Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Hammer Rice Krispie Treats Endorsed By Dr. Dave!!

Dr. Dave says: "They are totally disgusting, but I suppose they don't make me throw up as fast as warm Perpetuem does."

The Diablo Cyclist breakaway group starts up Mt. Diablo on Thanksgiving looking forward to snacks at the junction. (Ward photo)

At the Junction, 2,159', Hammer Rice Krispie Treats await

After refueling at the Junction, Diablo Cyclists make it up to the summit, including zooming ahead of a car on the 17% ending ramp. (Ward in photo)Diablo Cyclists regroup at the 3,849' summit while some Thanksgiving Day parade giant balloons pass in the background. (Ward photo)

At the summit Hammer Rice Krispie Treats is there, the fuel of choice!!

Monday, November 23, 2009


The crisis, Operation Rescue is sorely needed!!

And once Operation Rescue does their job, they can find good homes for the saved ones to frolic about in harmony and prayer.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dr. Dave's San Jose Freeze Out-2009

(November 21, 2009) Dr. Dave’s San Jose Reservoir Tour, San Jose to Morgan Hill and back, 62 miles, 4,000’ climbing, w/ Ward, Dave, Stephen. (**147 rating**. Note with just gentle climbing this ride would rank at 102, well below last weeks longer and hillier Folsom-Georgetown ride; but with 3 miles of bitchy climbs it squeaked ahead of Folsom-Georgetown. I don’t have a wind factor as part of the ride formula but with a steady wind it was even harder.)First is profile of the whole course, second is profile of the first Climb up Hicks Road. For the lower graph line each of the small boxes measure 200' climbing and 1 1/4 miles of distance. For the upper graph line % of grade is shown, with each box measuring 5%. I added two thick lines so one can readily see where the climbing is around 0% (or downhill) and where it hits 15%. That last mile keeps jumping above 15% and a few times tocuhes 20%. Ride profiles courtsey of Ward Industries.

Some rides are seemingly tougher that they should be. This one started in a damp mid 40’s, so my breathing was fucked, and within a mile we started climbing Hicks Road. It starts off gently (5 miles, 2% average) and ends like a bear (1 mile, 14% average.)

It would also help if I even looked at the ride profile before the ride so I’d know where the climbs are. I meticulously prepare and study century/ doubles route sheets but club rides are usually a big surprise. Also I’ve been on a 2,000 daily calorie diet so I can drop weight going into next year. Weight is dropping but get tired very fast.*** Finally the damp coldness never helps. (On Monday figured out that my calorie intake for the day before was OK, but at 45% carbs instead of 60-70%, I should know better.)

After last week Dave is camera shy so trying to get away from Ward. Little did he know other paparazzi would be waiting around every turn.

Then it was a twisty plunge on a shade strewn road that had was damp with lots of gravel in the corners. A mountain biker came by an nicely said “aren’t you afraid of the descent on those skinny tires.” Thanks buddy.

We continued on McKean Road and would do a big counterclockwise loop around a bunch of reservoirs. Only problem was that a cold crosswind, nothing terrible but about 10 mph, was constantly blowing. When we stopped for a break we all hid behind the Calero Reservoir sign as a wind break.

Ward thinking the worst of the climb is over.

Then continuing on to Morgan Hill where to avoid Fourbucks it was a stop at bakery where it took a half hour for them to make coffee (ok-the coffee was good) and then more cold windswept riding back to Hicks Road. We were trying to figure out why Dave's team is in "THE BIG GAME" while my, Stephen and Ward's alma matta's have less losses combined. With Ward, Stephen and Dave we were all riding cooperatively on the flats, but it also meant that no one really let up when pulling.
At the top of the Hicks Climb Stephen looks a little happier than Dave and Ward.

Hicks climb (the earlier twisty descent) is “only” 1 ½ miles at 9-10%. Stephen really motoring on the climbs today and he almost looked serious at the top when he started to go up a side dead end road, Mt. Umunhum Road. Later I learned that this side road is almost 2 miles at another 9%. I’ll be game to try it when its at least 20+ degrees warmer.
Dave is the ride leader, so he gets the honor of pulling Stephen and me. (Ward-o-photo)

Now down the long descent. I was using for the first time a small handlebar bag which was working out well—especially well as I could pull out a jacket for the cold descent. Once Ward stopped and waited for Dave and I going down gingerly to warn us about a wet gravel patch around one hairpin. When the road leveled off Stephen and Ward kept trying to jump ahead of each other. Dave and I were just happy to trail right behind and enjoy the festivities.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Doug's Folsom Rick Krispie Fondue-2009

(November 14, 2009) Doug's Folsom Rick Krispie Fondue from Folsom to Georgetown, 75 miles, 15.0 avg, 7,050'. w/ Doug, Ward, Jack, Stephen, June, Christine and A Handful of Riders from Doug’s new club, the Team Bolshevik Revolution. (with climbing of almost 100' per mile this ride rated 145.5, like riding 146 flat miles, harder than many century rides and the equivalent of the Chico Wildflower)

Ride statistics courtsey of the official standards and practices division of Ward Industries, all photos by Ward. Some editing done by Pumpkincycle.

