Padding. Cushioning. Other Forms of Support.

Riding 25 miles when you haven’t really done more than 12, ever, is an interesting thing. First off, I will say that gear is very important, and I have practically no bike-specific gear, except the bike and a helmet and some padded gloves. I spent Saturday afternoon searching the internet for gel-padding seats. I wasn’t sore on Sunday. I was sore on Monday.

One would think that at my height and build I have plenty of padding, thank you, but apparently not, as after I got off the bike in the Starbucks’ parking lot I literally stumbled. Dozens of “serious bikers” had passed us and I fully intend to get all of the gear the other kids have: shoes, padded seats, better glasses, padded shorts, a holder for my bike pump, padded gloves, a jersey or two, did I mention padding?

Spin class tomorrow has *nothing* on that ride.

Or the thirty miles we’re doing Sunday.

I looked at last year’s route: the largest elevation gain en route is an area over 10 miles and goes up 800 feet. For those doing the math with me, that is 800 feet up over 52 thousand feet out, or 8 feet up over 520 feet out, or 1 foot up over 65 feet out. This is miniscule compared to the hills I’ve had to practice on around here, which have a 9% plus grade. (Grade=rise/run; so the grade on the “big hill” of the ride is 800/52800, or 1.52%). The big issue with this ride then is distance, not stress to the knees: it actually ends up being some 260 miles between the two days, from Vancouver down to Seattle.

I have to be careful, though, to not make the same mistake I made last March: when I was training for the Whidbey Island Half Marathon. A bunch of us signed on to do it, and we had heard a reputable rumor it was “practically flat”. Oh, no it wasn’t. A month before race day a couple of enterprising spirits went out and drove the course, and a week later dropped out. I’d be lying if I said it was anything more than sheer fiscal prudity that kept me in. That sort of thing is not a welcome surprise.

The question remains though: which padding do I purchase *first*?

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