Wind in My Face

Lupine Rotlicht 2-Watt Tail-Light

The Lupine Rotlicht (“red light”) is a diminutive go-anywhere tail-light with some nifty features. Made in Germany as with its headlight and headlamp siblings, it is a first class unit whose flexible strap allows it to be easily mounted to a bike frame or seat tube. The battery is integrated LiIon.

Read my review of the Lupine Rotlicht. I’ve been using it for about two months now. Highly recommended.

Elevation profile for Everest Challenge Stage 1
Lupine Rotlicht
Aura SSD for 2013 Mac Pro

Everest Challenge 2015: Not Happening as far as I can tell

I am unable to contact Everest Challenge race organizer Steven Barnes by phone, email, or his apparent Facebook page or AntiGravityCycling blog. I am not the only one asking.

I can find no mention of an Everest Challenge 2015 anywhere on the race signup sites either. As far as I can tell, the Everest Challenge is no more.

Elevation profile for Everest Challenge Stage 1
Everest Challenge jersey

Everest Challenge 2015: NOT HAPPENING?!!!!

Fall is the most glorious time of year to be in the Eastern Sierra or White Mountains and the Everest Challenge has long been my favorite race. I’ve been training for it this year, having done (almost) seven double centuries.

Alas, it looks like the Everest Challenge for 2015 is not to be.

Well, I hope Steven Barnes is OK, because this is just weird.

Better late planning than never

Over from the Facebook page 26 Aug:

The EC flyer is still in somebody's INBOX over at USAC...I cannot post it until approved...but I will put up a "draft copy" tomorrow morning if it is not ready to go live by then.

Not quite as superlative as the traditional EC route, to be sure.
But the basics are the same. Two days (9/26-27, 2015) with checkin Friday night. Eastern Sierra and White/Inyo Mountains. 28540" of climbing, with 106 miles and 16440' on Stage 1 and then 128 miles with 12,100' for Stage 2.

With the additional choice to ride less either day and still get credited with finisher status (non-competitive and younger Juniors ONLY), and the usual festivities.
More tomorrow either way.

Off Topic: California Water

Most of my neighbors are water pigs, with green lawns and extensive landscaping (on large lots) in arid California. Since they averaged massive water use over the past year, they get to keep using hoggish amounts of water, regardless of family size or appropriateness of landscaping, albeit subject to a 33% mandated reduction as is everyone.

I have no front or back grass lawn, just olives and oaks and scraggly weeds and some badly stressed redwood trees, a very few garden plants and fruit trees.

For years I was frugal with water. My frugality is now rewarded by getting screwed by the California Water Board: if I go over the measly 13 CCF allowance, I get hit with a big surcharge. My 5-person household gets no extra water vs two retirees with no children and extensive landscaping. How equitable.

My water-pig neighbors are probably using 50 or 100 CCF vs my 13 CCF, but since they averaged high use the past year, they get an amount of water commensurate with past usage.

Not commensurate with living needs: whether they have a family or not has no bearing. Whether they have wasteful water-sucking plants has no bearing. This is government at work with its usual ' pick winners and losers' dystopian way, applying neither rules of fairness nor allowing a free market to function, but instead rewarding Water Pigs. If there is to be no free market, then the water allowance ought to be based on family size, not past usage for irrigating some absurdly extensive landscaping in an arid climate (which seemed wasteful 20 years ago no less than today).

It will probably cost me an extra $200 to save my redwood trees due to surcharges, while my Water Pig neighbors use many times the water at lower rates. Thank you, Governor 'Brown'.

California Water bill

Alta Alpina Aborted — Stomach Issues

Alta Alpina 8-Pass double century (20,500 vertical feet) was going swimmingly with outstanding cool conditions. I was in 2nd place with a substantial lead, and based on start times (I checked upon return), only 5-10 minutes behind 1st place—and that was after the trouble started which suddenly impaired my pace about half way up Ebbetts in a major way ( I dropped/passed everyone but the leader).

My stomach went south. The day before, my stomach had been bloated like a beer-drinking slob (no idea why) and the morning of the race too. I thought I could ride through it, and I did for about 150 miles and 14000 vertical feet. But it turned into a sharp right side abdominal pain and a queasy stomach that did not like food inputs, though I forced down Hammer HEED and some licorice, but my feeling was that the stomach had just shut down, so nothing worked. Power plummeted drastically and I thought I might crash descending Ebbetts such was my distress. I rested 20 minutes at the rest stop at the base of Monitor, then tried going up, but it was game over—had to bail just before the climb up Monitor Pass. Even getting back was on pathetic impulse power.

