Friday, June 06, 2008

Lights, the Bane of my 24 Hour racing

I've had lights and have been riding at night since late 1989 I figure.

Back then we used lights that would be considered marginal at best now. But for us, we mostly rode in the dark, learned to "see", and just dealt w/ it.
Really hard to imagine the stuff we did ride and the conditions. Not really sure you could coerce me into doing it again, but it's what we did.

Then a few spent some serious dough and got Night Suns or Nite Riders.
I still had that old 4xAA halogen bulb contraption that you strapped onto the bars. It was "good enough" and made me tougher.
But I did see the "way" with the helmet lights, Night Sun being the first I remember.

Cut to 1992 at the first 24 Hours of Canaan.
Matt had us hooked up with some of those Nite Riders, both helmet and bar mounted units with the batteries that weighed several pounds and you had a separate fanny pack for.
They were going to be sweet!
Every lap I ended up coming in w/ dead lights. Every lap I carried more batteries and every lap I would ride behind or in front of someone else whose lights worked.

Next year Nite Rider set us up w/ some lights that were lighter and actually lasted the whole lap.

Now I don't ride much at night.
Why? Cause I don't have to. And that's really the only reason you do, cause you have to.
I'd rather watch TV/Movies in the dark.

But those blasted 24 Hour races still happen in the dark.

Still had my Nite Riders from back in the day. Both were aging and not lasting too long, 1:15 max.
So my buddy Dave let me borrow his new fangled ones, w/ the NiMH battery. They were lighter, had the digital head lamp, several light settings... and the batteries which had not been charged for a few years... were about toast.
I tried to cycle them through a couple times. The guy at Nite Rider said they were toast, you gotta keep them charged or they'll die eventually. But I used them anyway.
And 3/4 through the lap they'd fade and I'd be bumping along in the dark. Hoping for others.
Maybe the first night lap they both lasted. Then they just got progressively worse until both were fading.

So this year I got old ones, new old ones, ones that don't work, ones that seem to work.
Tried to take notes, measure, calculate which for what laps, then threw up my hands.
One of the terminals broke on the bottle-cage battery.

Yesterday I marched down to Pathfinder and w/ the sage advice from Robbie got a Nite Rider MiNewt.X2.
It is small. It is cute. It is bright.
Last night on the "low" power it lasted all night!
Also last night one of them (I bought one for Goose too) burned out. That ones Goose's.

Boy I'm really looking forward to the dark this year...

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