IN WHICH WE ATTEMPT TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF A SQUEAKY RUNNER, AND FIGURE WHAT’S GOOD FOR THE SHOE GOOSE IS ALSO GOOD FOR THE BIKE GANDER… OBTUSE? STICK AROUND…
Last week, my trusty Saucony Everuns developed a squeak. Just on the left one. As an exercise in Zen Buddhist philosophy, there is merit in trying to remain above these insignificant triflings of the day. Sure, as I pass, people look away in embarrassment. There goes the squeaky runner guy. Don’t know how he does it. That would drive me mad…
Well, it turns out I am particularly crap at Zen Buddhism (and I should apologise to anyone reading this who actually is a Zen Buddhist and instantly recognises that I am misreading the whole gig for comedic effect, and shame on me for doing so. On the plus side, they won’t be out to get me, coz that’s, well… just not very Zen…)
So I hit the internet to see if indeed, yes, my runners were terminally ill, but realised they were just wet. Not damp, or caught in the rain wet, but the insole was squeaking against the lower sole due to some cataclysmic event with water. There will be no more sole puns, I promise.
Anyway, whip out the insoles, liberally administer talcum powder and leave out in the sun to dry. This last part could be tricky in Ireland, but yesterday we were blessed with one of the hottest days of the year, and by the time we hit the bricks again in the evening, with reassembled shoes, the squeak had gone. It’s a miracle.
I also treated my Orbea bike to some love as well, in the form of new tyres. With Gaelforce West on the horizon, I need to start bending my mind to race day, and preparing accordingly. With a mountainous trail run to start, followed by a sea kayak, then another short run, then a bike, then a mountain climb, then more bike, and then a short run to finish, what one wears is quite important.
I have a few questions to tease out as regards what to wear, not least as regards carrying water. I’ll probably plump for the standard belt with small bottles, but the vest is an option too. Trail runners throughout, I think, which means baskets on the bike instead of clippies. And as there are some fire roads which are typically rough as a badger’s arse (usually 804 [crushed heavy stone] which is trafficked by forestry machinery, hence the surface is very unpredictable and even worse in the wet), I need to ditch the 23mm tyres.
I dropped down to see my good mate Terry and we tried 25s and 28s and alas, the front forks just about allow 25s, so that’s what I have just bought.
I plumped for the Schwalbe Durano DD (Double Defense). They are not the fastest tyre; indeed, they are quite the opposite, but that’s not their job. They have strong sidewalls to prevent punctures in places that gravel and fire roads expose regularly, along with the standard protection from rough ground. Cyclo-cross bikes are recommended for this race, but my Orbea has a reasonably relaxed geometry for a road bike, and with the 105 groupset, I am hoping I can remain on-board throughout the climbs. Time will tell.
The training is going in roughly the right direction. Last week I threw in some more hill work and speed work, and at the weekend, I tried the baskets on the bike (no, not those baskets… good grief…) and they were fine up to the point where the little nuts worked loose and right-hand one fell off the pedal. Easy fix; just had to ride home with the offending item stuffed into the back pocket. Odd riding a bike with (shock!) ordinary pedals again after all these years (well, strictly-speaking, ONE ordinary pedal).
We’re over 135k of running this month, which is well up on last month, and I know some runs are not recorded in that total. More hills are required, and a lot more bike, some of which will take place in the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains to put some manners on me.
But for the race itself, not having to change into clippies should be a bonus in terms of turnaround time, plus having to stop and push one’s bike is shameful enough – pushing in clippies is an additional nightmare I would like to avoid. So it’s trail runners throughout.
More on this as we get closer to the big day. Assuming COVID-19 Part II doesn’t happen…