21 Sep 2013, 22:51

P-38 Conquer the Coast - Ride Report


Late in the week the weather was expected to be heavy rain for the Saturday morning ride. But, come ride day the rain was mostly gone for the start of the ride. Robyn and I got the ride early. She was doing the 25 mile route on her new lime green Expedition Catrike. I opted for the 65 mile around the bay route. About 1,500 people lined up for the start and I spent some time before the start riding around the parking lot talking with other riders.

I met up with TWO other P-38 riders in the parking lot - both local to the Houston area and used their P-38s to commute daily.

The first 12 miles were a tough pound into a headwind of 20 mph gusting to 30 mph. As time went on the winds increased to 25 mph gusting to 35 mph. The decision late in the week to remove the fairing from the F-40 and ride the P-38 was the correct one.

The ride started out and almost immediately it was climb over the Harbor bridge directly into the 20 mph headwind. The start was organized into three waves for the 65 mile ride. The first wave was for riders expected to do 20+ mph, the second wave for riders expected to do 15-20 mph and then the rest of the riders in the last wave. I started at the front of the second wave (15-20 mph) and I could see that a lot of the riders in the first group did not really belong there (based upon my own prior health history I know that there are certain physiques that do not lend themselves to 20 mph average for 65 miles).

The Harbor bridge was an 8 percent grade for a half mile. I probably passed 30 percent of the first wave going up the bridge and then the next 12 miles were into the 20 mph headwind. The P-38 allowed me to better penetrate the headwind and again I passed many uprights in the first 12 miles. Of course it helped that the two other P-38s eventually caught me around mile marker 4 and we formed a rotating pace-line into the wind for about 8 miles. I really need to work on my pace-line abilities because I kept getting dropped off the back and had to work extra hard to re-acquire. It was really cool riding with two other P-38s. When passing uprights they would yell when the second P-38 passed them and then scream ‘THREE OF THEM’ when the third passed.

Finally after 28 miles we reached the Port Aransas ferry. They held the ferry for 15 minutes while it loaded up with bicycles and I think all the recumbents were on the same crossing as myself: three P-38s, a Carbon Aero 2.0 and an original small-wheeled Carbent. I wish I’d have taken pictures of the other recumbents.


Once off the ferry, and headed south down Mustang Island, the wind became a quartering tailwind and the ride was a blast! For an hour, with the help of the tail wind, I averaged around 23 mph. Life was pretty darn good.

####The Good Life - Speeding down Mustang Island @ 23 mph####


The good life ended at mile marker 48 where I came to the bridge at the southern end of Mustang Island. Again another 8 percent grade for 1/3 mile with a quarting headwind that had increased by now to 25 mph gusting to 35. The deep-v rim on the front of my bike was getting yanked all over the place and I had to maintain a death grip on the handle bars. At the top of the bridge it started raining - pelting and stinging like mad. I rode the brakes all the way down the other side of the bridge to keep under 10 mph just so that I could keep control of the bike. The rest of the ride over the 3 mile causeway was brutal. The hard rain, the 35 mph gusting wind picking up every little piece of sand and flinging it against me, the front wheel wanting to go every which way. I was pretty darn glad to make it back to land where there were some buildings to shield the wind every now and then.

Now it was another 14 miles into the headwind north back up the coast to Corpus Christi. The ride along Ocean Dr was beautiful (even if very windy).

Riding the last 12 miles along Ocean Dr with the headwind of 25 mph gusting to 35 mph I started to become concerned about Robyn because I knew that she also had to conquer this section of the ride on her Expedition Catrike. It was a real struggle for me on this section because I was already exhasted from the first 53 miles.

Three miles from the finish I get a flat front tire. Bummer. I was already so exhasted that it took me 20 minutes to change the tire. I’ve had two flats now in the last two weeks since I’ve changed the tires from Marathon Pluses to Kojaks. I think I’m going to try some Stan’s NoTubes sealant to see if I can stop the flats.

Riding through the finish gate I was very releaved to see Robyn having successfully completed the dificult 25 mile ride in the fierce wind.


I noticed there is a difference between men and women in finish photographs. I have dirt and sand all over me. My bike jersey is all grease from changing the tire. I’m sitting in a chair because I can hardly move. Robyn on the other hand looks like she’s ready to go out for a night on the town. Hmmm, me thinks she may have primped before taking her photo?

Post ride celebration / recovery. That was one tough ride. I wanted an experience. I got it.



65.8 miles, four hours and ten minutes ride time. Only two breaks: 20 minutes on the ferry and 23 minutes changing the tire.




