Sunday, December 31, 2006

Cycle-Ops Fluid Trainer How to - screeching sound fix

So for a while my Cycle-Ops fluid trainer has been emitting a horrendous screeching sound. I occasionally tighten the end nut holding on the flywheel:
and it seems to help but today I decided to take a closer look at the situation.

Armed with my trusty LED headlight as a flashlight (it's in that picture just under my hand), I took the flywheel off and actually studied it, instead of just wiping it off and putting it back on.

What I found is that there was probably a spacer missing from the trainer, one that would sit between the flywheel and the plastic stuff holding the roller bearing in place. Since that plastic was made with the "harder than aluminum" Campy Ergo cable housing stuff, it actually ground away at the flywheel:
(note the inside of the flywheel - the dark bits on the thin reinforcing walls coming out from the center are where the matte silver finish was ground off).

I checked the flywheel and the damage wasn't bad. I checked the plastic bits and they were untouched. I walked around my cluttered bike room with the flywheel, trying to find a washer or spacer that would sit properly against the cartridge bearing center but not rub the dustcap. I found that the roller shaft was the same diameter as a rear axle. So I grabbed a rear axle spacer (painted yellow from back in the day of having too much time to fiddle with my bike) and put it on:

slipped the flywheel back on, and tightened everything up.

Presto! Smooth flywheel! And quietness.

I celebrated by riding for an hour and a half while watching Floyd in all sorts of trouble that day in the mountains.

Friday, December 29, 2006

WADA ya want Dick Pound

heh just finished the Wired article.

I didn't know he was a swimmer (and a decent one it seems).

Also I didn't know he was Canadian.

And I didn't know he was Ben Johnson's lawyer in the '88 Olympics.

At the same time, I did learn more about him.

Primarily he seems to be a conflicted individual. The article makes it sound like he's trying to make up for the Ben Johnson thing - that a lot of athletes dope and when asked they lie. This makes it just impossible for him to hold his tongue.

Okay, sometimes I have that problem too, but I might murmur something to a confidant, not blurt it out to a news crew or a journalist.

One surprising thing - he doesn't blame doping for his team's 4th place at the Olympics.

Anyway I thought it was good reading. For those of you (like me) who didn't want to churn through all the articles about Dick Pound, debating his goodness or badness endlessly, this is a good one.

Interview with Citizen Dick; Rants and Awards

A couple of interesting posts before the long weekend that I found while bouncing around the bike blogging world and internet this morning:

From the sidebar over at Rant Your Head Off:
If you’re old enough to remember the 1980s, perhaps you remember the song The Politics of Dancing by Reflex. Change the word “dancing” to “doping” in the song, and it takes on a whole new meaning.

Magazine has an interview with Dick Pound of WADA in their January 2007 issue and on their website entitled, "The Righteous Fury of Dick Pound". Living up to his reputation, Mr. Pound provides some choice quotes - especially at the the very end of the article. RYHF from above has an interesting post on the article and someone posted an equally interesting comment to the post/article. (Scroll down to "Irony, Thy Name is Dick")


VeloNews has been announcing the winners of their annual awards and they have a story about their 2006 International Cyclist of the Year, Alessandro Valverde. Two things caught my eye in the story: the first is how they [correctly] describe him as a "climber/sprinter" - two terms that are not usually used to describe the same rider [Right, Aki?]. The second is that they label his new home a "Euro-style McMansion" I guess I shouldn't be surprised to hear that Europe has upscale cookie-cutter housing tracts like we do, but I am. I wonder if theirs are beige stucco, too, and have bloated euphemistic names like "Kensington Estates" and "The Manor at Horizon Crest Meadows" (For an interesting (and funny) read on this non-sequiteur topic, check this blog out). I can only imagine how the Spanish versions of these would read. Anyone like to take a stab?

Happy New Year!

