Domane Four and a Half, three rides in

With new saddle installed

I still can’t tell how fast I’m going, because my CycleMeter app keeps borking out with the phone’s battery at about 43%, but although it was a bit cold today, I felt a bit better.

I actually planned my whole week around going for a ride today because the weather forecast indicated two (!) whole rain-free days in a row. I hoped this would culminate in dryer roads, but I’ve had that thought before. A key difference today was a new saddle. I didn’t actually object too much to the Affinity 2 saddle supplied with the bike, but I ordered a Fizik Aliante in day-glo orange and black, hoping it would be a better match on the bike. (What I’m looking for is an excuse to put on orange bar tape at some point.) And, yes, that’s “glo”, not “goo”, autocorrect, you bastard.

I was hoping to get out of work at three, home in half an hour, and then out at the warmest point of the day, a couple of hours before sunset. But then an Al-Qaeda operative arranged a 1-day visit to school this Friday and the usual sense of tense panic descended. One upshot was that my Mrs was called into a meeting at three o’clock, so her meeting with the AQ op could be micromanaged. Bum. So we end up getting home 50 minutes later than planned, the sun’s already low in the sky, the temperature is dropping, ad I’m scrabbling around for my cycling gear.

Anyway, the roads were mostly dry. There were just three or four spots where water runoff covered the entire width of the road, but I felt much more confident on the slick 25mm tyres. I’m five rides in to what I’m calling pre-season training, but I did feel better today, maybe a mile per hour faster than I was at the weekend.

Here’s what I’ve noticed. I remain too heavy by far, but on those hills, those horrible hills in the final mile or so, I’m finding that I can sustain the spinning of the pedals and keep gliding up. Yes, it hurts a bit, but it doesn’t ever get to a stage where it’s unbearable. I can stay in the gear and the bike keeps moving. It’s hard to explain. On the old bike, when I felt this bad, the bike itself would start to feel bad, and I’d struggle to keep turning the pedals. On this bike, not so much. It’s a subtle difference, but I dare to hope that when I’m a few more rides in and it’s not so cold, I’ll start to feel great.

Not so sure about the saddle, though. It’s designed for the less flexible man, the “bull” as Fizik call them, but I’m borderline bull at best. It felt okay to begin with, but in the last mile or so started to feel a bit firm. But that’s just one ride, I do need to get used to it.

As to the iPhone battery, it was interesting to scroll through the diagnostic file that I’ve now sent on to the developer. It went, in 30 seconds, from 43% to 0%. And then, when I plugged it in again at home, it started back up again and immediately showed 39%, bang, like that. At this stage I don’t know if it’s a problem with the app (which worked perfectly before iOS 7), the operating system, or my phone, which is, what, just over a year old, but has only been showing battery issues since iOS 7.

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