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Critical Mercedes Sprinter Breaking-In and Maintenance Information

Mercedes WILL NOT tell you the proper break-in needs, namely oil requirements, due to the heavy hammer of EPA regulations. To wit, Mobil 1 will NOT allow proper engine break-in. The 2018 engine is the same as 2017, etc so the same things apply.

Mercedes Sprinter Maintenance: Breaking-In Notes

Mercedes recommends Mobil 1 5W-30 oil. Why, when it is a terrible oil for break-in, has an outrageously high NOACK value, high ash content, handles soot poorly, is low in zinc, etc? Because the EPA holds a sledgehammer and looks at tiny factors. Later, the engine is damaged and pollutes a lot more, but why worry.

Mercedes Sprinter Maintenance: Engine Oil

This page quotes and discusses the 2018 Mercedes Sprinter Operator Manual, translating Mercedes-speak into English. The 2018 operator manual is better than prior years in implicitly acknowledging serious risks of engine damage, but it is so circuitous and evasive that it needs translation.

Mercedes Sprinter Maintenance: Comments on the (woefully inadequate) 2018 Mercedes Sprinter Operator Manual

f11 @ 813.0 sec, ISO 64; 2018-11-15 18:00:29
[location “Saddlebag Lake pullout”, altitude 9990 ft / 3045 m, 45°F / 7°C, diffraction mitigating sharpening]
Hasselblad H6D-100C + Hasselblad HC 50mm f/3.5 II @ 33mm equiv (50mm)

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f4 @ 1/640 sec, ISO 64; 2018-12-01 14:23:42
[location “Lundy Canyon camp”, altitude 7000 ft / 2134 m, 26°F / -3°C, "cold snow, high winds"]
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

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f2.8 @ 1/2000 sec, ISO 64; 2018-11-29 12:06:10
[location “White Mountain Road”, altitude 8000 ft / 2438 m, 28°F / -2°C, USM{8,50,0}, LACA corrected]
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Milvus 2.8/15 ZF.2

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f11 @ 1.0 sec, ISO 64; 2018-11-22 16:54:04
[location “White Mountain Road”, altitude 10500 ft / 3200 m, 24°F / -4°C, "end of day, just saw the resident black horse"]
Hasselblad H6D-100C + Hasselblad HC 50mm f/3.5 II @ 33mm equiv (50mm)

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f10 @ 1/60 sec, ISO 100; 2018-11-29 14:53:15
[location “Grandview Campground”, altitude 8530 ft / 2600 m, 30°F / -1°C, diffraction mitigating sharpening, "4WD working great with K02 tires", LACA corrected]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW

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f11 @ 1/20 sec handheld, ISO 64; 2018-11-16 14:17:54
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 50°F / 10°C]
Hasselblad H6D-100C + Hasselblad HC 50mm f/3.5 II @ 33mm equiv (50mm)

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Health: CBD (Cannabidiol)—Eliminated My Small Airway Impairment (Asthma)

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of dozens of non-psychoactive cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. It is legal in the USA and does not have psychoactive effects. CBD and other cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds that appear to have potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. They might promote the body’s healthy regulation of the central nervous, immune, and endocannabinoid systems. A solid body of research is as yet lacking showing the extent of the benefits, or lack thereof.

Last summer’s smoke caused me small airway impairment (asthma) for weeks, in spite of doubled usage of my prescription asthma inhaler—that inhaler did no more than maintain the status quo, meaning continued impairment, no progress. I could not breathe fully, which feels crappy as anyone with asthma knows.

NuLeaf Naturals CBD
Use code SAVE30 to save 30% through Sunday Nov 25

After 2+ weeks of seeing zero progress in small airway impairment, and having read that CBD might be beneficial for asthma, I figured I had nothing to lose, so I obtained a small vial of NuLeafNaturals CBD. Within 24 hours of taking the NuLeafNaturals CBD, my small airway impairment was GONE. This continued in spite of the continuing bad air problems. Later, I ran out of CBD and some impairment returned as I was exposed to smoke again—so I got some more and same result—the CBD cleared up my small airways.

Possibly it was a double coincidence.But continued usage on and off more and more persuades me that something is going on that deals with the inflammatory process.

