“I’d go with the 32. You’ll want a bailout gear on those long climbs,” Jason explained to me over the phone. I was calling from swampy Florida and needed some serious help on equipment recommendations for Ride the Rockies. I was pretty sure that my current setup would assure agony in the mountains. I was getting lots of advice from friends in Florida, but time to stop the games and go right to the source, so I called University Cycle in Boulder. Jason turned out to be exceptionally helpful.
After hanging up with Jason, I ended up spending more bucks than planned and cannibalizing from my other bikes to make the following mods:
- Bought a larger rear cassette with 32 teeth instead of 26
- Damn! My rear derailleur couldn’t handle the bigger cassette and had to buy new derailleur and chain
- Swapped aluminum wheels from my tri-bike to replace carbon wheels – I’m told carbon could suffer catastrophic failure due to overheating when braking on descents. Not sure I believe that, but why take a chance?
- Got a great deal on some GP4000 tires and also purchased new brake pads
I talked with my riding partner, Love Shack Dave, and he’s decided to stick with his current set up that includes a 28 tooth rear cassette. He’s a strong guy, so he will be good. All in all, our bikes should be ready.
But what about us? After some spotty training in May, we both decided to do some heavy miles this past weekend, and I think it worked out. I did a two-day, 200 mile charity ride along the shores of Lake Michigan with my physician, insurance guy, and pharmaceutical rep — Dr. Ron, Tony, and Neeraj. Fortunately, we had no mishaps, but we were all fully covered in case there were!
Dave planned to do a one-day 200 mile gravel bike race, the Dirty Kanza. Seems kind of extreme, and it was. But due to a family emergency, he was limited to doing a portion of the race to support his Love Shack teammate, Farmer Mike. They finished just after midnight, which is better than last year, when they finished near dead last at 2:40 a.m. in the morning! In all fairness, a two and a half hour beer and brats break was part of last year’s race!
OK, we’re packing up the bikes and some cooler weather gear, and we’ll see y’all in Alamosa on Saturday!