What a beautiful day for a ride!
Tandems in front, then velomobiles, then 100 milers, etc., etc..
Just kidding - but there does seem to be this zone of velomobile respect in effect going on (do they think it is going to explode?).
Packing up for the Trip
The Quest is its own packing case. Friday afternoon I load everything I’ll need while riding the Quest into the Quest itself. Then I load the Quest into the minivan. I’ll also load into the minivan an ice cooler of drinks and a couple of chairs for relaxing after the ride. Now the big tire pump and small box of tools and loading the minivan is complete. The Quest is easier to pack and load into the vehicle for a trip than any other bike I have.
It was slightly overcast the whole ride which made for a cooler ride than usual. Even then, once when grinding slowly up a really steep hill, the garmin inside the Quest recorded temperatures of 100.4 degrees - but the average temperature was 82.3 so it was pretty nice the whole ride.
Lots of people came by while waiting for the start to talk about the Quest. Several people of talked with me a HHH came by to talk with me again today. Ron Swift stopped for a few minutes and I congratulated him on his Texas Time Trials performance - just amazing. Sunday when doing this write up and looking at my Strava numbers I would find out that Ron would finish today’s ride in first place in 4 hours and 28 minutes. Darn, that’s fast.
The ride starts in downtown Waco right next to Baylor university and the ride was well attended by many university students. I would say the most popular comment was “That’s cute!”. The most popular question today was “Did you make that your self?” (because surely nobody would buy something like that?).
The beginning of the ride was pretty fun. Initially I started immediately behind the tandems. That did not last for long. A very fast tandem couple stayed in front of me for a couple of minutes but then it was just me and the pace car for a while doing about 23 mph.
After about a mile (three minutes into the video) the fast “A” group catches me as I’m fiddling trying to put on my music. There are some serious looking faces in the group. They are not huffing and puffing - but they’re not gabbing and talking either. I had slowed down to 24 mph by the time I finally get the music going (Kings of Leon) then it is time to retake the group and see what they got. When I slow down at the intersections and they catch up, on the straight and level or slightly downhill I pull away. I think they finally had enough of me around the 5 minute mark and they lay down the hammer passing me doing about 25 mph. Ron comes up on the left side of my to warn about rough rode just up ahead and then he tucks in behind the last guy on the fast pace line.
My heart rate is getting up around 150 and I know I cannot sustain this effort for 100 miles - but man I’m having a blast riding with these guys.
We hit a little bit of a down hill and I bump up to 27 mph and pass the whole pace line. They catch me again a few minutes later on the next slight uphill. I tuck in behind them right on Ron’s tail and try to keep up with the group. This lasts for a couple of minutes but it is just too much effort for me on the uphills to keep up. Eventually, around mile 4, on a long sustained uphill, they finally drop me and I slide back to the “B” riders.
A Beautiful Day
This video taken just outside Crawford TX is what most of the ride looked like. Nice rolling country side. Always having a couple of riders around.
Although the road is rough chip-seal the three wheel independent suspension of the Quest really smooths out the ride. Any little downhill and the Quest quickly zooms up to 30 mph. Around the 4:40 mark Jackie Swift (Ron’s wife) passes me on her Bacchetta high racer. She is with the pace line group averaging 20 mph for the ride. We are about 30 miles into the ride at this point in the video.
The first 42 miles where mainly uphill and a lot of the fast hundred milers passed me.
Here you can see that the first 40 miles was mainly uphill. My strategy was to push hard for the first forty, conserve for the next twenty miles, and then starting around mile sixty, really pour it on to gain some time until I hit the big uphill around mile 78. Going up the long hill at mile 78 was tough. Lots of people were off their bikes walking. But then after the long uphill it was basically coasting the next 20 miles to the finish. Well, ok, mostly coasting.
Here you can see my average speed and heart rate for the ride mainly matched my pre-ride strategy.
Looking back at other 100 milers I have done this graph of speed and heart rate says that this is the fastest, least effort, 100 miles I have ever done. The Katy Flatland 100 mile ride two years ago was just 5 minutes faster on the Baron with about the same heart rate but the amount of climbing was just 10% of what is was on this ride.
Here is a nice little video of a short 30+ mph downhill on a really smooth road on the ride. I wish all the roads were like this.
Check out the reflections of the clouds on the front hood of the Quest.
I only quickly stopped at two rest stops to use the restroom. Time off the bike was only 10 minutes.
Every 10 to 12 miles there were well manned and supplied rest stops. At the time it seamed that at every rest stop the same large family was waiting for me and as the Quest approached they would stand and cheer and wave. After several stops I started looking for them at the next one.
As I finished the ride the family was there to cheer me on. The dad came over to talk to me and said their 15 year old son was in the ride and happened to always be just a few minutes behind me. They saw him off at the start and then drove to the first rest stop and waited for him to pass. I would always go through the rest stop a couple of minutes before he got there. After the son would leave the rest stop the family would drive to the next rest stop and wait again for the son. Again, I would arrive at the rest stop a couple of minutes before their son. He ended up getting ahead of me in the last 20 miles but around mile 90 the route was mostly downhill and I ended up passing ton of rider him included. He finished about 5 minutes behind me.
In this short video just after the rest stop on the left side of the road you can see the son on his bike getting his water bottle refilled from his family.
Screen shot of the family on the left side of the road with the son on the bike.
And then before I knew it the ride was over!
The Quest has some peculiarities when it comes to maintenance.
Since on almost every ride I’m frequently going faster than 40 mph, I get very obsessed with making sure the Quest (especially the tires) are in excellent shape. I’ve developed this routine that every Thursday I roll the Quest on it’s side and examine the tires and drive train in minute detail.
Pump the tires up to full pressure. Slowly rotate the wheels while examining each tire for bulges, cuts, rips, or anything that looks suspicious. I always have spare tires and tubes in the garage and I replace anything that even remotely looks suspect.
Also, on Thursdays I wash and wax the body. A clean, slippery, body makes a big difference on the top speed of the Quest. I did not know this and I waited for three weeks before I washed it the first time. I was putting about 200 miles per week on the Quest and after 600 miles the surface of the Quest was all rough like it was sand blasted.
Well, there are two parts of the Quest body that really need washing.
If you are riding your bike, and you hit a bug, the bug will bounce off, and just maybe, leave a little mark on the bike - but most likely the bug just bounces off. When riding the Quest and the front of the Quest hits a bug at 40+ mph the bug is obliterated all over the front of the Quest, just like when a bug hits the windshield of your car.
When slowing grinding up a steep hill, a good technique is to hang your arms out over the side of the Quest. This opens your chest allowing easier breathing and exposes your upper body to more air flow for greater cooling. Well, you are still sweating like mad so after the ride, down both sides of the Quest, are streams of salt crystals from your running sweat as it evaporates while running down the outside of the Quest. Hint: you should also have a towel laying in the bottom of the Quest to soak up the puddle of sweat that is accumulating at the same time you are making salt rivers on the outside of the body. These salt crystals on the side of the Quest are hard to see, but just run your hand over the outside of the Quest side and it will feel like course grained sandpaper.
So, every Thursday wash and wax the Quest.