The last few times I made an equipment upgrade, I have usually set a new record on one of my training courses. So lately, when I improved my shoes, cleats, and pedals, I was pretty disappointed to have the course record tick by on the next few rides. March came in like a lion, and the lion stayed around, so I chalked it up to the breeze. But I had my doubts about this excuse.
Also, about this time Velo News released its story about chain lubes. I do not find it online, only talk about it. The upshot is that in scientific testing some famous lubes didn’t do well at all, and parafin wax turned out to be the very best thing ever. Now, viscerally, we know that the right lube might make you cycling easier, but it seemed a lot like splitting hairs to me. The fact that it was supposed to save me 6 watts to have the right lube similarly did not register, as I do not have a power meter and have no knowledge of the practice at all. But when they said that the right lube is the difference between a good tire and a training tire, I recalled the time my wife got me some decent tire for Christmas, and when I put them on, I set a new course record in a headwind.
And wouldn’t you know it, the lube I happen to use (Epic Ride White Lightening, I believe) just happens to be the very worst thing in the commonly used lube market. I just picked mine up at REI one day… who knew? Then I got to thinking that I did hear a bit of racket on my last ride or two– and not through neglect. I had been applying the lube and removing the excess religiously of late.
Soooooo, on the next ride, I grabbed something, anything other than the Epic Ride to apply to my chain. I found some Tri-Flow spray and applied that, fairly liberally, removing the excess per normal. I came home with a new course record, and a new average speed record for a solo ride. Later I found that the Tri-Flow spray is only marginally better than the Epic Ride.
As I mentioned, the big surprise was that plain old parafin, not a packaged bike lube, turned out to be the best by far. Much was made of how problematic it is to implement, but it doesn’t look that tough to me. I am going to give it whirl. I’ll be sure to tell you how it turns out.