MX5 throttle body conversion update

MX5 throttle body conversion

I’ve had a few comments and questions sent to me recently about my throttle body setup and it occurred to me that the most recent post and photos that I uploaded here are quite out of date.

Black crinkle paint for the cam cover
Black crinkle paint for the cam cover

There’s not a great deal to add, but I’ve now fitted an airbox (Pipercross 600 series) over the throttles, tidied things up a little, given the cam cover a lick of black crinkle paint and refined the fuel and ignition maps plenty more.

I was having some issues with rough running at very low TPS and RPM values, I think the very short intake trumpets I’m running due to lack of space was causing turbulent airflow at low revs. The airbox appears to have the effect of lengthening the intake tract and smoothing things out a little. The car definitely runs a little smoother with it fitted, although that great ITB sound is muffled a little unfortunately. Whether it robs the car of any power at the top end is up for debate. Perhaps a bhp or two, but I can live with that.

Nangkang NS2R
Nangkang NS2R

I’m also running some more aggressive, track-biased tyres now. As the car only gets used in the dry or for the occasional track day, I figured I may as well get something suited to those conditions. In the dry they’re great, plenty of grip and very controllable at the limit. I wasn’t so keen at Snetterton circuit earlier this month though in cold and soaking wet conditions. Part of the problem was that I forgot my tyre pressure gauge and was running far too much pressure. Either way, there was lots of this going on…

Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin’ away

 

Lakeland Trails marathon, Coniston

This weekend I completed my first trail marathon. To cut a very long story short, it ranks as one of my favourite running experiences ever. Amazing Lake District scenery, interesting trails, great organisation, perfect running weather and a totally relaxed atmosphere amongst both the organisers and competitors.

Some observations I made throughout the day:

  • Standing around chatting in the race HQ tent with other runners, looking at your watch and saying “ooh, the race starts in less than two minutes, we’d better wander over to the start line” is the most relaxed I’ve ever been about a race. What a brilliant way to start the day, it couldn’t be further from the sort of tense atmosphere you experience on the start line of a big city race like the London Marathon.
  • I’ve never seen so many smiling and chatty runners around a race course before. Even after 20+ miles, everyone I came across was happily trotting along and appearing to enjoy themselves. Where were all the people bent double at the side of the road at 22 miles looking like death that you usually get at a marathon?
  • Treading knee deep into a peat bog is a good way to lose a shoe.
  • Some great technical descentsRunning downhill over tricky terrain is tougher than it looks, but loads of fun.
  • Having tricky trails to concentrate on, great scenery to admire and no mile markers or target pace to worry about makes the time and distance just zip by.

The one overpowering vibe that came through all day though was what a positive bunch of people everyone involved were. There were no charity runners, no stag parties, hen dos, people dressed as rhinos or telephone boxes or people that had been roped into corporate teams. Just runners whose only reason to be there was their love of running.

All in all, a great day and finished off with an obligatory burger and beer before the four hour trek back to Milton Keynes. I shall definitely be back for more of this nonsense in the future.

Snetterton trackday

Here’s a few laps of the Snetterton 300 track from a couple of weeks ago in the MX5. As usual, the video makes it all seems a lot slower and more sedate than in real life.

CartoDB and track days

Here’s a very quick and dirty attempt at taking some data logged (on an iPhone) at a track day I did a while back and using CartoDB’s excellent web mapping tools to create an interactive visualisation of the data. Hover over the points to view speed, lateral g (cornering) and lineal g (acceleration/braking). Click, drag and scroll as usual to pan and zoom around the map.

Note that the iPhone can only gather GPS information at 1Hz, which is why the data is pretty coarse. I’m at Snetterton in a few weeks so I’ll do a bit more data logging and analysis then.

Lisbon Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon – 2014

Rock 'n' Roll Lisbon Marathon 2014

Third time lucky.

I’ve recently got back from a week in Portugal, having run the Lisbon Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. It’s part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon series, based mainly in America with a small handful or races in Europe too. The rock ‘n’ roll bit comes from the fact that they stage a number of small live bands around the course to entertain the runners and spectators, as well as putting on a bit of live music at the finish too. If I’m honest, it’s not much different to other events I’ve run where you often get a bit of music here and there anyway. That said, it was a well organised event and the course – the first half along the Atlantic coast and the second half along the river through Lisbon – is spectacular.

Lisbon Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 2014
Lisbon Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 2014

My third marathon attempt this year (and ever), I was trying yet again to go sub four hours. At London and Milton Keynes, earlier in the year, it had all gone well until about 18-20 miles after which I completely fell to bits and struggled to keep running. This time, everything came together perfectly. With the exception of a couple of slower miles where I stopped for loo breaks and hit a little congestion as the half marathon runners joined our course and caused carnage at some of the water stops, I managed to keep things consistently and comfortably below nine minute miles, finishing with a slight negative split at 3:58.

Compared to London, Lisbon was a pretty small event and I think I prefer it that way. Last week I received my rejection letter for London 2015 and wasn’t disappointed at all. I’d like to run more marathons, perhaps next autumn, but I’m keen to stick to smaller events that are more about the running and less about the spectacle of it all. In the meantime, I’m eyeing up a new half marathon PB at my local Milton Keynes winter half  in December and definitely fancy a bit more duathlon and triathlon next summer.