Sprinting - Throwing your bike

Throwing your bike

This is not where you toss your bike in disgust after a poor performance. For bike tosses, please refer to Greg Lemond (tossing his road bike in the Tour but I don't have a link yet) or Bjarne Riis (tossing a time trial bike in the Tour). If you insist on throwing your bike, be very careful as it is hard on your back. Lemond's story is amusing now although it was probably pretty frustrating back then. He hurt his finger in a crash and could barely pull the front brake lever. This caused him to brake more with the rear wheel. Eventually, with aggressive braking locking up the rear wheel, the tire blew. With no teammates nearby, he actually tried to fix the tire, or so it seems in photos (he's holding a tool of some sort and the tire is partially off the rim), and in disgust threw either the wheel or the bike off to the side of the road. This hurt his back and he had to nurse that for a bit. I believe he still won the Tour - and I'm pretty sure it was 1990 since he was in the World Championship jersey.

Anyway, back in the present...

I love sprinting. One of the things that amazes me is the number of racers strong enough to get to the line at the front but not knowledgeable enough to throw their bike. It's common to see someone lose 2-3-4 places because of a dismal or missing bike throw. In one particular Tour de Michigan sprint (in Lansing), the field was lined up curb to curb and the front row was going dog slow due to a head wind. But due to the width of the road, no one could pass the front ten riders. As one of about 10 racers stuck in the second row, I alternately pedaled, coasted, braked, and then pedaled again. We were totally stuck behind the front row of racers. At the line I agressively threw my bike forward in between two racers in the front row. My front wheel ended up by their cranks, pedals, and downtubes. My place? 11th. Someone in the same row as me probably got 20th. Big difference.

You may say, "Well I'm not a pro", or "It isn't really important". Okay that's fine. But if you're at the front, you've put in a good race to end up there. It would be good to finish off that effort.

In sprinting, throwing your bike is completely different from a "bike toss". It refers to pushing your bike forward relative to your body. Remember, the rules of cycling state that you finish when the front tire breaks the finish line's vertical plane (Rule 1N1). If you can push the bike forward a bit, you'll finish a little quicker.

The reason why throwing your bike forward works is you weigh a lot more than your bike. For example, if you have a 20 lbs bike and you weigh 160lbs, you weigh eight times the bike. Any movement you make with the bike will be resisted by your body. For example, if you shove the bike forward 8 inches, your body will move back 1 inch. This nets you a 7 inch forward movement. If you're side by side with someone and fighting for every inch, a good bike throw could net you 12-18 inches. This is more than half a wheel, and if you're scrabbling for an inch or two, you really have to take advantage of that 12-18 inches.

Throwing the bike is simple. You start by holding the drops and sprinting out of the saddle. When you are very close to the line (about 10 feet or whenever your feet are parallel to the ground), extend your arms and legs forward. This forces your butt to go behind the seat, almost to the point where you are sitting on your rear tire. Your stomach/chest will almost be on the seat.

You can practice this in slow motion. Use your cycling shoes, your bike - it might on on a easy training ride or while you wait for people to catch up to you after a stoplight or pee-stop. You should be standing up, rocking the bike back and forth like your sprinting. Pick a line (shadow, crack in road, whatever) and make that your goal. As you approach it, extend your arms forward. Your legs will naturally level with one foot forward. If you don't slide your butt off the back of the seat, you won't be able to extend all the way. So slide your butt off the seat till the front wheel is barely weighted. Your forward leg should be virtually straight and your arms should be totally straight. Your stomach/chest will end up on the seat. If you aren't careful, you'll just fall off the back of the bike.

The wrong way to throw your bike is to simply extend your arms without moving your butt off the saddle. All this does is hunch your back. Your bike can't move forward because you're still sitting on it. A similar mistake is to simply stand up without sliding the seat forward. If you simply stand up, you're not pushing your bike forward, you're simply moving your body up.

Revisiting that picture at the beginning of the blog, you'll see that my competitor, Morgan, has moved his body up more than back. This caused his bike to maintain its position relative to his bike/body unit. In contrast, I've move my butt completely off the seat and came close to sitting on the rear wheel. My legs aren't level because I was desperately pedaling as I threw the bike. My arms were so extended I briefly lost my grip on the right side of the bar and careened to the left curb just after the line.

