17 Sep 2012

17 September 2012

17th 55F, 13C, windy again, overnight rain clearing to sunny periods. I have a wet cough with a bad taste. Probably from all the dust in the air from farmer's mud on the roads. There are brown clouds rising every time a vehicle runs over it. The tractors have been on the fields for several weeks now. First there was spraying, then harvesting, then carrying the grain away, then bailing. Then more spraying. Then pig shit spreading. Before raking and then ploughing. Probably with more spraying in between. Then getting a fine tilth. Finally the seed drills. Probably with more spraying to follow.

Every time they work with tractors and implements they have to return to base. Along the roads. Leaving a thick layer of mud behind them. Without rain, to soften the mud for the traffic to slowly  disperse, it just sits in countless thick lumps all down the road. Riding over it on a bike or trike is very uncomfortable indeed. The mud is always full of stones and probably flints as well.

I'll probably go out later when the forecast is for sun and lower wind speeds. Which is just as well with forestry machines cutting all the hedges and trees right down to the ground. I'm spending more and more time on the drops to fight my way into the constant wind. I seem to be getting pains in my right shoulder and buttock again. Must be overdoing it. Though the rest day seemed to make it worse. That may have been carrying the trike up those steps in Middelfart the day before. Going well today despite the wind. 19 miles.

18th 56F, 13C, very windy, overcast with showers. Rain forecast all day. It's not looking very promising. It brightened up so I went anyway. Was caught in a couple of showers but still survived for 22 miles. It poured down for hours after I arrived home. The Velo saddle felt like a wedge today.

The Tour of Britain was won by Jonathan Tiernan-Locke. First British GC winner in 19 years. World Champion Mark Cavendish won stages including the final sprint. After riding back to find a tired Cav, T de F winner Bradley Wiggins went sick. The shots of Wiggins smiling before he dropped back for the Cav rescue mission were the first I've seen of Wiggins actually enjoying life.

The anonymous online cowards are talking about Tiernan-Locke as if he were doping to win. Simply because he won! I wonder whether the recent British successes aren't due to others no longer being able to cheat. Perhaps the British are simply proving they always had the talent but couldn't show it against the countless crooks.

Isn't it time the UCI was stripped of its monopoly powers as being totally unfit to rule the sport? While Nero fiddles, over the minutiae of saddle position, Rome, Paris and Madrid have all burnt to the ground several times over! The British cyclists are now rising above the ashes of international Professional cycling. As the UCI continues to try and paper over the mess with technical and mechanical irrelevancies.

Anything to try and distract us from the awful truth. In case it affects their own status, privilege and income. They want us to forget, that no race, under their jurisdiction,  has ever been won cleanly. Until now. Not because of them, but despite them. Even when the US anti-doping case against Armstrong was overwhelming they were still trying to ignore it. Doping apologists are as dirty as the crooks who dope. They all do so for greater financial reward. That is fraud. Apologists for fraud deserve no support and certainly no corrupt power to make rules for others. Not even if the French and Spanish lunatics still drool down their flags and g-strings. As they caper like apes at the sight of the Big C and his doping cronies climbing through their drunken midst.

Vantinge Kirke

19th 46-52F, 8-11C, gales, sunny periods with rain. Rode to Ringe to look at saddles again.  Going was fine and almost effortless. I felt strong and was doing 20-24mph much of the time. Coming back was straight into the wind and took three times as long! The Velo saddle was awful after only 30 miles. The problem with saddle discomfort is that one cannot ride as fast as usual. This prolongs the agony because the journey takes much longer!

In the bike shops there was a whole range of saddles but all of them had considerable lateral curvature. While it may be true that the curve is mostly top padding the plastic chassis is still curved. The Fizik saddles were by far the lightest. Those available seemed rather narrow and put me right off borrowing any of the test samples.  I'm guessing that narrowness is the major problem with all of the saddles I have tried. With lateral curvature the reason why I feel as if I am sitting on a wedge. The more curved the saddle the more uncomfortable they feel.

I have a large box full of assorted saddles  and most of them are strongly curved laterally. Sitting on any of them produces instant pain.  Those saddles, in the shops, which were flattest were also the cheapest but also the smallest and narrowest. Otherwise I might have had something better to ride home. After three years of riding almost daily and for tens of thousands of miles I'm sure I would be broken in by now. If, indeed, that was the problem. I just seem to have no worthwhile padding over (under) my sit bones. Wearing well padded racing shorts helps but not softly padded "gel" saddles. Nor real or fake chamois lined, modern shorts. Nor add-on, 'gel' padded, saddle covers either. I have tried them all without success.

