WOW! Spectacular day!

Long training day on upper Kananaskis Lake

What an amazing day! I met Chris Comfort at Upper Kananaskis lake on Saturday morning and spent the next 4 hours collecting speed and power data by blasting around the large 10 km circumference lake on Critical Power 2 (yes, it now has an official name and logo - perhaps you recognize it?)

Things look OK - not super great, but good enough to move forward with my plans for an attempt at the 243 km human powered boat distance record.

The big problem is I realize that WIND is a huge issue around here. I will NOT be able to find a day with zero winds. On the very best weather day, I can probably expect glassy conditions at dust, dawn, perhaps during most of the night, but mid-afternoon there will always be at least 5 to 10 kph winds.

I think my 24 hour record venue lake has to be small enough NOT to allow 5 to 10 kph winds to build up big waves. Upper Kananaskis lake is large and the winds only ever got to 5 to 10 yesterday (when they were easily 15 to 20 in the city), but the waves were over 1 foot high with white caps. On my long, 10 km loops around the circumference of the lake I often got tossed around quite a bit and the wind really does suck speed away. I have always measured better test results from doing small loops in small lakes because even with a 5 to 10 kph wind, the waves never get beyond ripples. A ripple in a small lake becomes a 1 foot wave in a large lake.

Here is the data for the Kananaskis lake day:
  1. 10 km circumference of the entire lake, 150 watts, 5 to 10 kph winds, waves at times, dead calm at other times, very windy at times = 11 kph average (I repeated this TWICE and got the exact same average)

  2. Same loop as above, same mixed conditions but with 120 watts average power (this is what my overall average power expectation will be for 24 hours) = 10.1 kph (that's 242 km total in 24 hours)

  3. Small, 1 km loop in protected bay. It was still 5 to 10 kph winds, but water was ripply rather than wavy. 150 watts = 11.5 kph (repeated this both directions with same average)

  4. Small, 1 km protected loop at 120 watts (my goal wattage for 24 hours) = 10.5 kph (255 km over 24 hours)

  5. Small, 1 km protected loop at 100 watts = 9.6 kph (230.4 km over 24 hours)

At Elbow Valley lake, the best I measured during calm conditions was 11.8 kph for a 150 watt .5 km loop. If I subtract .3 for the current, that would equal 11.5 which was what I got at Kananaskis yesterday for 5 to 10 kph windy day. I can probably ADD .2 kph for a windless day and I would be at 11.7 which is .2 kph higher than the best I was getting at Elbow. The .2 kph gain could be due to the freeing up of the gear box.

lunch break with Chris

I cannot use the lake at Elbow anymore for a control! I went out there the day before yesterday and the weeds are growing up to the SURFACE! I did not get one single run in without having to stop to tear weeds off the prop. I think that same thing was happening at Ghost and Glenmore which was why I was getting such poor test results. There was an article in the paper last week about weed growth in local area lakes being a big problem this year.


The 4 hour solid effort yesterday was a good experience for me, and I realize that spending more time training in the boat is necessary. There is a subtle difference between pedaling on my M5 road recumbent and the boat, and I didn't 'feel' it until after I was finished yesterday. In preparation for the 24, I have been doing plenty of single leg drills on my M5 rides. I am now able to go almost indefinitely with one leg on the M5. This has been good to strengthen and reinforce my CIRCLING, but it is still different that on the boat.

With the bike, I have momentum from a 'push' pedal stroke that carries through to the 'pull' portion of the pedal stroke. During the pull, I can take advantage of the previous push force, and most of my pulling effort is just lifting the weight of the leg around. On the boat, there is far LESS momentum due to the increased drag of the water. For the portion of the pedal stroke (VERY small portion, but it is still there) where a single leg is doing some pulling, there is a greater resistance and therefore more effort during that phase. It adds up over time. The test to really feel this is to compare a single leg drill on both the M5 recumbent and the boat. It is much easier to keep a higher wattage on the M5 with one leg than it is on the boat because I take take advantage of my powerful PUSH muscles on the M5, whereas on the boat, I must recruit weaker PULL muscles slightly more often - like I said, over time it adds up.

I am starting to experience some of the same issues that I experienced last year, and earlier this year - sore knees and sore Achilles again. This makes sense because the portion of the pedal stroke that is not being assisted by the opposite leg the most, is near the top - the 'rounding over' of the pedal. This action to the leg, is like kicking a soccer ball and directs more stress to the knee - the same road bike geometry as an extreme seat-forward position which is known to cause knee problems. The opposite leg is doing the same from below, but it is the Achilles that is doing the work.

Not that I would bother trying this at this point, but I believe the easy solution would be to incorporate a fly wheel into the drive. And no, I don't think the freewheel helps because this is all happening way to fast for the pawls to kick in. The more difficult solution is to continue to train into this geometry.

