Doing it all the hard way...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Solvang Equipment commentary 2008

Seven Axiom
God rides this bike. Practically perfect in every way. Where is it lacking you ask? I don’t know yet. It remains my dream bike, and though I am still unworthy of it, it fits me and I ride it.

I do need a new cassette as I had some skipping when really powering in high gears.

I brought enough for five bottles and had some Hammer drink (the one with protein) at one of the food stops and it was gross. I don’t think it EVER dissolved. It was like water with flour in it. The Accelerade on the other hand was great. Not too sweet, but enough flavor to make you want to drink it. And electrolytes and no bonk.

Planet Ultra
Any color as long as it is black. And a lot of folks like black. I had no problems with the organization and staging of this ride. The only thing I noted was my impression of the absolute inflexibility of the Plant Ultra group. Thou shalt this and thou shalt not that, and they really meant it. While I didn’t have any direct criticisms, my impression is they wouldn’t change a thing, no matter how small, and no matter how many people asked. Maybe you have to be that way to put on as many long rides as they do in various places, but I kind of felt like I was in school again.

Hammer Gel
This is good stuff and the flask really does make sense. I hate seeing wrappers on the ground and being able to grab, pop and squeeze was much easier than fishing around in my pocket, gently tearing and then stashing a spent gel wrapper somewhere and then forgetting it at the food stop so I carry trash eighty miles.

This is great stuff as it makes dull water taste good without any syrupy grossness. Electrolytes are good. Two hundred miles, twelve twenty-two ounce bottles consumed (half drink mix half nuun) and lots of sweat, very little pee, and no cramps. What more can I say.

Spare saddle bag. Check the picture of my bike (TF) and you will see it !
I made my own and you can too. Just find an old windbreaker at a thrift store and cut off an arm and figure a way to close it on both ends (one that you can open and one that is closed permanently. Then strap it to your existing bag with toe straps or the like and stash your spare clothing in it and drink mix or anything you won’t need on the fly. Keep on the fly stuff in your jersey pockets. I stuffed my vest and earband and bag of drink mix, sunscreen, nuun in there and straped it up.

Just a good tool for not overcooking on climbs. If I see my heart rate getting above 172, I back off a little. Once I max in the 180’s I’m pretty much toast for the rest of the ride.

DeFeet armwarmers are the best.
Hincapie knee warmers are nice and long and we never too hot or too cold.
Castelli Proline gloves are great and the little loops between the fingers makes taking them off at food stops (for drying, eating) easy.
Toe covers, earband, PI vest. Why doesn’t everyone have these wonders ?
Castelli Y-Fuso bibshorts I find them almost frictionless in the chamois area. They do not have a lot of padding, so if the ride is on crappy pave’ these are not your first choice. They are silky smooth and look shinny fast. Since I was wearing Castelli jersey and gloves I thought I would complete the poser look.

Bontrager chamois cream You make this yourself with a 13oz tub of Vaseline, one ounce tubes of antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone cream, and lanolin. Mix them all together any smear liberally on you and your chamois. It works better than the others and I have used Assos, Brave Soldier, Ozone3, Chammy Butt’r etc. I do find that a squirt bottle of Assos (or Chammy Butt’r) for touch up during a long ride is perfect. The Bontrager mix makes your saddle shine, but so what ?

While equipment isn’t the ride, it can sure make it a lot better.

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