Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Karate Monkey Landspeed Record attempt

In my bid to build the fastest Karate Monkey on the planet I have a way to go. My second attempt at wind tunnel testing on the Rimutaka incline proved problematic as a southerly came through. I was in danger of getting hypothermia in the actual tunnel as the wind tried to wrestle the 2nd rain jacket I was trying to put on from my grip.

It's at this time of the year (spring) that the weather is always at its worst. Winter is a doddle in Wellington. It's always mild and mostly dry and most of the time you don't even have to wear gloves. Ok, it snowed this year. But that has never happened before. Spring sucks. I am getting probably 1 dry ride out of 3, and the trails are a mess.

The first speed enhancement I tried was my home brewed aero-bars, followed by a reverse slammed riser stem, the Freeload rack speed-pod, then the Wheelbuilder.com wheel covers (disc wheel emulator). A 46 tooth big ring helps too.

Room for an expresso pot, tools and spare shorts. 
Wind tunnel testing is all very well, but its on the race track where you see if all the hours of computer modelling you have been doing pays off. Unfortunately the disc cover caused a slight rubbing on the brake caliper, so I had to eliminate it from the test. I could have run my tri-spoke on the front, but that would have meant putting the v-brakes back on. Too hard.

The race was on what the UK Time Trial testers would call a "sportsmans" course, a winding 22kms in the country with lots of the nasty coarse 3/4 chip that we specialise in here in NZ. You can tell it was slow when the fastest time was a  41kmh on a hi-end TT rig. We got hammered with a rain squall coming through as well.

The best I could manage was 35kmh in 37.25 mins. Pretty pathetic, but with 32 spokes smashing into the wind, Armadillo tires and very wide handlebars I guess I shouldn't have expected too much. I did sit on 54kmh for a bit on the wednesday worlds ride early that week, but then I also went out the back some time shortly afterwards : )


The fat tires are back on now. But if anyone else wants to have a crack, we can start with the Karate Monkey World Landspeed record at 35kmh for 20 kms. All results must be verified.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A different kind of parrot sketch

I got out on my road bike before work yesterday, but by golly it felt horrible compared to my Karate Monkey. Tiny carbon handlebars with negligible brakes. I was buzzed though when a flock of about 7 Rosellas flew directly over my head. Better than the Coach Track Magpie who must have had a crack at me 8 times in about 800 metres a week back. Then as I was going past the Rimutaka prison turn-off I saw an adolescent Pukeko chick with its parent and directly across the road were a pair of Paradise Ducks with the tiniest of chicks. Unfortunately this morning on my commute I found a severly injured male Paradise duck on the road that I had to euthanise. A real shame as they are said to mate for life. I thought I would cheer myslelf up with this clip of a Kakapo getting jiggy on some guys head.





Sunday, October 02, 2011

Wind tunnel testing for Brevet

Well I know I said I wasn't competitive about this thing... but there was a tunnel, and it had wind in it...

I left work at 4pm on friday with the idea of a getting a longer ride in, leaving the weekend open for all the other stuff like, house maintainance, market and veggie shopping and as it turned out, BBQ prep. 

I loaded up on batteries and a cookie time, with the idea of heading to the top of the Rimutaka Incline summit, travelling as much as I could on the gravel. Unfortunately I always get lost at the bit up the Plateau road, so I bypassed this and had to do some tarmac from Moonshine North. Next time I will sort it out.

I was testing my new home modified aero bars and I was rapt with the way they felt. Actually more comfortable, more aero and lighter than the Profile T2's that I used in the Brevet last time. The position is a bit more extreme than the position on the T2 as the pads are ON the handlebar rather than BEFORE the handlebar. I was amazed at how much control I had when I had built up my confidence, and that was with the narrow CX tires on. Unfortunately it was quite a short ride, with a tail wind on the way out, and downhill on the return, it was a little bit over 3 hours and not even dark when I got home. Maybe next time I will drop down to Cross Creek to make it a bit longer.

Its great getting out on the gravel river trails, no stress from the traffic and quite relevant to XC or Brevet riding. I have tended to completely ignore them in the past but no more! People don't tend to think of the Hutt Valley as a Picnic/River destination but its as good as many other places in NZ that people rave about.