Monday, 17 June 2013

Bike choice

I've been debating (in my head) which bike to use for the 3-peaks challenge, the cycling part of which comprises 500 miles in 4 days. When I did LEJOG in 2010 I used my Specialized Tricross and had no problems although I had some suspicions that the slightly too long cranks (who thought 2.5mm could make a difference???) contributed to knee pain. It's a comfortable bike with a fairly short reach that minimises neck and upper back pain over long distances. It also has the widest range of gears in my bike stable and so I was planning to use it for this tour.

However, on yesterday's long ride it became clear that the bottom bracket was on it's last legs. No serious play in the bearings but noisy and clunking like buggery. As a last resort to eliminate other factors I removed cranks and pedals, cleaned and greased everything and put it all back together today. Result: no change. The BB did feel rough when turning on its own and so I wasn't surprised. It might have lasted the trip but the noise would have driven me absolutely nuts even if it hadn't given up the ghost. No chance of getting a BB replaced before leaving for Wales tomorrow so it was clear that it wouldn't be coming with me!

So, step up to the plate, my Vernon Barker Audax :-)

I've actually been doing most of my recent riding on this bike anyway and I really do love it. It's probably the best quality bike that I own.  It has a compact double and so the gearing isn't quite as low as the Tricross but I don't anticipate any problems there. The only minor issue with it is that the riding position is a tiny bit stretched out and I can get some pain between my shoulder blades on really long rides as a result. No time to mess about changing the stem though. I'll be fine. It's (relatively) light and fast and will serve me well on the ride. I'm looking forward to it carrying me along.

A hilly 100

With the 3-peaks cycle challenge just one week away this was going to be the last serious training ride.  I only decided on a route taking in Holme Moss, Snake Pass and Fox House at about 8.45am while being slightly hungover and didn't get going til about 9.45am.

After an easy ride in to Sheffield the road started rising and falling through Worral, Bradfield and Midhopestones. Decided to stop for a tea break at Langsett (doesn't every cyclist in this part of the world?) and then on wards to Holmfirth and the classic climb of Holme Moss.  I didn't find it too strenuous thanks to the triple chainset and a lowest gear of 30x30. I was able to just spin up without any too much difficulty although my lower back was getting sore by the top.

A fast descent down to the Woodhead Pass and through to Glossop before another classic climb up Snake Pass. Again, not too bad apart from the lower back pain and motorcyclists passing far too close. More speed down to Ladybower, Bamford and Hathersage before the easier climb over Fox House. My legs were getting tired by this point and I needed much lower gears than usual on the short climbs between Sheffield and Worksop.

A good ride and now an easy week ahead before the start next Saturday.