I’m not a doctor and cannot recommend anything for medical use. I can say that it was either quite a coincidence (twice), or it worked ridiculously better than the big-pharma inhaler. That said, I am not yet fully persuaded, needing some more impairment/cure “OMG” episodes. But so far, CBD appears for me at least to have the potential of being a powerful new non-pharma way to deal with small airway impairment (asthma).

See also: The 17 Most Compelling Studies on CBD from 2017, keeping in mind that until there are half a dozen studies all confirming the same findings that any single study should be read with skepticism.

My doctor scoffed when I related my experience, and perhaps rightly so in general. But is it possible that doctors send patients down poor health paths because of knee jerk reactions and a failure to ask even a single question? In this day and age when so many scientific studies turn out to be non-replicable, I wonder how any doctor can say yeah or nay on the “proven” or unproven with total certainty and without taking a patient’s experience seriously (true anecdote re CBD: doctor: “don’t take this the wrong way, but recently my other patients suggested bear fat”). In this case it was harmless to me, but this was not so with another inattentive doctor emphasizing no risk (when I asked) who gave me nerve damage from double the usual dose for double the usual time of Metronidazole (and never followed up!).

Which CBD?

First of all “hemp oil” is NOT the same thing as CBD, so if you’ve tried hemp oil, you have no basis for judging CBD. Hemp oil might have benefits, but the compounds in full-spectrum CBD are much more potent.

Do not buy cheap CBD, if it is “too good to be true” it is. Including the risk of dangerous synthetics or additives—there is a wild west out there since CBD is not a regulated product. Do your own research and buy only from a reputable company.

High-grade organic CBD is available at NuLeafNaturals.com. Use code SAVE30 to save 30% through Sunday Nov 25.

Jason W writes:

I was just discussing CBD with a friend the other day. He uses it for lower back pain says it works quite well. He also had a theory it helped "modulate anger / stress levels." I suppose this means he felt he had better emotional control with CBD. Any experience that can speak to that?

DIGLLOYD: I’m not ready to say yeah or nay on other benefits, but I think CBD probably helps with pain and has a slight relaxing effect. In general I’d say it is likely a generic mediator/supportive substance and that I sense that is indeed has overall benefits. But between dosing and normal variation due to sleep, diet, stress, etc it’s hard to be persuaded like I was with asthma.

Ferreting out the benefits or lack thereof is going to take science a long time if ever—who’s going to pay for that? It’s not something Big Pharma can make billions on.

It should also be noted that the Placebo Effect is real, and powerful. I try things skeptically, looking for the Real Deal but expecting nothing, but it may be a smarter move to expect it to work—and then it will—the placebo effect can be stronger than real drugs. If CBD does not work at all but taking it does, then it works.

Dr S writes:

Too bad there is a tremendous profit motive in the pharmacology industry that does not put its full resources into cannabinoid research and drug development (at least what is known publicly), but there have been a number of studies that indicate at least an "additive" benefit of the use of cannabinoids in a number of physical issues. A quick survey of the literature and websites (some overlapping) yielded the following:

NIH: Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain
NIH: Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs
NIH: Cannabinoids in health and disease
Project CBD: Inflammation
The 17 Most Compelling Studies on CBD from 2017

DIGLLOYD: note that THC is the psychoactive part and that CBD is non-psychoactive (some of the studies above involve THC).

Since the profit motive is what has brought us all the Good Stuff in all fields of modern life, I don’t blame Big Pharma—going out of business is not a smart plan. But surely outfits like the Gates Foundation could step in and support research and cost-effective production of CBD (CBD is very expensive), which could ultimately put downard price pressure on regular drugs in areas that CBD is effective. That is, is government can get out of the way for both psycho and non-psychoactive cannabis research. People are dying from bad government policy on drugs.

J.B. writes:

Cannabidiol has been very helpful to reduce my stress in my body. I developed a burnout a year ago and would sometimes wake up with every muscle flexed in my shoulders & neck. A few drops of Cannabidiol would bring relief in 5-10 minutes. Not 100%, but so much more bearable than with regular stress medication. The only thing that works even better is meditation. I’ve been meditating twice a day for 15 minutes since June and hardly notice stress in my body anymore like described above. Just my 2cts.

DIGLLOYD: I’m not read to say this has worked for me too, but I suspect so.

Jim G writes:

Regarding your off-topic CBD post, I wanted to say thanks for the info and also to offer my own experience.