Of course by the next morning the weather had cleared - no wind, no clouds - just a beautiful morning sitting on the balcony having some coffee looking out over the bay.


02 Sep 2013, 08:56

P-38 Medium ride - flat tire

Nice ride today on the P-38, until the flat tire. Got a ride home from Robyn. Next time I need to make sure I bring a spare tube along. 24.6 miles @ 16.1 mph.



01 Sep 2013, 09:56

P-38 Easy ride

Felt good today. Nice easy ride. 40 miles @ 15.5 mph.

Ride for a couple of more days then I’ll put the F-40 fairing back on.

31 Aug 2013, 09:56

P-38 Easy recovery ride


Finally, a week after Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred I woke up this morning without a headache and my neck and shoulders were relaxed. So I took off for and easy ride on the P-38 down the local bike path to the Blue Hole park in Georgetown TX. Lots of people on the MUP. Nice easy ride enjoying the scenery.


Tomorrow if still feeling good I’ll take the P-38 on a longer ride out to the country.

24 Aug 2013, 09:56

F-40 Hotter 'N Hell Hundred

![image](/img/2013-08-24-Starting Crowd.jpg)

14,000 riders! Hotter ‘N Hell is basically an understatement.

Robyn and I left Georgetown early Thursday morning headed towards Wichita Falls pulling the vintage Airstream. After a 6 hour drive we arrived at Camp Bradford. Here we got to visit with Gary and Gay Bradford and their wonderful family (kids and grandkids).

The local newspaper came by on Friday to take a picture of the group and all the recumbents gathered in one place. Gary and Gay alone probably have twenty recumbents between them.


Thursday afternoon Gary drove us into town to pickup our ride packets and see the vendor booths. Pack pickup was well organized and we quickly breezed through the vendor area.

Friday we went into town again to the mad house the place had become. Lots of people arrive on Friday and the place was packed. We visited many of the vendor booths. The rest of the vendors had arrived overflowing outside the convention center into the tented area. Looks like I might have found a new rear wheel for the F-40. Friday night was spaghetti night at Camp Bradford and Gay cooked a meal for about 20 people. Lots of good food!

Saturday morning it was up bright and early to arrive at HHH parking area around 5:30 am. Took around 40 minutes to get my F-40 and Robyn’s Catrike Expedition setup to be ride ready. By 6:15 am we were at the start line right up front where all the tandems and recumbents start. Probably at least 200 other recumbents in the ride. All different makes and models. Some I did not even recognize what they were.


Let the ride begin!

This it by far the biggest ride I have ever done. Next closest was the GASP ride (Greater Austin to Shiner Peddle) which was 98 miles and had about 8,000 riders.

The ride support is incredible. Traffic control at every intersection and tremendous support at every rest stop. Helpers to hold your bike, helpers with pictures of ice water or power aid to quickly refill your bottles. It was very nice!

The community support was tremendous also. All throughout the ride, all 101.6 miles, in every community we rode through, families were out in their yards sitting in lawn chairs cheering us on. In the morning parents had cups of coffee in their hands sipping as we passed by, in the afternoon I’m pretty sure they were not drinking coffee any more but they were even more happy to see us than in the morning.

I think I saw almost everyone I know that owns a recumbent bike. Starting at the very front like I did allowed me to say hi as they rode past me. Some people I got to say hi to multiple times as they would stop at a rest stop that I did not stop at and then would pass me again once they got back on the road.

Ron Swift on his carbent passed me about the 25 mile mark. My neighbor Justin passed me at the 33 mile mark and again at the 57 mile mark riding his DF in a big peloton. Justin did an amazing ride finishing just under 5 hours. Mark Lueck passed me on his Baron about the 80 mile mark. Saw one other F-40 and talked to the rider a little - cannot remember his name now. Although he did say Carl Murdock was up ahead on his F-40 somewhere. I never did catch up to Carl.

###I need a sign on the side of the F-40###

With 14,000 riders you get many questions out on the course. I can save a lot of repetitive talking by having a sign made.

  • Yes it is hot in here.
  • No I am not naked
  • No it does not have A/C
  • No it is not called the banana bike
  • Yes I am peddling

###Is it really “Hotter ‘N Hell”?###

To help clarify this question I’ve overlayed my Garmin temperature with the appropriate labeling such that one can easily determine for themselves. FWIW - Hell starts around 10:30am just after the morning clouds have burned off and now the sun beats down on everything in sight and no respite can be found anywhere.


