As regular readers know (and are becoming increasingly bored with hearing about), my feet have been giving me problems this year. I’m fairly certain this is due to an aggravated nerve under the toes of my right foot, although the left foot has been known to join in the fun as well. I suspect this is a compensation injury as the left foot takes on most of the load when the right foot simply cannot.
I’ve made progress in the past two weeks,mainly through the use of gel insoles in all of my footwear. The final piece to this grand design arrived in the mail on Saturday. Behold, the G-Form Bike Shoe Insole:
The good people at G-Form proudly state that this is the first insole specifically engineered to dampen the vibration between the ball of your foot and the cleat, thus eliminating the “hot spot” on the sole of your foot.
The insoles are purported to be breathable, antimicrobial and built with “Medical Grade” Ortholite Technology. Sounds impressive. I’m not sure what other grades of insole there are. “Weapons Grade” would be interesting. Still, “Medical Grade” seemed to be more in line with what I was looking for and I gave the insoles a test ride on Monday over a 35 mile course.
I decided to check in on the Bristoe Station Battlefield, located near the town of Bristow. Yes, the spellings are correct. It seems that somewhere between 1863 and today the people of the area decided that Bristow looked better than the original spelling. This sort of thing happens around here occasionally. Another good example is Elys Road, west of Fredericksburg, which suddenly turns into Eleys Road. Very mysterious.
I hadn’t been to this small battlefield in over a year and I was curious to see what improvements had been made. The field is preserved by the developer of a new neighborhood of homes as part of the arrangement for allowing the housing builds. The park office is a former farm house and the park is modestly appointed with a few historical markers and some trails. I set off on the loop, knowing the asphalt would soon give way to crushed gravel.
Happily, the gravel was reasonably forgiving. If I had fatter tires and flat pedals, it would have been a breeze. Lacking both of those items, I needed to be a little cautious of softer portions of the trail and the occasional washout. On the whole, it wasn’t too bad.
After wandering about the park for 15 minutes, it was time to set off again. It was quite hot at this time with my Garmin reading 99 degrees. My next stop was the nearby train station to see the commuters heading home after a day in which they were not furloughed by the government. Most people are taking Fridays off. I get Mondays.
I have seen the train station on sleepy weekend mornings but have never seen it in operation. As expected, the large parking lot which has been empty on my previous trips was packed with cars. I pulled up to the station and was disappointed by the lack of activity. I had hoped to see bustling commuters, but settled for this pic instead.
As I was setting off for home, I spotted a train in the distance. I waited patiently and was treated to a scene I did not expect. As the commuters disembarked the train, dozens of them began… sprinting!
While smiling broadly at the absurdity of the scene, I pondered why these people were behaving this way. My best guess is that there is only one way out of the parking lot and there must be a bit of a wait to leave it. Many people cannot bear the thought of a four or five minute wait and thus run at a flat-out sprint in 99 degree heat while wearing business clothes in order to avoid such a horror. Fascinating. If people will do this just to shave a few minutes off their commute, its no wonder why they hurl insults at cyclists who have the gall to ride in the road.
At this point, I really needed to start heading home. My pace was terrible due to my detours at the battlefield and the train station. It was stifling hot and my water bottles were getting low. I would need to conserve fluid on the way back. It was shortly after this point that I began to suspect my insoles were not completely satisfactory. About ten miles later, I was certain they weren’t doing the job. With pain shooting up through my right foot, I pulled over for a few minutes rest. Its surprising (to me, at least) how quickly the symptoms go away with just a little break. I was able to make the last seven miles with little issue, but I am now officially concerned about my upcoming century.
This was my first seriously hot ride of the summer and it took a lot out of me. I sat in the cool of the house for over an hour, drinking cold water until I began to feel normal again. Here’s hoping the heat wave breaks soon.