I'm about your age and work as an electrical engineer. I've been a horrible insomniac my entire life, but it has gotten much worse since I hit 50 a few years ago. Entirely by accident (details not forthcoming), I discovered a very effective treatment for my insomnia while on a business trip to Colorado earlier this year. Like you, I don't believe in pseudo-science, nor do I trust coincidences. But the effect sure seemed real enough. I slept like a baby for about a month thereafter.

So then I mail-ordered some CBD oil from a reputable vendor in CO, and after about a month of returning to my normal insomnia, tried it out. And somewhat to my surprise, it worked like magic. I've been using it ever since, taking a small dose an hour before bedtime. I sleep much better than I have in years.

Now I know this is just some random nobody you never heard of making unsubstantiated claims about CBD, but here's the thing. If one or two people say something, it's probably nonsense, but if lots of random folks start saying similar things, there must be something to it.

Also, although I can't get it here in KS, I have learned that CBD oil works even better if it has a small amount of THC, something like 8:1 CBD:THC, and dosing of about 5mg of THC and 40mg of CBD. This is below the psychoactive threshold for most people (though not all), and seems to help make the CBD even more relaxing without causing any intoxication, etc. Just my two cents worth. Keep up the great work.

DIGLLOYD: any measurable amount of THC is illegal I think, but that might change. I can’t speak to THC as I’ve not tried it.

As for “lots of random folks”, I doubt that it is random. I’d subscribe more to the group psychological effects that in turn enhance the placebo effect. Random is surely not so—the bandwagon is rolling. But if relief accrues whether from placebo or hypnosis, it’s way better than an expensive Big-Pharma pill.

Cold air still pings my lungs a bit.

Sunset on White Mountain Road
f11 @ 0.3 sec, ISO 64; 2018-11-24 16:45:15
[location “White Mountain Road”, altitude 11400 ft / 3475 m, 32°F / 0°C]
Hasselblad H6D-100C + Hasselblad HC 50mm f/3.5 II @ 33mm equiv (50mm)

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Grass-Fed Cow Milk

I gave up milk years ago as a potential ashmatic issue.

Picked this up at Walmart as a random flier—I’ll be damned—best tasting milk I’ve ever had.

When I eat beef, it is only grass-fed—can’t stand the greasy taste of corn-fed beef. The grass-fed milk is far more rich and flavorful than regular milk.

Grass-fed cow milk
f1.8 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 25; 2018-10-09 14:08:09
[location “Manteca, Walmart”, altitude 7253 ft / 2211 m, "best milk ever"]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)

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B&H Deal ZoneDeals by Brand/Category/Savings
Deals expire in 16 hours unless noted. Certain deals may last longer.
$599 SAVE $200 = 25.0% Canon 17-40mm f/4 EF L USM in Lenses: DSLR
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For Sale: My 2012 Moots Vamoots RSL Frame/Fork DuraAce Di2


SOLD
SOLD
SOLD

Brief note, pictures later as I'm heading out for a few days.

My trusty 2012 Moots Vamoots RSL is for sale, now that I have its successor.

Asking $3500 / best offer. Contact me.

Geometry: I don’t know if the 2018 Moots Vamoots RSL geometry is identical, but it is either identical or extremely close.

Includes:

  • Frame (2012 model, pressfit 30) and fork.
  • Di2 with front and rear DuraAce derailleurs (11 speed), new chain.
  • Di2 batteries (2) along with battery charger.
  • Ritchey carbon handlebar double-wrapped for comfort with DuraAce brakes, shifters, levers.
  • Ritchey carbon seat post, Chris King headset, Chris King bottom bracket (all installed as I had been riding them).
  • Your choice of saddle (I have 4 or 5 new ones I don't use).
  • Wheels: Bontrager Race Triple Triple X Lite carbon fiber wheels(2011 or so, clinchers, not ridden for many years). You will need a new nub body to convert from 10 speed to 11 speed (and an 11-speed cassette).

