24hrs in the Old Pueblo is in jeopardy

Thursday, November 29th, 2007 @ 10:53 am | Mountain Bike

After going over the race with Robert, and to some extent Chris, we’ve found a stumbling block:  lights.  The type of light needed to compete in a 24 hr event has some fairly specific requirements.  First, it needs to burn for 3 hrs on a charge.  If it doesn’t burn for 3 hrs (say, only 2 hrs), there’s a good chance you’ll be finishing a lap in the dark.  Even if you can pull off 90 minute laps in the dark (which I should be able to do), you’re still risking riding without light if you have a mechanical during the lap.

The next thing to overcome is recharging the light battery.  If you can’t recharge your battery before your next lap, then that too is a problem. 

For 24 hr racing, I have 2 lights.  A bar light and a helmet light.  The bar light that I have is from Light & Motion.  The current cost for one is $450.  Run time is 3.5 hrs, and the battery will recharge the battery in 2 hrs.  It’s a really good light, and even on the fastest section I don’t ride faster than the throw of the light.  The helmet light I have was about half that cost, barely burns for 2 hrs, and the beam is short enough that on fast sections I outrun the light.  Having both is truly a luxury, as each light is good at lighting up different things.  All of my batteries are now 4 or 5 years old, and I need to see if they still perform like they did when new.  I could be needing some $200 batteries to use what I have now.

My L&M light works out perfectly for someone on a 4 person team in a 24 hr race.  You’d only need 1 battery and L&M has a recharge station at the venue, so you don’t even need to have a generator to recharge your lights.

For $125 you can get a light that burns for 2 hrs, but needs 14 hrs to recharge the battery.  That’s brutal.  It’s also risky if you have a mechanical, or if you are needing close to 2 hrs to spin a lap in the dark (which wouldn’t surprise me, given he limited night riding experience on the team).

Basically, the snag is the cost of these lights, given that Chris and Robert don’t see themselves using them other than this one race.  We aren’t registered for the event, but if we don’t figure out a more cost effective solution, it looks like we may not be registering…



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