Sunday, September 10, 2006

Harry Spatz - Bacchetta Corsa

Location: Lexington, MA USA

Rando Experience:
- 2006-200K, 300K
- 2007-2-200K, 2-300K, 400K

In 2007 rode as a team Audax style with 2 other recumbent riders, neither of which had ridden more than 100 miles in a day. They both finished the entire series.

Recumbents: Barcroft Dakota 2002 w/2006 frame used in 2006 brevets, Bacchetta Corsa used in 2007 brevets

Why bents?: I started riding ‘bents after my wife and I rode a Bike Virginia (5 days 300 mi. tour) on our wedgie tandem, and met a couple on a Double Vision. They were not fast, but they always finished and had so much fun that I had to try a ‘bent. I tried a couple of ‘bents at Belmont Wheelworks, Visions, I believe, then when my daughter wanted to visit schools in Washington DC I also visited with Bill Cook at Barcroft. It was an expensive trip! I bought a Barcroft Dakota and my daughter went to George Washington University. In 2006 the frame on the Dakota broke in two. That, along with not liking to carry tubes and tires for two different sizes and hearing that high racers were faster incentivised me to look again. I tried most everything available at Brian Ball’s Bentrider Rally in Hammondsport, NY and ended up with a Bacchetta Corsa

Modifications: included going to an FSA mountain crank with 22/34/44. I use a 12-28 rear cogset. I see no reason for high gears on hilly brevets. I am willing to coast at speeds over 28 mph and in return have more tightly spaced cogs than the normal 12-34 that many use. I also do not think that 20 or 24 spoke wheels are optimal for brevet use so I use 32 spoke 3 cross wheels. The front hub is a SON generator hub. My rims are CR18 Sun with flat cross section. With 32 spokes, these make a rugged soft riding wheel. The deep V style rims ride very hard, so I do not recommend them. I changed from 571 (650C) to 559 (mountain bike size) to give me an extra 6 mm in radius to use wider tires than 650C allows. I use Schwalbe Stelvio 559-28 tires.

Lights: I use a Solidlights 1203D attached to my SON hub. The 1203D gives a very wide beam from two 3-watt LEDs. It’s attached via a Cronometro NOB to the left fork. First I stretched a tube over the fork blades and onto the fork so the Cronometro can bed into the tube and not scratch the fork. The Cronometro has never slipped in 3000 miles of useage. Low on the fork is ideal because it lights up road irregularities well. I know many use the front derailleur mount. That location is far inferior because the light does not turn with the steering like it does on the fork blade. I use two Trek LEDs, one attached to each chain stay for the rear lights. They run on 2 AAA batteries. I also use the obligatory reflective anklets. Mine have an LED band built in.

No fenders: The Corsa has limited clearance although if I thought that they were really important, I would find way. I used to race and of course racers don’t use them. If you draft to the right or left of the wheel, you do not get sprayed that much.

Luggage: I use a Bacchetta Brain Box on the seat. Also use several Fastback Designs Items including a Norback with a multitool, Endurolytes, caffeine pills, and ibruprofen in it. Also I use a Flash frame pack for things I want to get at while riding. I also use a Double Century. One side uses a 70 oz. bladder and the other side I might put a jacket or spare clothing in. This bike is excessively rear heavy so stuff should go low and forward. I carry 1 bottle in a Fastback bottle holder attached to the boom way up front. It’s a spare that I cannot reach when riding. I carry another in a bottle holder attached to the left side of the seat. I can still get the bladder in and out of the double century even with the seat attached holder in place. I carry a third bottle in another Velcro attached Fastback holder under my seat on the left side. That makes 3 bottles and a 70 oz. bladder on the bike. I am 195 lb. and 5’9” and use a lot of water. That water is good for 80 mi. in hilly terrain under 75 degrees or maybe 40 miles in 95 degree heat.

Navigation: I use a Garmin Etrex Vista HCx. I program waypoints so that I can navigate without need for a cue sheet. Garmin does not make it easy to do this. It takes time and mistakes to see how to do this correctly.

Recumbent Riding Techniques: I have heard from many sources that spinning is imperative when riding a recumbent. I typically have a cadence of 75 to 90 on flats or downhills, but slow down going uphill. I have found that a cadence of 60 to 70 works on uphills, but it takes practice to do this without knee pain. The last brevet I rode, a 300K, I rarely used my low gears on the hills and improved my time without any knee pain. I tend to push hard right after cresting a hill to gain momentum quickly for the way down.

Riding with Others: I find it difficult to ride with DFs except on level ground. I can’t climb with someone of equal ability and I get way out in front on the downhills. Even with other SWB bents there is some yoyo effects. I find it hard to draft other ‘bents, harder than when on a DF. When I rode the brevets as a team we did not usually draft. There was fear of accident due to inattentiveness when tired.

Eating on the move: I do not enjoy eating on a ‘bent. If I get food on my hands, shifting the grip shifters is difficult. I eat by drinking Perpetuum or other such additions to my water.

What bent would you buy if you were start from scratch?: If I were to start again, I might well end up with the same ‘bent. If I traveled more, I might like a take-a-part model that would take 700C wheels and had clearance for wider tires. 700C gives more tire options.