21 Mar 2015

20th March 2015 Tricyklist 1 Colossal Squid 0

Friday 20th 37F, 3C, almost still, overcast.  It is supposed to stay dry, but cloudy, with the wind gusting to "only" 20mph. Tomorrow is forecast to be wet with 45mph winds so looks like a serious candidate for my next rest day. I'd better make the most of today!

Image showing the still excellent chain tension with small/small.[33 chainring/11 sprocket] I wonder why a mid-length cage is not offered for the Athena? The long cage offers 39t capacity for a triple set-up. While the short cage offers only 31t capacity for more typical racing and compact, 50/34, double chainsets. A mid-length cage could provide 35t capacity for more modest cassette and chainring choices. Sadly Campag are clearly terrified by anybody going "off piste" by mixing and matching their groupsets. 

Yet Campag is still losing major ground to their "Sramano" competitors after literally decades of completely monopolising cycle racing. Now even their 11 speed monopoly is smashed at a fraction of Campag prices. This opens up new gearing possibilities which the Campag marketing "dictatorship" cannot possibly match without a sea change at the top. Now it seems they have shot themselves in the foot with yet another raft of non-backwards-compatible changes for 2015. They obviously saw the competitor's 11 speed avalanche about to roll over them and simply opted out.

An early walk. I was taking a short-cut across a field by a handy spray track when a huge tractor dragging a colossal [pig-shit] squid rolled on behind me. Discretion being the better part of valour I glanced back to ensure I was in no immediate danger of being crushed by the "heavy traffic" and kept going. Fortunately the tractor made a sharp right turn and spread the squid's vast, filthy arms to embrace the wind.

Later I saw two hares of different colours and sizes sitting together out on a huge ploughed field. While a solitary Shelduck wandered forlornly around a short-lived field pond meditating on the meaning of life, the universe....

On the orders of the "Head Gardener" I was sent off after lunch to visit a plant nursery abut 15 miles away. My Northwave "summer" MTB shoes were enjoying their second airing of this year. They proved to be light, cool and more comfortable compared with my NW MTB winter boots. Though a nasty rattle at high pedal revs suggests that I may need new cleats! The chains of vicious potholes on the main road between Brændekilde and Ravnebjerg closely matched Putin's privately owned sink-holes in Siberia. I literally took my life in my hands every time I had to manoeuvre around them. What with illegally speeding traffic in both directions and no protective white line to cower behind there was little choice but to run over many of the holes.    

There was a cold headwind coming home, by another, much hillier route, but I used the aero bars at intervals to maintain a reasonable speed. I do seem to be getting slightly stronger. Is it all that pushing harder at lower revs to show off go faster on the tri-bars? Or are the longer cranks helping? Dunno, but I seem to be able to climb better than before and am seeing previously impossible speeds on the flat. I'll be glad when the false spring returns and I can get rid of the winter skiing tights. I hate the tension over the knees causing constant dragging of the thin polyester! I'm sure they lose me a good couple of mph.

The latest Shimergo gears [Campag Chorus Ergo 11sp levers with Athena 11sp changers on Shimano Ultegra 11sp chain and cassette] are excellent. Not a single failure to shift cleanly since I fitted the Athena Triple rear changer. No doubt it could still be further improved with a slightly shorter chain. Bringing the top pulley closer to the cassette should afford snappier changes. Even Campagnolo say so in their instructions. The chain tensioner screw is already at maximum so there is nothing to gain there. I just hope my shorter rear cable loop isn't affecting the changer angle. Replacing it with a longer loop would require a new inner.

 33/11 cross-chaining still runs silently without audible cage rub. The Ergo lever offer plenty of front changer trim positions if it should prove necessary.

I regularly use the small end of the cassette on the 33t chainwheel without any problems at all. This provides a nice wide range of close ratio gears from 6 mph bottom gear to a 25/26mph downhill/downwind top. I can always engage the 43t "overdrive" in the event of falling off a cliff with a following gale and pack of wolves in pursuit. I'm joking of course. When I glance down and realise, yet again, that I am running of of gears, I immediately shift to the large chainwheel. Only to find myself climbing again and running out of low gears. Decades of badly changing triples are poor training for using a double really efficiently. The chain now runs so quietly in all gears that there is literally no hint of needing a change up or down at the front.

The Athena Double front changer now gives me complete confidence when changing up. A remarkable improvement after years of struggling with chain overthrow on triple chainrings.

I found this image online while searching for the model name of my San Marco. An interesting alternative to solid saddle carcasses. Though it might be rather hard on the shorts material.

The Vetta saddle is still behaving itself. Though I'm still not quite ready for the twin "Titanox" prongs of the San Marco "Inquisition" saddle. 31 miles.

Saturday 21st 40-37F, 5-3C, very light winds to start but with a heavy overcast and raining. Forecast to gust to 17m/s or nearly 40 miles per hour this afternoon but with the rain petering out after lunch. Even a chance of sunny glimpses later. Will he brave the gales? Or is he wont not to? Still raining at 2, 2.30, 3.00, 3.30 4.00, 4.30 pm with cold, strong and noisy gusts from a very unlikely NW. The rain stopped not far short of 5pm after a few flurries of snow. No point in going out now and a rest day is supposed to be vital for recovery.

Sunday 22nd 28-40F, -2+4C, still, bright overcast. Winds gusting to only 20mph today. Having spent the entire rest day on my computer I have lots of aches to iron out with a walk. I just hope I don't run into another squid! Not today, but I only had a short, brisk walk of a couple of miles to loosen up.

After coffee I headed north with the San Marco in place and my best bibs on. Plus all my winter gear again. I enjoyed the long and undulating climb from Tommerup Station to Skallebølle at 18mph with a gentle tailwind. Lots of cyclists out training today. Coming back was completely different. A cold headwind under an overcast made me stop to put my cycling cardigan back on under the winter jacket.

The San Marco saddle was uncomfortable from 25-30 miles but settled down after that. Not that it could ever be called remotely comfortable except for being deliberately ignored for the first 20 miles. I had tipped the nose up slightly to simulate a more aggressive riding position and this seemed to help. My Dintex 'Heatpax' scooterist's gloves were literally wet inside by half way and increasingly cold after that. I rode on the aero bars quite a bit to shorten the time I was out! Try to acclimatise to the San Marco does not come under the heading of my most sensible ideas. It is strictly for short rides before it becomes a torture device! Since most of my normal rides are relatively short perhaps I should break myself in with those? Assuming such a trick is even possible. I have replaced it with the Vetta SL while I heal [again.] 50 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

No comments:

Post a Comment