Doug was one of the Triple Crown Doubles rookies when we first earned it in 2005. Doug always a little too earnest (and me being a little too much wiseass), on one Double he lectured Mike the vegetarian on how he needs to put more protein in his diet, and me on how I eat too much protein—thus I reasoned that Mike and I combined have a perfect diet. But we played off of each other and the rides always went fast and were enjoyable. Since then Mike has been shipped to Hawaii and Doug moved a little closer, to Sacramento. Doug always says he has great rides for us to do, and when Ward/I ran into Doug at Foxy’s we pestered him for never getting a Club ride together. So Doug did; we got the usual bonus mile riders for the 2 hour drive into the hills. We were joined by some cool riders from Doug’s new club, the Team Bolshevik Revolution Cyclists. We wound up doing loads and loads of attention getting rollers (and a few long hills) in the upper Gold Country were there isn’t 25 feet that remain flat.

(t) Climbing away from the American River. (b) Our host, Doug, eats his fuel of choice at Georgetown Rest Stop. (Ward Photo)I drove up through the Central Valley farm roads where though the sun was out nicely the thermometer read 44. If it stayed under 50 by the time I reached Folsom I was going to try out a new mini-handlebar bag and start out bundled up. (Maybe NOT a good idea with my handlebars cracking a few weeks back “just because,” and I replaced it with the same brand.) Ironically I solo’d a ride in Folsom to Auburn the day before Halloween so was vaguely familiar with the starting point—Folsom is a suburb of Sacramento but with more open space (and ambient asbestos) than most suburbs, and they have an old town section that they promote nicely.

Doug, in the spirit of split loyalties, wore the Bolshevik jersey and the Diablo Cyclist shorts. Otherwise everyone in their respective club kits except for Kung Fu Christine subliminal message: our next clothing coordinator, who was wearing the Death Ride kit from this year—ironically a guy joined us to bs at the start wearing the same kit, but he was riding in a different direction. It was a little warmer in the parking lot so I eschewed the handlebar bag and heavy jacket. Just used a wool undershirt (hmm—Dr. Dave and I about the same size , my wool undershirt XS and his a M) and vest. The rest of the day would be kinda cool. Within an hour would lose the vest and wouldn’t need it on the climbs. But later at high elevation I was happy to put the vest back on rolling flats, and it was fn cold on the afternoon descents. But the nice thing about the Gold County is that the air is very dry, so with no dew-ish moisture like down here it feels warmer and my breathing isn’t F’d.

June climbing on Marshall Road (Ward photo)

Heading out of Folsom Stephen, who loves to research and race to the county line, was caught napping after Ward rolled on ahead and---oh jeeze, the County Line is about a ¼ mile from the start. This led to spirited returned trip—Stephen sprints better than me and a much better descended, so I tried to lift the pace on the climbs and get rid of him but he held fast. Then when we got close to Folsom Ward counterattacked, Christine joined the fray, I cracked…and the County Line Sign in this direction was missing.

(t) Jack being serious on Marshall Road (b) Stephen keeps thinking he is first passing a County Line Sign (Ward Photos)
The rest of the ride was done at a serious but cooperative pace. I tried to stay with anyone at the front—thought at one point dropped to the back to help Ward bring riders up. Loads of well paved main roads surrounded by isolated homes, mom and pop stores, oaks and pine (In the middle of a Placerville subdivision was a private airport where folks land between houses and hills.) —but we must not have been far from population centers (Auburn) as though traffic wasn’t steady the roads were busy with aggressive cars/ pickup trucks. Dorothy, we are not in Davis; very few cars moved over when passing, even when there was nary a shoulder. I got into one “discussion” with idiots in an SUV who shaved me—later a compact almost squeezed one of the Bolshevik Cyclists off the road when passing and then almost came to a complete stop in front of him. For about 25% of the ride we’d wind up on a back road with little traffic—which usually meant a steep climb was coming up.

Christine ready to run someone down (or kung fu them) on Marshall Road. (Ward photo)
Apart from the cars the ride was very different that what we are accustomed to. Wound up in the small town of Georgetown, while I know where it is in Washington DC I had never heard of or been in the one in California. Getting to Georgetown had involved mostly climbing. (Folsom is at 275 feet, Georgetown is at 2,600 feet) where we stayed together nicely as a big group. Now going back Stephen kept (correctly) thinking we were close to another County, so coming back we all started marking each other, though we’d never find another County line; and with random folks picking up the pace the group split to hell a few times. Unfortunately our host, Doug, started to lag here—no doubt as a result of not eating enough Rice Krispie Treats, (loaded with minerals, vitamins and vegetables like corn syrup)the perfect endurance food for this ride.

