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Daily Archives: September 8, 2021

Pardon This Interruption Of Normally Good and Insprining Stuff for A Bit of An Emergency: Will Chains and Cassettes Go the Way of Toilet Paper?

Earlier this year I bought a few sets of tires when I heard there would be a run on tires. I’m good through next year. Last night I bought 10 speed Ultegra chain and an Ultegra cassette for each of my road bikes (11-25 for the Venge, 11-28 for the Trek). This morning I found two Dura Ace 11 speed chains and a cassette for my wife’s bike. I now have enough to get me clear to 2024, without breaking a sweat. I’ve got enough shifter and brake cable, I should be good as well. There may be unforeseen issues I won’t be ready for, but I’ve got the normal stuff covered.

I’ve already gotten the gravel bikes accounted for.

Am I being paranoid?

Folks, it’s getting ugly out there. If you have the means, chains and cassettes probably won’t be quite as bad as toilet paper in 2020… but it’s definitely not good. I’m hearing some very bad things through the grapevine.

And I Would Ride 💯 Miles. No Wait! Did! Again. Again. Day 3 of DALMAC.

Day three of DALMAC’s Lansing to Michigan bicycle adventure is daunting. Day two has the most climbing of all four days, but day three has the steeper grades. Plus you’re on legs that have already done two centuries in a row.

Day Two is one LLLLOOOOONNNNGGG climb!

We rolled out with a smaller crew for day three. We left a bit before the tandem and pro crew did, figuring none of us needed the pounding. It had rained the evening before and it was spitting again just before we left. The forecast had worsened, not gotten better as day three approached. It seemed Michigan weather had caught up to us. I had on a light rain jacket, arm warmers, bibs, and normal cycling gloves… I was overdressed. The spray wasn’t bad at all for the first few miles and within three the roads were dried to a point we didn’t have to worry about spray at all, though it was going to be a race to the finish… we had rain due at 2 and we’d finished Days One & Two at around 2:20.

I’d ditched the jacket by this point, as did Dave, the guy on front

Day three’s elevation is quite interesting. The first 20 miles is relatively flat with a few short climbs and descents, but then the elevation drops to the floor over the next 33, with a stretch of 12 miles that simply has to be ridden to be believed. The grade isn’t even that much, -0.5% to -5%, it just goes on forever compared to what one normally gets in the lower peninsula of my home state.

By the time we’d hit mile 80 we were sitting on a 20-mph average for the day. While we were tired, and we all said something about it at some point during that 20 mile stretch after the descent (right about 65… at those small humps – and then the bigger two at 74 & 80.

I was focused on that big sucker at mile 92, though. We’ve laughed for years about “The Wall”. At 18% at its steepest, it’s not even all that steep. It’s the two-mile climb to get to it, plus the 18%… and what kind of sadistic f***er puts a two mile climb with a quarter-mile at 10 to 18% 92 miles into Day Three of a four day tour? I write that totally tongue in cheek, of course. I had been worrying whether I’d have the legs or not for the better part of the day as I started up the ascent to The Wall. I was about to find out just how tired I was… and I could have bailed. Dave, on his time trial rig (one of the few people on the planet I actually trust on one of those contraptions), went the alternate route around the hill. I actually thought about going with him for roughly .074560395 seconds.

Before I knew it, I rounded the corner and that big bastard was looking right at me. Right into the granny gear, I didn’t even bother. Now, truth be told, 34/28 is probably one gear too easy for that hill on a normal day. It’s almost too easy on Day Three, too. About halfway up, after bobbing back and forth in the lane for no good reason, I got serious and got after it. Out of the saddle and one stroke at a time, I ground that sucker down. [Just keep breathing, not too fast, don’t try to race it, you’ll blow yourself up…] and just like that, I was at the top as it flattened out and I had to upshift a few gears. Chad, a climber’s build if ever there was one, was first up the hill and took photos of everyone as the ascended the most famous hill in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula (followed closely by the Seven Sisters, which we’d visit on Day Four). Once at the top, I was surprised at how bad the hill wasn’t. I had a feeling I was being a little silly, but you never know till you start up that sucker, eh? Ah well.

There are a few more hills left before we hit the final descent into town and one of our group, Todd, who comes up from Kentucky, treats our tiny climbs like they’re child’s play (mostly because they are, compared to what he rides on a daily basis). A few hills that we ambled up, he’d blast by us in the big ring like he was going for a KOM. Todd has my respect, but I wasn’t about to chase after him… not till we got close to the Boyne City sign, anyway. We were together at that point and the sign is downhill so you can get some pretty decent speed out of a sprint.

As beat up as I was, and I was tired, I went for it anyway. I always go for that sign, so why not. As we started down the hill, I upshifted twice, switched my hands from the hoods to the drops, and hit the gas. I upshifted twice more, and twice more as I hit 50/11, giving her all I had. I hit 39.8-mph and sat back down as I rocketed over the line.

At that point, that was it. I’d given it all I had and we parade lapped it to the school. 100.1 miles done, a 19.2 average (we hit the City Limits sign at 19.5 and were at 20 as we started up to The Wall, at mile 90).

Day three was in the books.