Greenville, Alabama

Monday Evening 2 October
Day 23

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.

Platform Pedals

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.


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Born in Harrisburg, PA. Undergrad at Drexel University. Learned to ride a bike when six years old, riding ever since. Started cooking when I was in college, stopped when I got married, started again in 2006 when my wife was out of town for a few months. Jobs: worked at post office while in college to earn money to buy a stereo. After grad school, worked at a small software company in Redmond, WA for twelve years. Afterwards, went back to school to get a certificate, then started teaching high school. Still doing that off and on, part time as the need arises.

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