Speed data:

date lake power watts wind kph waves rudder prop loop size km loop dir hull floats other SPEED kph
06/05/08 elbow 150 5 ripples big thin .5 counter taped norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat big thin .5 counter painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thin .5 counter painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thick .5 counter painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thin .5 counter painted norm prop strut pulled into hull with cord 11.6
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat none thin .5 counter painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 calm flat small thin .5 clock painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 10 ripply small thin .5 counter painted norm
06/12/08 elbow 150 20 waves big thin .5 counter painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves big thick .5 counter painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves small thick .5 counter painted norm
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves small thin .5 counter painted skimmers rods 10
06/09/08 elbow 150 20 waves small thin .5 counter painted skimmers no rods 10.2
flex shaft & freehub
06/16/08elbow150calmflatsmallthin.5counterpaintednormflex shaft & freehub11.8
06/16/08elbow150calmflatsmallthin.5counterpaintednormflex shaft & freehub11.8
flex shaft & freehub10.3
06/16/08elbow200calmflatsmallthin.5counterpaintednormflex shaft & freehub13.2
flex shaft & freehub11.1
paintednormflex shaft & freehub11.1
paintednormflex shaft & freehub10.9
flex shaft & freehub11.6
flex shaft & freehub11.1
flex shaft & freehub11.6/11.2 = 11.4
06/17/08Ghost1505ripplysmallthin.52counterpaintednormflex shaft & freehub11.5
06/17/08Ghost1505ripplysmallthin.56clockpaintednormflex shaft & freehub11.6
06/17/08Ghost15010ripplysmallthick1out&backpaintednormflex shaft & freehub11.7/11.2 = 11.4
06/17/08Ghost15010ripplysmallthick.7out&backpaintednormflex shaft & freehub. NO PROP STRUT
11.8/11.2 = 11.5
06/28/08U Kanan
15010waves, ripples,
some calm
smallthin7.19out&backpaintednormflex shaft11
06/28/08U Kanan1505ripples

flex shaft11.5
06/28/08U Kanan1505ripplessmallthin1.13counter

flex shaft11.5
06/28/08U Kanan15010waves, ripples
smallthin10.3giant loop of lake - counter

flex shaft11
06/28/08U Kanan12010waves, ripples,
smallthin10.1giant loop of lake - clock

flex shaft10.1
06/28/08U Kanan1205ripples


flex shaft10.5
06/28/08U Kanan1005ripplessmallthin1clock

flex shaft9.6
06/28/08Glebmore1505-106 to 8" waves
smallthick2out & back

flex shaft, alum spiners
06/28/08Glebmore1505-108" wavessmallthick6clock loop entire lake

flex shaft, alum spiners11.3
smallthick.8out & back

flex shaft, alum spiners11.4
1. Every 5 kph of wind equates to .1 kph decrease in speed
2. Big rudder is .6 kph slower than small rudder. Small rudder is .1 kph slower than no rudder
3. Right hand turns dramatically slow the boat down.
4. Paint vs packing tape was worth a speed increase of .1 kph
5. Elliminating the prop strut is worth an additional .1 kph in speed.
6. Counter clockwise loops at Elbow Valley lake are worth an additional .2 to .3 kph average speed due to current (??? need to verify)
7. remove the seals and backing off the lock-nuts on the gear box are worth an additional .1 kph average speed.
8. The narrowed 1/4" spring steel shaft compared to the 3/8" stainless shaft is worth .1 kph speed increase

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4 Responses to “WOW! Spectacular day!”

  1. # Blogger Elrey

    You should consider changing out your crankset for Rotor cranks due to the dead spot being "harder" in the water than on your bike. Maybe there are other power meters that you can replace the SRM with that don't hog the bottom bracket. I haven't got experience with any of them, nor the Rotor cranks, even, but folks that I know that do use them lead me to believe that they might be useful, here.

    Upper Kananaskis lake sure is lovely. Training there must just suck, eh?  

  2. # Blogger fhe

    The rotor cranks do help with the dead spot. May I also suggest powercranks to train with? You may have seen these weird looking cranks somewhere because they are somewhat popular with triathletes. They are independent cranks, i.e. you need to complete the whole circle with one leg and you get no benefit from the other.

    They look weird because, at rest, they both hang down. If nothing else, they are a great deterrent to people considering stealing your bike.

    As for power meters that don't use cranks, may I recommend the Ergomo. An excellent and relatively cheap power meter, also made in Germany. The pickup is in the bottom bracket and uses optics so no losses.  

  3. # Blogger "the Dude"

    Just a photo of Bucky Fuller's rowing needle: needle

    (sounds like sewing needle, the long narrow pontoons acted a bit like cross country skis on the water)  

  4. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Nice boat!

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