Fuelin’ it

With the Steamboat 24 next weekend, final prep & shakedown was the order of the weekend.  This was somewhat delayed by a bout of food poisoning, so now I'm extra rested and lighter than anticipated.  I'm making up for lost time at the dinner table though, but trying to hold back - the real fueling begins Wednesday.  A couple of interesting bits:

Lights, lights,  lights.  The LED project continues.  The previous version was solid as it got me through 7 hours of darkness on the Kokopelli trail, but turned out to be just a bit much on the helment for that duration (batteries were on my nogin too), didn't have as much throw as I like, and the electronics were integrated with the battery, not the lights.  I've made another creation, and it's considerably different.  The last version used optics, solid acrylic lenses.  I recently found a source for 3 different sizes of reflectors made to fit the Luxeon LEDs, each with different beam patterns.  Reflectors are what you see when you look at the business end of a flashlight - think chrome plated cone.  The beam pattern is two-fold for these, a tight spot in the center, and a wide dim portion.  In other words, perfect for night riding!  Loads of throw.  In fact, of the 3 reflector sizes, I chose the one with the shortest throw.  The other 2 were too much spot, more like lasers.  Combined with a 5W Lux bar mount with 10 degree optic and all bases are covered for minimal weight.  I think I'm getting close to the holy grail of lighting here...

Other features - square tubing provided just enough room to get the buckpuck inside of the light housing, although I did have to solder wires directly to it as the harness wouldn't fit.  No more battery mounted electronics.  I've also installed a potentiometer directly to the housing - made waterproof by spit and glue - for infinite power control.  Total weight is about 30-40 grams lighter than the last one.  6 hours of brightness for 240 grams system weight.  Here'tis:

Bikes, bikes, bikes.  The Dos is out for this one - it's a climbing liability.  In fact, it's been cannibalized to make 2 sweet Fuels.  The Dos has a SS setup in it's very near future...

I found a cheap but new Reba U-turn fork.  The U-turn allows you to adjust the travel on the fly from 85mm to 115mm.  Very cool feature as you can immediately feel how changing geometry affects bike handling, and let me tell ya, its a lot.  On the Fuel with ~100mm, handling was a bit off on a steep climb so I dialed it back to 85 and badabing, it settled down and tracked nicely, just like a hopey damper was installed.  115mm is fun for straight descents, but didn't feel right otherwise.  One thing I noticed is the air pressure must change when the travel is changed.  I set the pressures with the fork at 100mm, but when dialed down to 85mm it got pretty stiff.  Bleeding a touch of positive air solved that.

Now for some randomness...

The Grand Loop Race is going on right now.  This is a doosy of an endurance event.  Promoted by Mike Curiak, it takes in 340 miles and 48,000' of climbing in Utah & Colorado.  The course record is something over 3 days, and as Mike says, is the hardest endurance event he's aware of...and if he isn't aware of it, it probably doesn't exist.  It startes with an easy stroll of the KTR course from Fruita to the LaSals, then parts unkown from there.  Completely self-supported like KTR, only 10x harder.  I had considered this event for this year, but I'm not even close to ready for it.  Next year?  Check out Mike's updates & commentary on the event here.  3 of the 6 starters are still on course, but no finishers yet.  They started Friday evening and have been busting butt ever since.  Awe and respect.

If you haven't seen "Walk the Line", put it on the list.  I never really "got" Johnny Cash & his outlaw country style of music as it's pretty far beyond my musical boundaries, but the movie was so good it changed all that.  More good stuff to listen to Sunday at 3am ;)