June 14

June 14, 2005

Wrapping up Rocket work, the new speedbike which still has no name, Ironman training and the summer schedule.

I really need to turn the page on the Rocket - No more work until this winter, as I have way too many things to do from now until the fall. So today I spent some time finishing up all the odds and ends to get it in good working order so that I can ride and enjoy it. This, unfortunately included tossing the Pantour front wheel and reverting back to my Zipp. It would appear that the Pantour wasn't designed for the kind of lateral forces the Rocket's front wheel must endure - I had too many problems with it rubbing against the fairing slot, and caliper brakes during turns. Also because it flexed quite a bit laterally, it didn't feel all that secure or efficient.

The other change was to saw off the pointy Spock-ear rear wheel fairing tips. I am going to insert a custom CNC cut aluminum cap which will include some high intensity LED lights into these open holes. I also think it looks better without the extreme pointy tip. Now the curve at the rear of the wheel fairings matches the curve on the rear of the main fairing.

The last thing I did was to make some minor adjustments to the seat - I lifted the seat bottom up about 3 inches and moved it back about an inch. Now it feels PERFECT. I rode it for about 30 minutes around the neighborhood today and it feels really, really great. The ride is noticeably rougher without the Pantour front wheel, but it's way acceptable - especially with the Pantour rear suspension. I'd like to slap the SRM meter back onto it and run some watts tests some time this summer because it feels very fast. On a flat road with no wind my cruising speed is easily 30 kph with very mild spinning (90 heart rate). It's still a bit of a bitch to climb up hills because it's so heavy, but hey, you can't have everything right?

On the Rocket agenda for later this fall - early winter:

1. Install rear lights
2. Install stereo
3. Some simple interior work like paint and seat upholstery
4. More body work and PAINT!!!!

This is the cool bike rack my shop helper dude extrordinare Angel Basilis made for me:

Not shown is the Kett trike, Helen's Trek tri bike, Helen's Kestrel tri bike, and my Elite tri bike - oh and the new speedbike prototype.

Progress on the new speedbike has been slow. I really need to come up with a name for it - here are a couple of quick concept renderings (the black holes are windows):

"Invader" because it looks like some strange Alien spaceship.

"Interceptor" because it also looks like a missile.

As always, your comments are welcome.

The fairing is being CNC machined from MDF at Laser Spec, Inc. It should be ready in about two weeks. I know it would be relatively easy to simply use the female MDF mold to do a carbon fiber wet layup, but I really have my heart set on using the mold to vacuum forming clear PETG plastic. The big advantage with the PETG is I can paint the INSIDE, leaving small holes for the windows which will be seamless on the outside - very important to maintain some laminar flow near the nose. The other advantage is I can make it really thin and light because the frame should support it enough that it won't deflect in the wind.

The next project on the agenda is to build a small vacuum forming table to test and learn more about the process.

I have some aluminum parts at my brothers shop for CNC cutting, and received my shipment of aluminum bottom bracket shells and headtubes from Nova Cycle Supply. The shells and cut plates get welded together to make my bolt on parts for the headsets and bottom brackets.

I will order my carbon fiber for the frame this week and hopefully start that process next week. Eric Krueger from BenderBikes has offered his expert consulting on constructing the carbon fiber frame.

The reason I need to get cracking on this new speedbike, is I realized how little time I'll actually have this summer. My summer schedule is here:

Greg's Summer 2005

Ironman is in less than 2 weeks. I have made some pretty big advances in my bike fitness this season - thanks TOTALLY to my coach Jason Yanota. Jason specializes in watts based training. If you have a watts meter or are thinking about getting one, then you NEED a good training plan to go with it!!! A power meter + training program is a VERY powerful combination in my opinion. In the human powered vehicle world, I don't believe enough attention is paid to keeping the ENGINE in superb running condition. It's not ALL about the bike.

Hopefully, this improvement will translate to a better Ironman time, but you never know. I know from experience that anything can happen on Ironman day.

After Ironman in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho I have until July 19th (basically 18 days) to get the new speed bike FINISHED. I'll work day and night if I have to, but 18 days should be enough time to finish it if I don't have to rely on anyone else.

From July 19 to 31 we are touring Switzerland by bicycle - LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT!!

After that, it's two weeks at our cabin in Montana where I can start to log some serious M5 miles.

September and October will be my big training months - mega hours on the M5, and on the new speedbike building up a solid base.

If all goes as planned, I should be ready for the big event at the end of October!

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