New poles, new power

10 Jul

Bought new carbon rollerski poles. These will replace my faithful aluminium ones. Carbon are lighter and stiffer, but also more fragile.
Aluminium were a good choice in the beginning when I crashed more frequently. I won’t say I never fall anymore. That theory is wholly disproved by the recent Spain incident. But now it usually only happens when I take risks or (bane of my existense) fail to spot a particularly nasty piece of gravel.
So while I think I’m ready for carbon I’ll keep my alu poles as backup. Once seeing a colleague break his carbon poles five minutes into a his first ski with them on tarmac only confirms that this is a good idea.
I try to avoid being sucked into Norwegian gear fetishism. People here buy more sports equipment per capita than anyone in any other country. I don’t believe that the latest or most technologically advanced gear is necessarily significantly better than than the high middle range equipment I usually buy.
Still, I nonetheless like my carbon snow poles. They are light and seem to transfer power well. Carbon is now standard for cross country poles and not any special luxury.
But I really did not expect particularly improved performance with the new rollerski poles. One helping factor is that they come with a harness for the hands instead of a simple strap loop. It was nevertheless good I previously avoided anything that tightly attached me to my poles because I had the habit of planting them in drainage grates. Were my hand strapped into the pole, that would have meant at best a broken pole and at worst a dislocated shoulder.
Another benefit of the new poles is that with their lighter weight they produce less shock when their tips hit the pavement. That should be good for avoiding tendonitis.
But the biggest and most surprising plus was that I went significantly faster without greater effort. I had only planned a quick trip around the neighbourhood but ended up going up Grefsenkollen. Even though I didn’t push my pace very hard, I logged my lowest minutes per kilometer time ever on that route. I would not have believed it if I didn’t see it on Runkeeper. So I guess in some cases gear can make a big difference.

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