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29 Jul 2010

Saturday, a 22 kilometre time trial

It'll be the 4th time that I take part in the time trial of Nijeveen. This small place, about 40 kilometre south-west of Assen, is the hometown  Nazca Recumbents. This time, I'm breaking with the habit of using my Fuego to do the race. I've got a brand new and very fast Mango Sport that should be good far an impressive average. By the way, there's also a chance of having a moist or even wet race!

The time trial is organized by the local df-club. The event ends with the recumbent time trial. We get to do two individual laps on the 11 kilometre track. It's all done on public roads. Intersections are kept clear of traffic when participants approach.

Last year, Ymte set a record by averaging 54.1kph in his Quest velomobile. I won't even get close to that. Actually, I have no idea how fast I'll be. Let's say between 41 and 45kph. The thing is that I don't have much experience with velomobile racing. But this one should be a fun to start with.

I hope I can keep the foam cover on. That's good for the aerodynamics, but the slightly asthmatic engine like a lot of air...

26 Jul 2010

The controls of my Mango Sport, Jenease

My Mango Sport Red Edition is sporty and light wight, but does carry quite some gear. You can spend a lot of hours inside a velomobile, so everything has to be just right.

One of my personal additions is the stainless steel cable that keeps the steering column under a certain angle. That takes work away from my arms so I consume less energy. Energy that's better used to go far and fast. Other people just let the handle bars rest on their 'earo' belly, which I haven't got ;-) That low fat percentage is the same reason there's padding on the seat.

Well then, I'll guide you through all the switches, levers and buttons.

  • On the left is a little red dash light, there's another one on the right side of the cockpit. I find red light to be pleasant to my eyes when it's dark.
  • On top of the dash is the main power switch. With that on, also the mini daytime lights go on.
  • The computer is a Sigma BC1609. My own choice. Has the optional cadence meter installed.
  • Under the Sigma is a switch that turns on all four indicators. Beside it are lights that flash along with the indicators. There's also a buzzer to make sure you don't forget to turn the indicator off again.
  • On the side of the dash is the switch for the IQ-speed head light.
  • Above the Mp3 player are three switches, USB-outlet (special option!), rear fog light and dash lights.

  • The steering column has a bar-end shifter on each side. A friction shifter controls the front dérailleur. 
  • The indexed one on the right controls the 10 speed rear dérailleur. It's all Ultegra stuff.
  • In the middle is the brake lever, with build in parking brake. Its has a sensor to activate the brake light.
  • The little red button allows me to switch between the high and low power option of the Busch und Muller  IQ-speed head light, 50 or 10 lux. Explanation is difficult, just remember that 50 lux is a lot.
  • Next to the light mode switch is the indicator switch.
  • In the middle is the mount for my Garmin Dakota GPS.
There's no electric horn or bell in my Mango.  I've mounted a pump that powers a horn. The same pump can be used for pumping up tyres.

More photos can be found here.
My velomobile was built by Sinner.

21 Jul 2010

My new Mango Sport velomobile

I'd been looking at the Sport for a while. A velomobile that would do what my normal Mango does, but than faster, lighter, prettier, better finished and with more fun to ride. In March I did a test ride. You can read about that here. At some point I decided to get my own Sport, a special one. Yes I know options add weight, but I like a bit of luxury. So I came up with a package David Hembrow called 'Red Edition'. Arjen came up with the writing on the tail, a nice detail.

  • Drum brakes, reliable
  • IQ-speed headlight, bright and efficient
  • Indicator lights, save and practical
  • Brake/tail light combination, great for grouprides
  • twin red interior light, cozy atmosphere
  • 3x10 Ultegra gearing, wide range with small steps

Now one of  interesting things of being part of the big recumbent family is getting the chance to do some work on the assembly of your own 'bent. So I spent several days at 'de ligfietsgarage' building my very own 'best Mango ever'. Carefully figuring out how I wanted things to be. Learning a lot and having a laugh with my temporary colleagues. At the end of the 2nd day, we went back to Assen with 3 Mangoteers. The Sinner velomobile factory is only 30km away from my house. Harry was riding with a camera on his light weight stripped down 26.3kg Sport. He has no build in electronics, but has drum brakes and suspensions on all wheels. A basic, yet true velomobile. The video he made can be seen here.