Does NOT include:

  • Crankset (I’m keeping my SRM).
  • Cassette (since no wheelset).
f1.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 25; 2018-09-20 10:49:35 [altitude 487 ft / 148 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)

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Weight of the entire bike setup as shown above
f1.8 @ 1/11 sec, ISO 100; 2018-09-20 10:53:16 [altitude 499 ft / 152 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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f1.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 32; 2018-09-20 10:50:32 [altitude 497 ft / 151 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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f1.8 @ 1/30 sec, ISO 32; 2018-09-20 10:51:19 [altitude 496 ft / 151 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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f1.8 @ 1/60 sec, ISO 32; 2018-09-20 10:50:54 [altitude 496 ft / 151 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Bontrager Race Triple-X Wheelset (10 speed with 10 speed cassette)
f1.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 40; 2018-09-20 10:54:13 [altitude 496 ft / 151 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Shown below is the bike as I had it in 2012. It now has the 11-speed DuraAce derailleurs/shifters.

2012 Moots Vamoots RSL Titanium road racing bike, custom Di2 cable routing
Ritchey seat post, Selle Italia saddle , Ritchey WCS 260 stem, Shimano DuraAce Di2
SRM 7950 power meter crankset, Chris King headset, Lightweight Obermayer wheelset
NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads
Outstanding protection against drops and impact!
Excellent grip for wet hands, cycling, etc!

‘Replication crisis’ spurs reforms in how science studies are done

Lies, damn lies, and statistics”, now “Lies, damn lies, and scientific studies”?

I don’t know but I’ve long been suspicious of scientific studies which trumpet new findings. Too many later prove bogus or treat individuals as averages of scatter-plots, failing to recognize the idiocy of a general finding vs an individua.

This is not a replication issue but bears on the issue: I am incensed at epidemiological numbers like BMI, which rated me borderline obese at 10% body fat. It is apparent to me that doctors and scientists, smart as they are, too often fail to comprehend that it is intellectually incompetent to apply a statistical finding to an individual.

Science News reports in ‘Replication crisis’ spurs reforms in how science studies are done:

That’s the conclusion of a research team, led by Caltech economist Colin Camerer, that examined 21 social science papers published in two major scientific journals, Nature and Science, from 2010 to 2015. Five replication teams directed by coauthors of the new study successfully reproduced effects reported for 13 of those investigations, the researchers report online August 27 in Nature Human Behavior. Results reported in eight papers could not be replicated.

...

One reason for that trend is that scientific journals have tended not to publish studies that disconfirm previous findings, leaving initial findings unchallenged until now, says study coauthor and psychologist Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Even the most prestigious journals have often published results that garner lots of scientific and media attention but that could easily have occurred randomly, he says.

WIND: 13 of 21 is a lousy track rcord that IMO makes new scientific findings dubious at best until confirmed by at least two more independent studies. The quest for money (funding) or religious dogma (climate science) or recognition IMO too often clouds judgment and a healthy skepticism.

Eggs

I like eggs a lot, but I have them maybe once a week. Witness the huge leap in reasoning in Are Eggs Bad for You? Two Scientists Square Off. IMO, this “no on eggs” doctor has serious credibility issues in issuing a blanket recommendation for statins, conflating average results with what is best for an individual, stating:

I recommend limiting eggs to special occasions and taking a statin—a miracle drug that is to atherosclerosis what penicillin is to infectious diseases—along with the egg!

Comparing statins to penicilllin is at best an idiotic analogy—analogies have no relevance to facts.

That statins are 100% harmless seems to be 100% false base on what I have read (including my mother, who had side effects an abandonded statins and she is a very healthy 76). That statins may impair mental function and have other health issues does not seem to occur to this doctor (IMO, he is incompetent to issue advice for an individual given his blanket recommendation in a widely read publication—it shows poor judgment in confusing epidemiological findings withi individualized medicine).

I give the “no on eggs, yes on statins” doctor a poor to injurious “jackass” rating in possibly damaging the health of his patients. From The role of statins in both cognitive impairment and protection against dementia: a tale of two mechanisms in Feb 2018:

The current literature supports the hypothesis that statins are potentially responsible for both reversible short-term cognitive impairment as well as a decreased risk of dementia.

So statins are bad (cognitive impairment!!!!!!) and good (decreased risk of dementia), on an epidemiological basis—an irresponsible metric for an individual. And the science seems to be in question too!

How can you ever trust a doctor willing to make a blanket “miracle drug” recommendation? Have him take double the dose of his wonderful statins for a year, then let’s see if his tune changes. Fom the “yes on eggs position, a Ph.D. professor in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut, Storrs):

A vast amount of research has clearly proved that there is no correlation between consuming eggs and increased risk for heart disease. The U.S. Department of Agriculture agrees, and, accordingly, in its latest dietary guidelines, released in January 2016, no longer recommends an upper limit for cholesterol in one’s diet.