After the ride I knew that I was over heated and probably somewhat dehydrated. I drank lots of fluids and rested as much as possible. For two days I slept all the time and every time I woke up I had a splitting headache where my head felt like is was going to explode. Finally sometime during the second day when I woke the right side of my head was ok and just the left side of my head hurt. Then later on the second day when I woke both sides were ok. Day three and I’m still having to take Advil a couple of times a day.

###The Big Shoot Out###

Billy Younts and I headed out the starting gate neck and neck. The lead groups were to fast for me. The first couple of hours I averaged close to 19 mph. Billy managed to latch onto the rear of a group traveling pretty fast and I saw him pull away into the distance. This was only 8 or 9 miles into the ride and I knew I could not keep that pace up for 100 mile so I slowed down to a speed I thought I could maintain. I thought to myself that Billy would not be able to keep up that pace for 100 miles and he'd start suffering later in the ride.

Well, some time later Billy passes me again latched onto the rear of a fast pace line - they were still going to fast for me. Some time later Billy again passes me latched onto a fast pace line. Supposably, he needed to ‘stop for water’, but I really think he just liked passing me so he would stop at the next rest stop, wait and watch me ride though, wait a couple of more minutes, then hop on his Musashi and pass me again.

Needless to say Billy ended up putting the hurt on me and finishing his first 100 mile century in an incredible time! Congrats!

###The Ride###

It is a fast start. A straight 10 mile shot from Wichita Falls to Iowa Park on a road where they have closed off the two right lanes for the riders and there is plenty of room to pass others (or be passed). On small overpass at the start then flat, flat, flat and fast, fast, fast.



I did the first 10 miles to Iowa Park in under 30 minutes and the first 50 miles (which had all the ‘climbing’) in about 2 and one half hours. Really flying for me - easily on track for a five hour century ride.

Right around the 75 mile mark things started to deteriorate. Until then I was holding the highest average speed of any of my prior rides. Notice the chart below where I was kind of settling into just above an 18 mph average.


I started cramping really bad in my inner-quads. I found some shade and a place to pull over and sit and stretch. After stretching several minutes I got back on the bike and easy peddled the remaining 25 miles. I stopped at every rest stop from 75 miles on to refill liquids and stretch some more.

There was one last overpass where you are just re-entering Wichita Falls that was just a killer for me. I though I was going to have to get off and walk up it - but I finally made it up and over.

My ride time was pretty fast. My time off the bike really put the hurt on my elapsed time.

Next year I’ll need to be in better shape. The longest ride on the F-40 before this 100 miler was only 62 miles. Hopefully for next year’s HHH I’ll have more century experience.




###Chip Timing###

Every bike number had a timing chip built-in. Of the 14,000 riders 3,763 had the number on their bike and finished the 100 Mile ride. Out of the 3,763 riders I came in 1,204.



Although these comparisons are not exact it is interesting to compare the F-40, Optima Baron and the Musashi.

###Baron vs F-40###

The Baron was ridden at the end of last season when I was in really good shape. The Katy Flatland Century only has 463 feet of climbing as recored on my Garmin. The F-40 is noticably faster until I started cramping.

Optima Baron:    Katy Flatland Century 2012
F-40:    Hotter 'N Hell Hundred 2013

###Musashi vs F-40###

The Musashi was ridden at the beginning of this year and I was not yet in shape. I was in medium shape for HHH after being off for a month in June/July for travelling.

Musashi:    Georgetown Poppy Ride 2013
F-40:    Hotter 'N Hell Hundred 2013

I know I left a lot out of this ride report. Hotter ‘N Hell is a four day event covering a lot different rides. I really enjoyed myself and look forward to trying again next year.


22 Aug 2013, 09:56

F-40 The intense ride

I set my Garmin Edge 800 up to record split times every mile.

This allows me to do a rough analysis over my normal training course to see where on the course I am having slowness issues, which gives me a clue as to what part of my riding do I need to improve to cause my average speed to increase.

I also leave the one mile split recording for the charity rides so that I can get some sense of endurance over distance and create charts like this:

Musashi:    Georgetown Poppy Ride 2013
F-40:    Copperas Cove Classic Ride 2013

With over 4,500 miles on the Musashi I can count the number of mile splits above 30 mph on one hand - and no splits at 31 mph or above.

So far, with only 255 miles on the F-40, and most of those 255 miles being slow learn how to ride the bike miles, I already have two splits above 30 mph. One split at 31.8 mph and another split at 32.1 mph. I have many, many splits in the high 20s.

