A cycling career is a series of experiments. Some things work and some things don't. After many saddles I found the one that works with my bum is a Silverado by WTB. There's others out there I'd like to try, but I don't have the money to test saddles.
One experiment I've been trying recently is riding in plain clothes. Or rather, not lycra and such. It's worked out perfect on my short jaunt to work and on some half hour to hour rides. I've even gone so far as to put flat pedals on my commuter and wear my comfy shoes. No more clackity clackity walking into work.
So this particular experiment went too far on today's ride. The plan was to meet at Ryan F's house, ride to the Wabash trailhead, take that down to Malvern, then ride home. I hadn't really thought it out, but that was going to equal about 75 miles or so. Ryan said it would be a nice mellow ride. So I figured, what the hey. I'll go in near plain clothes, flat pedals, and comfy shoes. Maybe I'll discover that my cold feet issues can be solved this way (that issue is a whole post unto itself).
I met Ryan, we get going, and I feel pretty good. It was mid 30s at the start with a brisk Northish wind, so it was at our backs or sides most of the way. Well after an hour, my toes did their normal winter going numb thing. The only way I can avoid that is to use those chemical toe warmer deals. I got some hints from Ryan and Mr. Bixby that I may try on future long rides.
After we met up with Martin and Tom at the Wabash trailhead, we headed South west with a nice tailwind. After a couple miles, Tom all of a sudden realized that he didn't have his cycling glasses on to protect his contact covered eyes from cold wind and trail debris. He said we could keep going and he'd catch up after going back to the car, but I figured I'd offer my cycling glasses as I had my regular glasses to use. So that worked out fine. We kept right on trucking.
As we kept going Ryan and I would creep off the front sometimes as we were both feeling pretty good. I had forgotten how far Malvern was, though. It's 22 miles down the trail. We left the trailhead at 9:10 and pulled into the C and A cafe at 10:35, just in time to miss breakfast. DOH!! So that was another failure. Martin had wanted to leave the trailhead by 8am, but that would have meant Ryan and I leaving mid-town when it was barely light at 7am and colder still.
Anywho, we ate some great food and Ryan, being the lightest dressed of all of us, decided he needed to get going pretty fast on the return trip to warm up. I felt like going hard too so I went with him. This meant we bid farewell to Tom and Martin at Malvern. This is also the first apology I'm announcing publicly to Tom because I sorta needed my sunglasses back as I didn't see a way for us to cross paths again soon before I'd need to use them. So he had to ride all the way back into a 20ish mph headwind with no eye protection. Tom, I'm very sorry for not thinking that through. I owe you a beer or a beverage of your choice.
Ryan and I got going pretty darn fast. Too fast for my stomach and tired quads to handle. See, when you ride flat pedals, pretty much the only part of your pedal rotation getting any power is the down stroke. I've heard from various places that you don't really pull up on the backside of your stroke as much as you unweight your non power phase. This proved wrong in my case. So after a while of hammering into the wind, uphill, with no blood in my legs due to the digestion of food, I had to back it off. From there on, it was a steady decline into the worst thing a cyclist can do to end a ride - call for an early pick up. Yup, that is the 2nd and consequently 3rd apologies I owe. Ryan, I'm so sorry to turn what could have been a great epic ride into a horrible epic failure by having you call your dad to pick us up at the Wabash Trailhead. And Doug (Ryan's dad) I'm sorry we had you drive over to come pick us up. It was pretty much my complaining (and snail like pace) that led Ryan to call you.
So that's pretty much it. NEVER EVER EVER go for a ride over an hour on flat pedals. Especially if food is involved that will take away the blood you will need to keep your quad only pedal strokes going.
I think I'm going to take a nap now.