Monthly Archives: February 2015

Lake MX331 Review (Part 1)

After 5 years of slipping and sliding around on road shoes with Look cleats, I’ve decided to switch back to mountain bike shoes. The original impetus for switching to road shoes was that I was developing hot spots on long rides, which the Look pedals and stiff road shoes solved completely.

However, I’ve found myself avoiding certain routes, particularly those that require some off roadin’ and/or hike-a-bike. Those routes are some of the best. There’s a picture of me somewhere on this blog leaping a log in a single bound in road shoes on one of my rides; what it didn’t show was me falling on my ass half a dozen times or the 10-minute process of completely removing my shoes to clean the mud out of my cleats and pedals.

So I’ve decided to switch back to mountain bike pedals. The great thing, though, is that over the last 5 years cross has increased in popularity dramatically, and now there are shoes that provide a hybrid of road stiffness and mountain bike traction.

These came in the mail yesterday:

They’re Lake MX331s. I chose these because they are made of leather. I had great success with the Rapha road shoes because my feel are oddly shaped, and the leather allowed them to, ultimately, form themselves to my feet. They are more comfortable than my regular shoes, and they still get my highest recommendation if you’re looking for a road shoe (and don’t mind looking a little silly; I still think they look like golf shoes).

The Lake MX331s are moldable, so of course the first thing I did was pop them in the oven at 200 degrees for 5 minutes. Then I put them on and formed the heel cup, which appeared to make a substantial difference in heal retention. Supposedly the arch is also heat-formable, but I didn’t have much success in changing the shape of the arch.

The great thing about these is that they are stiff as hell. I can’t get any flex whatsoever out of the sole, which is good news in terms of reducing the risk for hot spots over long rides.

Now all I need are pedals. I ordered these:

Hopefully they will arrive before my 2015 debut on Monday.


Almost time!

I’m back and it’s time to get back on the road!

In years past, I rode right through the winter–in fact I remember navigating deep snow drifts on the west side bike path on my recumbent* in mid-January in temperatures far below freezing.

This year, I took a different tack. On December 1, I officially retired my road bike for the winter, and instead dedicated myself to some, uh, vigorous indoor training. It’s pretty clear after 8 years of winter riding that it does little to contribute to my ongoing fitness, since the rides tend to be short, slow, and damn cold.

I am happy to report that the indoor training seems to have done something, although I’m not sure what. My formerly golf ball-sized calves are now the size of tennis balls, and I can run 10 miles on a treadmill 5-6 days a week. I’m hoping that some of that fitness will translate into improved on-bike speed. Not that I care much about speed other than the fact that it allows me to go further.

I’ve been obsessively doing maintenance on my bikes, reorganizing the bike closet, putting on new cleats, loading routes into the Garmin, and all that other preparatory stuff. I’m so ready to get out of the house again.

So Monday is the big day to get back on the bike. I’ve also resolved to take a more logical approach to early-season training. Instead of starting with something stupid like a 110-mile ride including Platte Clove, like I did last year (and was subsequently unable to walk for about 3 days after), I’m starting slow to avoid broken knees. That means week 1 is two 20-mile rides and a 40 on Saturday. I’m going to up the weekday mileage to no more than three 40-mile weekday rides over a month or so, and add 10 miles to the Saturday ride each week until I get to 200 miles. Then it’s time for the Vermont Special: a 324-mile ride that you are all welcome to join me for! I should be doing it around the time that my friends are suffering through PBP.

As always, all my routes are here. And if you have any questions or want to join me (I should be up to 80 mile Saturdays by the end of March) you know how to get in touch.


*Yes, I briefly had a recumbent. I injured my neck in a bike crash–and what’s worse, really, not riding at all or riding a recumbent?