, okay, she's always been supportive, but this was a big ask, financially and time-wise, so it's a big deal to me. It was obvious I'd thought about it at length (many months), I'd considered what I need to do, how much time I had to do it, and what I could accomplish realistically. Still, though, it is a big deal to even think about attempting this.

Now I have to get going on it.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Racing - Chris Hinds Criterium, March 30, 2019 - 4th and a great day with Junior

Chris Hinds (and a blog post). I don't think I'll be posting a lot but I'd like to do race reports and some misc stuff this year. I want to do some race reports for the Frozen Four but have to gather cam footage and such.

I also want to make a race clip out of this one but I have to get a working Mac first! We'll see when I can make that happen.

Anyways...

This is a race that I've skipped for forever for two reasons. First, while I was running the Bethel Spring Series, this race was on a day I spent prepping for the following day's Bethel race. On the rare occasions there was no Bethel race the following day I often skipped it out of sheer fatigue. Second, after Bethel ended, meaning the years 2016-2018, I skipped it because I was sorely out of shape at that time. It being a 2 hour drive, I didn't want to drag the Missus and Junior along if I was going to do just a few laps. The final reason is that it's during tax season, and the Missus can't come to the race. I try not to race much with her not there.

This year is the first year I've had some fitness since 2015. I did a few days of intervals, have been riding to keep my sanity, and managed to stay at a high reasonable weight. I've stayed in the 170s, instead of 180s, which isn't terrible for me. As a reference point I dropped to 158 lbs in 2010 and slayed it in the races, and in 2015 I was 163 for a bit and won once and got third three times. If I can drop below 170 it'll be fantastic, and if I can get below 160 that'll really change my racing. The reality though is that the 170 mark is my realistic target.

With tax season keeping the Missus busy, I relied on my teammate Joel to look after Junior while I raced. We got to the race a bit early to watch Joel race but only caught the last two laps. Then Junior rode his bike for at least an hour while I chased him around on foot. We tried without training wheels for a bit, but my back and his patience ran out. Reinstalling the training wheels, he zipped around pretty much the rest of the day.

With Junior in Joel's care (complete with a packed lunch courtesy the Missus), I kitted up for the race. I was feeling decent for the race, just wondering if my fitness was up for it. I had my trusty bike with my trusty race wheels.

My bike, Junior's bike.

Race wheels on my bike, training wheels on Junior's. Heh.

Number

I had to re-pin the number. I initially pinned it to a wind vest, with the wind and all. But then as the sun cut through the clouds I realized I'd be hot in the vest. I raced with the number pinned to my jersey.

M50+ start - a huge field

The first race I ever finished was at Ninigret. I realized while on the drive down that in a few years it'll have been FORTY YEARS since I started racing. And, back in 1983, I finished the Junior race at Ninigret.

It's not 40 years yet so don't get that stuck in your head. It's only been 37 years.

A lot has changed here over the years. The course used to be all the black pavement, WW2 airfield stuff, with tires lining the course. They'd stack four or five tires at the apex of the turns - you'd sometimes rub against them during the race. If you got shoved it was bad, you had to navigate between tires else you'd flip over the bars.

And you really, really, really didn't want to flip over the bars. The airfield asphalt was like sticky pavement, just grabbed you if you fell. There was no sliding at Ninigret, even in the rain, and the pavement really tore you apart if you fell.

Now it's paved in regular pavement, with grassy borders. You slide if it's wet. The low bushes near the second last straight that used to obscure the riders' hubs are now 10 feet tall and impossible to see through.

But some things haven't changed. It's windy here, always. It punishes those that can't corner or draft. And, for the sprint, it generally rewards those that start the sprint near the front.

Strung out bit.

Within a few laps the race was strung out. The single file laps are the hard ones, and this race had maybe 5 laps like this. I think if there were another 5-8 laps like this the race would have blown apart. But before the strong riders could shatter the field they shattered themselves, and the race calmed down.

Accidentally near the front of the group.

At some point I accidentally went way up front, seeking shelter. The main straight had wind hitting from the right so you have to be left of the wheel. I got stranded on the right and moved up to find shelter, finally giving up when I was at the front. I quickly eased, let riders pass me, and got myself buried in the field where I belong.

5 to go.

At five to go I was still there, and, if you'll notice, just to the left of the rider in front. Sheltered in the field, things seemed okay.

2 to go. Lots of riders ahead.

At two to go it was still together but guys had been moving up all over the place. I was near the back of the field and realized I really needed to move up. I didn't want to be clawing my way from the back on the last lap.

2 to go - I'm pretty far from the front.

