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"Retro"fitting shoes
Last Post 09/20/2015 12:52 PM by 79 pmooney. 17 Replies.
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09/11/2015 09:41 AM
That hill in 1977 was the hardest anything I have ever done. I spent the miles from Binghamton to the start of the gentle climb into Skohegan sitting deep in the field, recovering, eating and drinking after being in the break from the climb off the Kennebec River to Binghamton (thinking that maybe this break was real and being very disappointed that all that mattered was the mid-race sprint for a pair of Hutchinson tires).

We hit the gentle climb to Skowhegan and I started moving up until I felt everyone in front of me was solid. We made that left turn onto the hill and immediately it was single file. And for the next two miles. it took all I had to stay on the wheel in front of me. I have never seen that pain level from just riding before or since. Midway, in desperation, I looked over my shoulder to see how far I could drift back ans still be in the group, knowing full well that I would probably be splitting the field for good. The guy behind me was 25 yards back going half my speed. "This is it." The wheel in front of me was going to beat the one behind me by 10 minutes and I had a choice.

I stayed on, riding nearly cross-eyed. Next climb I threw my chain off to the inside. At an almost standstill (and fall over - toecips, remember) I pulled the chain up to the big ring, got the bike rolling and caught the group at the top of the hill (in a 54-15). Did the same thing next hill but was faster. Got into low gear, could not catch, lost more distance on the short descent, chased all of that only flat stretch and caught at the bottom of that final double climb up the elevation of Waterville.

When I got on, there was a little gap between the last two riders. I slipped in, knowing I needed everything I could get. They closed, both bumped me and the guy to my left grabbed my jersey and tossed me back. He was pissed. I crested the hill last and spent that final few miles picking off a few riders riding as a complete zombie.

That was the ride that told me everything about my bike and gear was perfect. Except for dropping the chain (I was using the new Shimano Ultraglide with its bulged sideplates, it shifted far quicker than the Sedis that was my regular and that work so well with the old SunTour. I learned from that experience to narrow the FG stops 'till the chain rubbed in high and low to prevent that but a little too late.) But all the rest was perfect. The wheels and tires. Clothes, shoes. The bike, the fit. I never thought about any of that those 4 hours. (I did finish with dents in both rims from those RR tracks in the last mile. Didn't slow down at all for them. But I didn't noticed the dents until the next day.)



09/15/2015 02:16 PM
Very clever. Congrats.


09/20/2015 12:52 PM
And a week later - what an improvement! Only issue was that I sometimes laced them to tight. But the acceptable range was wide. Just had to get used to the idea that a lot looser than ever worked with straps was the way to go. No foot issues all week except chafing under my camp sandals after I rode the incline off the baseball field we camped on a few times but I can hardly fault the laces for that!. But this is Cycle Oregon. A little oops? Go to the medical tent (or any of the half dozen ambulances on the road) and have a bandaid put on right and with a smile.

My $80 Lake shoes are now the most comfortable cycling shoes I've ever ridden. (Sorry Pumas - you may be lighter and sexier, but for foot pampering, they got you beat.) A radical improvement that cost me $4 for the grommets and $2.49 for the laces IIRC. Next pair will cost more. I'll get the better 2 piece brass grommets and tool. That will probably be $8 plus laces. But after amortizing the tool over several shoes, the cost per will start looking reasonable. This pair was kinda time consuming to do what with the straps being in the way (and also preventing me from getting the grommets truly in a line) but in the future I will take the straps off first. (I know I don't want them!)

Laces rule!

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