May 9

May 9, 2006

Training update, Discovery Channel, nanotechnology laminar flow polish, Eureka California race track test and tune day, a very slick ShapeLock cell phone holder, new iPod and some gearing changes.

My training is going well so far. Jason had me do a 20 minute maximum power test the other day. It was the first time I had done a test like that on the M5 lowracer, so I wasn't sure what to expect. My 20 minute power on my road bike was 280 watts shortly before Ironman Arizona. Last May, I increased it to 308 watts after doing 3 weeks of LT intervals.

According to hundreds of hours of watts, time and hear rate data I have accumulated over the years on BOTH my upright road bike as well as the M5 recumbent lowracer, the average efficiency loss due to the different biomechanical positions as measured by heart rate from a road bike position to a recumbent position is 10%, while there is a 14% lower average watts per training ride. Here is a summary of the biomechanical differences between the recumbent lowracer and the road bike geometries based on SRM data from a random selection of 35 training sessions:

Geometry Average watts
for the ride
Average heart rate
for the ride
Watts per heart beat % difference
Road bike 141.05 watts 117.76 bpm 1.19 watts per beat 10%
Recumbent lowracer 121.17 watts 111.37 bpm 1.08 watts per beat

That said, I was expecting my 20 minute M5 test to be from 10 to 14% less than my most recent road bike test which would have put it somewhere around 246 watts.

The test resulted in an average of 267 watts for the 20 minutes and an average of 154 bpm heart rate. This compares to 280 average watts and 162 bpm heart rate on my road bike. The fact that my heart rate was lower on the M5 test might indicate that my actual 20 minute watts value could be even higher than 267 - possibly even 280 which would match what I can do on the road bike. This goes against my average biomechanical difference comparisons, but oh well.. I'll take it.

At my current weight of 70.7 Kg, it puts my watts/Kg at 3.8 which according to the Power Profile, puts me at Mid cat 3, bottom of Cat 2. I was at the bottom of Cat 1 last May on my road bike. I would like to get my M5 fitness up to at least mid Cat 2 territory. If I were to get my weight down to 68.9 Kg (152 pounds) and my 20 minute watts up to 290 (10 watts more than my recent road bike test and 20 watts more than my recent M5 test), I could get into the mid Cat 2 area.

How does all of this relate to an ultra-endurance event lasting 24 hours? Well, the idea is that as your efficiency increases at the top end, the curve increases a bit all the way down to your low end. I don't think Jason thinks that working on my 5 minute power will do much for my 24 hour power, but definitely working on my Lactate threshold power (30 minutes to 45 minutes), should increase my fat burning power which is exactly what I want to target for the 24 hour record attempt.

My training was up to 13 hours last week with the first real long M5 ride of 4 hours. I am planning a 6 hour ride this Friday. My training for the next 3 months will slowly see that once per week long ride increase from 4 hours to about 15 hours. In between the long rides, I'll do some intensity work which should see that 20 minute power # and LT increase.


I have booked Redwood Acres race track in Eureka, California for May 22 and 23 (in two weeks!) for a CriticalPower test and tune day. The idea is to drive CP down to Eureka for the test and tune day, and leave her there. I'll fly home and then fly back to attempt the 24 hour distance record sometime this summer when the weather window looks good.

The oval track is only 3/8 mile long, so it will definitely be more difficult mentally for me. I'm really not sure how the extra turning will effect my average speed, but the oval corners are gradual, so I doubt there will be much slow down. The track surface is supposed to be quite good - they re-paved it last summer. It's also very flat which should be an advantage.

Ron Bobb attempted to set a new 24 hour HPV distance record in the masters category on the Redwood acres track in 2002 and he though the track was ideal. You can read about his record attempt here.

I did quite a bit if research on average weather for a number of locations across the western US. I was very surprised to find that the best location as far as average winds, average temperatures and precipitation was Eureka, Ca. I don't have summer months on the table below, but summer is definitely OUT for Alabama, Nevada and Texas due to the heat.

Average daily wind speed in Eureka over the last 5 years for the month of July is 6 kph, and 5 kph for August. Average high temperatures are only 17 degrees C in July and 16 degrees in August. July and August seem to be quite dry for the area also.