Two important points: First, there is no direct link between cholesterol levels in the blood and eating foods with cholesterol. Cholesterol that we eat doesn’t necessarily end up in our blood because our digestive system eliminates most of it. The average person absorbs into their bloodstream only 20% to 60% of the cholesterol they eat, and some absorb as little as 5%.
...

One epidemiological analysis determined that there is no difference in risk when comparing people who ate no eggs with people who ate more than seven eggs a week

Note the “some individuals” point with huge variation in absorption of cholesterol: does the “no on eggs” doctor have the right to possibly damage the health of some of his patients by ignoring this individualized response and prescribing a foreign substance from Big Pharma (statins) to his patients? I deem it irresponsible or at best lazy/incompetent. The average patient will just take the (bad) advice, and what are the chances a cardiologist will track mental function in any meaningful way?

Nephrologist Franklin K writes:

"Results reported in eight papers could not be replicated. "

Not a new fact, all a long my professional life as a nephrologist I observed the same facts. For instance, in chronic renal failure, hyperparathyroidism is a consequence with very high level of the implicated hormone: PTH The very famous New England Journal of Medicine - which I go on reading after more than 40 years published a paper where it was said that taking an H2 inhibitor of gastric acide secretion would cure high level of PTH; Damn false !! Nobody was able to replicate this study (remember: NEJM !!) -

"It is apparent to me that doctors and scientists, smart as they are, too often fail to comprehend that it is intellectually incompetent to apply a statistical finding to an individual."

Because they forget a very important point. It lasts for years and is going on. Finding a statistical relationship describes nothing but a population behavior in a special situation. AND, AND, you never, never can state that every people/patient in this population should behave as wanted. I mean statistics is statistics and NEVER equal biologic considerations.

"One reason for that trend is that scientific journals have tended not to publish studies that disconfirm previous findings"

Not untrue but not systematic. I have been searching a drug able to minimize cardiomyoptahy in renal failure. My team and I tried perindopril. « white cabbage » !! I published it after acceptation of American Journal of Neprology.

"Eggs and choleterol"zz

For more than 60 years we have been living under the « Framingham study law ». Cure hypertension, lower cholesterol and your patients will live longer they say. But… not completly true. I explain. For arterial hypertension, it is absolutly true, definitively true. No discussion. If your blood presse is under or equal to 135/85, cardiac infarction, cerebral stroke, renal impairment lower dramatically

But, for cholesterol … weird, weird, apart familial hypercholesterolemia type I (a real shit), it has NEVER been proved that lowering cholesterol prevent a coronary issue or a cerebral stroke.

On the other side, it is PROVEN that cognitive impairment is very often seen with statin prescription because cholesterol is absolutly needed by brain - and statin are very, very efficient and soooo juicy for Big Pharma.

Moderation about statin: prescribing low dose e.g. Atorvastatin 10 mg has a proven effect on arterial wall (I have hypertension and use it for years) The Framingham study law is a good thing for pharmaceutical industry: it can be checked every day.

USB-C Dock for MacBook

4 USB3 ports, 1 USB-C port, SD card reader, gigabit ethernet, audio ports, HDMK 4K port!

Battling Fatigue Off the Bike

I’ve been battling fatigue for about 6 weeks now. Generally I can work seated with good mental focus much of the day.

But on the bike, some days a 1/3 ride has been all I can handle. My baseline ride has been a struggle, a force of will, followed by intense fatigue. And some days skipped to rest too, and nothing hard. I’ve gained a lot of weight, so no problem with appetite.

Related symptoms have been the worst asthma in 20 years—unable to get small airways to open up fully for 6 weeks or so even using inhaler (QVAR) twice the normal. CBD helps a lot though—better than the prescription inhaler.

I did manage to climb Mt Whitney with my daughter and felt good, but that was a slow pace and I rested several days prior, and the cardiovascular demands were quite low compared to a double century.

Today for the first time in 6 weeks I was ecstatic in riding at strong power levels for 50 miles / 2.5 hours / 2000 calories. Low heart rate, low breathing rate, strong power—all the signs say things are perfect. About two hours later, fatigue about as strong as after a double century.

I can’t figure out what’s wrong.

First, I thought: some kind of post concussion syndrome? It has felt like that on the bike within an hour most days. But mental focus most of the day has been fine. Maybe.