In the end I did 165 miles and just over 14,000 vertical. It was a solid ride, but it just feels like failure—I detest quitting any race. But I was in such a condition I deemed it stupid to proceed. Most frustrating is not knowing the bloating trigger.

Veloflex Vlaanderen 700 X 27C tubular tire

Veloflex Vlaanderen 700 X 27C Tubular: Fantastic for the Alta Alpina Challenge.

Important: see my previous notes on the Veloflex Vlaanderen 700 X 27C Tubular.

The Vlaanderen as a front tire just rocks as discussed there. Handling, comfort, rolling resistance, high speed descents—impressive. I think it will be my tire of choice for this type of event.

Outstanding handling and ride quality aside, the Vlaanderen allows me to descend significantly faster by perhaps ~5 mph. The large contact patch and ~+60g mass adds a stability over the Sprinter that to me really makes a difference in the feeling of being “hooked up” to the road.

Veloflex Vlaanderen 700 X 27C tubular tire
OWC ThunderBay 4 Rocks!
4 bays, up to 32TB, RAID-5 option.

Veloflex Vlaanderen Tubular 700 X 27C: Putting to the test for Alta Alpina 8-Pass Challenge

Readers know that I’m a huge fan of Veloflex tubular tires; I’ve ridden probably 60K miles on them in the past 8 years, going through at least 60 tires (I’ve lost count), and I know how each model performs (Record, Sprinter, Criterium, Roubaix, and now Vlaanderen).

See review of the Veloflex Vlaanderen now includes extensive ride notes.

Tomorrow July 18, I’m doing the Alta Alpina 8-Pass Challenge club ride (50 qualified riders max, the usual late-June yearly event was canceled due to forest fires). Which tire to run on the front?

Front tire choice for a double century involves competing considerations:

  • Risk of flats.
  • Handling and traction.
  • Comfort and stability for fast downhills, including behavior when hitting unexpected pavement cracks and other road hazards, particularly when fatigued and a bit less alert.
  • Rolling resistance and weight.

For years my tire of choice for the front for events where I care about time and finish standing has been the Veloflex Sprinter which offers outstanding performance and low weight. When I felt the risk of flats was lower, the Veloflex Record was preferred for even lighter weight and quicker handling (front only, Sprinter on the rear).

After about 1000 miles with the Vlaanderen including usage on Sierra Nevada roads, I’ve concluded that its ~60 gram weight penalty over the Sprinter is well worth it. Moreover it seems to shrug off flats; I’ve not even had a pinhole leak as yet*. And hitting hidden cracks and such on a few occassions has shown just how nice the 27C volume can be. The large contact patch and spherical tire shape makes for superb handling on turns of any kind. The extra mass and contact patch adds a distincly more stable feel on high speed dowhnills (40+ mph), to the point that I feel comfortable at significantly higher speeds than with the lighter Sprinter and Record (and in the back of my mind is the more robust casing and higher volume for surprises at speed).

Bottom line: the sum total of the Veloflex Vlaanderen characteristics has persuaded me to use it for this Alta Alpina , in spite of its ~60g extra weight over the 20,500' of climbing.

Update, post-event: The Vlaanderen as a front tire just rocks as discussed above. Handling, comfort, rolling resistance, high speed descents—impressive. I think it will be my tire of choice for this type of event.

Outstanding handling and ride quality aside, the Vlaanderen allows me to descend significantly faster by perhaps ~5 mph. The large contact patch and ~+60g mass adds a stability over the Sprinter that to me really makes a difference in the feeling of being “hooked up” to the road, especially if there is buffeting wind or uneven pavement.

* For a double century, I generally use 1 fluid ounce (1/2 tube) of Stans NoTubes as a precaution in both front and rear tires (in advance); it’s no fun peeling a tire in a double century and the sealant usually makes pinhole punctures a non-event. This adds about 30 grams per tire, which makes the tire weight difference even less relevant in percentage terms.

Veloflex Vlaanderen 700 X 27C tubular tire

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