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30 Sep 2010

Fire trucks and events

Just before the event at the TT circuit ended, me and my dad headed home to switch bikes. I parked my precious Mango and together we rode to the city centre. He on is upright, me on my trusty Pioneer. We had a good reason to leave the track a little early.

My oldest brother had in a part in organizing the day at the race track, my big brother is a fire fighter. And this day he'd be driving 'his' vehicle as part of the parade of fire trucks. 88 vehicles gathered at the old harbour after the parade. All this to celebrate the fact that Assen has it's own fire brigade since 1760. I arrived just in time to see most of them and film them as they left the terrain.

So that Saturday was about as good as it can be for the child in me. Next weekend will be fun too. Friday starts like usual at the little int. hq. But that's the only thing normal about this weekend. I'll go there by train and my newest creation, the R604B. (more about that later) The day at Nazca will end a little sooner the catch the train to Hilversum, From there, I'll ride to Huizen where the annual recumbent autumn meeting is held. Two nights and one day with about 40 recumbent friends. Sunday starts early as I head back to Assen by car. Me, and a fellow racer go north to attend a race in Groningen. In Assen I'll switch over to Jenease after I've prepared food and alike for the rest of the day. Groningen is only a one hour ride from home. At the end of the afternoon, after one and a half hour of racing, I'll slide back in the Mango again and ride home easily. Probably a little tired after 3 very busy and fun days.

27 Sep 2010

Our local race track

Let's start this post on Friday. Like usual, I worked at the little int. hq. Besides making bikes ready to go to costumers, I got a new thing to do, modelling. A costumer had questions about how to service an suspension unit. So I showed step by step how to dis- and re-assemble it, whilst my boss made photos of my hands handling the air shock. It's only a five minute job, but it's difficult to do it on your own. Also worth mentioning is a bike brought in for a quick inspection. The client also dropped by to talk about his latest bike trip, a 17.000km ride through Europe. Except for a small crack in the seat, everything was in order with his Rohloff equipped Gaucho. He'd visited many countries, from Sweden to the Ukraine. During my work, I made two photos. One to show a bike I'd been working on, the other because it really shows how 'green' my way of travelling is.

On Saturday me and my dad went to our local race track, the TT circuit. World famous as being one of the finest tracks, with a rich history going back to 1928 or so. We visited the 'Friends of the TT circuit foundation day'. The day started with some speeches about future plans with the track, and how to deal with the few people that don't fully appreciate the fact that they have this wonderful facility close by. Good ideas where mentioned on sound levels and the landscape. On thing was made clear, the track is here to stay :-)

At two o'clock it was time for the moment I'd been waiting for so long. The 'friend' could choose between a bus ride over the track, or to ride their bike on it. Today Jenease was wearing the race hood for the first time. The tyres where at the highest allowed pressure and the wheel arches where slightly modified. I quickly realized that in this set-up, my Mango Sport is very fast. Doin' 50kph went almost effortless. An outlap, a fast lap, and an inlap, I really like this track. My dad had a go in his FAW and he did 2 laps. With only 12 people on the track, and me doing more than twice their speed, I had the whole track for myself. Without proper warm-up and preparation I averaged 47.5kph, not bad for a first attempt on a damp track.

23 Sep 2010


Last Friday was a busy day for me at the little int. hq. Six bikes needed my attention, and that will the same tomorrow. One of the things that make the world of recumbents so fascinating is the wide variety in models. At the end of the day I made this photo. It shows a Gaucho 28" and a Fiero XS. The first one is a 'bent with a road bike touch. 'Real' wheels and high end components. The other is an agile little machine that's ideal for shorter people. 1.55 metre, or 5'2" is tall enough to ride it.

