Neck pain came become so intense that it takes you off the bike. That happened to one NC rider in 2007. On the latest PBP, Ian saved the ride for Ivan, a rider from eastern Europe who was apparently suffering from Shermer's neck. We met Ivan along the way when we stopped to take this picture...
Ivan came riding up in obvious pain. He was suffering miserably, and his finish was in doubt. Ian to the rescue. He took a bungee cord off his rear rack and attached it to Ivan's helmet and jersey to hold his head upright. Here's a picture of Ivan riding off into the sunset. Note the green bungee.... I'm happy to report that we saw Ivan at the finish.
I vowed to solve my own neck issues before heading to Paris and knock on wood I may have done so. Here's what I did:
* New stem. For two years, I've been riding with a 110 mm stem with a fairly shallow rise. I came to the conclusion that it put me too far forward and down on the bike. Not a big deal on the shorter brevets, but for the longer rides, my neck strained, leading to mile upon mile of pain.
adjustable Forte stem and set it at a 20 degree angle. The net result was to put me in a more upright position and shift my weight back on the bike and off my hands. Voila -- I had probably 30 minutes of neck pain on Day 2 of PBP. Hopefully, I've found the cure. As to the stem itself, I'd advise shopping around for another brand. While the Forte one was adequate, the four attaching bolts have a smaller diameter than those used by other makers, and I could not get rid of a creaking noise when climbing.
Bontrager Crochet Gloves at a local bike store. One online marketer takes a couple pokes at their look. Check this out:
Remember these? Yep, these Bontrager Crochet Gloves are just like the old-school ones you used to wear. Hand knotted cotton tops, genuine leather palms with light padding, even the absorbent thumbs, every detail, just like they were. Grab your old clunker, pull on a wool jersey and slip these on, retro never looked so good. (Also compatible with carbon fiber.)Well, haha la de da. But you know what? Those gloves had padding in all the right places -- and at about double the thickness of similar gloves I've used. I brought two pairs to Paris. At $15 a pair, they're hard to beat for long-distance comfort.