(t) Once again I'll have whatever Dave has in those water bottles (b) Doug having fun on the downhill of Pedro Hill Road (Ward photos)

Returned to Folsom a little after 4:00 with the low sun casting long shadows. Jack had said we’d return 1:33 ahead of sunset (how did he get those 3 minutes) and I should have ran a stopwatch upon returning but didn’t. Great ride, and great riding with Doug again.

(t) Dave trying to tell me that Stanford is going to kick USC's butt-what the hell does he have in those water bottles?? (b) Ward has captured lots of great moments on film, eh microchip, this year so usually he is left out of the ride photographs. So at the end of the ride we brought in a famous nature photographer to capture our cycling photographer, Ward, who is sad as the ride is over and the good riding weather will soon be gone. Amazing what great nature photographers can do with a strip mall parking lot background and a large format film camera. (Ward & some Adams guy photos)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Doubles Palamarès

Palamarès (click on ride name below to zoom into blog story)


Davis Double-(untimed)-201 miles, 7,400' climbing, 17.6 mph-4:40-6:41 Was coming off a racing season and hammered the first 120 miles, then fell apart. Everything hurting when I dragged myself in. RAAM rider Ish saw me at the end and cheerfully asked how I liked doing a double, I blurted out "I'll never do one again."


Davis Double-(untimed)-201 miles, 7,400' climbing, 17.9 mph (19.9 last 66 miles)-_________ Good steady pace with Jack, felt great for the whole ride, then suddenly fell apart for the last 20 miles, and had to lay out--couldn't eat, for a long time after. Having trouble completing easiest NorCal double so....I promptly signed up for the hardest double.

Terrible Two-82nd of 227 riders, 208 miles, 16,480' climbing, 14.8 mph, 5:30-8:43. Special bonus edition added 10 miles to usual course. Weather mild-first three of four steep climbs no problem. Felt great but waiting to collapse like at Davis at mile 180, here I was leading a paceline. Finished with Jack. Great surprise--beautiful newly designed ORANGE jersey at the end.

Mt. Tam Double-36th of 211 riders, 199 miles, 14,500' climbing, 15.7 mph 5:00-6:48. A little disorganized but I discovered the course I love with two significant climbs and mostly roller after roller. Also discovered that oh crap--that isn't the ocean below us coming off Mt. Tam, but dense fog. But it gets warmers as the day goes on and we circle back inland and I'm flying. FIRST TRIPLE CROWN EARNED!

Knoxville Double-(untimed), 198 miles, 12,000' climbing, _______, 5:35-8:03. Came in not feeling the best (stomach problems & recently bit by a dog) which would he the usual for this ride but nice course and good support. Idea was for the doubles riders from the Diablo Cyclists to stay together, by the middle of the ride we were all over the place. With early sunset and laid back riding as untimed would finish in the dark.


Solvang Double-(untimed), 200 miles, ________ climbing, 17.6 during the daylight, 5:40-7:20. Rain, 5 flats for our group, mundane course, and experiencing first hand the Planet Ultra non support--only redeeming thing about this ride was riding with CA. Mike & Don (on his fixed gear.) But happy as 3 months ago in intensive care and didn't think I'd be doing any spring rides.
Mike, Don and I getting soaked, I mean having fun on the Solvang Double (Victor Cooper photo)

Devil Mountain Double-79th of 146 riders who finished, 206 miles, 18,600' climbing, ________, 5:00-10:24. Early season and most climbing of any double but another ride where I felt great for 120 miles, hammered up to lunch, enjoying life, and then muscles quickly fell apart. Last 80 miles were torture--dragged myself in with Don.
Even more fun struggling, I mean zooming up Mt. Hamilton on the Devil Mountain Double (Tandem hearts photo)

Central Coast Double-DNF-161 miles of 210. Muscles don't seize up but I bonk/ heat exhaustion. After last year when doubles where getting easier and easier this has been a kick in the ____________.

Davis Double-(untimed)-204 miles, 8,000' climbing. 17.7 mph, 5:31-7:02. Fun ride with Doug, Mike and Don (on fixed) keeping together for much of the day. Course rerouted to Cobb Mountain so climbing has significantly increased. Odometer bugs out at end of ride, later I'm told kept it a steady 20 mph while pulling paceline at the end. 2ND TRIPLE CROWN EARNED!

Terrible Two-102 of 283 starters, 200 miles, 16,500' climbing, _______, 5:30-9:18. Another torturous ride, with riders dropping like flies--only 64% finished by 11:00 cutoff. At mile 110, on big climb of the day, the thermometer touched 100. Nice that after Grizzly Mark and I would beat each other up on other Doubles, we helped each other finish.

Mt. Tam Double-35th of 233 starters, 200 miles, 15,000' climbing, 15.4 mph, 5:00-7:15. Don and I made a pack to stick together, which is hard on a timed double, but stick together we did. We may have lost time at rest stops (waiting for the person taking the longest) but we more than made up for this when we two manned, especially the last 25 miles where we just kept on gaining and passing riders. Don leading the charge as we haul in riders in front of us.