So, I have quite a bit of work to do in the next 2 weeks, but I think I'm there. I am really hoping that Bob the painter is able to finish the paint job this week!


Once the shells have been painted, we need to wet sand the clear coat to get it super polished. Buzz, my man in Opelika Alabama, contacted me about some research they are doing for a new company called "Logistiseal".

It's supposedly a nano-technology firm who has developed a polish for surfaces that increases laminar flow. They have tested the polish on airplane wings and have data to show a significant increase in performance due to more laminar flow over the leading edge of the wing. Buzz has been testing the polish on the Semi-trailers that run around the NCAT test track and they are hoping to show an improvement in gas mileage due to increased laminar flow across the fenders of the semi trailers.

Once Logistiseal learned about my streamliner and record attempt, they contacted me and offered to donate some polish for CriticalPower. It should be interesting to test. Ideally, I'd like to run some watts tests without the polish, then the same day, run the same test WITH the polish.


I got a call from Discovery Channel yesterday! They are interested in going out to Eureka, Ca to cover the record attempt! This is pretty cool and I really hope they can do it.


I am getting better working with that ShapeLock ultra-high molecular weight low temperature thermoplastic. The biggest drawback to making part with it is the 'flintstones' look your parts end up with - like it was carved out of a block of granite. I found that you can make a better looking part if you make the part much bigger than you need, and then use the bench grinder to remove material.

I needed a holster for my cell phone so I melted a large glob of the ShapeLock pellets and jammed my cell phone into it:

Then I worked the hot blob up and around 3 of the edges of the phone. When it cooled, I pulled the phone out and used the grinder remove excess material from all around it. To mount the phone holster on the frame, I reheated the bottom of it with a heat gun. Then I mashed it onto the plastic tubing that I use to mount the SRM meter on. After a further cleanup and excess material removal using sand paper and a grinder, I drilled a hole through it and bolted it onto the SRM power meter mounting tube. It works GREAT!! The phone slides in and it fits very tight.

As with everything, not everything works perfectly. For some unknown reason, I can't hear incoming phone calls ring through my headphones. Go figure. I hear everything else though the ChatterBox headphones, but not when the phone rings. I can even hear the tone played when pressing the keys on the phone, and conversations, once answered, are crystal clear. To resolve this, I angled the cell phone so that I can see the small light on the cover flash green when I get a call. Then all I have to do is flip the phone open and it will answer the call. I can flip it open with my thumb without taking my hand off the steering bar. Outgoing calls are a bit of a problem. I can toggle through my phone book using the main menu key on the phone, but it's so close to my head that I can't really read any of the names.

Here is what the cockpit now looks like with the cell phone holder:

I had an old 30 gig iPod that I wasn't using because the battery is toast. I figured that I could use it in CriticalPower because I can wire it up to the Lithium Ion battery - so that's what I did. It's PERFECT because it contains most of our entire 30 gig music library. To see how long the lithium battery would last, I ran the iPod at full volume for 48 hours straight and the battery is still at about 80% charge!

Another cool feature of the old iPod is the in-line remote control. I found it difficult before to control the nano iPod using the click wheel while driving. Too much bouncing and vibrating in the moving streamliner to be able to easily work the click wheel. I mounted the remote control on the steering bar right beside my two way radio push-to-talk switch. It works PERFECT!!! With the push of my thumb I can make a radio call, pause or resume music, adjust the volume or advance to the next or previous song. Very cool!

It's VERY crowded in there, but I have all the comforts of home. Including a bathroom. I rigged up a pee tube the other day - basically a plastic tube connected to a short piece of soft and flexible silicon plastic tubing which terminate in a connector that slides into a receptacle on a disposable rubber prophylactic thingy.

And finally - I was doing some cadence calculations the other day and figured out that I just didn't have quite enough upper range on my current gear set-up. So - I removed the small 28 tooth chain ring on the mid drive and replaced it with a 24 tooth ring. The smallest gear on the cassette is 12, so I can still go to an 11 if I need it. At the CdA of .3, Crr of .004, 143 watts will get me 58 kph with a cadence of 83 rpm.


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