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26 Feb 2012

Shoes

I've waited for this a long time. My old shoes where getting really old and worn out. And I'd found new shoes I wanted. It started back in August when I wore the old pair to a wedding. Jon suggested Dromartis. Those look 'normal', better said luxurious, and are good for riding. I kept searching and asked on Facebook what other others liked. Mike suggested Bont. Yes, he's somewhat biased, he doesn't pay for his Bont shoes. He did point me in the direction of shoes that appeared to be made for me.

I promised myself that I would buy a pair when I'd found more work/income. In the meantime, I performed more research on the web, and kept coming back to MTB 2's from the Australian brand Bont. However, when the time came that I allowed myself to buy them, I found a pair of MTB 1's on E-Bay. In my size and never worn for a good price. My size 43 weigh 740gr a pair.

It took a few weeks for the shoes to arrive. I immediately tried them on and was glad to learn they fitted. Not exactly, but length and width wise, they where fine. Now came to clever part, you can heat mold Bonts. I placed them in the oven for 20 minutes at 70 degrees Celcius. The resin now became soft so that the carbon nicely curved around my slender feet. In these shoes, your feet are completely supported by carbon. That makes them very stiff and comfortable. They even prevent my ankles from leaning inwards, like a also do with ice skates. The heat mold was so effective, that after that procedure, I could strap the Velcro 2cm further than before.

On my first rides, something was poking in my heels, but that's sorted now. I did had to cut away a millimetre or so from the sole, just around the cleat area. That rubbed on the pedal and completely blocked any sideways movement. Now, 400km later, it's all dialled in. They pedal real nicely and support my feet and ankles really well. I recommend this product!

Their stiffness has the side effect that walking should be limited to short distances. There's enough of rubber (replaceable, just like the clicky thing) to stand on, but they make you walk like a duck. So when I ride to something like the Easter meeting, I'll carry a pair of sandals for the walking at the campsite.

There's no Dutch brick store retailer for these shoes, but it's possible to buy them online. It's up to you if you want to do that.

15 Feb 2012

Alkmaar 2012

Due to the wintery weather, my usual mean of transportation to a race, the train, likely wouldn't have been the right choice. Fewer trains means less space for a 2.1 metre TF-ed Fuego and a tired rider. Luckily, I could travel with the van Dijken family. So I left at 8:30 in the morning to ride to their place and arrived in Alkmaar nicely on time, just before twelve. The night before I'd worked 'till 2am. But it's quite common for me to have less than ideal sleep before a race.

First thing I noticed in the velodrome was how cold it was. I even raced the criterium in long sleeves and with an extra shirt. Not a drop of sweat was on my skin today! It must have not been warmer than 10 degrees Celcius or so, instead of the usual 20, I think. According to Kreuzotter, that costs about halve a km/h. Second thing I noticed was that there where less than 20 participants. That resulted in 2 small fields in each criterium. But the field was competitive, resulting in two entertaining races.

Apparently, my 4km time trial went well. Or not bad, I don't know. 45.7kph sounds reasonable to me, but I have noting to compare it too. I felt more consistent than really strong.

And that stamina helped me in the 45 minute crit. There I averaged only slightly less than in the 5 minute something TT. There is the advantage of drafting, but still, it's almost 9 times as long. For a big part of the race, I rode together with David on his RazzFazz. I could keep up with him in his final sprint. The faster moments in the beginning of the race where a bit too fast for me. Good thing was that I got way better at staying close to the black line, instead of weaving up to the red line. The higher you are on the track, the more metres you ride.

So the race went well, but wasn't exciting nor spectacular for me. It was consistent, which is good. My speed was about the same as on the 2011 record day in Apeldoorn. Maybe I'll bring my carbon TT 'bent to the next race in Amsterdam. That needs some tinkering. It has proven itself during CV 2011. But again, that not a good reference point, as I was utterly slow that weekend. The bike masked that somewhat.

The result are here. Someone else photos are here.

8 Feb 2012

On a lake, without skates

Two weeks ago, I sold my skates. I hardly ever stood on the ice anymore, and when I did, it hurt my back. The money earned with that sell went to buying a longboard. More about that in a future blog post.

Monday I was out on a frozen lake. David and I rode their in our velomobiles. A 25km ride took us to the Hoornse Plas (lake). Steve was there with his IceBats. The temperature was around -8 degrees Celcius. Thanks to our Evo K and Mango however, the journey was pleasant.

After some preparation I pedalled two laps around the lake. Carefully manoeuvring around skaters and spectators. This is way more fun than on an ice rink! The propeller provides enough thrust to glide through fresh snow, which is handy when you have to overtake people.