Two days from now it will be Saturday and the Hotter ’n Hell Hundred ride in Wichita Falls TX. The route is pretty flat and I’m hoping to have a good ride there where several of the splits should be above 30 mph (we shall see).

Over on BROL (Bent Rider On-Line) there was a discussion about how intense it is to ride an F-40:

strava http://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/showthread.php?t=100254&page=2

Basically, the speed of the F-40, combined with the wind handling requirements, causes one to more often than not have extreme concentration so that one does not run off the road or run into other riders.

The F-40 is not for the timid or faint of heart.

19 Aug 2013, 09:56

F-40 Hotter 'N Hell Hundred Pre-ride 30 miles in 102.0 degrees


Today I went for a ride in the middle of the afternoon to see what it is like riding the F-40 in temperatures above 100 degrees.

Average temperature: 102.0, highest temperature: 107.6

I rode really easy so as not to over heat. Coast all downhills - even ride the brakes to keep my heart rate really low. Then soft peddle the uphills.

It was pretty hot. I sucked the gatorade constantly and even then lost 4 pounds water weight in the two hours riding.

Everything was ok except for the feet. No breeze on the feet, even when moving, due to the front fairing. Really had to work the toe crunches after the first hour to keep from getting hot foot.


17 Aug 2013, 15:56

F-40 Copperas Cove Classic Bike Ride


This was my first charity ride with the F-40 and the pre-ride comments were very interesting:

Middle-aged-dad: “I told my son that was a wrapper for safely transporting your bike.”

Me: “Well no, it is firmly attached and I ride it like this.”

Middle-aged-dad: “YOU’RE GOING TO RIDE WITH THAT ON????”

“I thought that was a kayak when I saw you taking it out of the car!”

After unzipping the side: “THERE’S A BIKE IN THERE!”

“Did you build that by hand?”

“Does it have AC?”

The Copperas Cove Classic Bike ride is a small ride with great support and back country road with little car traffic. There were about 150 riders and I was the only recumbent. The morning was unusually cool for this time of year with the temperatures only rising into the nineties towards the end of the ride.

Winds were 12 mph steady and out of the North (with the F-40 wind information becomes important).

With my other recumbents I always tried to start the ride at the front of the pack. I’ve found the front position the least stressful because mixing it up with the upright bikes while they are trying to get clipped in and stutter starting is never any fun. Most small towns in Texas are built on hills and the first few miles of a ride are usually a nice easy downhill. With police motorcycle escort on the Musashi I was always cruising easily at the front of the pack just behind the motorcycle for a quick 18 to 21 mph initial ride out of town. Of course, once we hit the first hill I was usually dropped like a rock.

So today I take my F-40 up to the front of the start line. Everyone lines up at least 20 yards behind me? Like I have some kind of contagious disease. Whatever. So the ride starts and I’m coasting right behind the police escort. we quickly cruising at 28 mph and are at least 1/4 mile ahead of everyone else - the escort sees he is just escorting me - which causes him to apply the brakes and slow down to let everyone catch up. I spend the first five miles riding out of town constantly on the brakes to keep the speed under 18 mph and stay behind the escort.

New F-40 rule for small town rides: Start the ride at the extreme back of all the riders where everyone else has a chance to get out on the road first. Then spend the first 20 minutes coasting past everyone at a decent speed.

At about the 27 mile mark the riders doing the 50 mile route split off to take a shorter path than the riders doing the 100k route. The 50 mile route riders rejoin up with the 100k route riders after the 100k route riders have ridden about 50 miles. So shortly after I had passed the 50 mile marker (on the 100k route) many riders doing the 50 mile route start passing me on this really long steep uphill. I’m grinding (spinning?) away up this hill doing about 5 mph and the uprights are passing me doing at least twice my speed. It takes me a good 10 minutes to climb the hill. Lots of comments about how hot it must be in that thing. Or, hmmm, recumbents can’t climb (forget the fact I’ve already ridden 12 miles more that they have). Going down on the other side of the hill at 35 mph the story was a little different.

About 30 minutes after I had finished the ride a young woman comes into the finish area completing the 50 miler and stops to talk to me. She says: “You know, I passed you going up that steep hill and thought you would never catch me. When I was almost down the other side of the hill I saw this yellow dot crest the top of the hill a long ways behind me. I thought it’s time to put in some effort so that yellow thing will never catch me. Next thing I know you’re blowing by me like I’m standing still and I look down and I’m doing 24 mph. You were quickly out of sight and I never saw you again.”

