Tag Archives: road racing

Had to miss church because I can’t see where I’m going on a Wreck-Free Sunday

Pollen and I are not getting along today as I have goopy eyes as a result of an allergy attack. I can see well enough to type a blog post (most of the time anyway) but I would be a danger to myself and others on the roads if I was to try to ride my bike. Add to that the constant drowsiness caused by my allergy meds and it is not a pretty picture. I’m almost finished with my second 16 oz. “cup” of coffee this morning and I’m still just barely awake enough to type. Needless to say I’m having to go back and correct typos every few words as I constantly hit the wrong keys or the right keys in the wrong order.

Last night the group I game with had almost half out for one reason or another and we couldn’t do our regular campaign because there were seriously important party members missing, like 2 of our 3 healers and both our Rogues. We might could have managed without the 2 healers with the reduced party, but without Rogues to scout and defeat traps we were doomed to fail as a party. So we rolled up some high-level characters and started an “episodic” campaign. The characters had to be 11, 12, or 13 level and were allowed to use the “Roll 4 and reroll ones, then take your highest 3” method of rolling stats, which usually results in some pretty strong characters. I rolled a 12th level Warmage, which is an awesome combat character with slots for 39 spells a day from a spell list of more than 150 spells. The only problem I see with this character is a total lack of utility spells for encounters using parties lacking certain skills. I mean whoever heard of a magic-using character that did not have “use magic device” as a class skill? Seriously, no better at using wands or scrolls than the average fighter or other non-magic user?

Anyway the first encounter we had was an anomaly in the slum district that resulted in a portal to a dimensional prison being opened up inside some poor schmuck’s apartment, resulting in the tenant being sucked into the portal and disintegrated by one of the prison guards, a living spell of disintegration that was supposed to zap anyone that managed to get out before they could cause problems in the material plane. It failed to do so because it was not sufficiently sentient to actively pursue the escapee that wandered into the city and it attacked the people trying to get the mess cleaned up. It was a pretty powerful spell as it hit one party member with 136 points of damage in one attack, and also capable of shrugging off non-magical attacks with less than 10 points of damage. It took several rounds to destroy the spell so that we could get close enough to see what turned out to be a dimensional prison, and also see the results of the spell that had allowed one of the prisoners to escape to our plane of existence. We learned the name and nature of the creature that had escaped (A Pleasure Demon, similar to a succubus but non-fatal unlike the succubus). I have to say I like this format of high-level characters taking on single battle encounters.

Because I was with the RPG group last night I missed the Sprint Cup race at Richmond on the tube, but I understand it was a barn-burner of a race. Joey Logano (the driver formerly known as “Sliced Bread” as in “the best thing since…”) snuck through to win in a 4 car battle. I wish I had been able to see it.

Now I’m sitting through a rain delay for the Barber Motorsports Park Indycar race in Alabama. They have rain tires for this series but they are not any good with standing water on the track and the downpour they are dealing with has completely flooded the track in some places. Plus there is lightning in the area and local officials won’t allow spectators out when that happens. So they have bumped the Indy Lights race coverage from after the Indycar race to before. I like the Lights class, especially with the new 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbo engine replacing the previous 3.5 liter normally-aspirated V-8.

Something I would like to see in Indycar racing is more manufacturers in the chassis segment. I know they went with the single-make format to reduce costs, but for us gearheads it kills a great deal of the “fun” of watching the races. Part of that is seeing where some chassis have advantages over others, and managing where your chassis is weak so that you can use your strengths to get an advantage. But with the “spec car” series the battle of the crew chiefs fades away somewhat although they are still trying to get the setup of the cars right with good grip and balance.

And they just started the race on wet tires and there are some really dicey spots in some of the corners and two laps in there was a spin. I’m going to get comfy and watch the rest of the race.

PSA, Opus

My neck and butt hurt on a Wreck-Free (almost) Sunday

I finally finished making the modifications to my safety gear to bring it up to my needs and hopped on one of the BSO in the garage to go to the first Sunday morning service at my church in a very long time. Suffice it to say I have new imperative to create the crank-forward bike I was supposed to be creating. First time I stopped I fell over because I couldn’t reach the ground until I had leaned so far over I couldn’t catch myself. My reactions were all wrong after spending 6 years riding crank-forward bikes and 7 years riding recumbents before that. As I’m sure most of you know when a “normal” bicycle stops the rider has to get out of the seat to remain upright. Well for the past 13 years I haven’t been doing that to stop, all I had to do was take a foot off the pedal and place it on the ground. And as my right leg has been dominant I tended to lean to the left so I could start on my dominant leg. My first stop I did what I have been doing for 13 years, leaning to the left and putting out my left foot. First problem I wasn’t close enough to the ground for that to even touch, second problem is the left hip was the one that got broken and a whole bunch of muscles got damaged in the fixing and then removing the hardware after the broken bits healed up so it would not go as far out as the right leg would. So I was kinda waving the foot in mid-air trying to find something solid as I slowly keeled over and impacted the pavement when I stopped halfway through an intersection to let traffic going the other direction clear so I could continue.

