Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Quest for Speed.

parked 2
So I am getting used to the Mango Sport ("The Carrot"). I am now logging new speed records on my commute. My average speeds are going up which is making me quite happy. I think I will start doing Washington Lake loops on the weekends since that is the route I have the most recorded history on. If all goes well I can get some record times on my Lake loops. I want to get my century speeds up and do some 200K permanents without officially logging them with RUSA. So first I will train, then when I feel ready I can try a 200k permanent.

I might even be able to get some respectable times, which would be very nice. My eventual goal is to finish the STP one year BEFORE Jim Broadus (a co-worker). It would be nice to not be passed :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mango Sport on Week three.

My Mango Sport has 500 miles on it over three weeks of ownership, 215 miles or so of which was the STP. Most of last week I didn't ride at all. Today was my first day back commuting with the Mango.

My impressions remain great, I am faster, more comfortable and safer riding the Mango. It really is a joy to ride and it is very easy to carry stuff. I am considering what it would take to do a weekend camping trip. Lately I have been looking at Hennessy Hammocks. They are lightweight, pack small and would easily fit into my Mango Sport. Add a small sleeping bag, and some food, maybe a camp stove and I can tour.

I also want to train more for fast centuries. I can work on speed loops of the lake as well as some nice hilly loops in Redmond/Issaquah areas. The Mango feels nice and light, I am climbing hills well on it. In my reduced state I am as fast on hills as any of my other bikes. I suspect this will change as my power to weight ratio changes but I think in general my speeds can only go up. At the moment I am 10 lbs lighter than when the Mango Sport arrived. The uptick in riding and change in my eating habits paid off quickly. Only another 40 lbs to go :) All in all I think the increase in acceptable riding conditions that the Mango brings will pay off with a fitter, happier me this time next year.

The Mango Sport has been getting a lot of attention. I am enjoying that and learning how to deal with it. Lately I have found that a brief wave and keeping pedaling is a nice polite way to acknowledge the interest without losing too much time. I have noticed a number of other Mango Sports lately on the Internet. There are some really nice tips and videos out there that I am enjoying.

All in all my Mango Sport is wonderful and I expect to continue to grow into my velomobile. I do think I need a name for her, saying my Mango Sport is a bit cumbersome. I am considering calling her "the Carrot" since she is orange and faster than the "White Rabbit" my raptobike.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Prepping for the STP

Duncan's STP
So I am less than one week away from the STP. This year I plan on doing the one day version and start from my house. This means I will be riding 224 miles, my first double century, on my brand new Mango Sport.

I am nervous and have a bit of anxiety since I didn't train as much as last year and I will be riding a bike that I have only put 210 miles on. But putting that aside, I have the base miles from commuting to work with so I should be good.

I am not sure what my average speed will be but my hope is 16mph. Last year I averaged 16.9 mph on the Raptobike but I was in much better shape and weighed 14 lbs less than I do now. The Mango Sport has been faster than the raptobike at my current fitness level and the STP is well suited to speedy velomobile riding. My plans include a 14mph average speed. I have allocated 50 minutes to rest stops. Last year I spent a lot of time at rest stops but this year I am solo so plan on approximately five 10 minute stops. Given an average speed of 14 mph, the ride will take 16 hours from my house. Add in 50 minutes for rest and we are at 16:50. If I start at 0300 then I will get to the finish at 1950. That is my worst case and gives me 1:10 of buffer. If I average my target of 16mph then I will finish at 1750. That is a great time to finish. Keeping the rest time down is key, but I do have some buffer zone time.

The question is what to bring. Since I haven't trained with any new food solutions I will go with my tried and true.
  • One 2L bladder of Cytomax, refilling as it empties
  • 5 baggies of cytomax, sized for mixing with 1L of water
  • two 500 mL water bottles, initially frozen. I will refill as necessary. I will also douse myself with water as needed.
  • 1.5 lbs of dried cherries
  • 6 packets of cliff shots gels (black cherry with caffeine)
  • spare tube, spare tire, patch kit, pump, tire levers, towel
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • camera
  • gps
  • gps battery extender
  • phone
  • hand cleaner
  • 2 small towels to keep hands clean and wipe down the mango
  • Imodium tablets
  • Aspirin
  • rain jacket
Since I will be riding the Mango my concerns about rain are nearly nill. I am more concerned about heat than wet. The jacket will be all I need if it rains and only for rest stops.
Velodog tryouts

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Velodog tryouts

Today was a rest day for training on the STP. So we had an impromptu Velodog tryout session. Here are some of the photos.

Casey was calmer inside the velomobile but he didn't want to put his feet down on the side. Lucy was a wee bit more excitable but she was happy to put her feet down. Once she was set she didn't want to get out. She loved it and wanted to nap in the sun while I rode around with her. I think with a little work I have a Velodog!

Of the pictures taken though, I think this one is my favorite:
Velodog tryouts

Sunday, July 4, 2010

My Mango Sport arrived

My Mango Sport has arrived. With just 2 weeks to go for the STP I now have to ride a lot to get used to the mango. I spent Saturday tuning and riding the Mango. I took her to the Farmer's Market in Redmond:
Mango Parked

I saw a number of exotic cars and found a car gathering, they decided that the Mango was an exotic and placed her on display with the Ferraris:
Mango with Ferrari

After I took my groceries home, I headed out on a ride to Seattle. I stopped at Matthews Beach:
Mango Ride

I then continued on to Gasworks Park where I saw some of the Zombies from Fremont. Unfortunately I didn't get any good zombie chase pictures. The mango did escape the zombies and we took a rest at Log Boom park on the way home:
Mango Ride

So far the Mango Sport has been a dream. The suspension is great and really smooths out any chipseal, potholes or railroad tracks I find on route. I am slowly getting use to her handling. For the first 30 miles or so my cadence was much lower than my regular cycling cadence. But now after some seat adjustments and getting used to the velomobile I find my cadence going back up again. The gearing is great. Everything fits so well inside, I love to run errands with the Mango. I am very happy.