Having done the HONC many times i decided to spice the challange up and ride there rather than drive. It also was a means to an end as having just moved house it’s been difficult to find the time to get some long test rides in.
With only 3 weeks before my first long distance bike packing race in the Cairngorms It was a good chance to check out some ideas I had too. And riding in the cold and dark was a good eye opener to long nights ahead. A 3am start was needed to get down to the cotswolds on time for the 9am start, well 2am really but i mis-calculated and left to much to do for the 80 mile transfer. Got to start thinking real time rather than ride time.
A PD dynamo disk hub laced to a Stans arch rim with the 2.4 Ralph up front pumps out 6v AC, at surprisingly low speeds. I’m trialling different ways to use it, a 5 volt regulator circuit has been built for USB power and there’s the raw output for lights. USB backup batteries and Exposure piggy back batteries have been charged no problem and give more than enough capability to keep garmins and phones charged for multiway use. This trip I was trying charging while running an Exposure Diablo. It worked well except for the fact that the Exposure SPT port seems to want to switch off the light whenever you stopped. Bit of a pain and it looks like the best option will be to charge the light and backup battery until its required.
At -2 degs it was a cool ride, but I’d forgotten how much drag lumpy tyres create on road and I was late for the start. I’d packed a change of kit and intended dumping all the ballast at the start and gaining the HONC a good blast. With this plan out the window I met the Plumz guys at the top of the first climb and hit the Cotswolds trails and hills loaded up. Good practice and no problem as DaveL was up for a comfortable pace. I’m sure many riders commented on how much I carried for just a 100k ride as I rattled past them on the downhills.
The trails were in superb condition and the ride was ace, I was chuffed with the pace I could maintain well past the 100 mile mark and still feel pretty good. So a 130 mile ride over a 12 hour period in the bag, and a good idea of just how little liquid you can get away with when it’s cool and you pace it steady.
Should have took some pictures of that sunset though, a great feeling riding into the dawn, even if it was chasing me in reality. More detailed info of the Dynamo setup soon, which has already been dubbed the Jack-plug by some bright spark!