Could someone give me an idea if cycling shoes REALLY help on a ride? I just did the English Mountain Challenge Saturday in East Tennessee (109 miles/22% grades) in flip flops and thought I was going to break down (mentally). I was good to go up until mile 82. From mile 82 to 100 it was a long grade with some steep climbs that culminated in a 22% grade. My back tire was slipping on the pavement it was so steep. Would shoes really have made much of a difference? I've ridden several centuries in the past without the shoes but I thought I had fantasies (when I wasn't seeing black spots) of just lying on the ground and weeping. It was brutal.
Anyway, in all honesty, was it my total lack of training or would shoes really have made a difference?