All entries for Tuesday 29 September 2009
September 29, 2009
[ I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, immediately after the ride, but obviously forgot to post it. Oops! ]
I wasn’t originally planing to do the Macride this year, but I’m helping a friend build up his cycling distance in preparation for something exciting next year and the Macride was the right sort of challenge for him before winding down a little for the winter. And I had to keep him company, of course. I was also looking forward to doing the ride in the dry, unlike last year.
This year’s route was pretty much the same as last year’s, but without one or two diversions around the flooded bits. And as last year, it included Bakers Hill – the one hill that made me stop and walk for a bit. I was not looking forward to that!
Everything went pretty smoothly, it turns out. We made good time as far as the hill. As last year, I got about half way up Bakers Hill and had to stop and walk for a bit. We then had a 10 minute rest and re-fuel at the top before carrying on. After that I was nursing slightly achy knees and so slowed down a little, and as we were still in the Cotswolds then the roads were quite undulating still, which didn’t help the poor knees either. Finally, for the last 10 miles or so there was an irritatingly strong wind, always a headwind of course, just to make it a bit harder. Still, we made 4 hours 40 minutes for the 66 miles (note Macride organisers, not 63 miles:-) which is just over 14mph.
I don’t think I could have gone much faster. This isn’t a fast route – the Costwolds is a bit too lumpy for that. The roads around here are much flatter and I can average 16mph over that sort of distance, but not down in the Cotswolds. I said this last year and never did anything about it, but I could do with working on my hill climbing a bit. I suspect my knees might just stop me from getting any faster as I just can’t pedal much harder, but maybe I could work on my technique a bit and that would help. Maybe for next year?
Or more precisely it is a 27-speed with only 3 reliable ones. My rear gear cable has started to go just at the shifter end, meaning the inner cable doesn’t move freely inside the outer. I have persuaded it to stay in the fourth gear of nine at the back and I’m leaving it there for now, giving me just the three gears I get from the triple chainring at the front. That makes riding interesting, but it has also been educational.
My commute in in the morning is overall downhill and so quite quick. Not good without lots of gears. This morning I managed to get it up to 28mph, but only by pedalling at 149rpm!! Interestingly, over the course of only a couple of miles I got much better at that. To start with 135rpm was feeling fast, but I ended up feeling not too bad at 149rpm. I’ve got to go for 150 tomorrow morning!
Going home, I thought, would be more of a challenge. Obviously it is overall uphill, and with my knees I usually end up on the smallest chainring and a nice low gear on the steeper bits. Can’t do that at the moment so I thought I might end up killing my knees. Apparently not. I didn’t even use the small chainring last night. I guess having all these gears has made me lazy. Without them I just had to get on with it, and I had no problems at all.
This hasn’t persuaded me to go out and buy a singlespeed, but I can certainly see how it might improve my riding. I will definitely have to stop being so lazy, and avoid the low gears a bit more often.
I am looking forward to getting all my gears back, though. Replacement cables on order…