Join Date: Mar 2005
Bikes: Dolan Forza; IRO Jamie Roy; Giant TCR Comp 1; Specialized Tri-Cross Sport; '91 Cannondale tandem; Fuji Tahoe MTB
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I wear soft lenses (Acuvue these days), the daily wear kind that you chuck after one month. I echo the comments about wearing some kind of cheap, plastic glasses when riding to keep crap out of your eyes, even for those folks who are blessed with 20/20. My glasses for sight, though, are quite bulky and heavy and they're not good for riding. I try not to go there when ever possible.
On multi-day rides, I've done a few things. On the Last Chance 1200, I got myself hooked up with some daily wear disposables that I just threw out at the end of each day. My eye doc was cool in getting me samples when I told her what I was going to be doing. That worked reasonably well, but (at least in 2005), those lenses didn't correct for astigmatism, so my night vision especially was pretty compromised. Not a big deal in the middle of Kansas at 3am, but not an ideal solution.
On PBP this past year, I started with an old pair of my regular lenses that I wore for the first day (about the 500K point) and then threw them out and put in a new pair which I kept in for the remainder of the ride. So I got the benefit of the astigmatism correction, and I only had the lenses in for the second two "nights" (Loudeac in-bound and Mortagne). Since I started at 0500 with the 84-hour group, this wasn't a big deal. Yeah, keeping the lenses in for two nights meant for a bacteria festival on my eyeballs, I'm sure, but I figured it was preferable to sticking my hands in my eyes twice more to take them out to soak while I slept. PBP was wet and the roads were covered with chicken and pig poop (good fertilizer!), so I figured I was better off by not touching my face any more than necessary. And this coming from a guy who showered during both visits to Loudeac..... PBP was a pretty filthy ride.
For 600Ks, 24-hour races, fleches, etc.... It's just one night (or part of one night), so I never worry about it. Keep 'em in. Carry some solution with you so you can hydrate them frequently to help keep things from getting scratchy and dry. I've had some luxurious 600Ks that have involved 3-4 hours of hotel sleep following a shower, so for those I always pull 'em out and soak them. Good as new the next day. But one day/night/partial day cycle of wear isn't going to hurt much, and it's preferable to glasses which are a major pain in the butt.
Of course, if you go with contacts, bring spares and your glasses on the bike if you'd be rendered sightless without them. Sightlessness would be a crappy way to DNF a ride.
And yeah, for long flights, dump the contacts and wear your glasses. No one cares how much of a geek you look like and your eyes will thank you for it big-time for the next few days.