Monday, June 1, 2009

Gone in 60 Seconds

I was trying to beat the sunset home from a cool climbing ride up in the Eldorado Hills last night. Coming back over the Cash Bridge and down the ARPT, I ran into a short section of twisty and buckled parkway trail. Unfortunately, a split second before I could put my hand over them, my sunglasses fell off their precarious perch resting atop my aerobars, and I ran over them with the back wheel!

The sun was low enough I needed all the light I could get, and decided to rest them on the aerobars after discovering they stayed put there nicely while climbing and sweating too much to wear. Unfortunately, at higher speeds and with poor surface, they just didn't hang on quite well enough. They do hang onto my head well, as the thick rubber-coated wire core stalks can be bent radically to stick like glue.

I bought these about a year ago at REI, and they had an excellent selection. I have eye sockets that are hard to fit, so tried on a lot of glasses that day. These were almost air-tight against my face and were rimless across the top where a rim would not allow me to look over the tops of the glasses in low light. A good face seal is critical to prevent tearing at high speeds. Short of goggles, these are about as good as it gets. The sticky nose-bridge rubber mount compensates for the tight seal by allowing you to wear them pushed down on your nose.

I wear these most of the time slid down on my nose, looking over the top, because they can be a bit warm otherwise, but without anything to block my view this works very well. I just got tired of pushing them up and down for gnats last night, so I got lazy and paid the price. It is usually possible to wrinkle your nose and push them up nearly all the way without the use of your hands. I need this because of the high-speed descents I often do.

As you can see from the photos, these Tifosi glasses took quite a beating, were bent almost in half judging from the stretch marks across the horizontal plane, heavily gouged near the logo, and had the left stalk ripped off. I was disgusted enough that after going back for the glasses I didn't pick up the left stalk, but upon closer inspection, I see I could have reattached it if I had those tools with me. As is often the case near dark, the gnats were ferocious, so I would have liked to have had the use of them. In more hazardous road conditions this could save you from a serious eye injury.

I see they are now available in Extreme Contrast Grey, so I think I will try a new, lighter color this time. These (T-V420) are high-speed red, and darken in bright light, but looking down at the road, too much light isn't really a problem for me. The EC lenses are made in Italy and IMHO are every bit as good as my Serengeti Nuvola at 3X the price. I feel like I've lost an old friend, so will replace these quickly. Live and learn.

UPDATE: I received an email from Tifosi in response to a query regarding the above T-V435 lens characteristics, as their website was unclear about this. To quote "the lens on the T-V435 does have an EC Fototec lens with light transmission of 56-17%". That should be about perfect!

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