Experiments continue

85 miles yesterday – all fine, other than saddle angle. Rookie error, I should have checked earlier (new bike, I didn’t install the saddle). Nothing too painful, just mildly annoying mid-ride.

Actually, all better than fine: for the same average power output, on a hillier course, I was 1.5 mph faster than on the last long ride on the old bike. Decent wheels and a lightweight frame make more of a difference than I’d dared hope for.

Rapha shorts – oh, I’d forgotten just how good they are. I have a couple of pairs which had gone into storage at the end of summer a couple of years ago; I didn’t retrieve them last summer because I was using some Hoy Vulpine ones and thought they were equivalent. Yeah. No, they aren’t. The Hoy Vulpine are perfectly competent and – up to about 75 miles – are pretty similar. Over 75 miles … that’s where it tells. Rapha are still comfortable from there on in, the HVs not so much.

Also back to Assos chamois creme, for the longer rides. I probably don’t need it but, eh, I’d prefer not to find out that I am wrong the hard way.

Food strategy – it was a short enough ride that I didn’t fuss too much. I carried Haribo strawbs with me, to nibble: this is an experiment, as I’m working out what I’m likely to be able to find to refuel en route for LEL. The strawbs are too sugary for me, though – I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and found them a chore, so I didn’t eat many. Flapjack and banana at the feed stations were fine, though – so perhaps pieces of flapjack etc would work; most garages etc seem to sell that sort of thing.

New bottle cages ordered: the Fabric cageless bottles are lovely on the bike but (a) marginally more awkward to stow (have been practicing, to give them a chance) and (b) if I lose one bottle, it’s likely to be near-impossible to replace mid-ride. With conventional bottle cages, I can always get a bottle of water from a garage and continue on that way: hydration is more important than style on long rides, thank you.

The other experiment has been contact lenses: I wear glasses day to day, but use contacts with sports sunglasses on the bike. The reason for this is economics: my prescription means sports glasses with correction would be several hundred pounds, versus not that much for the sports glasses and about £1 or so per pair of lenses (decent brand, bought online). I can get a lot of years of contact lenses for the price difference, and the non-prescription sunglasses are easily (and inexoensively) replaceable if caught by a flying stone or fall off or something.

For LEL, I’d thought about using extended-wear lenses, that can be slept in for up to a week or so. In pursuit of this, I got an opticians appointment and was given some to try. So, no, not a plan that’ll work. My eyes were scratchy by evening, I certainly wasn’t going to sleep in those. Additionally, there’s a problem with them that isn’t an issue on the bike but is in day-to-day life: I’m shortsighted but age is catching up to my eyes and I’ve now started to find it difficult to see close up as well (for reading – but I read a lot for work). My glasses are varifocals as a result; my contact lenses are not (yes, I know it can be done but not in disposables as far as I can tell). Reading glasses don’t work all that well. It’s not an issue in the bike – at least, not while I can still see the bike computer properly.

So none of that works and back to the usual routine of daily disposables. They’re small packets and don’t weigh much, I’ll just have to remember not to fall asleep in them. The optician did give me 10 pairs of sample new dailies – with higher oxygen flow  I tried them this weekend and they are very nice, no dryness or even noticeable that I was using them: I was running out of the dailies, so have re-ordered this new type

Finally, I have started to create the paper maps for LEL … a bit early, but it seems like a reasonable plan all the same! Yes, I will have the routes on the bike computer as well, but paper doesn’t need a battery so it’ll be my backup.

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