The Vetta SL ATB (?) is the most comfortable of the plastic based saddles in my collection. This saddle came with the Higgins and has the flattest lateral curve. How can all those saddles in the box be so uncomfortable? Somebody must have ridden them and survived to tell the tale. Why is the Brooks so uncomfortable after (about) 50 miles? I have no obvious saddle sores otherwise they would hurt from the start of every ride. I have no problem sitting on an antique wooden chair without a cushion for several hours. I have tried low and high saddle positions. Tipped forwards, level and tipped back makes no obvious difference. Slightly nose-up helped on the Brooks. Though only for the first 50 miles. 50 miles today. Yet again it stayed mostly dry for me. Despite heavy rain back at home.

20th 44-52F, 7-11C, windy with weak sunshine. A contiuous deluge is forecast for today and tomorrow. Though it only looks like showers arriving this morning on the DMI radar. The sky is now filling with huge banks of clouds from the SW.  In the end it only started to rain as I brought the shopping home. 16 miles. Now it has brightened up again. 14 more miles.

Only one light shower. I had to put my long fingered gloves back on because of the latent heat of vaporisation. ;-) Which, in layman's terms, means that wet hands are cold hands. The wind speeds up evaporation causing increased  heat loss. The higher the wind speed the greater the heat loss. Rather like wind chill factor but with "knobs on."  Meat safes were once covered in wet muslin. The water in the cloth evaporated in warm weather taking heat way from the contents of the safe. Thus prolonging the life of the food contained therein. Then they invented the refrigerator and meat safes largely fell out of favour.

21st 51F, 11C, overcast, very windy and wet. A stationary front is wriggling from the UK over Denmark and beyond. Promising lots of rain today and all week. The last few days have been slight false alarms with much less rain than promised. Most of which I have safely avoided.  Now it seems it has been saving it all up. At the moment it looks like another rest day. It's not that I mind riding in the rain. More that I need to use every possible excuse to take a proper rest day.

Having had such success with the Conti GP4000 tyres I have ordered three more online. 3500 miles without punctures is tremendous insurance and reassurance of being able to finish any journey. Well worth the extra cost of the larger investment in relatively costly rubber.

I have found another online dealer, here in Denmark, which undercut the last one by enough to buy three new Schwalbe inner tubes free of charge. The postal charges are also waived over their minimum of ~£50 total. Further reductions to 259DKK (£27.75) each were offered for multiples. What's not to like? (as they say)

This time I have chosen the all-black, 4000S in the 25mm size. I shall sorely miss the decorative, bright blue 'bling' of the older tyres. Though I shall continue on with these tyres until they prove too unreliable. The idea of trying the 25mm is to allow lower pressures. With the blue tyres I deliberately pushed the pressures higher. Right up to maintaining the 110psi manufacturer's recommendation. While this seemed to reduce rolling resistance (subjectively) it greatly increased the discomfort of riding on rough surfaces. Particularly cobbles! It may also have speeded up the noticeable flattening of the treads.

Increasing the inflation pressure would tend to push the crown of the tread out. Forming a very narrow contact patch.  Which is then rubbed away by the abrasion against the road surface. The high pressures would continue this trend as the thinner rubber lost its resistance to the pressure inside it. Eventually thinning the crown more than the shoulder. So high pressures and trike use would further exaggerate this flattening. With my 11½ stones distributed fairly evenly over three wheels I don't really need such rock hard tyres. There is also some loss of grip when sprinting, or climbing, out of the saddle.

Slightly fatter tyres will tolerate lower pressures. Slightly reducing the risk of pinch flats/punctures. Lower pressures should further reduce tread flattening. The S model of this tyre is supposed to be better than the standard GP4000 in several respects. So is likely to offer longer life. We shall see. Just don't hold your breath. It will take several months and more than 3500 miles to clearly differentiate between the two models of this well-respected tyre. Given that this wear test is likely to occur over the winter it will take slightly longer going on past experience. Even longer if the rubber is supposed to be of better quality.

22nd 48-52F, 9-11C, windy, overcast. Rode up to Brenderup via the back lanes as much as possible. A lot of the route was very rural. Pretty winding lanes with woods, ponds, fields and high hedges. Ponies and horses everywhere. The headwind felt so cold it was blowing right through me. After 24 miles I could turn left  and loop back towards home. Still the wind was nagging me. It was if it was coming from all directions. Bought a load of shopping at Nr.Åby. No wonder I felt slow on the hills!