Second, I thought: exposure to air pollution? The air has ranged from tolerable to bad most days, and on the bad days I’ve worn a face mask. But today I did not wear one and there was visible haze of ultra-fine something (no smell of smoke).

Then there is the nagging idea that maybe it is hormonal: thyroid or insulin (diabetes) or testosterone, etc. I’ll have to get some blood work going and see what things look like. Concussions can screw up all sorts of hormonal systems so this is a very real possibility.

I’ve considered classic “overtraining” and that just does not make sense given all the rest and how I’ve greatly backed off the riding.

As far as I can tell my immune system is very strong: I’ve had little more than a sniffle in 3 or 4 years, and recently two of my kids had a bad virus of some kind—didn’t affect me at all.

Frustrating as hell.

Isaac writes:

For myself I found that I was having an allergic reaction. Fatigue is the primary symptom for me. Fine particulate from forest fires?

Very mild itch infrequently and in unexpected places and Low blood pressure when transitioning from sit to stand.

I wore a 3M P100 respirator for a week, annoying, but my symptoms were greatly reduced. Wearing the respirator while cycling was a pain in the neck. It takes a good 3 days of breathing clean air for symptoms to clear.

Anti-histamines help but dont solve the problem.

My wife gets similar symptoms, but for different reasons. For her it is in the food. She found she had problems with a variety of food dyes and also aged meats (naturally high in histamine).

Another factor I’ve observed is poor sleep, often because of the allergies. But when traveling i always use earplugs and an eye-mask.

I have no reason to think you have this, but it took 14 years and probably 100’s of visits to doctors before my wife was able to get properly diagnosed, it was such an unexpected thing.

I hope you can get to the root of your fatigue issue. I appreciate the site and all the hard work you put in.

DIGLLOYD: I have similar suspicions, and actually did ride with N100/P100 face mask for quite a few rides when we had fine particulate in the air.

It is suspicious that my issues starter just after the Death Ride, when I spent 3 days in the mountains with no smell of smoke, but fine particulate matter, then returned home to the same. I use a HEPA filter, but it can do only so much (too loud to run all the time).

I've observed (2 years now) that this problem is annual: I seem to be strong Jan - June, then July/August are the worst. It seems to be seasonal.

Another clue that may point to allergies: my lungs were working spectacularly well through May or so, but in July after the Death Ride, it has now taken me 8 weeks to get them to clear up after a week in clean mountain air (high Sierra Nevada)—that's the worst period of small airway impairment I’ve had for 20 years.

It stands to reason that if my lungs are the “canary in the coal mine” that the rest of my body would suffer also.

USB-C Dock for MacBook

4 USB3 ports, 1 USB-C port, SD card reader, gigabit ethernet, audio ports, HDMK 4K port!

The Best Performance Enhancer for Cycling: Drafting

For years now and in my past 39 double centuries, I have retained an iconoclastic individualistic sport ethic: soloing (no drafting) . I captured my thoughts on this topic and how it does not differ in principle from an electric motor in How is Drafting in a Paceline Different from an Electric Motor?. That is, it is external assistance.

The very mention of those two things in a sentence (electric motor, drafting) is enough to invoke severe cognitive dissonance among many riders, resulting in anger or denial or other brain-frying results. And yet not one rider has ever made any meaningful counter-argument to refute my assertion.

I acknowledge that in a race where drafting is a given, one does what one has to do, and it would be idiotic to do otherwise. Still, I recall in the Everest Challenge where some riders drafted other classes of riders (e.g., a man drafting woman or a tandem, a rules violation). Such is the ingrained rationalized cheating mentality that stems from not seeing drafting for what it is: an external assist. The inability to see the common principle correlates with the removal of mental barriers to real cheating, which I observed regularly in the Everest Challenge.

My position that if one is to claim an individual ranking in a double century, then showing up with a budy or two or three and pacelining through it is a group win, not an individual win and is thus at best misleading, if not outright fraudulent (a de-factor or real team shows up and competes, team members then claim individual finish times, which is fraud IMO). This is routinely done in double centuries, with absolutely no mention of the massive energy savings from doing so*.

* Witness for example 3 riders finishing at exactly the same time (3:26 PM) in the Joshua Tree Double Century—I stopped pedaling so they would stop drafting me, and let them go on by so I could resume my solo effort.

