If I were a cheesy parody singer and I wrote songs for cyclists I might have one titled “what a difference a chain makes.” because to a cyclist this could be kind of funny, if not 100% true. 1800 miles into the new bike and I had neglected to keep tabs on chain wear and stretch. While I cleaned it regularly and applied liberal amounts of white lightning the shifting between gears had started to lag and I could hear it stretch with each big pedal stroke.
Gotham bikes, who are a pretty smart group of fellows/chicks gave me a Dura Ace/XTR chain even though I said I had an Ultegra gruppo (one step down and less expensive). In the grand scheme of things it’s fine as the the chain is compatible and is a sexy silver (instead of the dull gray of the old one). It felt strong, gave good power conversion and shifting is now fast and reliable again. Note to self: replace chains every 1000 miles.
Today’s ride comes after a week off in Buffalo, NY with no riding and consumption of an awful lot of carbohydrates. As it often does, my body fought the idea of working out when it was shown the alternative: fat and muscle atrophy. I felt like a blob for the first three laps, then my cardio system finally woke up and we were back in business.
Had to be patient with both myself and other riders today; there was a lot of erratic chasing and slowing, but everything evened out in the end. One guy was really pulling some big gears and I was trying to hang on from a distance. When we reached the hill I started counting the gap at various intervals to see what we were really dealing with. 12 seconds at the base of the hill…9 seconds half way up (hmm, not gaining quick enough…), 12 seconds at the top… fine, we’ll let him go, this time…
Later on there was another large dude smothering a skinny guy with long hair on a yellow bike. He was right up against the guy’s wheel, not only taking advantage of his draft, but putting pressure on him to go faster, it seemed. After a few laps the skinny guy cracked and the large dude continued on — looking for his next victim (I didn’t see him alternate pulls once). I passed the yellow guy within a few moments and the larger dude before the hill.
By my last lap there was a group of about six of us that formed and were barreling up the hill at high speed. Since the group had just formed there was no clear leader and after we raced over the crest of the hill everyone fanned out to the sides of the road like I’ve seen small flocks of birds do. Not sure what everyone else was feeling (other than “go ahead and take it, dude”) but I thought it was kind of fun, and funny.