25 Apr 2012

25th April 2012

Gelskov gods
25th 42-57F, 6-14C, quite still at first but becoming breezy, very thick mist clearing by 10am, overcast clearing to occasional sunny periods. As I had promised myself I returned the way I came back yesterday. Revisiting Ringe's two cycle shops. I thought I was fighting a gentle headwind but it was just my forward motion. Everything was dripping wet including the hair on my legs. I couldn't keep my glasses clear enough to see the road some of the time. The cars were driven by lunatics as usual.

Neither shop could offer touring or MTB shoes in my size. Which, believe it or not, would mean EU48 in Shimano! Just to match the Tahoe 46. I usually take a 45 in smart casual shoes. Shimano should get its act in gear! The size 47 was almost impossible to get on and hurt like hell when I did! Anybody ordering shoes online would be almost bound to be disappointed unless they had previously found the right size.

 Coming back was even more painful than going! I seem to have found some new muscles which were never there before. I also seem to be sitting on some of them and it hurts!! No sign of ordinary saddle soreness with the Vetta SL so far. Though it feels completely different to the Brooks. I was hardly ever aware of the Brooks. I wish I could forget the Vetta! :-)

It was quite a struggle at times on the way back. I really need a rest day! The forecast is rain all day tomorrow. An ideal excuse. Perhaps I should take more rest days but ride further on the days when I do go out.

The Tricycle Association Spring Gazette arrived in the post. As has my order for a set of SPD cleats. £5.50 including postage with a next day service! Beat that! Full marks to Cykelpartner.dk! They wanted well over £16 (equivalent) in one shop in Ringe. I always read the TA Gazette from cover to cover. There's an interesting piece by Geoff Booker of Trykit fame on trike design and handling. Quite a number of trikes and tandems for sale as well. TA membership is only £10 per annum and includes four copies of the gazette. 46 miles today.

26th  48F, 9C, already wet and windy. Things to do. A rest day. Lunch time: Ironically, it hasn't rained for hours and now the sun is trying to come out. Rest days always seem so empty!

I was reading in the TA gazette about the mileages some quite elderly tricyclists do in training. 300 miles a week. That's 7 x 43 or 6 x 50 or 5 x 60 or 4 x 75 or 3 x 100! I have a very long way to go yet! I'll have to add a column for my weekly mileage to my records to see how I'm progressing.

Believe it or not my cadence reading computer has lost most of its digits. I'll try swapping batteries again. It worked! Simply removing and refitting the battery reset the screen. Then all I needed to do was reset all the menu items. Most importantly: Km/Hr and 1667 for wheel circumference for cadence reading.

I swapped the shoe cleats and backed off the SPD pedal tension. All the unwanted slack is taken up again. You will remember to grease the cleat fixing screws, won't you?. Yes, Chris! I also re-glued the toe caps with contact adhesive. Though I don't hold out much hope of it holding. I'm keeping the sticky surfaces apart with wood screws while the glue dries. Now it has started pouring down! Grrr.

I don't know of a single shoe repairer any more. Or I could have tried my luck with them. There are plenty of miles in the Tahoes yet if only the bumpers would stick back on. 17,000 miles over two years from new doesn't seem long enough to me. It doesn't really matter if the new cleats tap in the supermarket aisles. I get odd looks already from the rural pensioners. Hang on! I am a rural pensioner! But still without the pension.

27th 54-60F, 12-15C, full sun, windy. The wind was already roaring in the trees when I set off at about 8am. I was in the middle of Odense within an hour and a quarter. Where I found all the bike shops didn't open until 10am! So I killed time by pottering around Odense's cycle paths trying to find a shop that was open. I added a few miles and ended up a long way from the centre.

A pair of Mavic MTB shoes at £100 equiv were the first which fitted. Except that they were rather too narrow for my big feet. They were incredibly light and stiff with a clever(?) tensioning and fastening system.  I couldn't make a decision so decided to go on to the next shop. Nothing in my size there. On again, to the next shop where I had bought the Specialized Tahoes. None of the Specialized or Shimano MTB shoes were at all comfortable. They felt like boxes, the toes were too pointed and the heels slipped off.

 I decided against another pair of restyled Tahoes. The originals have served me well but they are heavy, big and very soft in the sole. Though 27,000 km or 17k miles in two years is nothing to complain about. I need to be able to walk normally in my cycling shoes in the supermarkets. So road shoes are completely out.

On to the next, several shops. Where they had nothing suitable in my size. So I took a chance and visited the Design Cykler shop in the RosengÄrd Centre. A truly vast shopping mall. They have their shop along the corridor. It is now tucked away in a new extension to the Blue entrance. Their other branch right in the city centre was still closed when I had passed earlier.

