San Jose HPV day and other musings

I haven’t filled in this blog for a long while as I have been using Strava to record my rides but today felt like a good day to start things going again.  In October 2010 after the Death Valley Double century I decided that for 2011 I was going to mothball the recumbents and double centuries for a year and go back to road racing and time trialling. I joined a new team (IC3)  and started training in earnest with high hopes of upgrading before the season ended.

My results so far have been a little disappointing to me. Although I am climbing better than I have in 10 years or so and I have similarly improved my time trial speed,  I haven’t really had the killer instinct to do well in large fields.  I have managed to get down into the 22’s for a 10 mile time trail which is well on the way to my goal of doing a 21 minute 10 but I lost 3 weeks due to a nasty flu bug just when my form was starting to take off.

With the realization that I am not going to be winning road races left, right and center I decided to mix in some of my old fun activities  and just enjoy riding my bikes.  With this in mind I entered the HPV fun day in San Jose on my trusty Catrike 700. My Catrike has not been ridden since the Diablo hill climb in October 2010 so on Wednesday of this week I took it out for a 14 mile ride to blow off the cobwebs.  It really is amazing  how recumbents use such a different set of muscles and by the end of this short ride my legs were pretty tired.

The first race of the day was the 200m sprint and I actually felt pretty good.  My time was a good bit slower than 2010 but not miles off and I still think I cracked 30MPH. I was soundly beaten by another trike (Mango Velomobile) and this had me a bit worried for the trike race.

My second race was the trike race and I was pleased to see we had a good turnout this year (best ever I think). I was really worried about the Mango velomobile for this race so my tactics were just going to be to draft him for the entire race and try to come round at the end.  As you can see from the video below those tactics didn’t work out too well. I got a bit boxed in near the start and the Mango got the jump on me. I chased really hard to catch back on but he kicked again and I simply couldn’t hang on to him.  I was a bit disappointed and thought it might be my lack of trike riding that was making me so slow but later in the day the Mango showed itself to be the fastest HPV even against the streamliners.

The next race was the Devil for unfaired and part faired HPV’s.  I was a bit out of my depth here and struggled to be even remotely competitive as you can see from the video below.  Things were not helped by an incident near the end of lap 3 that split the field in half (1:30 on the video).

Final race of the day was the 30 minute open event.  I knew I didn’t have the speed to match the majority of the field so my goal was to just draft as many people as I could and keep the hammer down.  It was a really hard race but by around the 20 minute mark I actually started to feel my “Bent” legs coming back.  This was a fun end to the day.

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One thought on “San Jose HPV day and other musings

  1. Nice videos and interesting to read. Don’t worry, I also had no idea of the speed of a proper velomobile like the Mango until I had one myself. They look sort of bulky, but the speed is truly surprising, and how long you can keep it up for is also amazing.

    Eight years ago I thought I’d done pretty well to average 20 mph in a 3 hour race on a relatively light racing recumbent. However last year, with a Mango that I use to ride to work in all weather conditions, I rode at an average of nearly 25 mph for six hours. That’s a huge difference despite being much older and grayer than before.

    I ought to declare an interest. I helped build that machine which did so well in your race, one of just a few which have made their way across the Atlantic so far. However, this is a job you do because you like the product – it’s certainly not making me rich.

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