As I mentioned in a previous post I recently upgraded to a pair of Giro Empire VR90 cycling shoes. I’ve had them for a few weeks now, and while old man winter has hampered my riding outdoors, they have been worn on all my trainer rides since their acquisition. I have nothing but praise for these shoes and could easily recommend them to anyway.
They are also very sharp looking, matte black with “glowing red” letters and laces. The only down side to that is I had nothing else in my kit to match their red color. So after pondering that dilemma, I figured that the two constants that I always wear, no matter that kit I’m wearing, is my helmet and my shoes. Since the box was already checked with the shoes it was time to go helmet shopping! I had a few on my short list that interested me, like such offerings from Kask or Lazer, but ultimately I went with another Giro product – the Aeon helmet, of course in Giro’s glowing red color.
This is a serious helmet that is top of it’s class. Prior to this year it was Giro’s flagship road helmet for several years. That top spot is now occupied by the Synthe, but that doesn’t mean the Aeon still doesn’t deserve accolades. It has some awesome ventilation and is super light at a claimed weight of 222g for the US version (actually lighter than the Synthe). Mine weighed in at 226g. In either case when it arrived I questioned if there was anything in the box it’s so light. It actually makes my old Specialized Propero feel like a boat anchor.
The fit of the Aeon is supurb. Like most helmets you need to adjust the straps around the ears to preference and then let the RocLoc 5 system to the rest. After a little while you almost forget the helmet is even there.
Most importantly the Aeon provides ample spots for me to perch my Oakley Radarlocks when not needed for sun shielding activities.
I’m not sure I could ask any more of a helmet. Well there is one thing, but lets hope that never needs to be tested.
Here are 10 of my favorite playlist songs (and my cycling related comments) I like to listen to while I’m using Trainer Road while on the turbo.
David Cook’s cover of Don’t You Forget About Me (This is what I envision people to be saying when I drop them on a climb.)
Lauren Alaina’s cover of Flat on the Floor (Where I am after a hard workout.)
Limp Bizkit – Rollin’ (Bikes have 2 wheels and they roll)
Korn – It’s On (You’re gonna try and drop me? I don’t think so.)
Metallica – Battery (What we all wish we had on board when that double digit gradient hits!)
Sammy Hagar – I Can’t Drive 55 (I wish I had this problem on a bike.)
Taylor Swift – Shake It Off (What you do when you get some numb fingers)
Tom Petty – You Wreck Me (Well I really hope you don’t)
Van Halen – House of Pain (Riding a trainer, need I say more?)
MC Hammer – Too Legit Too Quit (Shut up legs!!!)
It’s been a long winter this year in the northeast and I’ve been making the most of it with my Trainer Road workouts. As I write this post I’m in week 14 of using Trainer Road. The first 12 weeks were part of the “Sweet Spot” base phase and now I’m in the “General Build” phase. To say I’ve seen an improvement is an understatement. My FTP is up 15% from when I started back in November and I find it funny now that my tempo workouts are at/around that original FTP number. Finding Trainer Road has been a changer for me and I am always motivate to get on the bike and do my next workout.
Now to compliment my Trainer Road workouts I also have Zwift! I was accepted into the beta program a week ago as a Mac tester (there have been Windows testers since Oct/Nov of last year). I don’t think I can do the Zwift experience any justice here, but it is a lot of fun and even if you just want to take an easy ride around the island you inevitably will find yourself going for one of the jerseys, closing the gap or just dropping other wheel suckers! I believe they call this the Zwift Effect. The best part is that I can use Trainer Road along with Zwift. I just do my normal TR workout while tooling around the island – trying hard to ignore the “competitions” and focusing on the workout but it does provide some relief and distraction from just watching numbers on the screen. Plus I have a good playlist that keeps me motivated as well.
Here is a screen shot from one of my first rides on the island. There was a bug this session and it seemed I was all alone on the island so it wasn’t hard for me to capture the orange jersey!
Zwift has become so popular that people are scheduling group and century rides. Also keep your eyes peeled while you are on the island because you may see the likes of Jens Voigt, Laurens Ten Dam and several other pros riding the island!
I can seriously see myself Zwifting during the warmer months if the weather turns foul or for an after work ride if I don’t beat the sunset.
Last but not least, I got me some new cycling kicks! I’ve been on the hunt to replace my current shoes for a while, not that there is anything wrong with them but I was looking for something more “road” oriented and a bit lighter. I was currently wearing a pair of Pearl Izumi X-Alps that I had from my mountain bike riding days and I stayed with SPD pedals on my CX bike so I just continued to use them. I do like the 2 bolt SPD system, it makes it easy when all bikes use the same type of pedals, so I wanted to stay with that system but with a less aggressive sole than most 2 bolt MTB shoes have. After a long search and a lot of research I decided on the Giro Empire VR90 shoes.
The styling of these shoes drew me in and I couldn’t get away. This shoe is essentially the same as the Empire road (3 bolt) shoes with a Vibram rubber lugged sole attached. The original Empires were developed by Giro for Taylor Phinney and has essentially become their flagship model with several other pros now wearing them. I was a little skeptical of the laces, but after a lot of research I put those fears to rest. They shoes just form to your foot, the laces don’t loosen up and once tied I have never felt the need to stop and readjust. They actually seem to get more comfortable each time I wear them. Weight for a size 42 is 315g, which makes them pretty light among cycling shoes. Along with the shoes comes a nice carry bag, 4 spikes with a wrench and 2 pairs of different sized arch supports (a third is in the shoes) so you can totally customize their fit. I’m enjoying these shoes so much I only wish I could wear them off the bike as well!