Phil, thanks for dropping in and so great to hear from you again, and yeah it is crazy to think that 10 years has gone by. And at the same time how both so much and so little has changed.
philf wrote: ↑
Jul 03, 2018 7:59 pm
I did the same thing as you, and was stunned by the derelict building that they're apparently spending the night in.
While there are lots of pretty derelicty buildings in this rather curious Bulgarian border town, tonight we're almost
staying in the Radisson!
It's funny, we wound up here because of an ongoing game of cat and mouse with a Fedex care package we've been trying to receive. It ended up being a day late in Sofia and we didn't want to wait any longer so had them redirect it to the first hotel we could find in the south/easternmost part of Bulgaria. Online it was called the "Radi Inn" but it wasn't till I saw the sign that I got it
Anyways, for those who've been following the race
, we've been loosing ground the last week and are about 3 days behind schedule for where we wanted to be assuming a ~200km/day target.
That's partly from frequent worthwhile distractions, partly from the 4 day "Raintrip of 2018" that we and most other riders got caught up in last week, and partly from a full 24 hour stopover in Sofia waiting for this fedex thing. That means that in order to actually make it to our flight out of Tehran in 2.5 weeks at this stage we really need to book it
Today was finally a perfect day that played out how I imagined most of the trip would be. We clocked 220km averaging 30kph while consuming 12.8Wh/km, with sun almost the entire day, arriving before sunset and not completely exhausted. I've got the full data log available for people to look at here (Including named sections where we stop for breakfast, fixing flat tire, gas station pit stop, and getting pulled over by Bulgarian police..)
http://www.ebikes.ca/tools/trip-analyze ... rip=QL43AM
(I recommend switching the horiztonal axis from "distance" to "time" after it loads)
We spent most of the day on a major freeway with super wide shoulders and no trees lining the side of the road so there was minimal shade to deal with, and the result is a solar output graph that has very few dips in it. It peaked around 390 watts mid-day, and gave just under 3kWhr of solar energy for the day.
Our preferred method or riding is to use the CA3 to set a speed limit and we use that as a cruising speed, and then the speed limit is adjusted up or down if we want to increase or decrease our consumption. We started the day with it set to 30 kph, but after a breakfast stop and due to tailwind the battery was getting nearly fully charged and so we increased our speed to 32 kph for the bulk of the time when the sun was mostly overhead.
Later in the evening, as the sun was further down and we weren't totally sure if it might tuck behind evening clouds or not we changed to a constant power rather than constant speed mode on the CA3. That way we could be sure to properly meter the power out of the battery pack to ensure that no matter what we'd be able to make the full 220km distance. As we approached Svilengrad seeing that we'd make it with plenty to spare we started being less thrifty on the motor power again.
Started the day with the battery at 36.0V, ended the day with the pack at 36.2V after eeking out some late evening sun by the hotel.
I mentioned police. Bulgaria has some excellent roads and some terrible roads, and yesterday while following a recommended bike route we were on atrociously bumpy road with no shoulder and cars wizzing by as though they were on a freeway. So we switched to all freeway riding today and it was just perfect for solar biking. Totally smooth, wide shoulder, minimal shading, minimal elevation changes etc. There was a sign that said no tractors but nothing saying no bicycles and we had at least 3 police cars pass us without any issues.
Then towards the end of the day we had the flashing blue, apparently bicycles aren't OK here after all and we were very politely escorted off the freeway. And then the police car did like almost all the other cars that passed us, they took out their cell phones and started filming us as we rode away
I mentioned a flat tire too. Our large 30PSI knobby front wheels seem to be holding up decently well, but they certainly don't have the same puncture resistance of the worn out Marathon Plus's. In this case it was a small curled steel shaving (looks like it was hot off a lathe) which worked into the tire and made the leak.
I imagine this will be a semi regular occurrence and we'll need to budget time for it in our contingency planning.
Anyways, we're now in this not quite radisson hotel REALLY praying that the fedex package arrives in the morning so that we can set off to Turkey next!