Unfortunately the race strung out and I rode too politely. I waited for someone entering a corner, got on their wheel, and then.. they left a gap! I had to close it with a bit of effort.

Bell lap. Ugh.

At the bell I was much further back than I'd planned. The little dig on the backstretch used up my allotted reserves for that lap and now I had to do exactly what I didn't want to do - claw my way to the front from deep within the field.

Rider to the right was dropping anchor, rider from the left swooping in.

The first few turns were kind to me, the back stretch okay, but as we entered the right turn off the back stretch, things got about as wiggly as it got during the last lap. The guy to my right slammed his brakes on, trying to avoid grass surfing (on a prior lap about 8 riders took to the grass). At the same time the rider to my left (orange/yellow) was diving in, much tighter than the rider in front of him (in blue/black).

Very close to the rider on the left, probably an inch or so to his wheel.

The rider in the orange/yellow ended up just barely touching my wheel - I was doing some hip swaying, bar pushing, etc, to avoid contacting him. It worked out, I got on his wheel, and it was good.

Second last turn, still too far back.

Going into the second last turn I was on his wheel, still uncertain about the guy to my right. I briefly tried to stay on orange/yellow's wheel but decided to let him have it, but then he didn't get on the wheel. We were both a bit stranded.

Second last stretch, wind from right, need to go left.

As we exited that second last turn, the wind hit us from the right. I wanted to go left but I was afraid of committing myself too early. In hindsight I probably should have moved up a few spots, maybe 2 in front of the orange/yellow, but at that moment I wanted to wait a bit.

Last turn, no real room to sprint, want to jump toward left.

My punishment for waiting was to get boxed in by riders moving up on the left. We went into the long, two stage last turn, and I had riders to both sides of me. I had a jump, I wanted to use it, but I needed some room before I let the nitro explode.

Onto the final straight, no room still.

As the riders hit the straight I expected them to stay to the left, to deny riders behind shelter. Instead they moved right. I just needed an opening to go.

Left side opened up, boom, jumped hard.

Then the rider to the left went a bit more left than everyone else. It opened a gap, I took it, and launched as I shifted up. It felt pretty good, but the numbers don't lie - I barely managed to break 1100 watts.

It wasn't a very good jump.

Legs failed at this point, wattage plummeted.
Kicker is that the race winner is right there and I closed half the gap to him in a few seconds.

Worse yet was within five seconds my legs were done. I'd averaged 991 watts for 5 seconds, and about 850 watts for 10 seconds. With a 13 second sprint, my average power was down to about 825w.

In contrast, couple weeks prior, I averaged 1030 watts for 5 seconds and sustained almost 1000 watts for 10 seconds. So compared to that other sprint earlier this year, I really faltered in this one.

Managed to pip Dave at the line, and barely beat a guy to my left.
HR is high for me, 171, and it probably climbed after the sprint finished.

Earlier in the day Junior asked me if I wanted to beat one of the riders hanging out before the race. Taken aback, I thought about it. I realized that I don't go into a race wanting to "beat someone". I start a race wanting to do the best that I can do, no regrets.

So as my legs fell away in the sprint, I kept pushing, because I didn't want to tell Junior after the race that I gave up. I didn't want to think back at this race and wonder what would have happened had I kept pushing. So even though my wattage fell off a cliff, even though my legs felt like they were stuck in molasses, I kept pedaling. And, eventually, after an interminably long sprint, I managed to cross the line in fourth. I had no idea, and in fact I was hoping I was within the top 10 so - I thought everyone passed me at the line.

Some numbers for the day:
Peak: 1122w
5s: 991w
13s: 827w (sprint length)

Avg: 178w (race - pretty high for me)

Strava link (power data is not on Strava)

Junior approaching the line on his bike

As the course opened for a few minutes Junior asked if he could do a lap. We started out well, the next field lined up, but I realized that we'd run out of time - we'd be finishing the lap as the racers hit the main straight. So we turned left onto the grass, waited for the racers to pass, then he hit the course for the final 50 meters to the line.

The official was understanding enough to let us ride to the line, even with a race underway. Little judgment calls like letting us cross the line makes a huge difference in the impression racing leaves on a kid, and I managed to capture the following because of it.

Bike throw with Junior!

My favorite bike throw of the day. I tried to time it perfectly so he'd pip me at the line, and so he did.

It'll be a few weeks before I can race again, maybe even May, but so far the season has been good. I'll have to pick and choose my races but that's normal. My goal will be to do well at New Britain, and try to partake in some of the Tues night races (instead of just hanging on).

We'll see how it goes.