I would like to thank the good people at the Montclair Bikery for restoring my manhood. I purchased a Madone 2 years ago. I wasn’t quite familiar with compact cranks, but they came with the bike and I was happy to have my first carbon pony. It was faster than my late 80’s aluminum Cannondale that had seen messenger tours in both San Francisco and Washington DC.
For awhile it was love at first sight. Climb up practically anything versatility and did rollers well. My top speed had plummeted though. I switched out my rear cassette to an 11-25. I figured that, that was cheaper alternative to getting a whole new crankset. It did help. Spinning up to a decent pace on the flats was still a challenge. Along with following the lead riders wheel, I would look at their cassettes and see that he still hadn’t officially “dropped the hammer”, but would shoot me out the back if he raised the pace even by a hair. That’s not very comforting.
During rest stops I would check out other peoples cranksets, usually on the sneak. Didn’t want to make anybody any more uncomfortable than they already were in their tight shoes and lycra. What I had between my legs was inferior to theirs. Size does matter. Now, I was too heavy too climb efficiently and too underpowered to really hold pace on the flats without blowing up. A weird middle spot. The compact turned out to represent the best in mediocrity for roads that led up and the ones that lay flat.
I decided that if I needed a standard crank again. Javier (I believe) installed my crank the other day. The difference is only 3 teeth but it visually looks like a plate compared to the saucer. Now I can hold my head up high again, for as long as is aerodynamically feasible.