Thursday, May 19, 2011

My First Trike Race

Driving an SUV (2002 Toyota Rav4) back in the day certainly didn't stop me from racing in the Rallycross events competing with much more nimble cars. The KMX is like the SUV of trikes and that's not stopping me either. I'm racing the 43lb+ monster at the Velodrome this weekend!

What's a Velodrome?

Think of Indy race track for bikes. I'm expecting the riding surface to be extremely smooth like a gymnasium floor. We'll see if I can hit 25mph. That's my goal at least. I'm not sure how the banked angle of the track will affect my riding.

Should I be worried about the tires wearing unevenly b/c of the banked track? Maybe I'll swap tires during the breaks. There are a few types of races going on that day.

200 meter sprints
That's a little more than half the track or 16% the length of the 0.75 mile track I usually ride. It's short! This race won't require a lot of endurance which gives me a chance at a win. With an improved gear range beyond more than anyone would need, I have enough choices to smooth out my acceleration. I'm hoping not to come in place for this event.

Newcomer's Race
4 laps. The thing is only 0.2 miles long. This event is a total of only 1 mile! That's 1.25 laps on the Golden Gate Park race track. Definitely longer than the 200 meter race. This wouldn't be so tough if I wasn't racing against 2-wheeled bents. The cut the wind better and are much lighter. They've got the full advantage. I plan on placing last in this event.

15 Lap Race
There are two races for this broken down to (recum)bents with fairings and bents w/o. That's the equivalent of 4 laps on the Golden Gate Park track). That's a good number. It would take some energy to keep at top speed for this long. This will be a tough race for me.

Trike Race
8 laps or just over 2 GGP laps if at least 3 trikes sign up. I really hope we have at least 2 other trikes who want to race. I'm very excited about this event. Of all the races, I have the best chance at this one.

30 Minute Race
Hopefully this is where my endurance training will come in handy. This event will be the most challenging. I'd be surprised if I came in anything above last place. There's always a chance. We'll see.

I'm never been so excited at the potential to place last. Even if I'm dead last, it'll be loads of fun. It'll give me an idea of the performance of the trike and me as a rider vs the other folks out there. For the past year, the only competition I've ever had for speed I've ever engaged in was the occasional run in with upright bike riders who had no idea I was racing them.

A couple weeks ago, I almost lapped a road biker. I struggled and struggled hoping to do it, but I was about 1/4" behind and it didn't seem hopeful.

3 months ago, it took these road bikers 2 miles before they'd lap me. I'm slowly increasing the gap. It'll be interesting to see how I perform with the other bent riders. I may be the only trike and I'd bet I'd be the only KMX out there on the track. KMX's are named after BMX's. KMX's weren't designed to be familiar with paved roads. They're the durable aggressive counterparts exploring uncharted areas.

I've never raced before, but I'm sure there's more than a handful of things I need to do to prepare for the event.

1. Weight shedding:
I'll have to get rid of some extra weight on the trike especially since I've added about a 1lb from the new rear hub and wheel. The bag is coming off, as is the water bottle mounting brackets. No flag. The old SRAM 3x7 would have been better for racing, but I'm not swapping the wheel again for reasons of convenience and I also want to see how the new setup performs. An argument for keeping the new Sturmey Archer hub though is that it's brand new and spins much better. I have a feeling the SRAM 3x7 IGH (internal gear hub) needs servicing to be as efficient.

2. Car:
I need to borrow my parent's SUV to take this thing out to the track. I'd rather not have my prized possession bobbing up and down on the freeway on a standard bike rack like I've been doing to transport it.

3. Parts and Tools:
I need to be sure to bring extra tubes in case anything happens.

4. Swapping tires:
Putting the Racer tire in the back would probably be a good idea, but that'll require removing the back wheel. If I do that, I may as well swap out to the lighter wheel all together. After a test ride Friday or Saturday morning, I'll make a decision.

5. Camera:
I'd like to record the event but I may not have anyone accompanying me to help out. Hopefully I can befriend a fellow bent rider's pit crew or cheerleader.


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