Monday, January 9, 2012

actually, yes, I do have an enormous crank

In case you live in DC and also in a cave, the weather was gorgeous here this weekend.  After a Saturday morning of GF pancakes (SO FLUFFY!) and dithering, I ended up doing a big pile of hills in Maryland with some friends.  I've spent lots of time on the trainer on my QR, and I've done a few short workouts at Hains Point (flat and windy and no cars to kill you), but I've never done any more climbing than the teeny tiny bumps on the MV trail near the airport.  So I decided Saturday morning, I'd ride the QR.  I have to get outside at some point...
The first part of the ride was pretty flat, but once we hit even the smallest hill, my ass got dropped.  I spent most of the first few climbs cursing my serious lack of bike fitness, but as the ride went on and I got warmed up, I started to realize that it wasn't all fitness, but that I was running out of gears a lot sooner than I was used to on my roadie (so maybe 98% I have no fitness, 2% WTF bike).  When we stopped for calories and self-portaits that look like every other picture posted on this blog, I checked out the road bikes my buddies were riding and realized that they had a lot more easy gears than I did.  
I figured out pretty quickly that they would notice if I tried to steal their big plates mid-ride and voted for the "least hilly" option to finish out the day.  When I got home and whined to my coach about it, she made me go count all the teeth on my crazy bike and report back.  
As it turns out, my road bike has "compact" gearing (not as many teeth) and a medium-length crank, and my QR has "really huge and bad for climbing" gearing (lots of teeth) and an extra-large crank.  If you know anything about cycling, which I apparently do not, my roadie has 11-28 on the back, a 50/39 on the front and a 170.  My QR has 11-23 on the back, a 53/47 (?) on the front and a 172.5.  And it all needs to go, because I'm a short & squat hill-climbing madwoman that needs to get through an ironman (did you forget?).  I have no idea how to go about changing all of the crap around but I'm going to be in the bike shop flirting this weekend trying to figure it all out.


All that aside, I had a really brilliant day riding my TT other than mashing the crap out of my knees.  It was sunny and breezy and I was riding outside with friends, which always makes the top ten list.  I managed to drink from my water bottle without swerving too far into oncoming traffic, and I spent a significant amount of time in aero with very little side effects, other than my super-duper extra-crabby shoulder.  And the bike is so much sex.  I can tell how much lighter it is than my roadie and when I drop into aero, everything just gets fast and easy and smooth.   Which makes me feel better about getting dropped by this wench on her TT all summer long.


How was your weekend?  Did you get out and enjoy the sunshine?  How many times have you posted on twitter that it's snowing right now?

22 comments:

  1. Yes, your TT bike is NOT meant for climbing. Slap a compact on that bitch already!

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  2. I have the same issue on my TT bike. For Vegas I rode 53/39 up front with 170mm cranks and an 11-28 in back. I am trying to find a somewhat-affordable 165mm crankset for this season. Trouble is, they're kinda pricy.

    Just remember, there is no prize in triathlon for "she who stays in the big chainring the longest" so make liberal use of the small one when you need to!

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  3. I need a compact on my tri bike too.

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  4. I went to a compact crank on my CD0.1 and I LOVE it! You will too - you'll notice a big difference right away.

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  5. Oh Lord... just when I think I have this figured out. What? There are choices and things to be configured? Hope you are able to flirt your way to an awesome new set up!

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  6. I'm pretty sure 90% of this post wasn't in english. The only words I really understood were weather, gorgeous, pancakes, flirting and sex.

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  7. Like to Amy's comment.

    I spent the weekend climbing further into my calorie depletion fatigue hole. So fun!!

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  8. Way to not let the nice weather go to waste...here in alaska there is no biking to speak of, just walking up mountains with lots of snow cursing the entire way...whats fuN!

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  9. okayyyy. i know so little about bike terminology but glad you figured all this out because it is not cool for anyone to mess with you when it comes to hills! haha!

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  10. Hehehe, "extra-large crank." #commentsfromanineyearold

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  11. Now this wench can suck on *your* wheel and stare at *your* ass. Thanks for doing all the work!

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  12. Tell Professor Jon to share his nerderific gearing spreadsheet with you. It will either a) make complete sense b) prove how much of a nerd Jon really is c) just add to the confusion or d) all of the above.

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  13. 0 times on twitter about snow! or anything for that matter. woot!

    i also had a splendid weekend outside but you already saw that.

    i'm a total re-re with the cranks and what not. so go flirt away and report back so i can use your new knowledge to my benefit.

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  14. I didn't understand a word in this post. I even asked google to translate it from bike-nerd speak, but no luck. Your ass looks great though! :)

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  15. f'n cranks......this is why I just find the flatest race courses I can and skip all the climbing......

    I should probably take a good look at that one day and see what I have and what I really need.

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  16. Beautiful weekend for an outdoor ride - glad you were able to get out there and enjoy it! I am totally ignorant when it comes to bikes and gears and all that stuff. Bleck.

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  17. I am pretty much with the other gals. I think this is in a different language. I am glad you got out to enjoy the beautiful day though!

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  18. I literally just looked outdoors to see that it wasn't snowing. I was so confused-I guess I'm glad considering it is nothern NY. Anywho-I am pretending I know my bike knowledge! ;)

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  19. Those numbers mean nothing to me, but not being able to drop another gear sure does! All that bike talk on Saturday night went right over my little head - just nod and vow to get back on the roads at some point so that I can even remember what it feels like to pedal!

    Twitter snow-tweets: 0! Victory.

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  20. I would like Jon's nerdlyness spreadsheet if he sends it to you. Good job digesting everything we talked about. It's good for women to understand this stuff. We can not remain ignorant and expect boys to solve our problems. Rock on Katie!!

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  21. Yea the 53 is a serious crank. I ride a compact triple on my roadie too and it gets me everywhere. But I need 52 to 54 teeth in the big chainring on a TT bike to really push the shit out of some tri's this year.

    I'm a nerd and I approved this comment.

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