After pedalling the IceBat I slid into my K. Most of the time I pedalled calmly, at the same speed as the skaters. Except for one part. There I went somewhat faster than would be possible on skates, on this type of ice.

The ride back went via a slightly different route than how we got there. An this on route some snow hadn't been cleared from the road. At one point my rear wheel slid aside. Thanks to plenty of counter steering, I kept a straight line. In my area, roads and cycle paths are kept clear so well, that I don't need winter tyres. My VM is on slicks year round.

5 Feb 2012

More things I should have mentioned earlier

Half January I went to Hoorn for a IceBat demo with Steve. We had 2 runs in a programme built around marathon skating. Our demos went well and there was quite a crowd. After 2nd demo run it was time for a platoon of women the skate 60 laps. Now during the men, 100 laps, I already found out that this sport is quite interesting to watch. It fast, close and full of competition. But well, you get the idea, the 60 lap race was nicer to watch.

Back to 'bents. The Pioneer's TF went to the Q559. And the big Pio got the Fuego's rack. Yivalte got a TF too last year, so her rack was hanging in the shed. (?) Mounting this smaller rack saves weight and improves the looks.

The seat height of Lobbes is 66cm. The suspended front fork ads quite some height, and because of that,  I corrected the head tube angle by changing the position of the rear shock. With the suspension soaking up the bumps, the hub dyno producing power for lots of light and the the fact that I'm higher than most cars, this big red 'bent is perfect for getting through town real quickly and easy. And if someone just isn't looking, there's an air horn under my seat.

Now that some parts of the road are slippery, I use my winter bike, the Flevobike Oke-ja. It's dead easy in slick conditions and the chain is very well protected. Slow, but it get's me where I have to be.

Two weeks ago, I was on a ride with my Evo K. I approached a pony, pulling a thing on 4 wheels, with a young woman steering it. Ponies are more relaxed than horses, but nevertheless, I slowed down and carefully rode past. She got of the 4 wheeled thing and calmed down her pony. And than she said something pretty special. First, thank you, but that's actually pretty normal. Followed by: he's familiar with a yellow one, but this one is new to him, it's, a different construction. (I replied with a short clickityclack from the freewheel, as that might have been the scary thing for the pony) Someone seeing the difference between 2 types of velomobiles, when their not standing side by side, is spectacular. As far as I know, most people don't come further than that it's something yellow. Not only did she notice that my K is white, she also saw that it's differently shaped than a Quest. A truly memorable experience. I should have asked her phone number!

Anyway, we said goodbye and she also said that her friend was down the road, with another pony. This amazon too thanked me for slowing down and waiting for her to ride by. Velonauts and amazons sharing the roads. With some patience from both sides, all is well.  
Men rides horses too, I know, but I hardly ever meet them. And the few times that I did, they where less friendly  (not more than that) than these young ladies. And I don't know the English male equivalent for amazon.

3 Feb 2012

Many things

Wow, lot's of little things happened in the past month. Let's start with a serious thing. I've got a new little job. It involves bikes, offers variation and pays well enough. Insiders will know the rest of the story by now.

The Q451 became a Q559. I've bought parts from various sellers and with those I've built a wheel set of 1700gram. 100gram lighter than the stock 451 set. The rims are quite heavy at nearly 500gram, but they are affordable. The hubs are from e-bay and together weigh less than 400gram. The spokes are 'Lasers' from Sapim. For tyres I used as wide as possible, 28mm Conti GP, from Dutch Bike Bits.

This upgrade make the Q better at long day rides. And to make it even better for it's new role, I've given it the Pioneers TF. The Pio now is easier to use in and around town. And with the slender Fuego rack mounted at to the seat of it, it looks great. For an unknown reason, there's no photo of that yet.

Winter has finally arrived here. With it come the good things as bright skies and clear roads. Until today that is. Snow is pretty though. The low temperatures do slow you down. The engine performes less with the cold air and tyres lose their suppleness. Despite all this, my Evo K still is fast. With -10, it's as 'slow' as my Mango was with +25 and a minor tailwind.

Now with all the snow though, I'll use my winter bike, the Oke-ja. Slow, yes. But I need the daily doses of riding.

For the last months, every time that I went for a ride, I've been pushing quite hard. And that 'training' seems to work. I feel stronger than I did in 2011. Downside is that I've lost 1-2kg. The poolwater is cold....

Well, that was it for this little post. I'll leave you with a photo from my up-graded Cruzbike. I'll be back soon with more.