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On Going from a 30 Pound Bike to a 17 Pounder…


I left the office early yesterday.  I’ve finally turned the corner on a couple of jobs so I played hooky with two hours.  We had rain in the forecast for the evening so I wanted to shoehorn in a ride at home, before taking the kids to swim practice.

The wind was howling out of the west southwest with gusts better than 20 knots…  Still, after Sunday’s hard ride I knew I needed an easy recovery ride anyway.  The operative word in that last sentence being easy.

Dammit.

I was up to 21 mph within a half-mile.  Hey, it felt easy.  It did.  Heading west was a bit of an awakening, of course, but 17 was still pretty easy to hold if I got down in the drops (no brainer into a decent breeze). Then another couple miles north. I just stayed in the drops.

Then a mile west. 18 -19 mph. Smooth asphalt. Musta been.

Then down a little hill followed by my favorite turn. 24 mph around a tight 90 degree turn that I have to lean the bike down to hold my lane (there’s no drifting into the wrong lane, while I can partially see around the corner as I approach, there are blind spots where I could miss a car…). I need all of the tricks for that corner too… Right knee out and down to shift my center of gravity, all of my weight on my left foot – so much that I try to push my foot to the pavement, in the drops and look through the turn. It’s one of those rare perfect corners. Over a couple of bumps that always make my heart skip a beat. Straighten up and I’m back on the gas. Into that ridiculous wind.

A left turn heading south now. The south part of the wind isn’t so bad and I’m spinning between 19 and 20. A mile later and I’m into the wind again. The sky is looking ugly and I’ve got seven miles left.

A right turn, the whole mile is slightly uphill till the last tenth. I’m at 21. I didn’t necessarily give up on my “recovery ride”, it’s just not all that tough.

Then the right turn and I’ve got a 25 mph wind at my back. I chuckle. Rain’s comin’. 25 mph is too easy. So is 27. I settle in at the speed limit for the road (30) for two glorious miles. There’s something fun about riding a bike the same speed as cars. If I’d have seen a cop I’d have tried for 40 and a speeding ticket. I will have one. I’ll pay the fine with a smile on my face and frame the ticket. I may even try for a selfie while the cop is writing the ticket.

Then I come to the sloggy part. A right turn into a 20 mph cross headwind and it’s slightly uphill. For a mile. I’m halfway up the steeper part and I look down. 19 mph. I’m a dumbass but I didn’t lay off the gas either.

If the shit fits, wear it. Dumbass.

Another mile east, and an easy 23 mph followed by a cool down mile south at 15.

I’m sitting on the couch before it dawns on me that I was on a 30 pound bike with my wife on the back the day before. Riding the Venge was like clipping into a rocket ship. So much for a recovery ride. If the shit fits…

UPDATE: The fossilcyclist left an important comment below about the importance of “the lean” in cornering. I didn’t put much emphasis on that because I was going for the finer points, but he’s absolutely right. He also offered this “How To” video from GCN. I can’t recommend subscribing to GCN enough.

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10 Comments

  1. ohhh… those are some stones! yesterday, riding in the wind, i didn’t have the backbone. also, i haven’t mastered the leaning corner yet, so your 90′ turn would have been a white-knuckler! but, 🙂 that pace… 🙂

    • bgddyjim says:

      Corners were tricky for me to figure out… It took bombing down a three-mile hill at 45-50 mph for me to figure it out. First, the drops are your friend. You lower your center of gravity and therefore make yourself more stable. The second trick is to put your weight on your outside foot, like you would on skis. Third, point your knee at the curb. On a right hand turn, turn point your knee to the right so it flairs out from the bike a bit. This will also help with your center of gravity.

      Lastly, look through the turn. Make sure there’s no loose gravel in your path, then sweep your head up and to the right (for a right hand turn again). This will help you to point the bike where you want to go, not where you don’t. 😀

  2. It’s a great feeling when you nail a bend like that. The other thing I use is to lean the bike into the bend for more grip on the tyres. Global Cycling Network has some excellent videos on YouTube eg: https://youtu.be/aPsVl42tqYo

    • bgddyjim says:

      I’ve written about that corner before… Hitting it makes me feel like a kid. I have a funny feeling you know what I mean, and the older I get, the more enjoyable it is to get that feeling.

      I agree too, the lean is a big deal. Thank you for posting the link. I’ll share it in the post.

      • I think I like going downhill too much! The crew behind the video do loads of interesting films. I think the best descent ever for me was probably Sa Calobra, Majorca despite some tour buses. Worth a search for images and the surface was brilliant.

      • bgddyjim says:

        You and me both! My best was an out of the way 3-1/2 mile climb… Took 27 minutes to get up it and took five minutes to get down – it was a straight shot so I could see the road in front of me the whole way – and I was 5 mph over the speed limit the whole time.

      • Tut, tut, tut 😜

      • bgddyjim says:

        Didn’t mean it like that, my friend. 😇

  3. Sometimes gentle joking goes wrong on t’internet?

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