Friday, May 11, 2018

How much external battery do I need?

Like most long-distance cyclists I need an external battery pack to power my navigation device for the duration of some of my rides. I recently lost mine and bought a new one on Amazon. Like an idiot I just went for the one with the largest capacity. When it arrived it was the size and weight of a brick (21.5oz) - much too heavy to lug around with me all day.

So I decided to actually think about it and determine how much capacity I really need. These are the numbers that are relevant.

Ci = Capacity of my navigation device's internal battery
Di = Duration of my navigation device using its internal battery
Dt = Total duration I need

My navigation device is a Galaxy Note 4 which, according to the specs, has a capacity of 3220 mAh
The last time I tested it the device ran the rwgps app for 6 hours from a full charge down to 10%
The longest I can conceive of riding between charge opportunities is 27 hours for the hypothetical 400 km from hell.

Therefore I need an external capacity of...

Ce = (Dt - Di) * Ci / Di = (27 - 6) * 3220 / 6 = 11270 mAh

So that brick, with it's capacity of 30,000 mAh, was serious overkill. It would power my Note 4 for another 55 hours for a total of 61 hours approximately between charges.

Anyone want to buy a brick?

Sunday, May 6, 2018

California Coasting Public Ride

On the 28th and 29th of April we ran the California Coasting 600 km and 400 km brevets. The turnout was about double what I expected with a total of 34 riders setting out from beautiful San Luis Obispo at 5:00am. The weather was perfect and we had predictions of a very strong tail wind.

Kerin Huber went on ahead to staff the secret control at mile 10 and the first receipt control at Santa Maria. Our Canadian friends showed up super fast and Pete, our nominal lantern rouge, came through surprisingly quickly. 

I waited at my hotel room for an hour for late comers, of which we had none, then headed over the the Cowgirl Cafe next door for my breakfast. Then I drove a little south and jumped on my bike to try out the Bob Jones bike trail that goes to Avila Beach.

Entrance to the Bob Jones bike trail

Avila Beach

Once I got back to my car the pack was spread out enough to warrant having two SAG vehicles and I drove on along the route towards the second receipt control at Los Olivos. I picked up the back of the pack as I approached Los Alamos and had a chat with Pete as he refueled there. I saw several more riders along the 135 and there was quite a large group already at Los Olivos when I got there. Everyone agreed the R Market was an ideal place for a control. I stayed there until Pete showed up.

From Los Olivos I headed down the course to Ballard Canyon and on to Buelton and Santa Rosa road. We had a head wind on Santa Rosa road during the staff ride but it was twice as strong during the public ride and riders were glad to finally get to Lompoc where they could turn around. I'm glad I was driving!

The bike path approach to the Lompoc control was a big hit - much better than riding on Ocean and 6th Street.

The hardest climb on this route is from Lompoc over the Gaviota Pass. Even with a strong tailwind it's a long climb. Fortunately it wasn't too hot. I drove back and forth along this section of highway 1 several times making sure all my riders were doing OK. The last rider (guess who - no actually it was Mel) came over the top around 4pm. This point is about 120 miles into the ride - slightly more than half way to the overnight control.

After the top of the Gaviota Pass there is a very fast descent to the 101 and then on down to the coast at Gaviota state beach. From here on to Goleta we ride on the shoulder of the 101 with a powerful tailwind all the way to Santa Barbara. From Santa Barbara I drove to the overnight at Moorpark and then back to Port Hueneme where I waited with food for riders that missed the Wendy's control. While I was there, Stacey called to say she was DNFing at Mussel Shoals. I picked her up and took her to Camarillo. By the time I got back to Port Hueneme most of the riders were through. I ended up giving a muffin to a homeless woman which seemed to confuse her.

Can you see me now?

I saw Mel and Pete through and headed up to the overnight at Moorpark again. I think we all appreciate what a wonderful job Lisa and Greg did of providing hospitality at their house. I hadn't eaten since Lompoc about six hours earlier and those roast potatoes and mac and cheese were awesome. I can only imagine how good they tasted to those who had cycled 225+ miles to get here.

After a few hours sleep in my car I drove along the course towards the end at San Juan Capistrano. Some of the super fast riders had arrived before the room was available so Tim sat with them in the lobby until a room became available. Definitely one of the disadvantages of a point-to-point.

Tim and I waited at the end for the riders to arrive. I fully expected to be called out to pick up more DNFs but everyone who started the second day finished it, even those who rode right through. Congratulations to all of you. We only had two DNFs out of the whole group.

Photographs courtesy of Terry Hutt and Lori Arita.

I'm thinking of taking the first day of this ride and creating a 400k from it for next year. I'll make a point of hitting the scenery harder and ending at Camarillo. I'll go to Morro Bay and Avila Beach, use Foxen Canyon instead of the 135, and route through Hope Ranch in Santa Barbara. Maybe something like this It'll still have the headwind into Lompoc and the climb out, but it should be a good PBP year ride with some logistical issues and about the right amount of climbing.