I want two things: (1) a fair contest and (2) a personal best effort, not a group effort. As to (1), it is “fair” in the sense that that I could potentially find (by luck and timing) a group to paceline with. But that would violate (2), which I deem antithetical to my conception of the achievement of a double century. I don’t see the point of such an extreme effort when the actual individual effort involved can vary from 100% to 30% or even less.

I’ve estimated, based on my SRM power meter readings, that drafting a single person can result in a 25% to 50% energy savings, depending on wind speed, e.g. 25 mph with no wind or 15 mph with a 10 mph headwind are similar. At 25+ mph, the savings rise exponentially and with more riders the savings increase.

Modern research on power savings

Along comes modern research which finds up to a 90% savings in the belly of the peleton, a figure that is consistent with the massive reduction in effort any cyclist can feel with even a few riders.

Cycling’s Best Performance Enhancer: Riding in the Peloton

For most of the riders most of the time, the view is the same: a mess of bikes, brightly-colored jerseys and exhausted skinny men. That’s because they spend the majority of the 80-plus racing hours from the start of the Tour to the Champs-Elysées tucked inside the peloton, the main bunch that coagulates in every stage and moves like a school of fish.

The peloton exists by practical necessity. Riding in a big group reduces drag and saves energy for the people in the middle. Cyclists have known this for a century. But only now, in 2018, is anyone able to put a number on just how efficient it is.

...

According to a new study published in the Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, riders in the belly of a peloton are exposed to 95% less drag than they would experience riding alone. Which explains the sensation all riders describe of being sucked along by the bunch while barely having to pedal.

As for this study, it seems rather obtuse: outfit every rider with a power meter, and then just read out the average power for each of them (the power meter can record at half-second intervals to within 1% accuracy). With 121 riders, that would be much more accurate than a 1.5 year theoretical study requiring a supercomputer. Even the author is quoted as saying “We have a problem now, because no one is going to believe us”. Well, yes they will if empirical data is obtained as I just suggested—prove or disprove your calculations in the real world, Mr. Blocken! Because all models have flaws and in the real world there can be other factors not thought of in simulations.

Below, a not very efficient paceline into a ~12 mph headwind, but still a big energy savings for those doing it. I moved up close enough to use the 2X camera on the iPhone. I left all these riders behind but one by mile 100.

Lead pack just past Millpond (2X camera, pedaled closer for picture)
f2.8 @ 1/560 sec, ISO 20; 2018-06-02 06:16:24
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 6.6 mm f/2.8

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2018 Death Ride report updated with an analysis of the effort: power in watts, heart rate, elevation, time, temperature

I’ve updated my 2018 Death Ride report with an analysis of the effort.

 

 

 

I won’t be chugging 24 oz or ice cold drink in ~15 seconds ever again—diaphragm spasm left me able to take only very shallow breaths all the way up Carson Pass.

2018 Death Ride performance: power in watts, heart rate, elevation, time, temperature
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How Does 16.9 Fluid Ounces of GU Energy Gel Fit Into Two 5.1 ounce Flasks?

That bulk package of GU energy gel to the right has had all but a tiny amount of gel squeezed out of it.

Maybe someone over at GU Energy Labs can explain to me how 16.9 fluid ounces of GU Energy Gel (“15 serving pouch”) fits into two 5.1-ounce 5-serving GU HydraPak soft flasks? Fluid ounces is not weight ounces but it appears that GU Energy Labs has badly goofed in labeling the SoftFlask containers in totally different units from the bulk package.

The soft flasks are stated to be 5 servings (“Holds 5 servings of Energy Gel”) and the bulk container states “15 serving pouch”. Last time I checked, 10 ≠ 15.

Since I track calories/food by the gram, this doesn’t trouble me much except that I hadn’t realized this discrepancy before, so my calories-consumed figures are now off for many months. GU Energy Labs ought to fix the mistake is—seems like a marketing error.

Nutirtional information froom 16.9 fluid ounce package of GU Energy Gel

Either these flasks hold 8.4 ounces each (7.5 servings each), or GU is supplying less than claimed in the bulk package, which makes little sense and is easily verified. I’m guessing that someone in marketing screwed up between servings and ounces, fluid or otherwise. When I’m home I will weigh the stuff on a gram-accurate scale and find out.