The kicker with that particular sprint is that I was going slower than Morgan right before the line. I was in the process of losing the race when I started my bike throw. I simply threw my bike quickly and used up what momentum I had to shove it forward. I was passed about a foot after the line, but it was okay. The throw was enough to win the sprint, the race, and the Series.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bethel Spring Series, 2007, the start

Each year for the last I-don't-know-how-many-years, I have promoted the Bethel Spring Series. The Series requires pretty much the same thing be done annually. We figure out the dates for the upcoming year (and find Easter Sunday which we skip), call the Town, fax them a letter requesting permission for holding a race, get permission, then start filing various paperwork. One big thing is making sure Diane Fortini at the New England Bicycle Racing Association knows about the dates. NE-BRA has a nice policy of avoiding scheduling conflicts as much as possible so that races don't compete for the same small number of racers. New England, for reference sake, has about 1500 racers from Maine to Connecticut. When 20-30% of them show up at the Series, it doesn't leave a lot of racers who want to race that weekend.

The co-promoter Gene does the paperwork filing (all done online, thank you USACycling). He orders the numbers. After a few shady characters tried to race multiple times on one number (which exposes potentially significant liability issues to the promoters and town), we decided to get new numbers for every race. So we order about 1500 numbers, printed with our sponsor Bethel Cycle as well as the Series name, the Bethel Spring Series.

A couple teams have already signed up to help with the race. The aforementioned Bethel Cycle is giving away a bunch of gift certificates and helps marshal the race. They've been heavily involved in helping out since the ownership change a number of years ago. Another team is Connecticut Coast Cycling. A team without a shop (at least for now), they supplied a significant portion of the marshals we needed in 2006. They also have a significant women's team and a very enthusiastic entry-level men's team (Cat 5's and 4's). This year I expect their strong 4's to be categorized as 3's.

One hinderance in our planning is the NE-BRA's promoter meeting and banquet was postponed till January. We don't want to step on other promoter's toes (after all, how would we feel if someone stepped on ours) and we've always been conscious of other races in that time frame. So we weren't really sure of when certain races are, especially the early road races in April promoted by Cyclenaut's Mike Norton, Sturbridge and Palmer. We saw he's already posted dates on BikeReg (our preferred online registration site) so we're sitting pretty with the dates we thought we'd do - all Sundays in March and the first two non-Easter Sundays in April.

The person I normally speak with at Bethel is out till Jan 2nd so we'll have to wait for confirmation for our race dates.

One good thing is that Champion System, supplier for our race team Carpe Diem Racing (whose sole purpose in existing is to promoter the Bethel Spring Series for the rest of the year), has agreed to sponsor the leader's jerseys. I'd show you a proof but a pdf file of a fragmented jersey doesn't look really good. So you'll have to wait till the jerseys come in. In addition, we are getting a podium jersey, the ones where the back is "hook and loop" (I used vel-cro incorrectly one year and actually got a letter in the mail explaining the trademark, requirements for legal usage, etc... so I don't want to use that word). Anyway, the overall winners will get to stick their arms through the sleeves and have someone "hook and loop" up the back, just like the pros do. And unlike last year, I promise not to tug the back of the jersey too hard, practically strangling the winner of the Cat 4's.

In the meantime, because it's not legal to update the site with race information before we have our permit "in the works", the site will lay untouched.


They say things go in cycles. And with bicycling, well, heh, the word cycle is in bicycle.

In the mid 80's, when Look came out with its "Look Safety Bindings" (also known as the Look clipless pedal), another clipless pedal existed - the Aerolite pedal.

Nowadays, Aerolites are used only on the super light bikes at trade shows, you know, the ones that weigh 8 or 9 lbs and are "fully functional road bikes"? I suspect the builders would not probably bomb down a descent or mix it up in a field sprint on their own super light bikes. Those show bikes may be light and the pedals fine, but some of the other parts are a just a touch sketchy.

Aerolites are simple affairs - a sleeve rotated on bearings around an axle, and the cleat actually grabbed the sleeve. If you picture a drill bit holder, the pedal was the drill bit and the cleat the case. If you push a drill bit into the case, it pops right in. But to pull it out straight is virtually impossible. If you pull it on one end though it comes out easily. Likewise, you stepped into Aerolites (it took about 150-200 pounds of force to so so) and rolled out of them. A strong rider cannot lift 200 lbs with their hamstrings so accidental "pull-outs" didn't happen. Well as long as the rider kept their cleats tight.