KNOXVILLE DOUBLE-(untimed), 201 miles, 11,900' climbing, 15.4 mph, 5:35-8:35. Crashed into car on downhill week before so thigh heavily bandaged on backup bike. Man, was I shitting on the downhills. Started with Don, Jack and Steve, eventually Don stayed back with me as we finished in the dark, my 6th Double completed of the year, Don's 10th!


Davis 300 km Brevet-(untimed) 190 miles, 8,589' climbing, 18.6 when we hammer to first control (first third of ride), 16.8 average for whole ride when we make it a social ride. 7:00-some time after sunset when Mike had to put on the goofy brevet sash (but he did see the bi-curious action before sunset.) . Out and back from Davis to Cobb Mountain (Lower Lake)--the GOOD section of the Davis Double, with Don and Mike as they qualify ready for Breast-Paris-Breast (sic.) Better support than a Planet Ultra Ride.

Davis Double-(untimed) 200 miles, @ 10,000' climbing, w/ Ca Mike and Doug. 17.3 mph, 5:30-7:23. Funny how things change--we were about to mirror the great Davis 300 km brevet course when a forest fire had the organizers scramble to reroute the course--and we did an out and back of the 2nd half--the worst part--of the Davis Double. This time climbing Cobb Mountain from "the other side." 142 minutes of rest stops along the way.

Eastern Sierra Double-75th of 245 riders, 196 miles, 10,000' climbing, 17.3 mph, 5:00-6:29. With Don and Ca. Mike. Two incredible firsts. (1) On a timed double usually hard to keep anyone together--at mile 90 Don, Ca. Mike, Rusty, Uncle Steve and I are riding together with Jack just up the road. I should have realized how great that moment was--we'd never get close to that again. (2) First time in Bishop area, where we're at 4,000'+ but it seems like we are at sea level as surrounded by 10,000' snow capped peaks--incredibly unique area.
Day before Eastern Sierra vets CA Mike, Uncles Steve, Don (Jack not being helpful) give me an idea where the ride comes back from -- maybe Jack is being helpful with everyone pointing in a different direction.

Mt. Tam Double-23rd of 247 starters, 200 miles, 14,500' climbing. 5:00-6:42. I was sky high for this one, the course featuring roller after roller, and as no teammates had to pull out every trick in the book. Great ride-great finish though I finished 3 hours behind some guy named Steve Cozza. later I learn he is a pro slumming. 3rd TRIPLE CROWN earned (earlier brevet didn't count towards it.)
Somehow always have real fun on the Mt. Tam Double course.

Knoxville Double-(untimed), 200 miles, 12,600' climbing. 200 miles, 12,600' climbing. 16 mph, 5:30-8:21. w/ Don. What is a Knoxville Double if I don't go into it hurt--this time I badly twisted my ankle on a hilly time trial the week before. This meant struggling up the gentle (but long) Knoxville Road climb. Things got better when I got po'd in the afternoon and started hammering so Don wouldn't have to wait for me anymore.


Davis Double-untimed-ON A FIXED GEAR in 106 Degrees-200 miles, 8,000 climbing. 5:02-10:00, 15.6 mph average. A special Davis Double, Donna trying her first double, Dave trying his first double on the anti fixed gear (a recumbent), Don continuing the Diablo Cyclist tradition of riding doubles on fixed gears, and I'm insane enough to join him. Oh year. Hottest Davis Double on record--with 106 degree afternoon temperatures. Donna had left real early, we caught her near Middletown where we stayed in the quick market for 40 minutes to cool off. Then we parted company as the fixed gears went on the "old climb" to avoid Cobb Mountain. Only time finished this ride after sundown, not due as much to travel speed as all the time seeking refuge in the shade.

Eastern Sierra Double-91st of 223 riders, 195 miles, 10,200' elevation, 5:00-6:58, 16.0 mph average. Lets see, bad cold for two weeks prior and just got on antibiotics a few days before. Will I (a) be smart and take it easy or (b) be stupid and hammer away until I'm sleeping in the back of pickup trucks and the middle of the desert. Well, I did finish--barely.
You too can have fun on Doubles!!! Even if the music blasting from the radio is kinda shitty, I'm in no condition to change the radio dial. I don't know who took the photo, just if I was lucid I could have gotten one with snow capped mountains in the background.

