Just a few small updates on my biking adventures. Thankfully, no big problems.
I've gotten the crank rings upgraded to Rotor Q-Rings, which has been helpful. I'm still not sure if I need to adjust the setting on them, but I definitely get less tired with them. I haven't been going as fast, although I think that's likely because I've been doing a lot more hills (and I've definitely improved on the hills in the last week or so, which might or might not be related).
I was worried that shifting would be negatively impacted, since the Q-Rings are elliptical, but I haven't had any issues with that. At least, none that I can't attribute to the continuing wonkiness of running an eleven-speed cassette with a hub that only accepts ten-speed.
The wheel set that I ordered from prowheelbuilder is still waiting to be built. Thankfully, I've still got that borrowed wheel, so I'm still cranking out the miles. Hopefully, they'll get it built the end of this week, and I'll be able to get rolling on them early next week. And hopefully they'll be as good as I hope they are.
Speaking of miles, my total passed 1250 for the year this morning. I think that puts me a hair over one thousand for my Motobecane road bike; I'll have to look. Also, the Retul fitting got me on a narrower handlebar. I ended up doing the changeover myself, and that's helped. It hasn't eliminated my sore neck, but it has greatly reduced it.
This morning, I really wasn't feeling it, and took an easy ride. And for once, I kept with that determination. The cold didn't help much, though. With my normal cranking, I hardly notice 42 degrees. This morning? Not the case.
I did determine, a few days ago, that 45 is iffy for my normal gloves, and I definitely want something warmer when it gets any colder. I haven't found the lower limit on my light, cold-weather gloves yet (in my one test, those gloves did great when it was very wet). I have some heavier ones that I expect to only break out a couple of times a year (ironic that I got them cheaper for it being "end of season", despite them being just about to come into season); we'll have to wait to see how those work.
On my bottom half, a couple of notes for colder or wetter weather. Mostly, I've just been wearing my normal shorts, so far. I have worn my thermal (to use Pearl Izumi terminology) shorts a couple of times. I don't notice the difference in my legs, but do notice it a little in my abdomen. Probably not worth paying extra over the Pro In-R-Cool shorts, but maybe worth having one or two pairs if the price is very, very close.
I got a couple of long-sleeve, transfer baselayer shirts recently. I actually wasn't sure if I'd want to wear them, and with a jersey, I'm still skeptical. But for laundry reasons, I work just that, with my light jacket, and found that works very well in the lower forties. I'm thinking that wearing that, a jersey, and my softshell jacket (incidentally, I'm very bummed to see that I paid $20 more than is being asked for that, now. But on the plus side, I got the baselayer shirts for that much cheaper) will probably work well in temperatures about as cold as the worst in which I'd contemplate riding.
For being wet, I have only a little bit to add. I wore my amfib tights on a cold, rainy day a week or so ago. And they passed the test with flying colors. In fact, I was having a very nice ride until the bike path went under a road, and I found out it was flooded six inches deep, or so, which got my feet soaked. It still wasn't a miserable ride, even after that, but it definitely went downhill quite a bit.
Incidentally, I noticed after the ride that the stirrups on those are not in the outer layer. What I could have done (and wish I had) was to put the stirrups over my shoes, then put my booties on, and then put the outer layer over those. Not sure if would have helped with the flooding (because that water might well have gone through the sole of the shoe; let's hear it for ventilation), but I think it'd've made a big difference with anything short of that.
Getting back to the point, those pants are fantastic for cold and wet weather. I have two pairs, and might want another.
I also have some Cannondale Blaze Bib Tights, bought for the same reason. Good for cold, not for wet; I've worn then twice in wet weather, and both times came back with wet legs.
Oh, and both of those pairs of tights? Take forever to dry. Make of that what you will.
Ahh, and I have a couple of leg/knee warmers, but haven't worn any of them yet.
Finally, I got the Serfas Thunderbolt USB taillight. I was really happy with it for about two months, when it stopped charging. I got in touch with their warranty folks, and their only questions were to confirm which light, and to get my address. I haven't gotten the replacement yet, but I was very impressed by that. If the replacement arrives soon, and lasts longer than the first, I'll be a very happy camper. I've gotten a new light (didn't think about checking warranty until after ordering that), but I don't like that light nearly as much.