They were odd though. It looked like you had just an axle sticking out of the crank. It was virtually impossible to ride them without Aerolite cleated shoes - your foot simply rolled off. I forgot this in my excitement in test riding a new stem or something. I coasted down my driveway, accelerated a little, and, imagining I was sprinting for the line, threw the bike forward. Well, with slippers and roly-poly pedals, my feet slipped right off. My crotch landed on my rear wheel, the momentum rolled me into the rear brake, and my shorts got jammed in between the brake and the tire. And yes, my privates were in there somewhere. Very painful, in case it wasn't obvious.

Anyway, the inability to ride them in slippers aside, the pedals did have some redeeming features. They weighed about 145 grams for the steel set (76 grams for the Ti set). Mind you, that's the PAIR of pedals WITH cleats and hardware. They offered pretty good cornering clearance (37 or more degrees cornering clearance) and even if you dug a pedal, it was the soft plastic cleat you dug and so you didn't have the wheel-lifting shock like a normal pedal dig when metal hit the pavement. They were non-sided so you never worried about up or down - you just stepped down into the pedal.

At my office, where we write financial-type software, we say that the final testing environment is production. And it's true - because until you test things with paying end-users in a real environment, it's not "real". And like software, Aerolite released a pedal for final testing. And it was apparent that the product had severe technical flaws.

There were some doozy's - like the screw holding the pedal together was plastic, and sometimes it just broke in half, releasing the pedal (the sleeve) from the axle. Your foot went flying off the pedal. Actually, your foot was fine. The *pedal* went flying off the axle with your foot still attached to it. If you were lucky you landed your thigh on your top tube. Unlucky... well suffice it to say that my slippered bike throw was worse by just a bit.

A few revisions later the pedal actually stayed together. There was an adapter plate for Look mountings (the plate cracked after a year or so and it mounted your cleats 1 cm too far back, but still, better than nothing), a rethink on how the pedal held together (Turcite, a plastic bearing material, became the pedal body, and there were no more bearings), then cleats adapted to the SPD two bolt pattern. A round of legal problems (the company was Zerolite for a while, but then reverted to Aerolite) and you have the current pedal.

I have a new set which is now 2 years old, won by a pro friend's pro friend out west somewhere. It has titanium axles, the SPD holed cleats, and no Look adapters.

I was looking for places to buy parts and stuff and stumbled across a great bike shop site up in Maine - But I realized that the best fix would be to actually make new cleat adapters.

So I went to the best website for inventors who need construction materials - Last night I ordered two polycarbonate plates. $8 shipped. They arrived this afternoon. They will become my Look or whatever other bolt hole adapters which exist on my new Sidis (I'll probably use the 4 widest spaced inserts as the basis for the adapter plate).

The next step is to use my Dremel with its "routing kit" to replicate the cracked Look adapter plates I have on my 10 year old shoes. And if things go well, I'll have a nice set of shoes that will work with my nice set of new Aerolites.

My bike isn't like one of those super light show bikes, even if it will share the same pedals. It has too much aluminum and not enough carbon. But there's a big difference between those show bikes and my bike.

My bike will bomb down descents and partake in some furious field sprinting.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Big Tex

So on, there was a link to a pdf of a translation of LA Confidential. Interesting link as it was a site that basically exists to promote doping and gives doping information - what to take, how much, and testing issues (i.e. whether you'd test positive). It's main function is to sell Chinese EPO, or so it seems.

Anyway, I downloaded the section you can download without being a member. After I started reading it I joined the site and downloaded the other three sections. The pdf was like a Willy Voet book on steroids. Voet's book addresses some of the author's personal issues, but the pdf has no such baggage. The book appears to be about 195 English pages long and it's broken into 4 sections of 50 pages (the last section is 45 pages). As a service to those of us curious about racing and doping, I've summarized some of the book below. I, of course, fall under the category of "curious about racing and doping".

Some of its premises:
1. Armstrong's cancer could have been caught much earlier as one symptom of testicular cancer is an elevated level of a hormone, beta-hCG. That hormone is used by athletes to illicitly stimulate testosterone production. Normal levels are 1-2 nanograms per milliliter. Armstrong was at 52,000, 92,380, and 109,000 (according to Armstrong). Such high levels of beta-hCG should have been caught in anti-doping controls since it is a banned product. Either he worked around the tests (using a masking agent) or the tests were ineffective - after all, he was at over 100,000 times the legal limit. The hormone was specifically prohibited in 1988 so it was prohibited long before Armstrong didn't test positive for it.

