Showing posts with label Alivio. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alivio. Show all posts

03 January 2012

Going Low and Lance

Well hopefully I can write this post in some semblance of coherent thought. I have a few pieces that I'll try to bring to one swift conclusion but I make absolutely no guarantees.

Lancelot was capo of the Tour De France for a few years, we all know that. Everyone has some favorite memory of him before the shine began to fade. Mine was the amazement at watching him climb. He was bigger than everybody but there he was up there with those itty bitty Italians. His ability fascinated me. Then the secret was revealed to us by Johan and Bill, Lance carried a much higher cadence to get up the same mountains the little guys were hammering up. I have never, nor do I ever believe that I, at 6'3" and over 200 lbs, will ever "fly" up the climbs ANYWHERE. So I have taken to heart and tried my best to run higher cadences than someone of my stature. Not in homage to Lance but because I totally understand what Johan and Bill were saying.

As the years of cycling have progressed I met two wonderful dudes who introduced me to my cycling passion, Vitamin G (aka gravel). My first few years were spent dabbling, riding, and paring it all down. Gaining the knowledge to know what to expect and and what gear I need to be bringing. This year I quit listening to some of my other cyclocross racing friends and focused instead on ME. Glorious great me and trying to achieve that first bit of the sentence. So I got a lighter bike, I put on fat tires, I flipped my stem over, raised the handlebar angle, and put on a carbon fibre seatpost. My initial 20 to 25 mile forays have all been great, grand and glorious.

It wasn't until Sunday that something I've been ignoring popped into my head. To set the scene, WC and I went out for a nice leisurely 40 mile graveller on Sunday. The wind was brutal and we had 7 miles straight into that hellish wind. I did what I usually do, just shift into the lowest gear and really act pro. Do you know what the pros do when they aren't on TV? They sit on their saddles eating, drinking, and talking. Fueling up for the racing to come and the TV cameras on. Did you know that too is part of looking pro? So there I sat eating, drinking, watching WC ahead of me and thinking. Thinking that boy, every time I go up one of these damn hills (into the wind) it just really fucking sucks.

Then it dawned on me, one last piece of advice my cyclocross buddies had instilled in me that was totally NOT what I was all about. My cogset. These guys run around on 12-27's trying to rip each other's legs off. I knew of course that I had a 12-27 and wasn't ripping anyone's legs off. My goal is much more realistic and is based upon my average speed. I want to maintain a 14.5 mph average over the course of the entire ride. This arbitrary number was the winning average for the Dirty Kanza this year. This average has proved almost impossible to attain, given the hills that lurk off to the west of Wichita. That is when Lance's cadence thing came back into my head. I am going lower gearing and for this I have two good reasons.

Reason 1: Lower gears mean higher cadence potential meaning #3 gets up hills more efficiently, hopefully faster. This is in turn means he can go even longer. Yes you are all screwed, I've found a way to potential increase my inate ability to ride forever. Reason 2: There isn't really a penalty here. Ridding myself of some higher gear potential merely means I will have access to that almost unused big ring that I have on my chain set. I ordered both a SRAM 1050 12-32 cogset and an Alivio 9 speed derailleur this morning. I will keep everyone posted as this is a VERY long gear test for sure.