Friday, June 29, 2012

Track Days

So far this year I've been to 4 track days.  (That's more than I went to in 2010 and 2011 combined.)  The first two were known quantities: Pacific Raceways with 2-Fast.

The last two were new.  I was riding at The Ridge Motorsports Park near Shelton with a group called PSSR.

The track is impressive.  It just opened this year so the surface is excellent.  It has a much more open feel to it than Pacific does, but there's enough elevation changes and interesting sections to make it a little tricky.

Here's a video of a single lap:
The data is from the bikes on-board system.  (I did a little hacking to parse the file and make a usable format.)  Seeing this on top of the video pointed out some things I need to work on.  I had another source of data about my riding as well, it was an app on my phone, and it's data was eye-opening as well.  Unfortunately that data was lost before I could put it into a video.

(Hopefully I'll have more to say about data collection in the not-too-distant future.)

Before going out there I watched some similar videos from other riders in the hopes of getting a sense of the track.  What didn't come through in those videos was the descent in turns 13, 14, and 15.  (At 0:15 and 2:35 in the video.)  Here's the view of those turns from the paddock:
For scale: the turn workers tower on the top of the hill is probably 15' tall.

Coming down that hill really feels like you're falling over the front of your bike.  It was a little spooky the first few times.

The track is an easy 90-minute drive from home.  With some luck I'll be back again this season.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Comeback

Once again I've ignored my blog for a long long time.

Once again I'm not losing much sleep over that fact.

But since I've found this blog to be a useful reference for me in the long term (as "Hey, when was I replacing the seats on the TR6?") I'll  spend a little time getting this blog up to date.

Speaking of using this blog as a time reference: I noticed it's been three years since I measured our home electricty usage.  At the time I figured cutting power might be like dieting: you work hard to stop doing the bad things, you see a lot of progress, but 8 months later you're back eatting a Big Mac with the a/c set at 62.  I'm happy to say our efforts haven't followed a similar path.

I usually track how much power we use on a 12-month rolling average.  In early 2009 we were averaging 46kWh per day.  By July 2010 we were down to 30kWh per day (despite adding new computers and appliances).  Since then it's been between 26 and 29kWh.

I invested $25 (on a Kill-A-Watt) and a few hours of my time and it's saved me over $1900 in electricity in 3 years.  Not too shabby in my opinion.