Back to my Mango. She, here name is Jenease, weighs 29kg when she's ready to race. And racing is where she'll be good at. The ride is so different, in a good way. It's more than just losing 5kg, it's a great combination of fine components. Faster than old Yavixa. The steering is spot on and the gearing is brilliant. I never have the feeling of being in between gears. Inside the finishing is outstanding. The dashboard is pretty and wires are hardly visible. I also had the wiring for my cadence meter installed with the other wiring. That's a bit of extra work, but all worth it. The glass fibre-epoxy body is very well made. Lovely attention to detail. No lose fibres, no rough edges.

I'll first do some more rides with her and than write a more detailed write up about several details. I'll leave you with a link to more photos.

13 Jul 2010

Hair

I'd grown tired of my hair the last weeks. it wasn't in good shape anymore and I didn't like the look of it anymore too. So yesterday evening I decided to have something done with it. This morning I got on my Pioneer (to keep it on-topic) and went to a hairdresser.

I was lucky to see an familiar person working there. A girl who followed the same education as I did back in 2001-2004 or so, retailing. Me and my classmate referred as: 'Double B'. Much later I heard her real name. My idea was to ditch about 3/4 of the length, and she had an idea about the styling. This time I could follow the entire process because I could keep my glasses on. Nice to actually see what was happening with my head.

You know how it goes. A bit of 'chit chat' and 20 minutes or so later the job was done. I like the 2010 version of my head in the mirror. Having a blond beauty in the same mirror also was a welcome addition to my reflection. In the meantime I'd learned a few necessary things about hairstyling, and I left the hairdresser with two small jars of 'Blend'. Great stuff, worked fine today.

More technical things: I bought a 40mm hose clamp to mount a new, own design, chain tensioner in my Mango.

11 Jul 2010

Better photo headrest Fuego

Yesterday's photo didn't show how neat the headrest looks. That's why  I made a new photo.

Other thing, I had a nice ride with the Huneliggers today. Just below 60 kilometre, with 6 participants, 1 newbie and 4 Nazca recumbents. I was riding that Pioneer today and I really liked that when we started riding trough a forest.

Just before I was back home I spotted a flooded parking place, caused by a clogged drain. The inner 10 year old couldn't resist and headed straight for the water, twice. A fun way to get the dust of you 'bent.

10 Jul 2010

Head support on Yivalté

Until not so long ago, I didn't see the point on having a neck or head support on a 'bent. You either used if you where old, or if you have a racer with a very reclined seat. The change began when Thomas told me about how a neck support would make you go faster. You'd be using less energy to stabilize you head, and a slightly reclined head would have fewer air resistance. So I made a minimalistic neck support that sort of worked. I made a better version just before Cycle Vision this year. It contributed to my 4th place in the un-faired category. My average during the six hour race was 38.8kph, much higher than I could have imagined.

It was also just before CV that I changed the seat angle of my Fuego to something around 20 degrees or so. That meant that, even in the medium low touring set-up, I started using my rack pack as a head support. Far from ideal as it's not that stable at all. I couldn't find that perfect comfortable position anymore.

Yesterday morning, on my way to work, was when I decided to mount a proper support on my Fuego. I had the chance to 'practice' mounting such a thing on a customers bike. So, right after working hours, I mounted a nice carbon neck support from Novosport. It works brilliantly, even on the rough roads around the little int. hq. Now I can tilt my head back in total relaxation. That's more comfortable and faster.

I proved the fast thing right after work on my way home. My previous record on this 41.7km commute was 1:12:20, set in my Mango. My new record is 1:09:28, with an average of 36.02kph. A speed that seemed unreachable a few months ago. Training, attitude, seat angle and neck support where the main ingredients. And yes, there was a little tailwind. With 31 degrees C, it wasn't cold either. A cruising speed around 38kph gave a nice cooling airflow.

