11 Aug 2014

11th August 2014

Monday 11th 64F, 8C, gales, rather cloudy. Forecast for stronger gusts with showers and rain later. A "dissipated" hurricane Bertha is dragging her flailing skirts across western Europe. I've been watching the trees sway to fierce gusts  and the torrential cloudbursts all morning. Deciding whether I really want to go out on my trike in this wind. Eeeny-meany-miny-no?

No it was. Though I didn't waste the entire day. I spent a couple of hours playing with the gear adjustments with the trike up on the stand. Repeatedly videoing the chain hopping more, or sometimes much less crisply, across the cassette. I only wanted a visual record because I can study the gear changes at leisure without having to remember the fine details. Tomorrow's forecast is wet!

Tuesday 12th 54F, 12C, heavy overcast, windy, raining. Today's forecast is still wet. Very wet! I have been researching what little information there is on the Campag triple front changers. It required the circuitous route of checking Campag triple chainwheel and sprocket counts. These vaguely suggest that the Athena triple front changer may offer the potential to match the even steps between my Stronglight chainrings. While the Ultegra triple changer grinds the middle chainring when set at the correct specified height on the seat tube.

Lifting the Ultegra to allow enough clearance to avoid rapid and total middle-ring tooth destruction causes slow changes and chain overthrow at the slightest Shimanoic whim or tantrum. So I spend all my time on the 38T middle ring. Which is very silly given my quite deliberate choice [and expense] in actually buying a triple chainset and all the associated [and completely unusable] junk components to go with it.

Campagnolo's own website is basically crap. When it doesn't actually crash my computer [sic] it ignores my country/language selections in both Chrome and Firefox. So it remains in default Italian and refuses to give me the technical specs for triple changers in any language. Perhaps the website was developed purely for well heeled, but immature Italian, IT managers and all round abusers of IE in Windows 8.99995? Politeness forbids the mention of the Mafia in such hard times.

The Campag website is all Photoshopped pictures of perfectly presented components. Plus the elaborate bragging, with over-sized colour images, of [rare] and recent winners using their hideously expensive, electronic, Super [Pooper] Record kit. Which the billionaire's pro teams can easily afford, receive massive discounts for, or get free kit to keep the online promotional wheels rolling. No doubt the pros enjoy the latest mechanical and software updates to boot. Which won't filter down to the weekend warrior tribal members for at least a couple of years. Those seasonal product updates demand endless kiddy steps to keep the propaganda funds flowing like some Mexican cartel's.

You'll never hear any public criticism of the kit from the pros. Nor even from the advertising supported, online, cycling 'magazine' hacks. Not even if it leaves the TDF Yellow Jersey stuck in top gear half way up the Galibier. There will be a lightning bike change, they will thank their team members [gushingly] for their magnanimously, unselfish support in getting The Beloved Leader back into the Peloton. Yet nobody ever asks the most obvious questions! Why did several thousands of dead squid give their lives willingly for something which breaks?

Meanwhile the knee-jerk, fully paid-up, product loyalty fans continue to ignore the ever-increasing number of teeth marks in their tattered bank card. As they queue right around the block for the [supposedly] latest and greatest iteration of obscenely over-priced, cycling accessory bling. Exactly and [supposedly] used by their cycling superheroes, in anger, on the great Tours.

I'm just waiting for real gold plating on the chainset and gear adjustment screws. Campag already adds gold lettering to their cable outers. Which seems an awful waste when most of today's eggshell-fragile, carbon frames hide most of the cables. Still, subtlety is important and we all know the lettering is in there somewhere. Only now it's in "stealth" mode. Surely to become the next "in" term in cycling. What with hidden and totally inaccessible brakes n'cables'nall. Campag probably has even more registered and utterly meaningless, techno-names than iRottenaPPle! Those who can: Innovate. Those who can't: Make up hype and then sue anybody who dares to use the previously common term. See me: See my [patented] "rounded corners," Pal! <sigh>

Is it ever going to stop raining?  Whoops, the sun has come out! Better start checking for Campag bling at the end of the rainbow!

Despite my bemused ranting, or perhaps because of it, the weather gods smiled upon me today. Well, at least the rain gods did. There I was dressed in my best GripGrab rubber wellies, TA cap ensconced within my helmet and complete with newly fitted front mudguard, when the rain went off just at the end of the drive. Returning 21 miles later the rain started again, as if on cue, just as I entered the drive again. Surely no coincidence?

Meanwhile the wind gods were doing their best to make me stay at home but failed miserably. I too can reach the drops for several miles at a stretch if it's a real emergency. Never let them tell you that evaporative cooling only affects scantily clad, lady physicists with PHDs in climate modelling. 60F, with cyclist be-mitted hands, still damp from rain, will quickly dump you into the pain threshold. Particularly in a headwind gale. Then see if your eyes don't water on the descents!


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