2. The book interviews the USPS doctor, Dr Prentice Steffan, that was allegedly asked about doping by Hamilton and Jemison. His story seems particularly depressing because he just wanted to look after the racers, and his statement about doping at USPS, then hasty retraction, just leads me to believe that he used to believe the system worked but he no longer does.

3. The book points out that the 1995 ONCE team, with its doctor Aramendi, was known for its doping practices. Journalists even discovered 28 used syringes, used EPO vials, and a few other things in a room used by the good doctor. An infamous member of the team was its long time director, Manolo Saiz, known for his ability to carry both doping agents and cash at the same time. Another member of that team - Johan Bruyneel. Later, that same Bruyneel would direct USPS. The doctor he hired for USPS? Aramendi. Zulle, who would be caught up in the Festina incident, had recently transferred to the ill-fated team from ONCE. At ONCE, he took EPO under the supervision of the team doctor (Terrados) and "Jose". The only doctor at ONCE named Jose? Aramendi. Nothing explicit there but it just doesn't smell right.

3. The book points out that Armstrong's VO2 max increased substantially from pre-cancer to post-cancer. With a nominal weight drop (9-13 lbs, not 20 or more as some, including me, thought), it would be virtually impossible to increase one's VO2 max as much.

4. It includes a comment on how a trainer presents the original "Armstrong is stronger because he spins more" theory. Afterwards, in private, he is challenged by Lemond on the possibility of this being true. Lemond himself tested out this theory in search of more performance during his heyday. As Lemond (or anyone else) points out, it is logically not true. When you are climbing, when you want to go faster, you cannot just spin faster. If you do, what happens? You blow up! Although you may be demanding less oxygen per revolution, you have more revolutions demanding oxygen. There is no magic "lever" or multiplier. If you are burning through 90 milliliters of oxygen per kilo of body weight and you are a relatively efficient pro, there is nothing you can do to significantly increase power without increasing the amount of oxygen you burn. There is no free power! Yet this "rpms instead of power" is what USPS passed as the reason for Armstrong's spectacular climbing prowess. The only way this works is if the rider can carry more oxygen in his blood.

5. There is some detail on the Cofidis side of the whole "they abandoned Armstrong" story. I don't know who to believe here. But having seen Armstrong lie while looking straight at the camera (about him and Simeoni, after Armstrong chased him down during the Tour, allegedly to punish him for testifying against Michele Ferrari), I'd give Cofidis's side a chance of being partially or mostly true.

There is more to the book. The bullet points above represent to me some of the more interesting foundations of the book's allegations.

More on teammates, Actovegin, Lance's positive...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

wattage and pros

One thing I didn't make clear in my "it's tactics, stupid" post is my thought on pro cyclist's wattage outputs.

I'm definitely NOT a pro. When I first got a wattage trainer, I found myself in difficulty trying to sustain a 190 watt average for an hour. I wasn't really sure what that meant in the realm of things but during a group ride I mentioned the wattage stats (190w average) to a very enthusiastic Cat 4 (he had a PowerTap wheel) and got the kind of pitiful look you give a sorry racer. To top it off, I got dropped shortly thereafter.

Anyway, my threshold is pretty low.

Pros, on the other hand, can sustain some incredible averages. I've read a few quotes where pros sustain a 300 watt average for 6 hours (!). Hincapie was one, another was a lesser known pro who said that the "300w x 6 hr" ride was a record for him. So they can do something like that.

Now the Flandis wattage stats, if they can be believed, seem reasonable. They don't break 425 watts by too much. In fact, they seem to sit below 400.

To put that in perspective to what I do, one of the standard "out of the box" workouts described in the little pamphlet that came with the trainer is doing all out one minute efforts. I set a countdown timer to 60 seconds, start rolling (since I get massive tire slip when I jump from a standstill), hit the start button, and go. I start moderately aggressively, typically at 450 watts or so, start to blow, drop into the 300's, then do a final sprint which might consist of a sustained 450-475 watts. The end result? 402 watts. For a minute. Multiply that enormous effort by, say, 50, and you get a nice climb in the Tour. Oh, and I'd have to be something like 30 lbs lighter.