Mt. Tam Double-28 or 29th of 199 riders, 199 miles, 14,500' climbing. 5:00-7:35. ____ mph. All summer long po'd about how I finished Eastern Sierra, so was motivated for my favorite event. Don,, Jack and I rode most of the way together which helped while we were riding but we bogged down at some rest stops with each person taking turns being the last man out. Also bogged down buy severe cross winds on the northern part of the course. In the last 20-30 miles Don and I got into a nice two man and caught and passed a half dozen riders. I thought with our slow time we wouldn't place highly, but the wind whipping weather conditions had proved to be quicksand for the field. 4th Year Triple Crown Earned


Devil Mountain Double, 59th of @182 starters, 206 miles, 18,600' climbing. Fell apart on this 3 years ago, last time I did it, so didn't know what to expect. After an early season series of crazy training ride, I felt ready albeit my back going out on hard climbs, and this double featured the most climbing. But started with Jack, we got unhooked in the middle, then came together for the last third, while the third person in our crazy group, Ward, came driving along to get some photos of us actually enjoying the ride. Jack and I each took turns falling apart earlier, now we're going strong towards Sunol in the twilight when our training compadre comes by snapping photos while text messaging. (Ward-o-photo)

Davis Double, (untimed) 203 miles, 8,400' climbing, 5:00-7:23 17.1 average. Much cooler than last year--only touching 100. Rode early morning with Dr. Dave on the 'bent--or more likely he'd whizz down the road when it was flat or downhill, I'd jump ahead on uphill rollers. At the midpoint the big climb up Cobb starts and Dave and I were unhooked. From then on in it was jumping from pace line to pace line on the relatively flat course and I was dead near the end.

Eastern Sierra Double, 54th of 176 starters, only 59% starters finished. 189 miles with hail and snow, 11-12,000 climbing, 14.6 mph. Was looking forward to getting revenge on the Course that kicked me while i was sick last year. But change of plans--with later spring snowstorms hitting to the North where the traditional course runs towards, the organizers rerouted us South to lower elevation--namely Death Valley. But to get into Death Valley necessitated more climbing than usual on this Double and we were greeted at the top of the climb into Death Valley with a hailstorm. No services/ shelter along the way, but the scenery was unique indeed. 5th year in a row earned the Triple Crown.

The Terrible Two, 118th of 221 starters, 200 miles, 16,400' climbing. 5:40-8:35. Still remember to vividly a few years back when it touched 100, the ride became a "Death March," and 1/3rd of the riders didn't finish. After the usual hammering at the beginning I knew I was "off" on the Silverado paceline, and then spent the rest of the day babying myself--waiting for the other shoe to drop. It stayed cool while I took it easy, and didn't really tax myself until the last 20 miles of the ride. Was estatic at the end when I finished 40 minutes ahead of 2006....but fell about a dozen places because the mild weather made it an easier course.

Mt. Tam Double, 33rd of 286 starters, 200 miles, 14,500' climbing. 5:00-6:34, 15.7 mph. This year a tough field as Mt. Tam Double is added as the last leg of the stage race series, and Mt. Tam is taken out because of budget cuts--with crappier climbs put in. After taking it so easy on the Terrible Two, I look for revenge on the course, redemption here--and rode hard for most of the little too cool day. First 80 miles were with ever changing groups/ allies, and the last 120 miles was on big time trial.

Knoxville Double, (untimed), 200 miles, 14,000' climbing, 5:40-8:30, 15.4 average. Who knew this ride would be so much fun if you didn't come in with my traditional September injury. After so many timed events with balls out starts looked forward to just enjoy the ride today, and perfect weather with Jack and I sticking together for the ride made it a great way to end the doubles season


Davis Brevet 300km, (untimed), 190 miles, 8,589' climbing, 16.8 mph. With Professor Jack and Dr. Dave. A quarter of the cost of the Solvang Double with better support*--out and back of the nicest stretch of the Davis Double. Same average speed as two years ago--when event was mush bigger during a B-P-B (sic) qualifying year--and with Jack keeping us moving we came in just when it got dark. Dave on the bent' as I practiced how to keep together on the Davis Double--he's the man doing the Cobb Mountain climb before we turned around. (*Less rest stops but better stocked than Solvang, Lee Mitchell constantly passing in his musical sag wagon, NO traffic controls for 190 miles)

How does a Double differ from a regular century? (Yes-I know 100 miles.)

1) Start at some ungodly hour

2) Its an all day affair

3) At one point you'll wonder if you are on the right course as no one is around.

4) Rest stops are 30 miles apart instead of 20.

5) You need to get out of rest stops in less than 10 minutes instead of camping out.

6) If a timed double folks are going balls out in a mass start--when you wish that everyone would just go away, by mile 120 see #3.

7) If you start feeling like crap-instead of just toughing it out for another 30 miles, you may have to go another 130 miles.

8) Likewise, the BIG CLIMB that used to be insane at mile 75 now is at mile 175.

Apart from finishing 24 doubles I've also done (riders longer than a Double Metric)

The Death Ride aka "The Fun Ride"
-4 passes self supported 2003
-6 passes 2004 (bonus pass year)
-5 passes 2005, 06, 08, 09

Climb to Kaiser aka "The Funs Over Ride"

Happy being chased up the climb as not merging with boat/ trailer traffic from Fresno and the course is marked at this point--mostly climbing for the first 75 miles to over 9,000'.

Auburn Double Metric Century+ (@140 miles)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Exposure Lights Test & Review

Searching for a light combo (bike/ helmet) that :
-Is lightweight.. A 455 gram light adds one pound, so like to keep the light(s) less than that.

