Aug 22

August 22, 2005

I am becoming a bit stressed.

I had tentatively planned for a 24 hour record attempt at the end of October at the Alabama pavement test track, and it is now only 2 months away and I realize that I need to start making some plans for that attempt as well as some commitments (travel arrangements, hotels, airline tickets, volunteers, officials, etc, etc).

In order for me to make a 100% commitment to doing it, I had determined that these 3 very, very minimum requirements needed to be met:

1. I had to have a working vehicle road-worthy and safe.

For obvious reasons, the streamliner must be able to withstand 24 hours of constant riding without breaking, constant maintenance, etc, etc. So far, I have only a few hours on a frame that isn't quite finished yet. I feel that I still have a few weeks worth of work to get it to state where it should be solid enough for a long endurance test on the local track here in Calgary.

2. I needed to be certain that in training, I could maintain an average wattage output of at least 120 watts over at least 1/2 of the 24 hour period.

I am following a rigid training schedule that I set up for myself that ramps up the weekly long ride distance every week to a maximum of 18 hours 2 weeks before the scheduled event. That final ride will probably involve a sustained effort in the enclosed streamliner around the local track. My longest ride so far was 10 hours long where I ended up with an average of 122 watts including long periods of coasting, short breaks and relatively easy riding. I would say that this requirement has been met - I don't see any reason why I couldn't end up with a 24 hour wattage average of 130 to 150 on 'race day'.

3. CdA of the vehicle to be at least .5 (sq ft)

Theoretically, the fairing has a CdA of around .2'ish, but I don't have one yet to test! The mold is finished, but requires some manual sanding and I am still probably a couple of weeks away from having something to test. As a worse case scenario, I would think that I should be able to manage a CdA (sq ft) of at least .5 (that would be pretty crappy, but it like I said, it's the worst case scenario that would still acceptable).

4. Crr of the vehicle to be at least .004

My tests the other day confirmed a Crr of .0037 on some pretty poor pavement. The pavement is bumpy and there are two very large cracks running through it. The pavement on the test track is extremely smooth. Even if my test results are flawed, I still think on the smooth Alabama track that the Crr will definitely be less than .004

An average watts output of 122 watts, CdA of .5 sq ft, Crr of .004, a bike weight of 40 lbs and the average temp and pressure of Opelika, Alabama at the end of October nets me an average speed of 48.6 kph or 725 miles which would break the existing record of 635 miles. The 122 watt average includes some rest time.

Again, this is the bare minimum of what is required and I certainly hope I can do much better than that.

I am very close to being able to make this commitment, but not 100% yet - thus the reason for my nervousness.

I am also concerned about this planned for Oct 29th date coinciding with decent weather. After reading a summary of all the 1 hour attempts, I realize that weather is a HUGE factor. The second factor was mechanical malfunctions like a tire blow-out, and the third most likely is a crash. I need to think very carefully about safety!!

I feel that my best opportunity to get a record or two, would be to basically camp-out at the Alabama track and plan to make a record attempt every single weekend for a month. That way, there would be no pressure to get it done in one single shot. If something fails - like a mechanical problem or something else, then I always have next week. The problem with this approach is it would be far to costly to fly in and out all of my support crew. The only way this approach would work, would be to have local support people to call upon each weekend. I may take a look at this possibility.

That way, I could drive the vehicle down there along with all of the necessary supplies and tools and equipment and make a record attempt the first weekend.

If the first attempt failed, then I could fly home on Monday and fly back on Friday in time for a second attempt that Saturday morning. I could probably justify repeating this a few more times until I achieved my goals. Return flights to Atlanta are only $480 if I book well enough in advance. I would have to factor in hotel stays for each visit, plus a rental car.

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