Pros are just a different kind of creature.

It reminds me of a poster I had when I was a kid. National Geographic, one of the solar system and its place in the galaxy. Anyway, there is a little thumbnail of Earth, with an arrow pointing to where it belongs in a little sketch of the solar system. There is another arrow pointing from the solar system to it's place in a small cluster of "local" stars. There is yet another arrow, placing the star cluster into a larger star cluster. There are even more arrows placing the various exponentially larger bodies of matter until there is an arrow pointing to a spot in the middle of a bunch of galaxies with the note "known universe". It's mind boggling, and I struggle to get past the local star cluster arrow.

Pros are like that to us Cat 3's. At least to me. After all, you get some really good Cat 3 and he will get eaten alive in a regional 1/2/3 race (unless he's destined to be a pro, in which case he'll actually win the thing or something). The regional winners, when they get dunked into big national races, say, Philly, or Tour of Georgia, well, they are not even good enough to be pack fodder. They might make an impression at something "minor" like Superweek. The winners of those domestic pro events, they go to the Classics or the small European stage races and they are nowhere. I mean no where. Minutes and minutes down on GC or crossing the finish line when the Classics winner is already interviewing on TV. Those winners? They're the ones who are not favored in the "big" races, the Tour, the Giro, hence they aim for the dinky pro races like the Dauphine or Paris Nice. Or they'd show up "for training". Sort of like Bugno and Fignon showing up at Tour Du Pont to do some training miles. And chasing down some poor unsuspecting amateurs like Chann McRae when he tried to go off the front.

Anyway, at the peak of the sport is the Tour. Guys who are used to annihilating the top pros get annihilated. Or reduced to that of "get me some bottles". When you watch world champions drop out or drop back to the team car for bottles, you know the guys they're helping are pretty strong.
Makes me think about those galaxy arrows.

And how far away that Tour galaxy is from the Cat 3 solar system.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

MTB's and the Land Speed Record

yep I made it out again. Same layers, shorter ride, and no drafting school buses this time.

I was making some good speed at the beginning of the ride but started to falter as the route I picked goes uphill till my turnaround point. Then on the way back the bike was undergeared and I didn't feel like spinning like a madman so I didn't go that fast - in fact, my time for going out was the same as coming back in.

The position on the MTB is one that optimizes control over the bike. It sacrifices aerodynamics but retains the hunched over stance necessary to recruit the glutes (your butt). The aero sacrifice is never as obvious as when you're trying descend quickly on an MTB.

It's something else too.

It's the same position that John Howard used in setting the current Land Speed Record back in the 80's - 152 mph. He was drafting a modified 337 mph LSR car so aerodynamics was not a concern. His concern was controlling the bike at 150 mph.

And as a rider more able to do short efforts, say, under a couple minutes long, the LSR would be an interesting proposition for moi. When JH broke the record, the previous speed, 138 mph, was held for a while. And it's been 20 years since JH broke the record and no one has even attempted it. It takes a while for a challenger to step forward and say "I'm going to break the LSR".


I'm not sure of the physics of doing a sustained sprint behind the equivalent of a 200 mph semi, but I know from personal experience that drafting trucks is limiting by gearing and how far you want to go. (And by cops who pull you over, but that's a different story.)

From a gearing point of view, the only way to break the record would be to have a "reduction" gearing system. This means the primary cranks (which the rider pedals) would be turning a gear which in turn would turn another crank. The gearing is increased exponentially.

To calculate relative gear ratios, take your standard 53x12. 53/12 x wheel diameter (27" for simplicity) equals 119". At 100 rpms, such a gear would go about 35 mph. Fast, but not that impressive. But, if that 12T was in turn driving another 53T chainring, and that was turning a 12T, you'd have ((53/12)*53/12)*27" or 526". This gear would travel 137 feet for every revolution, or, at 100 revolutions, go 156 mph.

That is fast.

And it is what JH did, albeit with a slightly smaller gear and smaller tires. Such a setup, with two sets of cranks, is called a "double reduction gear".