I had the Vetta saddle on to see how I coped. It was okay until nearly 30 miles and then started hurting. I tried moving backward and forwards but it made no real difference. I  tried almost lying down on the drops, sitting upright and leaning forwards on the hoods. There is something odd about the two modern saddles which doesn't happen with the Brooks. I get weird aches in my legs. Indeterminate aches with no particular location. Neither muscular nor skeletal. I presume it has something to do with trapped nerves due to these saddles. The Brooks must spread the load (little old me) much wider. 44 miles so far. Couldn't buy a couple of items so I'm off out again before the promised showers arrive. First glimpse of the sun today! 6 more miles. Yet again I missed the rain as it belted down while I was in the shop. I was doing 24mph with the wind.

23rd 48-56F, 9-13C, breezy, sunny but cool. A superb day for a ride provided one was wrapped up well. I put on one of my winter cycling jackets over my usual racing jersey and shorts. A GripGrab scull cap kept my hair warm under my helmet. The GG cap is excellent. A perfect fit without any tightness and cut long over the ears for warmth. The wind was in a weird nor'westerly direction again. So I headed in a general north-easterly direction. Skirting the western side of  Odense without leaving the unspoilt rural delights of this area.

After 30 miles I started warming up so the jacket went into the Carradice bag and I put the thin Giordano jacket on instead. The thin and sweaty Sealskinz gloves were swapped for the far more comfortable supermarket "Gel" cycling gloves. These only cost a fiver (£5) per pair but have earned their weight in gold. The scull cap was finally removed to help keep me cool on the endless hills.

The Vetta SL saddle was mostly okay with occasional discomfort after forty miles. I overtook a couple of mountain bikers who swung out in front of me. Sitting on their tails was almost perfectly sheltered from the headwind. As soon as I pulled out I could feel the wind but was committed by then. On a long drag I even had the weight disadvantage but kept ahead for a couple of miles by keeping a very high cadence. Then a clubman went past on a racing bike as if I was standing still. I used him as a target to try and maintain my speed.  The supermarkets Sunday special offers were anything but. No stock by 12 o'clock. Two outlets. Again! What a bunch of Krooks they are! 59 miles today.

A dickhead with a wooden sign, advertising a bar in Maastricht, nearly took off Mark Cavendish's head in the 2012 World Championships! Cavendish was leading the peloton (for a 100km!) when some idiot lowered a wooden sign to get it into camera shot. Right into the path of the defending 2011 World Champion's head! The culprit  should have arrested for assault with a deadly weapon! How much longer is the cycling world going to put up with these brain dead lunatics pretending to be fans? When all they want is self-publicity!

24th 48-50F, 9-10C, windy, overcast, cold. The forecast is for 35-40mph gusts and heavy rain all day. I went out early to catch the shops and returned home unscathed. Only 13 miles. Later the trees were bending in the wind and the drive was awash.

My new tyres arrived from Cykelgear.dk in good time. The weekend got in the way but they still delivered within 2 working days. Excellent communications and service and the best prices I could find anywhere and with a direct link to the GLS tracking. This was clear, informative and worked well. I have added Cykelgear.dk to my useful links above. The GLS delivery chap was polite, helpful and cheerful . Which all cheered my wife up no end. She is sick of wasting time having to listen out for the non-existent post.

I'd have Chain Reaction up there too but their website is an awful mess. When I'm browsing I will often see a CR advertising link for the item I'm looking for. Which link will always lead me to anything but the item I was interested in! Usually their messy front page with inscrutable and endless index on the left. This feels just like all these other crooks who offer product reviews when all they are is sales outlets. I won't deal with links crooks like this as a matter of principle. CR should really tidy up their act!

What a shame Post Danmark only employs lazy miseries. We used to to be able to tell which day it was from whether we had post. Now we don't even know what week it is. Or what time they will arrive. If ever. Half the time we don't even get the supermarket's weekly offers newspapers when we should. By the time we get them the offer is over. I plan my shopping routes by the special offers. Then when I get there they never have any stock. Aren't monopolies wonderful? Denmark has lots. Or cartels fixing prices.


Barry Charlton has added the 25 mile TT trike record to his recent 10 mile record with a remarkable 54:18. His new record is 30 seconds faster than the previous record held by Carl Saint. Barry averaged just over 27.6mph. Many TT bike riders would love to be able to claim a 54 for a 25. On a tricycle, with its greater weight, air drag and rolling resistance it is an amazing feat of power and endurance. Well done, Barry!


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