Friday, February 10, 2012

Doctor My Eyes (with apologies to Jackson Browne)

For more than 45 years, I’ve been plying the highways and back country trails on an assemblage of bicycles. I first got the bug during my sophomore year while studying abroad in England. Specificity of exercise is a principle that says that training is specific to the activity. So, working on your tennis backswing isn’t going to do much for your mountain biking. However, cycling provides one of the best carry overs to skiing. And, the older I get, the more I see the need for well-rounded conditioning since I hope to ski until I'm 100, at least. 

During the winter months when a lot of people retreat indoors and hibernate, I and my compadre Dr. Carl Schneider meet daily at 5:30 and crank around our 12 mile loop that’s uphill both ways. Working out in the winter presents the challenge of keeping warm, but not to the point of heat stroke. I’ve spent a lot of time in the cold and wintered over at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in the Sierras. 

Windchill is a well understood phenomena. Let’s say that we could maintain a steady clip of 20 mph. Our feet are going about twice that fast. And the effect on the face causes me no small amount of eye watering. (In an upcoming BlogSpot, I’m going to talk about protecting your feet.)

Eye protection on a bike is hugely important; one of my most painful experiences is being stung on the eyelid by a wasp. I got stung once before on the lip which I thought was bad, but this sent me over the edge. In about the nanosecond that I saw it, it bounced off my face and ended up behind my glasses. Ouch! 

So, now I always wear protective lenses that wrap around my face. This is more complicated than a simple pair of sunglasses since I need a prescription to see where I’m going. Enter the Smith Optics Aegis eye protection system. You can’t put a wrap around prescription into a sunglass frame. But you can put the prescription behind the shield. Tearing is reduced to a minimum and I have interchangeable lenses for varying light conditions. 

What I like most about the Smith product is the ease with which you can swap out the lenses. Plus, the system comes with an adaptor that holds the prescription frame in place behind ski goggles. 

I know that there’s some guys like John Pennington and Steve Borski who have way more time in the saddle than I, but they have the fortune of 20/20 vision. So, if you require corrected vision and don’t want to let that get in the way of your outdoor athletic pursuits, consider the Smith Optics solution. I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad you did. 

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