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Since my recent off-road adventure on the mtb I have been out for two rides on the road bike.  The first, the day after the mtb ride I didn’t feel so happy about my performance.  I don’t know if it was lack of miles or the fact I had ridden the day before and it had been quite hard going.

Ride 1

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It wasn’t particularly far but it just felt as though my legs didn’t have any power.  During the course of my ride I came up upon another rider as I tackled a long drag of a climb.  I could see him ahead of me for ages and also that I was drawing him in.  I caught him just over the top and passed the time of day of day with him as I went by, as I do with everyone, with a ‘Hi’ and ‘Good morning or afternoon’.  I though that was it but after a couple of hundred yards he was beside me and starting a conversation.  He now seemed to be pushing on a bit and it was hard going keeping up the pace and talking at the same time.   It transpired that he was a regular rider and had some hard riding friends, he was also about half my age so I was quite pleased when, after a few miles we went our separate ways..

Although I wasnt feeling too fit on the day I stuck with the hilly route back that I had originally planned as I felt I needed the exercise but by the time I got back I was feeling just about finished.

Remedies ?

Since that ride I have made some modifications to my Specialized road bike.  I had a plan to remove the Triple chainset and replace it with a double one.  I had a ‘spare’ double chainset that I could fit and it was almost the same configuration as the compact double on my Felt bike.  It is 48-36 compared to the 50-34 of the Felt.  Coupled with the rear cassette on the Specialized with a large sprocket of 29 it should give me a similar bottom gear to that of the Felt which is 25. ( I do have a program to work out all these gears properly but I couldn’t be bothered 🙂  )

However it didn’t end there because having changed the chainring I was hoping I could get away with using the Triple Sti brake/gear lever but I had problems setting that up.   I did have a double Sti lever ‘in stock’ so next i set about changing that.  I removed the bar tape and cables and then swapped the levers over.  This entailed removing the control cables and the one for the front changer was frayed and I couldn’t get that back through.  Another rummage through the drawers and I found a replacement inner cable which I duly set about fitting.  Then began the process of aligning the levers on the handlebars and making sure both were the same height nd then replacing the bar tape.  Thats not all I am going to do though but I have to await the arrival of a short cage rear derailleur to replace the long cage one that was needed for the triple chainring.

Ride 2

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However I made do with what I had for todays ride and it certainly felt better with the new set up.  It was a longer ride and I finished with a higher average speed than the previous ride on Saturday.  The weather today was not brilliant but I persuaded myself I needed to go.   It was a damp start to the ride after a couple of miles it proceeded to drizzle with rain but I had been expecting it as it was pretty grey, damp and misty when I left.

The ride was a pretty testing one over a familiar route into Bedfordshire and I felt better the further I went.  Now I dont know if it was the other rides that had prepared me or the new gearing arrangement but I am glad I made the effort.

Tomorrow I start some decorating at home, on Wednesday it is the Team MK ride and that should be a good measure of how I am feeling under pressure.  Thursday and Friday are set aside to complete the decorating and Saturday is another team MK ride.