Big Chainwheel?

Until today I wanted to get a bigger chainwheel for the racing bike to be able to go faster on the descents. Having just read about the death of Belgian Wouter Weylandt in the Italian Giro due to a high speed fall on a descent – I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to go any faster now. Last year even in the amateur races that I enter some guys were reaching over 100kph on the descents and of course – in one particular race there was also a death when someone lost control and went over a cliff. I’ll content myself with a top speed of 70+ kph and leave it at that. I guess those polystyrene helmets aren’t all that good after all – surprise, surprise!
On the bright side David Millar is wearing the pink Jersey of the leader of the Giro having finished second in today’s stage in a breakaway – that must be an absolute first for Scotland! Millar was my mother’s maiden name – but he’s not a relative – being born in Malta I believe.
Today I was very pleased to have a really low bottom gear anyway as I ended up climbing on single lane steep forest roads which became rather steep at altitude. The granny gear was much appreciated – 34/28T.
I climbed up from Laundry through Montchavin and the road was steep, wide long and empty – just great! The sun was blazing like mid summer again and it was great to be blinded by sweat for the first time this year. The aim was to try to find a route from Montchavin right through to La Plagne and it seemed to be going really well until at 1850m altitude the tarmac stopped and only a mountain bike would manage the rest. It couldn’t have been far at all from La Plagne but I had to back track. The workout had been excellent though. I see on Google Earth there seems to be a road that cuts across a bit lower down so next time I’ll look for that one. Still, a workout of 2hrs 37mins was long enough anyway. Yesterday’s running had me a little bit concerned about whether or not it would affect the quality of the cycling workout but it seemed to only have a minimal effect and I could really work hard on the climbing. The bum is also getting used to the new cycling shorts as they didn’t hurt this time. I reckon I’ll use them for shorter workouts (the saddle is really hard!) so that I can save the more padded ones for very long rides but with the bum bones getting the conditioning ffom the harder setup in advance. I don’t want a repeat of last year’s Marmotte race where my bum was shredded due to lack of appropriate conditioning and cushioning.

It’s early May and I’ve managed over 1000km already with every session involving some climbing. Two season’s ago when I started racing in August I’d only covered a total of 800km by the end of the season! It’s been a steep learning curve and my only regret is that it should have happened 35 years ago!

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