A couple intersections further down I discovered another problem. Because the handlebars were so low I had a hard time craning my neck back hard enough to see past my helmet visor. Part of the problem is the handlebars are seriously too low for anyone but a X/C MTB racer, I think about an inch below the seat where I usually ride with handlebars anywhere from 4 to 5 inches above the seat. Basically my torso was nearly horizontal where I normally ride nearly vertical to slightly laid back (on in the case of the show bike from 2004 completely laid back). So I was moving my neck in the complete opposite way I have been riding for many, many years. Long story short I have a very sore neck that won’t stop complaining now that I’m bent over the keyboard (another position it doesn’t like to hold for more than a few minutes).

And another effect of the too-low handlebars is it rotated my pelvis forward on the seat. Instead of sitting on the broad soft cushions of the cruiser seat I bought just for this bike I’m sitting on the completely un-padded nose of the saddle, or even less cushioning than the seat I took off the bike. I got off the bike more than 2 hours ago and my backside is still complaining about the treatment I gave it this afternoon and morning. Add in the fact I rode in regular pants and underwear instead of bike shorts and not only were things compressed that don’t like getting compressed, but things got abraded that do not like being abraded.

Now you may ask why I don’t just adjust the handlebars up until all this nonsense stops? Well… Remember when I referred to this as a BSO back in the first paragraph? This BSO does not have standard hardware in many places, one in particular is the stem bolt. I tried 6mm and 5mm, one too big and the other too small, then tried the 7/32 SAE size that falls between the 2 and nothing fits where I can apply torque to the stem bolt to adjust the stem height. I might have to weld or epoxy a cheap SAE hex key into the bolt head so that I can apply torque to break the stem bolt loose from the rust and corrosion that is holding it in place. Or it could just be really tight, you know, and because I can’t find a hex key that fits the head I haven’t been able to move it. I’m thinking I have a torch and braze and solder, I might just flow some molten metal between the cheap SAE hex key I bought and the bolt head and apply torque that way, with the heat from the torch also loosening the bolt up a bit. I’ll have to pull the plastic light and reflector brackets off the bars and cover the brake and shifter cables with wet rags, but that would let me apply torque to the bolt.

Now about the (almost) in that headline. I was watching the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona yesterday after I got back from my trips to the nail spa and to Harbor Freight, and they had just thrown a red flag to clean up a serious wreck. And I mean SERIOUS WRECK. Well, watch for yourself Gidley & Malucelli Medical Update Yep, Gidley hit the back of that Ferrari at nearly 135 MPH closing speed, well over the 50 MPH barrier test the prototypes have to go through to get certified to run. The driver of the Ferrari (Malucelli) is shaken up but basically unhurt, Gidley has broken bones in his left side (either the arm or the leg, both are injured and they aren’t saying which one is broken as of the time I read the article), and broken vertebrae in his back, I’m assuming this was from the harness restraining his torso applying compressive forces as it tried to keep his face out of the instrument panel and steering wheel. This is not a design defect it is a geometric requirement of the way the harness has to go over the shoulders and meet at the lap belt. The restraining forces go from horizontal to stop the forward motion of the body to vertical after going over the shoulders to meet at the junction of the shoulder straps and lap belt. This is a requirement to apply the forces to a part of the body that has strong bones (shoulder girdle and pelvis) and still allow for the arms to move the steering wheel. They did cadaver tests back in the ’40s and ’50s but the rib cage just didn’t have the compression strength to resist the forces applied in a wreck. Sternum straps do move some of the forces off the shoulders and into the torso, but not very much, and certainly not enough to prevent back injury in a wreck like the one in the video. Because of the HANS device every driver in the series is required to wear before getting into the car on the race track neither driver had any kind of neck injury.

This is the first “big league” car race of the year in North America, of course I’m going to be watching it, but this year it ended while I was at church so I have no idea about who won, either overall or any of the classes.

So, that’s about all I have to say today.

Well, almost I just checked to see what was causing me pain “down there” and found blood-stained underwear. So, that’s another thing that having the handlebars down too low causes, abrasion injuries to the crotch when riding in regular clothing. If you want to ride in regular clothes the bike has to fit for that style of riding.

PSA, Opus