Another change, made 2 months ago, was a new rear fork for Yivalté. I swapped the standard fork with mounts for disc brake and kickstand for the version you get on a Gaucho highracer. Officially, this isn't possible. But that doesn't matter when you work at a manufacturer ;-) Besides, it was my boss' idea to mount this rear swingarm. It's looks spare and elegant! (Sorry, not available for costumers. It requires quite some 'hacking' to make it fit for a Fuego. Fuego's always have two disc brakes, except mine)

Click here to visit the Novosport website

7 Jul 2010

25,000 kilometre in my Mango

My recent night ride gave me several nice things. One of them was that the odometer of Yavixa went past the 25k mark. I got her on the 24th of November 2007, so it took me about 31 months reach that point. That means over 800km per month. Quite a number if you know that Yavixa isn't my only 'bent. During all those kilometres she had to withstand a lot of things. Three winters, temperatures from minus 15 up to 33 degrees Celcius, snow, salt gritted roads, rain, dust, sand, rough roads, speed bumps, fierce cornering, moped beating acceleration, high speeds and me.

I didn't do a lot of maintenance, just lubed the chain and front suspension struts regularly and the pivoting points of the brakes twice a year. The wheels where aligned a couple of times after I'd hit a curbstone. The brake and shift cables where replaced once, as well as the joints of the front suspension after 16k. The rear freewheel didn't freewheel anymore last winter and I wore out several sets of tyres. My current front tyres, Racers, are my favourite thus far. I think both chains are about half way their lifespan.

So I thought this was going to be quite a write up, but actually, there's not much to say. Everything just works fine. The combination of a well protected chain and rider, wrapped up in a comfortable, fast, stable, practical and self supporting structure has proven to be a winner for me. 'We' look after each other. I get a fun ride, she gets a good washing every now and then.

I wrote about my Sinner Mango before:
Lots of photo's can be found here.

And I also did a bit of explaining in this video I made.

5 Jul 2010

Tilburg, It could have been worse...

Yesterday I went to another race that's part of the Dutch recumbent competition. (DRC) I arrived at the track around half past twelve. Getting there had taken me over four hours, and that probably didn't do any good to my overall condition. It started with a minor headache. No real problem, at first, those things tend to go away within a few minutes after the start. So I made Yivalté ready to race and found a comfortable spot in the shade. More and more competitors arrived. With a field like this and my legs feeling strong, this could become a fun day at the races. If it wasn't for that headache.

Right on time, the grid fills with riders. I do an excellent start, but am smart enough not to go flat out in the first lap. Head still hurts. Even as I'm typing this, it stills feels strange in my grey mass. But after a lap or so, things feel better. I speed up, corner like I should and start to overtake people. Doin' 43kph is pretty easy, heart rate is around 180, but my head still aches. Luckily, that one tight corner is fun. You'll see it in the video how nice it is to take it at 38kph.

But the headache remains, and  start to feel weird. I decide to call it quits. With a little luck, riding the second, shorter, criterium is possible. Problem is, my condition goes from bad to worse. Why? Heat doesn't feel like a problem and I've drinking enough. A lack of sleep? Don't think so. Maybe I ate something wrong, but what? Miserable and sick, my afternoon continuous. Yivalté does get to have some fun when Jos H. takes her out for a ride. The front tyre of his M5 low racer is flat, and the valve is too short. The pumps cant get a grip on it.

The one lap time trial goes one without me, just like the second crit. I do yell: '3, 2, 1, start'. That was my entire contribution to this event. Thankfully, I'm not alone and people look after me. That really helps when you're sick and far from home. There's no need to worry when you have such good people around. David H. offers me his spot in the Sinner van. He'll take the train home instead of me. I even win a price. The price for the unluckiest rider...

I get to ride home with H@rry and Marjon. Yes, I'm sad because I feel miserable and missed the race, but I'll get home, so everything will be fine. My revenge on the 'sick' will be sweet when I set a personal record on my personal long training route of 58km Tuesday evening. That'll be a perfect time to do such a thing, because that's when the national soccer team plays the semi final for the world championships. Streets will be deserted :-)

Just before we leave Tilburg, David hands me a painkiller, or should I say, a piece of magic. Because within an hour the pain and misery is gone. Only a weak, dizzy and sleepy feeling remains. I did feel quite a live when was back home, around half past ten.

David's Mango was in the back of the van and I rode it back to his house. I didn't go any faster than 38kph when I did that. We had a cup of tea and talk a bit about this and that.

It's close to midnight when I have dinner. Something with rice, and apple sauce and sweet yoghurt for dessert. Yawn!




Interesting links (soon to follow, I think)