Friday, November 7, 2008

Some stress, a little weekend relaxation

Sorry; no photos. I didn't load them onto my computer yet. I've also got two videos to upload from the cheering section of the race last weekend.

Well, as peaceful and calm and nice as Wednesday was, most of Thursday was filled with stress, anxiety, and some worry. Though, not all in that order.

For some reason (and I'm happy it happened) I realized on the way in to work yesterday that we never received our truck registration. It was due in September. I know it's on me for making sure it gets paid, but usually you get the bills in the mail, no? I always used to get the bills in the mail. Last year we didn't, and this year we didn't (two different vehicles). Groovy. There's no easy way to take care of paying the registration fees without getting a bill. You can send in a check to a PO box in Sacto and hope it works out, or go spend 2 hours at the local DMV office with half of the city you live in (seriously, it was a mad house). So, I chose to just sit in the DMV office for quite awhile yesterday morning. Good times.

I caught up on a chapter or two of Friel's book (re-reading it now that I have some more information and knowledge, it almost is making sense this time around) and tried to not listen to the really loud din of noises and screaming and cell phones going off around me. For whatever reason my letter was taking forever to be called. I was 14 numbers back and the letter was just not being called. I figured I'd be there all day.

Every now and then they'd call one or two, then nothing for 30 minutes.

Eventually I got to where I was the next one up from my letter category. But I wasn't sure if there would be another huge delay. Luckily there wasn't, I was called right up.

The woman even waived the late fees.

Phew. That was nearly a Tri-Newt light right there.

One less stressor gone.

Justin yesterday morning had sent me a link to a light write-up on the Light & Motion Seca 700 Ultra/Race and the 400. I did a tiny amount of research on the light and asked Matt from i.e. to order one up for me (700 Ultra - it's heavier, but the battery lasts longer - 10 hours on the low setting?). I'm hoping it is in by like Tuesday or Wednesday. I really need to be able to test it out before the race next weekend.

We even did a dark room test on a brand new Tri-Newt vs. Matt's Tri-Newt. The new one was a bit brighter, but not a ton. Left the store still borrowing Matt's light for the night ride, and off I was back at work.

For some reason, despite having glasses, and a great light to boot, on order, I was still anxious.

Eventually I figured out it was because I knew we'd be starting the Thursday night ride in the dark. I don't like night riding. It isn't that it's dark out, I don't think, or that I have to use lights. I'm moderately scared of night time woodland creatures eating me, but mostly it's that I can't see anything. Not just that I can't see anything out of my beam of headlight, but I can't see most of what is IN the beam of headlight as well.

But, we got out there in the last bits of daylight that were left and got ready to ride. It was a bit chilly getting dressed, so I finally got a chance to wear my Surly long-sleeve wool jersey. I'm not really big on long sleeve jerseys, though I don't have any with zippers. I chose not to wear knee warmers since it really wasn't that cold. Just not that warm. If you're warm when you start riding you'll be hot for the entirety of the winter(ish) ride. So, I went with comfortable, but not warm.

I was worried once we got moving that I'd be really hot climbing up the big climb with the wool long sleeve jersey, but I was super comfortable the entire ride. It was warm enough on the cold descents, and kept me from overheating when it did get warm again.

I had bought last year at a bike shop sale (2007) for like $10. It's just been taking up space in the closet ever since. It's been cold in the mornings, so the only reason I had it was because I'd worn it over my Yuba Expeditions t-shirt yesterday morning to keep warm on the drive/walk in to work. Yay for wool. I sang to it a few times while riding to break up the silent darkness.

Back to the Tri-Newt… I've been looking at light shootouts and it always looks super bright in the pictures, so I couldn't understand last week why the light was so bad. Literally it may as well not have been on at all.

My HID light was on my helmet, which kind of isn't good when you're riding dusty areas like we do because if it's a strong light the dust just takes over visibility when it's on your head.

Last night Justin hooked up the Tri-Newt directly to the battery so it wasn't on wireless, like last week. I started out just using the Tri-Newt on the bar for the big climb, and planned on putting the HID on the helmet on for the descent and the ridge line singletrack. The Tri-Newt worked great last night!

I actually wound up turning off the HID light for a later fire road descent due to dust issues (just couldn't see anything but flying dust in the headlight) and just used the Tri-Newt. After the lap I got rid of the HID battery entirely, and just rode with the Tri-Newt. I was super surprised how well it worked and visibility was pretty good.

The main problem I had was while descending - the beam only goes so far so once I was going a tad faster (not fast by any means, I'm still nervous at night) the light just wasn't going far enough for me to be able to see to go faster than a certain speed. But, I felt a lot more comfortable overall than I had the week before, and I'm slowly thinking this night riding thing isn't going to be as horrible as I had once imagined. It's the only way I'll be getting on dirt until mid-March (when time changes back) so I'll have to get used to it.

At any rate, the Tri-Newt is like 486 lumens on high, and the Seca 700 is 700 lumens on high. I think both lights are around 350 lumens on the low setting. But, the Seca is supposed to last like 10 hours on the low setting, which is pretty sweet. I should be able to use the Seca on the high setting for most of the last laps next weekend, and I might carry around the HID on the helmet just in case. But, if I get the Seca and can test it out next Thursday and it's good, then I might not even bother carrying around the extra weight on the helmet.

The Seca 700 Ultra is said to last 5 hours on the high setting. Oh, here is the info:

High (700 lumens) - 5 hours
Medium (350 lumens) - 10 hours
Low (175 lumens) - 20 hours
Flash - 100+ hours

The Race is similar (battery weighs less), but it lasts 3.5 hours, 7 hours, etc. I'll take a weight penalty at night over having to worry about riding around in the dark!

Also, if I ever decide to do a really long road ride in the dark I could ride around for 20 hours.

The only thing, I did hear that they are more prone to breaking in a crash. But, hopefully I will be going slow enough to avoid crashing too hard.

But, if the Seca is nearly twice as bright as the Tri-Newt on the high setting then I should be set. I'm looking forward to the extra visibility for sure and nearly feeling confident.

I'm really looking forward to this weekend, though. Looking forward to just not being at work. I've also got a vacation day coming up next week and I'm really looking forward to that one. Not sure why, but I just kind of need the time I guess.


1 comment:

Luke said...

a little light goes a long way!! i ran the first half of the lap with the lights on the low settings (oops!) and couldn't see a thing! after i figured it out...bang!! i think you will like it!