-Has no wires to an external battery-especially for the helmet.
-A helmet light that will add depth of field, a backup light, and something to use in case I have to change a flat.
-Has a run time of minimally 3 hours. I'm not planning to ride thought the night, but if I leave in the dark 45 minutes before sunup--a 2 hour run time light has me nervous for later.
-Has LED bulb(s) so I don't have to worry about replacing the bulb and I get a white light (instead of yellow.)
-Gives off enough light. On roads with no street lights-15 watts/ 110 lumens is too dark.
-Is inexpensive-though lights are not getting cheeper (sic)--but brighter and smaller.

Every year lights get more powerful, smaller, longer lasting (thanks to LEDs.) With my eye toward the Alta Alpina 8 next year--and 2 hours of night mountain riding, I started considering a new bike light. My 65 lumens Coast mini flashlight (100 hours) and 50 lumens Princeton Tec Headlamp (105 grams, 4.5 hours) didn't cut it at the beginning of Knoxville, especially when there were no streetlights. And my NiteRider MiNewt, at 110 lumens, (175 grams, 3 hours) barely did the trick at the end when on a streetlamp-less country road. Something more was needed riding down a mountain pass.

I also have an older15 watt* NiteRider Smart Evolution Halogen light (*lights used to be rated by watts and NiteRider has not converted this to the more precised lumens.) But three problems. (1) Though it could be stepped down to 10 watts and last longer, at 15 watts the light only lasted for 1:45 hours. (2) And it weights--550 grams, adding over 1 pound. (3) Even 15 watts isn't that bright when there is no other surrounds light.

Exposure Lights caught my eye. All their lights last 3 hours on high. Their lights are relatively light--their 960 lumens light is just 298 grams and their helmet mounted Joystick, 240 lumens, is a flyweight 76 grams. At first I figured that I'd get an Exposure Light for my bike and use my NiteRider MiNewt as a helmet light. But then I'd be riding around with a wire dangling from the helmet light to the battery taking up space in the jersey.

An alternative came to mind as Exposure Lights have NO WIRES. I'd picked up the Exposure Joystick to evaluate their product, use it as a helmet light, and if I like it I'd eventually pick up one of its big brothers.

Indoor Comparison
First helmet 10' away from light, 2nd helmet 20' away, Flanders Flag 25' away. (Photos taken on tripod at 1/2s 3.1f) Note-Ward did recommend that I shine each lighting system at annoying corner neighbor's house and see which one they come running out about the fastest.

Coast Mini Flashlight (65 lumens) coupled with Princeton-tec (50 lumens) headlight not the greatest--even if they give off more light than most small bike lights. (And in a garage you get reflection off the walls, ceiling floors; and the light just has to throw 25' which is barely acceptable outside (at 20 mph you'll travel almost 30' a second.)

MiNewt on low puts out a nice white light& 15w halogen Evolution puts out a more diffuse light but yellow so not a great throw forward. Joystick on has the least spread--but has a nice clean spotlight.

Joystick is the same size (actually a tiny bit thinner) than mini flashlight. It snaps onto the helmet on a special bracket that goes through a vent (or a handlebar bracket which I didn't get yet--in fact I put it on the handlebars with ponytail ties which I've used on doubles with my mini-flashlight.) As I later learned, a bonus of the Exposure Joystick helmet mount is that you can change the tilt or direction while you are riding.

Outdoor Test #1

I went to a street without streetlamps (Contra Loma approach.) Throw and brightness of Exposure Light Joystick on High is better than 15w NightRider Evolution, though NightRide has a little more spread close up.
Two things I learned in the meanwhile:
1) Watts vs Lumens. As they measure different things, and watts are dependant on the type of bulb, there is no strict conversion formula. But Peter White Cycles, a very good site re off the beaten path bike equipment, provides this:
Light output: 65 lumens, (5-8 watt halogen equivalent)
Light output: 80 lumens, (8-10 watt halogen equivalent)
Light output: 120 lumens, (12-15 watt halogen equivalent)
Another lighting supply site provides this:
75 lumens=15 watt halogen
So 1 watt halogen ranges from 5-13 lumens equivalent; so my old 15 watt NiteRider Evolution threw out 75-195 lumens.
2) Throw vs With of Beam. A great commentary on this is provided by Peter White Cycles:
On country roads on a moonless night, it's as though you're riding along in a tunnel. The width of the tunnel is determined by the width of your headlight's beam. The wider the beam, the wider the tunnel. With a narrow beam, you need to be paying closer attention to what's going on around you. With a wider beam, you can relax more. You don't feel as though you can make one false move, and go flying off the road. It's just more relaxing. But a wider beam requires more total light, otherwise that tunnel, though wider will be darker.
The 240 lumens Joystick was creating a little narrower but MUCH brighter tunnel than the 15w halogen NiteRider Evolution.
All outdoor photos "brightness" is increased +20 in Photoshop to mimic the conditions I saw after my eyes adjusted.