Here I was treated with respect, intelligence and patience despite all the customers who had suddenly arrived after me. The Bontrager Race is only an entry-level MTB shoe but they were instantly comfortable. I tried the next size up, EU47, because my feet were hot. They were also used to the sloppy fit of the well-worn Tahoes. A bit of gentle prodding discovered that my big toes were nowhere near being crushed against the toecaps. Not even in the smaller size 46.

So I bought them at 599DKK. Roughly £60 equiv. I just hope they last as well as the Tahoes. They are almost all black with three normal, Velcro straps. None of the fancy fasteners and automatic tensioners of the other shoes at higher prices. But they fitted like a pair of real shoes and instantly felt like they belonged to me.

Though not as aggressive in the sole pattern for climbing vertical muddy banks. The solid tread bodes well for long wear before the cleats start grounding. They didn't have the very low heel and tipped up toe of the other MTB shoes. So walking was much more natural. They feel very light and nicely stiff in the sole. I'll look forwards to my first ride tomorrow.

Then it was time to head back home. 25 miles straight into a 20mph head wind with higher gusts. I did some shopping at half way to have a rest from the continuous effort. Arriving home nearly six hours after leaving with only 49 miles on the computer. I decided not to wear the shoes home as I need to fit the new cleats first.

Luckily my wife had supplied me with plenty of biscuits, a cheese sandwich, a banana and a bottle of water. So I didn't run out of energy towards the end like I usually do. I am still finding new and sore muscles. Which never brought attention to themselves before with my lower daily mileages. Presumably I'm trying harder too. Or my muscles wouldn't be complaining. I am persevering with the Vetta SL saddle too. Despite it forcing me to sit on sore muscles. No pain without gain. Or words to that effect.

Nearly forgot. Lots of hare about on my way to Odense. I also saw my first Goldfinch of this year. The route right into Odense is remarkably green from the West if you avoid the main roads.

28th 42F, 6C, medium wind, heavy overcast. Rain started at half way so I nipped into the cycle shop in Assens. I wanted to check whether the new shoes would fit inside some waterproof overshoes. I couldn't find any that would easily fit over the huge Tahoes. The thin, rubbery, GripGrab XXXXL Orca overshoes fitted like a glove and weren't too expensive at 225DKK or £25 equiv. I shall avoid walking on them as much as possible to avoid damaging the webbing on and around the sole. Somebody really should regulate the sizing of cycling gear. That Orca means 'whale' and the XXXXL are supposed to be size 49 surprises me not in the slightest. 

The new Bontrager MTB shoes were fine. Comfortable but nicely stiff in the sole. Walking is no problem. Though they are rather loud when I'm walking about in the supermarkets. The soles are a rather hard material. A few people actually looked up to see who was making all the noise. Perhaps they were hoping for a blonde in high heels. Not a silver-bearded pensioner clomping about in cycling shorts. :-)

It rained hard all the way home with a turbulent 10 o'clock wind. The overshoes kept my socks bone dry. This was also the first real test of the Aldi jacket. The wrists of my long sleeved vest were wet when I reached home. Otherwise I was dry except for my sopping wet cycling shorts. The jacket's netting lining felt a bit damp. Probably condensation rather than penetrating rain. The SS "Activity" gloves stayed dry inside. Not a bad result for that amount of rain. I should have taken my TA cap to keep the rain off my yellow sunglasses! Riding in a cycling helmet but without any hat is worse than going bareheaded. Only 22 miles. My legs are still aching at times.

I refitted the Brooks Professional this afternoon. Then gave it a coat of Proofide with my bare fingers to help it soak in as it wasn't very warm. I also gave the saddle tension nut a half turn as it felt quite loose. The Vetta SL wasn't really uncomfortable. It just exaggerated the pain of sitting on sore muscles. Muscles which I had completely failed to notice previously with the Brooks. I remember I used to get exactly the same pain when I road a Unica Nitor, plastic saddle in my youth.

 29th 46-56F, 8-13C, blowing a gale, overcast clearing to occasional sunny periods. It spat with rain on and off. At first I tried to ride with the wind over my shoulder to put some distance away from home. That went on for about 10 miles of clinging on to avoid joining the scenery. Then I punctured on glass riding through the woods. Then came the long slow drag almost straight into the wind. I tacked across country seeking as much hedge shelter as I could. Then came a load of shopping in several supermarkets.  Only the last short leg was really with the wind.

Glad for the Brooks being back on again. No pain at all. The right shoe is squeaking. Almost like a chirrup when I pedal. Not sure why. The left shoe doesn't make any noise. More and more greenery in the hedges. Though the beach trees aren't in leaf yet. 31 miles.

30th 54F, 12C, lighter winds and sun promised all day. I'll go out with a vest for the first time this year. It was a little chilly but the wind was light. Later, the wind turbines stopped completely. It was a pleasant day for a ride. I went to the unspoilt coast and then on down to Assens. Where I took some pictures of some tall ships. One of which was in for repairs. Though it was hidden behind a carrier which made the hull inaccessible for photographs. New shoes still comfortable.  23 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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