I wish GU Energy labs would sponsor me like TheBeefAuthority.com and OWC / MacSales.com. I use a lot of GU energy gel and swear by it (and swear at it when a softflask bursts, which has happened twice OMG what a mess). See my day’s supply of GU energy gel in my Death Ride writeup.

Measuring it

Using a gram-accurate scale, I measured the bulk GU energy gel at 500 grams (entire package and its contents). I was able to extract 470 grams of gel (container 500g ---> 30g empty) into two of the HydraPak soft flasks, falling just a wee bit short on the second one from full.

With a claim of 480g of gel in the package, that implies leaving 10g of gel behind in the bulk package, a waste of 2% (10 / 480), but there is nothing for it; I’d already used a flat instrument to get all I could out of the package.

The SoftFlask is misleading; it claims “5 servings”, but these servings are fluid ounces, wildly different than the “servings” on the bulk package.

Bulk: 32 grams * 15 servings @ 100 calories/serving = 1500 calories
(~1468 calories extractable)

SoftFlask: 240 grams implies 240/32*100 = 750 calories per flask

Since two of the GU SoftFlasks can together hold 480 grams of Gu energy gel, each SoftFlask actually holds 7.5 servings for a total of 750 calories each—wildly different than the 5 X 100 = 500 calories I had long assumed.

The foregoing matters when planning for nutrition for ultra-endurance! It explains why this year I almost always used only 2 of 3 SoftFlasks, in calorie terms a close match for the calories I thought I should consume (2/3 * 750/500 = 1 = what I had planned on needing).

16.9 fluid ounces of GU Energy Gel fits Into two 5.1 GU HydraPak soft flasks = something not right
f1.8 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 25; 2018-07-13 19:12:40
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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The 2018 Death Ride 5-Pass (129 miles, 15000' of climbing) — a popular shorter/easier version of Alta Alpina

UPDATE: see my 2018 Death Ride report.

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I’ve never done the Death Ride before (129 miles, 15000' of climbing), but this year I am doing it this Saturday July 14. It should be “easy”, since it is 5500 feet less climbing and 71 miles shorter than Alta Alpina 8 Pass Challenge, which I completed two weeks ago. Plus Monitor Pass west and east are the first climbs, in the cool of the morning, a major difference versus doing them late in the day when it can be baking hot.

As far as I know, the Death Ride draws more riders by an order of magnitude than just about any double century (4000 riders, I understand).

Not all riders do the full distance and all 5 passes, but that’s a lot of riders. So many that riders enjoy a rare luxury: the California Highway Patrol closes some of the roads:

From 5:00am – 7:00am, the road will be closed to traffic from the Markleeville Courthouse to the junction of Highways 89 and 4.

Monitor (Hwy 89) & Ebbetts Pass (Hwy 4) will be closed to vehicular traffic starting at 5:00am. Monitor Pass reopens to vehicular traffic at 12:00pm. Ebbetts Pass reopens to vehicular traffic at 3:00pm.

Highway 89 from Woodfords to the Markleeville Courthouse will remain open.

Please adhere to posted speed zones and early morning parking crews.

No cars to worry about, but tired riders on Ebbetts Pass are a much greater risk in my experience—riders who weave across the entire width of the road because of the steepness, a bad mix for those coming down fast—I plan on keeping my downhill speed modest given the huge number of riders as all it takes is one clown to cause severe injury in a crash.

2018 Death Ride patch
f1.8 @ 1/900 sec, ISO 20; 2018-07-12 19:32:18
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Below, Hwy 89 is off to the right and switchbacks and curves its way down the valley just before the hills. Average grade is about 8% and climbs from about 5500 feet to 8314 feet / 2534m altitude at the summit. Ebbetts pass is harder, climbing about 3200 feet to 8730' elevation.

The landscape on the east side of Monitor Pass (Hwy 89)
f2.8 @ 1/2100 sec, ISO 20; 2018-07-12 14:35:08
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 6.6 mm f/2.8

[low-res image for bot]

I’ve been working hard, so I’m sleeping here tonight and mostly resting Friday. A Sprinter van and 4WD do have their benefits—no camping neighbors and a pristine spot in the Toiyabe national forest.

Camping site high in the Toiyabe National Forest near Monitor Pass
f1.8 @ 1/2000 sec, ISO 20; 2018-07-12 19:31:46
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

[low-res image for bot]
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