Sept 9

September 9, 2005

Do it right or don't do it at all, the first fairing shell, and another epic ride.

John Mackay arrived at my house at 9:00 am on Wednesday morning to help me lay-up the first carbon fairing shell. We went to lay down the first layer of fiberglass and I said "Dude, this fairing mold BLOWS!" It did. It does. I'm kind of pissed about the whole thing. The bottom is falling out and it's been bondo'ed back in place, there are still visible glue line waveys and one side has a bit of a ridge in it near the nose. Also the surface finish is only 100 grit sanded.

The plan was to produce carbon fairings from the mold with a couple layers of sacrificial fiberglass on the outside to sand down. But that's more of a band-aid than the proper way of doing it. If the mold's finish was like a mirror, then the fairings pulled from it would also be like a mirror - and that's what a streamliners body should be like. Not like this.

So - it was decided that we would pull a couple of fiberglass-only 'learning' shells from this funky mold to use for speed tests, and trial runs on the track. I need something to get a feel for what it will be like to be cooped up in this shell for hours on end and to figure out a vision/windows system that will work. These temporary fiberglass shells will allow me to figure all that out.

I'll make a third fiberglass shell and send it out to my auto body guys to finish the right way - like glass. Then I will pull a new mold from that plug, and make finished carbon fairing shells from that new mold.


The ultra distance M5, ready for battle.

I did another epic ride yesterday - 320 km (200 miles) the Highwood loop again. The idea was to repeat that monster loop to see if I could beat my previous time. And I did - sort of. Two weeks ago, I did the 320 km loop in 11 hours, 35 minutes. Yesterday, I finished in 11:34, precisely 1 minute faster. However, some bad weather blew in around the 250 km mark and I battled headwinds for the last 70 km home.

My average watts on the first attempt was 123.8 compared to 126.6 watts on yesterdays ride. And, it looks like my efficiency was better yesterday also - heart rate average on first trip was 123.9 and my HR yesterday was a much lower 116.1

Wildlife spotting list:

1. Coyote crossing the road
2. Moose grazing at side of the road
3. Black Bear crossing the road just in front of me
4. The same heard of big horn sheep as last week lounging in the middle of the highway

I have had fairly good results with Hammer gel in the past, but it was making me gag yesterday. Lately when ever my stomach starts feeling nauseous, I switch to some solid food and feel better immediately. I think my body is starting to reject the Hammer Gel.

Here is my hydration / nutrition supply pack:

It consists of two, 3-liter water bags and 5 flasks of hammer gel (300 calories per hour per, 2 hours per flask).

I felt pretty good the whole day except for the periodic stomach issues and the unexpected weather turn. The reason I did the ride on Thursday instead of my usual Friday is because the weather forecast was calling for cold and rain for Friday. The last 3 hours were challenging to say the least - The temperature at Black Diamond was 30 degrees C (86 F) and it was 9 degrees C (48 F), raining and dark by the time I arrived home!

So with an empty iPod battery, every layer of clothing on, rain starting and darkness quickly surrounding me, my good buddy Greg B showed up to accompany me on the last 15 km home! Yea Greg!!! I was so glad to see him - just someone to talk to at that point - made my day!


Here are the action shots of yesterdays fairing craziness:

1. I treated the mold surface with about 4 coats of rub-on Teflon car wax, then 2 coats of PVA mold release that I sprayed on. I have brushed PVA on in the past, but the sprayer did a much better job of spreading out a fine mist.
2. Before starting the wet lay-up, I wanted to be sure that my vacuum bag was going to work. The day before, Ben and I had painted a thick layer of epoxy on the upper surface of the mold to seal the MDF. The vacuum seemed to hold.
3. John took the day off to help. John is great because he likes to get to work and get the job done without any childish nonsense.
4. SAFETY FIRST! John demonstrates a common 'beginner' mistake when wearing a safety mask and drinking coffee.
5. Five layers of 5 oz fiberglass cloth with a 5th layer at the nose.
6. I had forgot to spray PVA mold release around the 2 to 3 inch flange, so I had to pry the edges away from the mold top with a screw driver. But once that was done, a crow bar inserted under the nose was all that was required to pop the fairing shell out of the mold.

This mold release treatment plan really works: Teflon car wax + PVA.

7. I was surprised at how strong only 4 layers of glass was - I'll make the next half out of only 3 layers.
8. Very happy with the outcome. As you can see, the fairing is a perfect replica of the mold - including all of the molds imperfections!
9. This is a shot before 3 inches of excess edge is cut away
10. Here is the fairing after the edge lip was cut away
11. Very easy to mount on the frame - it fit perfectly. I temporarily secured the fairing shell to the frame with 4 small wood screws. I have ordered some airplane cowling quarter turn fasteners.
12. Ben's fairing design called for one long wheel fairing to cover both the front wheel and rear wheel. For the first test, I will run the fairing without any additional wheel fairings.


Still to do:

1. Add a rear caliper brake
2. Trace the real perimeter outline using an actual fairing half shell (when I get one!), and cut out the perimeter
3. Edge laminate the perimeter
4. Thicken the frame to avoid using the spacers on the brackets
5. Bond in the bottom brackets
6. Make new remote steering out of carbon and UHMW
7. Bond on the right hand rear wheel dome.

8. Bond fasteners to frame for the left hand wheel dome
9. Add a thin coat of epoxy to the left hand wheel disc because it is not air tight (and fill holes in the dome)
10. New carbon fork?
11. Carbon wheel disc and wheel dome for front wheel
12. TEMP FAIRING (right)
13. TEMP FAIRING (left)
13. Wheel fairing
14. Seat (wait until you know exactly where you want it)
15. Vision system ???
16. Mid drive spider lightening holes


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