I incorporated some new stuff into my cycling regimen today. First up was an inner tube repair kit called Skabs, courtesy of Slime Corporation. With six flats so far, I’ve grown tired of buying a new inner tube after each one. I gotta say, tube patching technology has definitely advanced since I last messed with it 20 years ago. Back then, glue was applied to the tube and it was necessary to hold the patch in place while the glue set. It was a messy experience and it usually didn’t work anyway. These patches have their own glue and they are applied like a band-aid. They went on in a snap! We’ll see how well they perform after my next flat – hopefully in the year 2015.
The next product is a tire liner, also made by the good people at Slime. If my rear tire continues to flat every 100 feet (it seems that often, anyway), this will be my next move. The material supposedly adds a layer of protection to the tire and helps prevent glass and other debris from working their way through the tire and into the tube. I’ve read some very positive reviews but a few negative ones as well, which claim the liner actually cut into the tube and caused a flat. I’ll therefore hold off until I become slightly more desperate.
My final new thing is an energy gel which my wife picked up for me at the bike shop getting my wheels replaced. It’s called Hammer Gel. This stuff has the consistency of syrup and is full of carbohydrates and amino acids to help replace those things during a ride. There is almost no sugar in it and it therefore has only 90 calories per packet. I tried one on my ride today and was shocked at how sweet it was! After my ride, I went online and learned the syrup can be distilled into your water bottle if you so desire. I believe it – in its concentrated form it was quite a shock! Beyond the sugary-sweetness, it was easy to open and ingest while riding and I think it will become a regular in my cycling menu.
Today’s ride was a simple 24 miler in fantastic weather. Keeping in the spirit of newness, I traveled down several side roads to check out the scenery. These roads always take me back to Rte 234 (which is why I have never traveled them before), but it was fun to see new stuff, like the church I came across on Chaddsford Terrace Road. It’s called Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Catholic Church – Byzantine Rite. Situated in the middle of rural Prince William County and almost across the street from a house proudly flying the Confederate Stars and Bars sits this church, which would look more at home in Serbia than in Virginia. The architecture is very unique, from the Orthodox steeple to the Crucifix at the entrance of the adjoining cemetery. Even the grave stones had an Old World charm to them. Very neat.