The ride home in Jenease was a good one. I had support from a side/tail wind and was quickly cruising at 40kph. A few intersections bring the average down, the short shower didn't. In fact, I kept going faster. The 10 speed gearing is so nice that even above 40kph the steps are small. My cadence was somewhere between 95 and 100. I'd  shift up when I'd pass the 100rpm, and I'd gain a few kph too when I did so. Everything went so easy, that breaking my previous record of 1:09:28 was as easy as pie. I knocked 1 minute and 7 seconds of the time I set last summer on my Fuego. Fuego YivaltĂ© is way faster on tight twisty tracks, but my commute is more like the track of Monza. The 41.8 kilometre where done with an average of 36.7kph. Faster, as always, is possible. But than I'd have to give it a go when there's less traffic. (more about my Sinner Mango Sport Red Edition: the manufacturers website)

The next day I did something different. I had a family meeting in Giethoorn. Naturally, I went there by bike. My slowest bike, the Pioneer. But I got there comfortable, reasonably dry and on time. In fact, I was the first to arrive. The rest of the family took there cars and got, well, lost. Bridges, road works, closed roads, made them arrive an hour later than I did! They must have had a great time driving.... ;-) And no, they only had to travel 75km or so. I did 53km, with a headwind. 

Giethoorn is a, very touristic, scenic place with old houses, tiny canals and lot's of boats. My parents where there too. They'd made a three day trip out of it, staying at a B&B before and after the meeting, and rode there on there Nazca recumbents. Anyway, my uncles, aunts and so on, aren't that interesting. So no photos or stories about them. I did take some photos on this day, mostly about my usual topics. My total for this day was 104km. A day well spent in many ways.

14 Sep 2010

Back again, starting with a race, Zwolle

It's been quiet on this blog for a while. You don't have much to type when you're dealing with flu. And even when I got rid of that after a week, I still needed time to get back in to shape and to re-gain some weight. But now, everything seems alright again. Not that fit to happily do a 6 hour criterium or a 300 kilometre night ride, not yet. However, fit enough to take part in lasts Sundays race in Zwolle. I sent both my parents South too to help the organization. They had a fun day and cycled about 23km in total.

Zwolle is only 72 km from Assen. Riding there would be a bit to optimistic, so I took the train and brought my Fuego with me. It felt good to be back on my 'chromo' steel racer again. It would have been better without the constant drizzling rain. Rain is the biggest reason I have a velomobile. That same velomobile is the reason that I have very little experience on cornering in wet conditions on two wheels.

The event is one of the best organized of the year. It's a street circuit with very little traffic. The track was closed for just about everything. Only locals and bikes where allowed. There where persons in orange vests at the intersections. There was a guy on a motorbike, complete with flashing lights, who patrolled the 4.3km track. We could get good coffee and cappuccino, both freshly brewed. The apple pie, sold for charity, was of outstanding quality. There where toilets, shelters, volunteers, friends and 25 riders. To put that in contrast, the next race in Groningen has a great track, but only 1 facility, a toilet. So 'Zwolle' is like a luxury resort.  The track is challenging in it's own way. It has 3 speed bumps and a corner in which the tarmac has seen better days. High speeds are possible. I averaged 37.6kph. Not spectacular, but good in these circumstances. The fastest guy pulverized the records set during the 1st edition in 2009. He did 47.7kph, 4km faster than the winner of last year.

The first 5 laps of the race where the fastest. I was with a group of 4, that got smaller as the race unfolded.  After that, just kept pedalling at my own speed whilst keeping an eye on my heart rate watch. I lapped some riders, and got lapped a few times as well. And since I already was wet, the ongoing rain didn't bother me. My glasses did fog up. I usually know how to prevent that, but know I'd forgotten to rub the glasses in with a special cloth. Not really a problem, the roads where wide and there was little to bump in to. I did loose my superflash tail light on the back straight, a the screw had come loose. That meant an extra lap after finishing to pick it up.

The end result was satisfying. There was plenty of time to chat and socialize afterwards. My day ended with a puncture, 700 metres from home. I simply carried my Fuego home on my shoulder and fixed hat the next day. A part of Monday was spent on cleaning the bike as well. It's white, dry and shiny again.

The race results are here.