I treated myself to a present this week: new cycling shoes. I was probably overdue. My Sidis were about 10 years old. I wasn't sure I would notice much difference. I did my research and, tried on a few pairs. I tried on Mavic, which just didn't fit right in the toe box. I tried Specialized S-works. They are cut a little two high in the front which cuts in on my ankle. In the end, the Sidis just fit best. Sidi's top models are the Wire and Genius 6.6. I decided on the wire which is fastened with two Boa devices. I figured if I was going to spend that kind of money on shoes I should get the color I wanted. They come in white, black, white/red, fluorescent yellow, and some special colors like the team Cannondale green shoes. I decided I liked the Chris Froome special edition yellow ones. I have no love for Chris Froome but I like the shoes. They are a different yellow than the fluorescent ones, which are certainly eye catching but maybe a bit too loud.
I got the shoes on Monday, when I got home from work at about 9PM. I put the cleats on but the maiden ride would have to wait until the following day. I left the hospital with a laptop and a bag full of work to do but I made it home in time to drop the kids off at drop in child care because my wife had to work for a few hours that evening. That's right. I pay for child care so I can ride my bike. Don't look at me like that. It's perfectly normal.
It was a good thing I left as early as I did because traffic was a bear. I got to the ride without a lot of extra time to spare. I did, however, manage to get some a hot pics of those new shoes.
The ride was a bit of a small turnout. There was the threat of rain so that probably kept quite a few people away. I was talking to David Parker before the start and remarking that maybe with the small turnout we'd just have a nice social stay together ride. Yeah, right! Not on a Tuesday night. Sure it started out civil enough on our 3 mile or so neutral warm up down to Galm Rd. Greg and I pulled at a civil pace and the group was together. When we made the turn on to Galm I picked up the pace. That's what we normally do. There was no headwind so the speeds were easy to maintain. Greg was on my wheel and he's not a small guy so I couldn't see to well what was going on behind. I pulled the first 1.5 miles at 27+ mph but it was only 325 average Watts. That means that the guys on my wheel would have only had to maintain 250W, tops. When I pulled off to give Greg a go I realized we had opened up a decent gap over the rest of the field. I was in the middle of explaining to Greg that it was not my intent to ride off the front, and figured we'd sit up for the group when he said, "Our job now is to stay off the front." I wasn't sure how serious he was but I figured we could give it a go. Breakaways do succeed on the Tuesday nighter but they tend to form on 211, not with 20 miles left to go. Greg and I hammered those next 20 miles trading pulls every one to two minutes It was hard work with barely enough time to recover between pulls. I also put in a long three mile pull on 471 at 29.2 mph which was good enough for third on the Strava list. By the time we were done both of us were beat. We were both on the verge of calf cramps. But, we has successfully stayed away from the group. And those new shoes? Fabulous. I couldn't believe how much stiffer they were and how much better the power transfer felt. Now I have one less excuse for not being faster. Damn.
An interesting dilemma has come up since I started going out to the University Oaks Criteriums. I have been approached about joining some local cycling teams. Some of these are associated with shops, some are independent. I am happy to join a team but it is difficult to know which team to join. Are there perks to joining a team? Fewer than you might think. There may be a discount at the shop if the team is affiliated with one. You are generally buying your team kit out of pocket, from what I gather. Race fees are not usually covered by the team. I haven't seen too much teamwork during the races. Still there is the fraternity of the team and that counts for something. I'll keep you posted as this situation develops.
Here are some of the local teams:
- Bike World Racing
- Bicycle Heaven
- 210 Racing / FG Law
- Soler Sports
- Joe's Pro Bikes
- Geri Atrix
Wednesday night there was the threat of rain again and the majority of the usual suspects did not show up for the ride. I was running late and had to meet the group a mile or two into the ride. There were just 4 of us and my legs were fatigued from the two-man time trial at the Tuesday nighter the previous day. I figured this would be a good day to take it easy. At least easier. We rode tempo, trading pulls regularly and staying together. I did my best to ease off if anybody was coming unhitched. As a result we reached our usual checkpoints together and there was no sitting up or stopping to wait for others.
That's all for this post. I had a a busy week complete with a couple of nights of 4 hours of sleep, busy day with 26 endoscopies, and have to get up to run a 5k for my kids' school.