Monday Evening 2 October
Headwinds and hills for 128 miles, just get it done. No stops for pictures, just ride the bike. Tiger Tom and Doc Don escorted me out of Livingston. Then I traded a few pulls with Eastside Ernie and Jukebox Jerry, until we caught another group ahead of us. Ernie and Jerry dropped back, and I rode up to the first sag in an ad hoc pace line – three of the Tacoma-Steilacoom boys, Big John, Winchester John and Seattle Gary. They stopped at the sag, I kept going; I also blew past the second sag, and finally they caught me right before lunch. Rather than stopping to eat, I poured some tomato soup in my water bottle, grabbed half a grilled cheese to eat while riding and headed down the road, not fast, but at a steady pace. About 20 miles outside of Greenville, the same pace line caught me again and I let them go. Eventually QB Ken caught me, and we rolled into Greenville together, both happy to have some company.
For a final test of my platform pedal hypothesis, I switched back to Speedplay pedals with Specialized shoes for the ride to Greenville. After happily riding platforms for over two weeks, I wanted to see if the Speedplay pedals offered any advantages. Much as I would like to say there was no significant difference, I cannot do that. I liked having my foot locked in to the pedal, especially at two points on the stroke – about 1 o’clock and about 7 o’clock. Also, I was able to sustain standing on a climb longer and more easily with the Speedplays. Overall, my perception was they provide a small increase in power – maybe 5 – 10 percent. That’s not much, but for a long day it is significant.
Final analysis – platform pedals have all the advantages I mentioned in my earlier post. Riding with sandals is incredibly comfortable. For a self-contained ride, you don’t have to carry extra shoes. For tour rides shorter than 100 miles, unless you have your mind set on beating your friends to a motel or campsite, I suggest giving platforms a try.