I have been training inside a lot this year but Chas and I have been able to accumulate over 1,000 km on the road in preparation for the upcoming Pacific Populaire.
Chas was well prepared for winter riding. First, I put wider profile tires (28 mm) on an old set of Shimano training wheels. The wheel hubs and rims are worn but more than adequate for winter riding. I didn’t worry about getting them wet, and the wider section tires grip better in the wetter conditions. Then I added a small set of fenders that simply snap around the front forks and the rear stays. They help to protect the bike parts, my back, and anyone drafting closely behind from wet and dirty spray. And lastly, I had a bike fit which resulted in several minor adjustments to the saddle height and lateral position as well as a new, flatter saddle. The new saddle reduces the pressure points considerably, and has me sitting more on my sits bones at the back of the saddle.
The bike fit was revealing. I learned that I had lost flexibility in my left hamstring and hip abductor muscles which resulted in uneven weight distribution on the saddle, and a right knee that did not track perfectly perpendicular when pedalling. Despite training in front of a full length mirror when on the spinning bike, I had not noticed. Like many cyclists, I neglect to stretch, particularly during the cycling season. Consequently, I have included a 15-20 minute stretching routine after each and every spinning session for the past 8-10 weeks, and have noticed a significant difference. The knee appears to track correctly, and when on the bike, I tuck into a more aerodynamic position easily.
I plan to ride Chas in the Pacific Populaire. He is built for this type of cycling. His heavier, steel frame, longer wheelbase, and wider section tires make for a more comfortable ride over longer distances. Weather permitting (that means no rain), I’ll switch out the wheel set to my newer Shimano RS61 equipped with narrower 25 mm tires. These wheels are faster, roll more smoothly, and quite frankly are a treat to ride.
So, Chas and I have not been idle. Both he and I are better prepared for this century ride than we have been in previous years.