24 days to go until the MS Ride, and I haven’t even been on one training ride. My training has primarily been around strength-training and cardio at the gym. At least I’m regular about it. This weekend, there’s an initial team ride at the Laurita Winery, which looks to be an interesting place. In anticipation of the new cycling season, and because recently celebrated my birthday, I got some new cool upgrades to my bike. Before I get into the upgrade details, let me recap my upgrade history.
The bike itself is about 9 years old now, but that’s, like, 2 in bicycle years. Since purchasing it in late October 2002, I’ve upgraded it a few times. My history on the bike has been spotty, which I freely admit:
- I didn’t get to ride it more than 1-2 times in 2002.
- In 2003, I remember tooling around like a novice in regular shorts and the original toeclip pedals (which I despise), but eventually upgraded the pedals to SPD type in June 2003. I also got decent road cycling shoes.
- In 2004, I was the most serious about the sport. I rode 1-2x a week. I started wearing the right clothes, and added a cyclocomputer in March 2004.
- From 2005-2009, I didn’t do much riding, due to the kids being, work, travel, etc.
- Last year (2010), I got back on the horse, and I rode about 258 miles, which isn’t a personal record by any means, but it was an improvement over the last four years. I paid for some much-needed replacement of worn-out parts, and I upgraded from a the big cushioned saddle to something more respectable. I also ditched the pocket-protector of cycling — the kickstand.
This year, since I’m serious about cycling, I got some serious new upgrades. I purchased a new, more stylish helmet, to replace the worn out unfashionable silver Bell helmet I purchased back in Oct 2002. I purchased new Shimano 105 SPD-SL pedals, so I’ll be trying a new pedal model that should give me better support and power with each stroke. Finally, I purchased new Specialized road shoes to replace the Pearl Izumi road shoes that I bought back in June 2003.
Of all the improvements, the biggest are the pedals and shoes. While the old SPD pedals are easy to clip in and out of, they don’t provide much support. Sometimes my feet would experience a little pain in the arches, as I am working off these tiny platforms. With the SPD-SL pedals (and the new shoes), I’ll have wider platforms to provide support, and the new shoes will give me the rigidity to support my arches. This particular cleat set provide a little “float”, which gives me a little wiggle room and eases the pressure on my knees.
I picked up the helmet last week as a gift for my birthday, I bought the shoes and pedals this week, and I had the pedals and cleats installed today. I also had the saddle height adjusted for my height. What’s left? Cycling sunglasses that won’t cost me an arm and a leg. I’m on the hunt for them now, before Sunday’s training ride.