Some questions from a new (road) cyclist...
I've recently caught the road cycling bug since picking up a road bike back in November. I've been riding MTBs for years (downhill and x-country), albeit with a 12+ year gap since I left university. I got myself a new MTB a couple of years ago which was great, I found myself doing a 35 mile commute with knobbly tyres which was a lot of work - it didn't take long for me to move onto slicks and then fall to the dark side completely by buying a road bike.
A change of job has meant that I can't commute on the bike anymore (80 miles a day through London isn't practical for me), but I find myself riding more and more on the weekends. I've been increasing distances from a quick 30 mile loop of Box Hill a couple of months ago to 60-80 mile rides more recently, with a couple of Sportives thrown in for good measure.
I've a couple of questions if I may:
1) Lower back and Trapesius pain. I'm not sure if this is just a "ride more" thing or my bike adjustment; essentially once I go over 3-4 hours on the bike I start to get very sore shoulders (trapesius specifically) and lesser soreness in the lower back. It disappears immediately once I finish, but can feel quite debilitating after 5-6 hours. The lower back has been a little better since I've been focusing more on core and back exercises in the gym, but the shoulder pain isn't really getting much better with additional gym training. I'm rather loathe to drop £200+ on a professional bike fitting at my LBS without any guarantee that it will fix things - though it could be an option. My bike is a 2013 Cube Agree GTC, it says "race geometry" on it, but none of the reviews I saw mentioned anything particular about aggressive geometry or anything like that (though there were some mentions of the reviewer finding the Easton EA30 bars uncomfortable). Is this just a more-miles thing that will get better over time, or is this something I should play around with tweaking the configuration of the bike over? Does anyone have any thoughts over professional bike fitting versus trial and error along with internet research?
2) Braking. Road bike brakes really aren't great are they?? As someone who is used to hydraulic disk brakes, I'm finding the poor braking performance quick disconcerting. I already upgraded the base Tiagra pads to some after-market Koolstop ones (salmon-black), which improved things a bit in the dry, but made no difference in the wet. I did the Wiggle Up and Downs Sportive last weekend and it was very wet, I was quite horrified at how bad my brakes were coming down some of the descents. Is this just the way it is without disk brakes? Would upgrading the calipers make an appreciable difference? Sanding the rims slightly (do people do that anymore, I used to 20 years ago..).
Cheers for any help,