Exposure Light Joystick Helmet Light Review
Joystick mounts on the helmet on a plastic mount that locks through the vents, and then is able to be adjusted/ tilted on a ball joint, even when riding. It is very stable while riding. There is also a supplied lanyard I clipped to the Joystick that also loops through the helmet vents--provided as on mountain bike rides branches can dislodge the Joystick from its mount. Doesn't seem like it would be a problem on a road ride.

I'll have to make the helmet a tad tighter, it seemed to slip forward a little with the light.
Otherwise the helmet felt the same as always as the light adds little weight.

Small push button switch in the back of the light can scroll through 3 light levels--the small button was easy to find and change (even with mini-Red led taillight plugged into the back next to it) though it would be hard with thick glove; not a problem with glove liners. There are many options for the light--ability to double the light output and attach another lens, attach an aux. battery for longer run time, attach a full sized taillight, or, what I did, attach a mini taillight to the back of the unit. The light does have a power level indicator--though while on the helmet of course impossible to see while riding.

The light does mount on the handlebars--in fact as I didn't order the handlebar mount that also fits its big brothers, I used my old pony tail tie trick to secure the Joystick to the bars. No problem.

After test ride very happy with the Exposure Light Joystick, so I was ready to go ahead and order one of it's big brothers.

Outdoor Test #2
An initial dilemma. Exposure Lights had a holdover model, Maxx-D, that put out 900 lumens A new model, Toro, put our 700 lumens. Weight was basically the same, very light for a high powered light (slightly under 300 grams), run time (3 hours on high) exactly the same. Big difference was that with 4 LED bulbs the Maxx-D had a wider light spread while with one "super" LED the Toro had a more focused beam.
Damn--wish I could have tested both out side by side.
Even though I now had the Joystick as a tight focused beam, for road riding the throw more important than the spread, so I went with the Toro.
I took the Toro and my other lights to the base of Mt. Diablo--again the last streetlight about 100' behind me and blocked by a tree so very dark. I set up a can about 5' in front of the camera on tripod, a pumpkin on the center line of the road, left side of the photos 30-40' away, and another pumpkin in front of the Mt. Diablo sign about 90' down the right side road.
Brightest light?? The ranger's overhead flashing lights when he came racing down to kick me out of a closed park, which prevented me measuring the marks I set up.

As you can see below, the MiNewt's 110 lumens lights up the can hazard, but really fades to the 1st pumpkin on the road, and this area is not that bright. The 15wEvolution really brightens up the can hazard, but really doesn't light up much else--though if I had time to look at the photos at the site I'd have redone this one pointing the light further out.
I included the Exposure Light's Joystick and Toro 10 hour medium setting photos, but this should only be used when riding on a lit street. Using the 3 hour max settings, the Joystick did a nice job throwing out a long beam, but again not too wide, the area around the 1st pumpkin, 30'-40' away, is brighter than the area around the can 5' away. Actually good for a helmet light, will brighten up what I am looking at.

The Toro was real impressive. On medium it is as bright as the MiNewt. On max it is scorching! You can start to make out the 2nd Pumpkin and the Mt. Diablo sign 100' down the road. Coupled with the Joystick the lane for 100' is really lit up.
All outdoor photos increased +20 in brightness.

Exposure Lights Toro Light Review

I'm really impressed how light the light is in total darkness.
As previously reported this brand caught my eye as apart from being cordless, about half the weight of other high powered lights. The only spec negative is that it takes 12 hours to fully charge the Toro (9 hours for 90%.)
The light is nicely machined and so is the light bracket--and the light goes on the bracket very easily but securly. I got a few brackets to put and keep on each bike--as once I get the optimal light angle dialed in I don't want to keep having to move the bracket and start over. Conversely, the MiNewt doesn't need a bracket, can easily be moved from bike to bike, but every time I put it on it took a few adjustments to get the angle where I wanted it.
With glove liners on it was easy to cycle through the different outputs--and on a street with streetlights the medium setting (that goes for 10 hours) was more than enought. But as you can see when it is pitch dark, the medium setting doesn't cut it. As a quick afterthought I had in the back of my mind that the Joystick and Toro on medium would cast half the lumens as they do on full power. But after seeing the lights in action, and thinking about it (Expsoure Lighst does not provide this information), as the medium setting runs over 3x longer than at max/ high, then it stands to reason that the lumens cast are not half but a THIRD of max/ high. So on the medium setting the Toro just cast 210 lumens (the Joystick just 72.) And on the low setting the Toro can run for 24 hours, but just at 84 lumens. I wish the light had less of a run time at medium and low setting but more with more lumens.
In short, I'm amazed how lights have become better (more powerful, lighter, run longer) in a few years. And after a light test and a few night time runs, real impressd with the Exposure Lights.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mt. Diablo Recap-Put off another Year of Aging-2009

