Gears and gear

Despite being at this game since 1995, I still can’t help but want to tweak with gear in the hope that there might be some ‘holy grail’ of equipment / setup that I’ve missed out on.

I’ve gleaned lots of valuable knowledge in the numerous events I’ve ridden – like anyone who does the race a few times. The early ones were more experimental and gradually you work your way into knowing what works for you. The problem this year is that I seemed to have forgotten that and started reinventing my particular three peaks wheel.

Shimano gearsThis time, it was the gears. I’ve acquired a Mountain bike this year after a gap from MTBs for a few years. It goes well and I love the setup. So being a three peaks junkie I inevitably started to ask myself if there was anything I could learn from this year’s MTB riding. Mistake number 1… I’ll explain why:

Having decided that – being in the lucky position of having three cross bikes – I was going to radically adapt my ‘Ingleborough and Penyghent’ bike. Given how hard the Penyghent climb is after a good dowsing in Ingleborough and Whernside, I seem to struggle on gearing, not being able to turn over the rather small 34-27 bottom gear I’ve used there for the last two editions of the race. So the ‘logic’ is to build up a bike with an easier gear. Given that I’m on 10 speed – and hence limited to 27 on the back – my only real option was to look at a smaller front chainring. Out comes the MTB triple chainset. I was starting to get quite chuffed about my choice of gears… it made sense… on paper. 28-27 would really help in those dire moments on Penyghent… wouldn’t it?

Well… no, actually. You see, I’ve been here before. If there was a medal for riding as much of the course as possible, maybe I’d look into gears as the solution, but yesterday on a long, hard, off road day out, experimenting with my new luxurious gear, it came back to me very quickly. Having a smaller gear just makes you travel slower. The three peaks is a race. Damn. I recalled Penyghent last year, and also recalled a battle with Philip Hinchliffe who eventually finished one place ahead of me. We hit the start of Penyghent together and I was envious of his triple chainset – but by the summit – despite his riding where I could only walk – we crested within 20 seconds of each other. That’s just it really – his more ride-able gear took him up the hill no faster than my walk / jog / push / carry approach.

That’s the hardest bit about coming to terms with this equipment experimentation – I know in my heart of hearts that the training is what’s required. That requires time – not money or technical know-how. Hey ho. The bike now has it’s standard gear on and it’s back to the training. Until the next bright idea.

Comments

comments

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close