When I signed up for the Roubaix Challenge last year I spent a lot of time lamenting (as I usually do) about what kit to ride.
Clothing was an Assos affair with Gore gloves, DeFeet socks and Craft base layer thrown into the mix. I rode my Opera, which was always a gamble, and one that didn’t pay off in the end. The bike ended up being just too stiff, although the relaxed angles provided a stable ride over the medium size pavé. It wasn’t until Carrefour de l’Arbre that the bikes true stiffness shone through. Thankfully that was the last section.
So what to choose to wear on my feet. Having done some hill walking in my time I had the theory of boot fitting in my head. So I chose the best fitting shoe I had which would allow the foot the minimum amount of movement, especially over the stones. At the time this top notch honour belonged to the Lake CX401 (although that has since been surpassed). The tough decision came in that these happen to be my stiffest shoes, and by a long way. It was a conundrum.
I previously have used my Northwave’s on the Flanders route with no issues in the comfort department. After some more pondering I decided to go for it, and I packed the Lake’s. One of the added benefits of my CX401 is that as they are Speedplay specific they drop the saddle height a little, by around 2.5mm. It helps, even that small amount. Drop your saddle by that amount and see what I mean if you’re in doubt.
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What was surprising is that over the whole distance not once did my feet hurt. Yes the shoe delivered, and allowed no power to be lost, which when grinding over the pavé was a welcome thing in need. It was in many ways ultimate proof of what I’ve championed for years, fit is king, and everything else is a plus point.