Unfortunately one of the great standard rides just ended--riding up Mt. Diablo after work. I did it almost every Tuesday and Wednesday during daylight savings time. On Tuesday Ward and I loosened up bs'ing (one quote of the year, we passed a rider and he said "how can you guys talk and go so fast.") and on Wednesday the Diablo Cyclists time trial to the Junction. On Wednesday usually cut off 6-8 minutes from the day before, continue up to the top if it was warm or if there was a need to train for an event. We'd return down the "easy" South Side to paceline back through Danville and Walnut Creek, creating a loop that made the ride longer. Diablo Cyclists going up on Wednesday catching riders who started before us. Local cyclocross camp Mark probably is already at the Junction reading a newspaper. (Diablo Scott photo) After Diablo Cyclists pass Diablo Scott en masse, he takes photo and has a great caption on his blog "And in an instant my passed-em : passed-me ratio goes down the crapper."

On weekends the road is congested with cars going up and down and yahoos trying to pass on blind turns, but during the week Mt. Diablo is quiet--almost one big bicycle path going up. Early and late in the season with the sun setting early, we go 2/3rds up to the Junction; (from North Gate-the "Hard Side") 6.55 miles and 2,159' climbing. Later on, we continue on to the top which makes the climb 11.19 miles and 3,849'. Though the extension is shorter the road gets steeper so it almost doubles riding time. The last section to the top-the ramp--is 16-19%, and the rule is we have to do it twice. Going down the South side and looping back from the Junction gives us almost a 30 mile ride, from the top almost 40.
Diablo Scott took this great photo of the ending ramp last year. Unless we have a doctor's note, we have to do it twice.

As the club wimp I usually refuse to go to the top unless it is 83 or over at the base. It is freezing when going down when it is cooler. Conversely, I may be the only person enjoying the climb when it is 95 degrees+ and descending in just a sleeveless vest is priceless. But as I trained for the early Devil Mountain Double this year it meant going up Mt. Diablo when it was still cold--the lowlight may have been descending Mt. Diablo when it was in the mid 30's. F.

Interesting year, with an ebb and flow of people rounding into form different times of the year. Like every year local cyclocross champ Mark always takes off and gets to the Junction at 30m; beneficial to me when new people try to chase Mark, riding the heaviest bike, and then blow up down the road. Otherwise, this year joined by many fast climbers. Early on I'd drop James on the steep sections but he'd use his sprint (he almost hit 40 mph on the blvd) to roar past me when the road leveled off within 200 feet of the junction—damn. We also had to put up with young mountain bike racer Justin zooming by while complaining that he was out of shape.

In the spring I'd be dropped if I hit the 1000' sign at 15:05—by the end of the summer I di get there at13:40. Drew and Specialized Dave much faster than me, but when it got hot they suffered more than I did and I was able to get by them. Near the end of the summer a new person, Chris, showed up, and if I worked hard to drop Drew on a hot day Chris would go by. The best times were tangling with Dr. Dave when he got off the recumbent and onto a regular bike—I'd have to get far away on the steep sections as he'd easily spin by me when the road started to level off.

(above) Ward finishing the ramp the second time. (below) I'm at the top with the San Ramon Valley behind me.I've become a better descender the last couple of years (well, I couldn't have gotten any worse) but was getting slower and slower on the climbs. Five years ago, when the Death Ride and other unknown rides "scared" me, it was incentive not to eat and to go balls out on every climb--and lost this motivation over time. But the good news is that after breaking 36:00 to the Junction only 2 times from 2006-08 I did it 6 times this year and after breaking 70:00 to the top last in 2005 I did it again in 2009.

Breaking 36:00 to the Junction (from North Gate)

2003 (3x, fastest 33:13), 2004 (1x, 33:51), 2005 (1x 35:50), 2006 (0x 36:34), 2007 (0x, 36:08), 2008 (2x, 35:37), 2009 (6x, 34:39)*

Yea!, I hadn't seen anything in the 34:00's until this year since 2004.

Breaking 70:00 to the Top (from North Gate)

2003 (2x, fastest 66:25), 2004 (1x, 67:55), 2005 (1x, 69:25), 2006 (0x, 75:52), 2007 (0x 70:49), 2008 (0x, 72:52), 2009 (1x, 69:01)**

*In mid summer there is a race up the North (Hard) side to a point about 1 1/2 minutes short of the Junction. Taking my best time (33:09) I would have come in 20th of 60 35+ Cat 4/5, 18th of 34 45+ open, and 115th of 237 men combined.

An interesting toy is the Bicycle Power Calculator. Figuring a 35:00 time up the 5.35% climb to the Junction, I estimate that I can put out 255 watts.

**In the fall there is a race up the South (Easy) side to the top. Estimating it takes 5 minutes less to ride up the South side than the North, with my best time (@64:01) I would have finished 263rd of 896 total riders (which includes some unicyclists.) I never do this race--I figure my race up Mt. Diablo is the Devil Mountain Double, which afterwards has 180 bonus miles thrown in.