Based on calculations with Z rated (149+ mph) motorcycle tires which are much smaller than a bicycle tire, a triple reduction gear would work only if using 59T chainrings and 11 or 12T cogs.

Since 11's are not optimal (they aren't round), I started thinking of quad and whatever five would be. Quad reduction gearing would allow for a mix of 56T and 59T chainrings. The 56T chainrings would allow the different "bottom bracket" axles to be situated closer together. The caveat - it would work only if using 11T cogs. 12T cogs would limit the top speed to 131 mph or so (160 rpm).

The Fiver would allow use of a standard 55T chainring with 14T cogs. The initial drive would be a "normal" setup with a crankset driving a multiple gear cassette. Using a 12-19T setup on the Fiver, top speed would be an optimistic 225mph at 160 rpm or a more reasonable 197 mph at 140 rpm.

To put the goal out of reach of most people (and give the record another 20 years to rest), the record would have to be pushed up to 200 mph. Otherwise everyone will come out with a faired turbo Supra and go 160 or 161 or whatever it takes to beat the "new" record.

My thought is that once up to speed, rolling resistance will be the primary limiting factor. Aerodynamics should be negligible or even negative, if a properly designed draft fairing is built. A taller tire would be preferable as would be one that is narrower than the four inches I managed to find. But finding tires rated over 150 mph which aren't 300mm wide isn't that easy.

The parts I don't understand are related to going 200mph, since I've never gone that fast in a car. Like effect of tire diameter on balance, frame geometry needs, control issues (steering damper needed?), and what sort of vehicle (and power) would be required to go 200 mph while hindered by a drafting box. And who has one that would be willing to put a box on it.

The rest of it would be pretty straight forward, like the bike itself. High performance motorcycle wheels, disc brakes for the same, a possible fairing in case I drop out of the draft, triple clamp forks, and a very stiff aluminum or carbon frame set. A lot of body armor for the rider, a full face helmet, some communication gear, and a whole lotta speed.

Anyone has a CAD program for simulating air flow around an object?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

24 degree Mountain Bike Ride

On the way to work the other day I passed a bundled up cyclist toodling down the road by the office. I hadn't really thought about riding outside this winter but this guy changed my mind. Last night I pumped up the tires on my mountain bike, made sure the skewers were tight, and fiddled with the stem, all in preparation for going out for a spin this morning.

Begrudgingly I trundled out of the house at about 7:30 AM. It wasn't as cold as I thought it would be ( was saying 24 degrees F, feels like 18 degrees F). I chugged over to the beaches in Westport, drafted a school bus for 75 yards between two stops, then practiced trackstands for about 8 more stops over the next half mile. I only started to regret riding outdoors about 45 minutes into the ride when I started to tire, my shifter froze up, and I started to feel a bit of a chill.

It was all good though. I forgot how smooth the ride is with two inch tires - sort of like getting out of a sports car and into an SUV. Got back in one piece and started a mental checklist for things to mod for the next ride - tape the bar ends (the bare metal is really cold!), lube the shifter with something that doesn't freeze so I have more than one gear after 45 minutes, and if really, really ambitious, cut down all the cables about 4 inches. As I write this I know that I will do none of the above before tomorrow's ride.

For reference sake, I wore one lower layer, two upper layers. Details: a pair of Nalini windstopper tights, a thicker base layer by Cannondale, the team issue Champion Systems winter jacket, SideTrak booties, slim Specialized winter gloves, a Jamoka headsock as a neckwarmer, and a Castelli knit hat under my helmet. Oh and some regular cycling socks and shoes. And I was fine in the mid 20's.

Now to bed so I can do this tomorrow.

Slim and Fast

I know I want to be slimmer.

And I know I want to be faster.

Hey SlimFast!

I took a SlimFast shake I found and tried it. Not bad. And whether it was in my head or not, it did suppress my appetite for a few hours, which certainly beats what I normally do, which is munch on something every hour or so.

So this morning, on the way to work, I stopped by Stop and Shop and picked up a bunch of shakes, some bars (bought Breakfast Bars by accident), and salad materials.

We'll see what happens.

Maybe I'll be rockin' the climbs next year.

Yeah right.