All in all it was a great day to be on a bike ride! I’ll probably to this one again next year, even with all the climbing.

Riding in the heat - It turns out that riding in the heat is pretty much a non-issue. Except for really long steep hills where greater than 5 minutes is spent climbing in low gear and the temperatures are in the high 90s.

In every other scenario with the F-40 you are traveling fast enough to actually be cold.

A couple of things to remember.

First, I’m no longer wearing bicycling specific clothing. I now wear Nike Dri-FIT running shorts and running shirt. These are very light weight with great moisture wicking abilities. With any little breeze inside the F-40, which is easy to get at 20 mph, you will be evaporative cooled. Spandex bicycle shorts are very heavy and thick by comparison. Bicycle jerseys are also very heavy and thick by comparison.

Second, you are riding in the shade and you are protected from road heat by the bottom of the fairing.

However, on the long steep climbs where you are crawling up at 5 mph for many minutes you will get very hot.

You can unzip the top and sides of the fairing to let in some breeze while going up these steep hills.

NOTE: Do not disconnect the velcro at the top to open up the sides completely because of two reasons: 1) the sun can now shine in and you are no longer riding in the shade (that makes it warm up fast), and 2) it takes two hands to pull the spandex tight enough to refasten the velcro (ie you will be stopping at the top of the hill in the middle of the road with no shoulder to refasten the spandex so that you can get the heck out of the sun).

The stump puller gear - The low, low, low gearing on the F-40 allows you to climb any really steep hill. This is the first ride with thousands of feet of climbing where I did not have to get off the bike and walk the really steep hills. The low speed handling abilities of the base P-38 really stand out when climbing these hills spinning at 80 rpm and moving at 5.5 mph.

Marathon Plus Tires - One of the best recommendations I got for learning how to ride an F-40 was to use Marathon Plus Tires. These things are heavy and slow - but they are bomb proof. Twice today while traveling downhill at 35 mph I hit big potholes that launched the bike into the air. The Marathon Plus tires combined with the front shock absorber made it minor event. Hitting those potholes while riding the Musashi would have been much more exciting.

The beer growler worked well! Never ran out of drink. Even after refilling at the 44 mile rest stop there was still plenty of ice left at the end of the ride.

With 64 oz of gaterade it is very heavy. But when climbing up some of the larger hills on the course, in 96.8 degree heat, it was really nice to be able to take several sips of ice cold drink.

In my last 3,000 miles of riding every ride over 2 hours in the heat has always required some kind of cramping management. Usually around the 2 1/2 hour mark I start to feel cramps in my calfs for quads. I then start to easy peddle slowly downhills while stretching my leg muscles as much as possible. With my quads I sometimes have to even get off the bike and walk some to loosen up. I was taking Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes capsules every 30 minutes which helped some.

Today I took Saltstick Plus capsules instead. No hint of cramping during the whole ride. There was even 3,445 feet of climbing and several of the hills I really pushed it and definitely went into anaerobic mode with the muscles. These things are a winner!





15 Aug 2013, 10:56

F-40 Installing cadence sensor

Before today’s ride I managed to get the cadence sensor installed.

I’ve always had problems installing the garmin combined cadence/speed sensor on a recumbent. I only use the cadence sensor and basically ignore the speed sensor part (using the garmin GPS for speed).

Because of the large boom size on recumbents I’ve never found a way before to mount the sensor such that you get a reliable reading.

Well today I ignored the mounting instructions from garmin and mounted the sensor on it’s side - see picture below.

Upside is the sensor is extremely reliable, downside is I have to snip the tie wraps when replacing the battery.

The 175 mm cranks only seem to have lowered my average cadence by a couple of RPMs!

cadence sensor

cadence sensor

cadence sensor

15 Aug 2013, 09:56

F-40 pushing it a little

After a week of riding the F-40 I seem to be acclimating to the effect of wind on the bike.

I can now ride my normal training route on the roads and not worry about the bike itself.

On my normal training route there is a Strava KOM segment that is 3.8 miles. The KOM is done by a professional triathlete at 31.5 mph. Today I pushed it on this segment and got 10th place out of 651 going 28.3 mph.

I would like to get my normal training rides to always be in the 20 mph range.

I have my garmin configured to split on every mile. This allows me to analyze my 40 mile training route and quickly find my slow areas. After several thousand miles on my Musashi I can count the number of split miles above 30 mph on one hand. Now, on every ride with the F-40 I usually get at least one split mile that is > 30 mph. Today, pushing it a little one of my splits was 31.8 mph - highlighted below on the garmin snapshot.