The Sole Of Cycling

As a dedicated cyclist, I am at all times striving to maximize my performance:

To that end, I recently watched this video in which former professional bicycle racing person Chris Horner explains how to ride up a short climb:

I was immediately skeptical when Horner’s “short” climb turned out to be one mile long, and my skepticism was confirmed when it turned out his advice was basically to ride up the climb without getting tired, which is like telling someone the key to getting rich is making lots of money.

Horner also explains that as you approach the climb you should not be at the front of the group using all your energy, which conveniently omits the fact that, for the typical schmuck, being present anywhere in the group whatsoever requires using all your energy. The truth is that climbing is like sex: we all know how it’s supposed to be done, but it rarely works out that way in practice. Watching pro cyclists and romantic movies (as applicable) may suggest that the way it works is you come in all suave and then get right into the rhythmic swaying, but the reality is that in both cases it’s a mad scramble just to get there, and assuming you’re even lucky enough to make it at all what follows is invariably a sweat-soaked frenzy you’re unlikely to complete with your dignity intact.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, I look forward to Horner’s next video, in which he will unveil the secret to downhill mountain biking:

Of course, I do realize that as a retired amateur cyclist who was never any good anyway, I am not Horner’s target audience, and that there are in fact plenty of riders out there full of vim and verve and possibly doping products who are so stupidly strong they have to be told to hang back pace themselves on climbs instead of dragging the entire field up them. Nevertheless, as a lapsed Fred, I can’t seem to fully escape the roadie perspective, in the same way I just can’t look away when Specialized markets a new product. And their latest game-changing, rider-transforming, all-the-bike-sites-are-fawning-over-it item is the S-Works Ares Road Bicycle Riding Shoe:

At $425, they sure Ares expensive (come on, that was good), and Bicycling declares them no less than the key to “a new and exciting pedaling experience:”

Hmmm. If your feet are moving around too much in your shoes, please allow me to introduce you to my personal doctor, who will treat you for far less than it costs to buy a pair of these shoes:

[If you ask nicely, he might also hook you up with some HGH.]

Bicycling does also point out that you don’t have to be a racer to benefit from good shoe fit:

And by the same token I’d say you don’t have to look like these people to use Dr. Scholl’s insoles:

Though I’m willing to bet they’re both wearing Dr. Scholl’s insoles.

Still, will the Dr. Scholl’s make your shoes a whole 1% faster?

When the moment comes for an attack in the hills, a long solo move, or a full gas sprint for the line, every watt counts, which is why we designed the S-Works Ares to be the most efficient and powerful performance shoe ever made. We combined decades of Body Geometry development with obsessive innovation working with the world’s best athletes to completely reimagine the race shoe. An entirely new, patent-pending closure system, Dyneema®-reinforced toungless sock, and ultra-stiff FACT Powerline™ carbon outsole eliminate foot roll, reduce pressure on tendons, and transfer every ounce of power to the pedals for unprecedented performance and comfort. It’s 1% faster than any shoe we’ve ever made, and at the finish line, that’s all that matters.

Best of all, an integrated fungicide injection port lets you squirt Lotrimin between your toes mid-ride.

You can’t win if you’re suffering from athelete’s foot.

Finally, moving on from matters of Fredliness, I just saw this on Twitter:

Not sure where all this stands or if this will ever happen, but if making a right on red on a bicycle were legal in New York City I’d have never gotten my Tan Tenovo ticket:

I want my money back.

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