Full Moon, Mountains

I had a wonderful full moon ride out around Mt. Philo and back. It was noticeably colder on the Spear St. side of the ride – as I turned at the halfway point the wind seemed to shift and I shed a layer as I began the return. I caught glimpses of Bolton Valley lit for night skiing, and when the moon peaked from behind the clouds I saw Camel’s Hump and Mt. Mansfield in the distance. I’ve been inside on the rollers and spent some time running the past few weeks – so getting out on the road and watching the moon and the stars was a wonderful start to the new year. I covered 43 1/2 miles in mild January temperatures. My pace is well below that of last fall as I’m continuing to build my winter base. As I cleared the traffic in town and made it to some less travelled roads I longed for the speed and fitness I had last fall, and the long summer rides that got me there.

I’ve been using some new gear with mixed results:

Lights:
The Petzl e+Lite continues to work well on my helmet as a cockpit reading light (using the red LED). Set to high with the 3 white LEDs it worked great for handling the camera and digging though my saddle bag as I changed layers, as well as for throwing enough light at low speeds for street sign navigation.

Visibility:
I had my first ride with the Cactus Creek Reflective Vest I purchased from Mountain Equipment Co-op. I’ve worn it out running and have been pleased with the fit – seeing as it was designed for cycling I’m even happier with it on the bike. Reflective materials on the front and back which spillover to the sides, and 3 pockets on the rear that I can use when I can’t access my jersey pockets. Its nice to see that someone has finally designed a cycling accessory that includes pockets on the back! Most of my jackets have a single zippered pocket – which for distance riding has limited uses – I like to tuck extra food, the digicam, and my gel flask in the rear pockets. The pockets on the vest are a bit tricky to get in and out of – but for now I’ll assume it has to do with the winter gloves I’m wearing – and if need be as warm weather approaches I’ll modify the stitching a bit with some elastic. So far the vest is a welcome addition to my long distance riding gear – and a cycling specific replacement to the disappointing Amphipod sash I have been using.

Tires:
I’m not yet sold on the Schwalbe Marathons I’ve been running. I like the relfective sidewall and appreciate Scwalbe’s tradition of developing tough tires that resist wear and tear from the road (flats!), but they just don’t feel as good on the road as the Continental GP 4 Seasons I used last year. The Schwalbe’s feel squirmy during high speed descents – and with their tread design and interior flat protection layer they seem to develop a noticeable “hum” going down the road. I’ll give them through the winter and early spring – but my gut tells me I’ll be moving back to a more traditional road slick come next Brevet season.

3 Responses to “Full Moon, Mountains”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m hoping you can tell me what you found disappointing about the Amphipod sash. I’ve been intending to pick one up. I currently use a vest, but it flaps at high speed, limits access to pockets, and has less reflective surface than the Amphibod.

    Thanks!
    Chris J.

  2. bmike says:

    The Amphipod became uncomfortable as it would creep up my front and back. The design worked well for running – but on the bike I found it difficult to adjust the tightness and length of the cross straps to be snug enough to be out of the way, and loose enough to stay put. The sash is symmetric from front to back – so when you ride on the hoods or the drops the front creeps up, dragging the back with it. This is uncomfortable – and it also compromises the sashs visibility. If the reflective striping is in the middle of my back – it is pointing slightly upwards when I spend time on the hoods. I also found it hard to get into my jersey pockets as the the lower belt would be riding somewhere between my rib cage and my belly button.

    The MEC vest is cut longer in the back, has pockets (not perfect pockets, but pockets none the less), and stays put. It is adjustable, and so far has only flapped around on the quickest of descents.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the feeback on the Amphipod. I guess I’ll stick with what I have for now.

    Chris