Thursday, February 23, 2006


So I competed in the Sebring 24 Hour RAAM Qualifier in my homebuilt streamlined recumbent on February 18-19 in Sebring, Florida. This road event started at 6:30 am with three 3.7mile laps on the Sebring International Road course, followed by an 89mile out and back long day loop, then laps on the 12 mile short day loop till dark, then they move you onto the track again to do 3.7 mile laps until 6:30am the next morning. The RAAM Qualifier is a non drafting category, in order to qualify for RAAM you must complete 450miles in a 24 hour non drafting race. Not that I have any intentions of doing RAAM.

So that was pretty fun.

I guess I lapped the field during the three starting laps on the track and then held a one mile lead till the turn around on the long loop at 48 miles out. Averaged well above 25mph on the way out. Then the sun came out and I fried. My support vehicle didn't catch up until after I had made my first lap on the short day loop, this means I cooked the whole way back on the long loop with the windsheild on and my camelback on my chest at about 17mph. I ditched them as soon as I got to the second checkpoint, but all my food was still in the support vehicle. I made twelve laps on the short day loop, two less than the leaders. It was not exactly a flat course, I was using all 9 gears on the day loops. However, the hilly sections were where I seemed to catch the most people. They would coast down the hills where I would be winding up the momentum to shoot over the next one.When nightfall finally came thats when the real fun began. Hot laps on the Sebring International Road Course, in the dark, wee! It cooled down enough for me to put the windshield back on, and my speeds came back up. The HID lit the corners and straights up quite well. All was well other than the fact that I couldn't stay awake. 27mph for three laps and 15mph on the next as I swerved all over. Still had some of the fastest lap times though, just couldn't stay in the bike as long as the leaders. Darnit.

Not my fastest, but I spent more time building the bike/fairing/trailer than training so thats about what I expected. Good amount of streamliner training here, bike handles good, and I finished. No crashes, although I did fall over twice. I weighed the bike today. 55lbs dry. No wonder those little hills hurt....still. Deep tissue massages are darn painfull, but they work. Time to build something lighter. Time to start training for Ouichita.

All times include stops
366.7 miles in 23:49:57
First 101.5 miles in 4:24:45
3rd fastest 3.7 mile night loop at 8:45
24th of 79 overall 24 hour finisher16th of 41 overall RAAM Qualifiers(nondrafting)5th of 8 overall recumbent RAAM Qualifiers

Jim Kern won the 24hour event overall on a Bacchetta recumbent with a new course record of 516 miles. The Bacchetta people were my best cheerleaders, great folks.

Finishing placings here and splits here

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Times up

Dave Balfour and I will be leaving for the Sebring 24 Hour ( Sebring Florida tonight, along with Dave's girlfriend Becky and my parents as support crew. You can check out the track here The videos give you a pretty good idea what I'll be riding around all night. Should be pretty fun.

The trailer is tested, loaded, and ready to go. Graphics came out well.

My streamliner is functioning now, finally. Worked through a few bugs in poor chainline and draggy components, as well as a few ground clearance issues. Scrapped the dolly wheels when they bent at the end of a test ride, better off without the added complications and weight anyway. No Rotor cranks for now, replaced the Primos with Comp Pools, new chain and derailieur, eliminated the chain rub, the bike is much faster now.

The shell isn't as pretty as is it was, now that it has holes carved in it for a dolly wheel system that is no longer being used, and now it has foot holes in the bottom for starting and stopping. I hacked the top off to make it more streetable for the Sebring 24 hour, as the all the daytime riding will be on public roadways. I would say the bike now fits into the HPRAs Superstreet category better than the Streamliner category, but it was built for ultra events and that seems like the better route to go for that.

I did my first streamlined ride last Saturday. About 75 miles in 3 1/2 hours. Hilly route, 12-14mph winds gusting to 22mph. Kinda like a cross between sailing and bobsledding, pretty fun. The thing just coasts forever and 30mph is rediculously easy to hold on the flats. My current gearing has me spinning out at 37mph and grinding the steep hills at 9mph, fine setup for my local river valley riding. I should gear it up for flat course racing but I figure I'll leave it this way for the 24 hour. If I finish the race averaging above 25mph I will be more than happy, especially considering the number of long rides I have done in preparation.

It'll be fun scaring people on the night loop. I should be moving considerably faster than most people and the HID lighting may have them looking for a car to pass them. Lucky for them it's only a Twinkie on wheels.

So lets see if I can break 500miles in 24hours, eh?