Each spring, Team Killer Bees has a “swarming” to kick-off the season, pull together as a fundraising team for upcoming charity rides (Tour de Cure and Bike MS), and to collect bicycling clothing and equipment for the Wounded Warrior Project. Thirteen riders started from the hosts’ home near Mattaponi, VA and rode through 40 miles of rolling terrain. A few of the hills were fairly challenging. But the most brutal force of the ride was the wind… 41-degree wind! I was wearing new tights and discovered that they aren’t as warm as the ones I’m retiring. I wasn’t cold, but I also wasn’t as warm as I prefer. As in previous years, the host provided three types of chili and the riders brought side dishes or desserts. It was a good time! We may have this ride in May next year in hopes of a slightly warmer ride.
I used this ride to test a crank change I had made to my CrossRip. I have a bicycle-camping trip coming soon and wanted to make sure I have gearing that’s low enough to get up hills with a load. Rather than switch to a triple chainring, which requires a new crank, front derailleur and left shifter, I went with a 2×10 mountain crank by Truvative. All I needed was a GXP bottom bracket and to reposition the front derailleur. The bike was good to ride after a few adjustments. The Truvative X0 crank comes with a 42-tooth large chainring and a 28-tooth small chainring. The 28×32 combo gives plenty of “oomph” on the climbs. However, a 11-32T cassette has a lot of gaps in its gear spacing. I decided to switch the 28T chainring to 26T so I could use an 11-28T cassette. The 26x28T combo is only 1.5 inches taller than the 28x32T. Regardless, I can always put the 11-32T cassette back on the bike if I expect to ride in really tough terrain. I was concerned about how the Shimano 105 front derailleur would work with mountain gearing, especially with the large jump from 26T to 42T. No worries, it shifts GREAT!
I went on a 22-mile ride the following day. I was expecting a slow, C-pace group. Therefore, I figured it was a good time to shakedown the bike with a load that’s very close to what I’ll have on the upcoming camping trip. It was a little too cold to entice our usual C-riders to ride. But a dozen A/B riders came out for some fun. “Hmmm, let’s see if I can ride an 80-lb bike at 17-20 mph,” I thought. I did okay until the first decent grade. Yeah, it’s tough moving 310 lbs at the same speed as unloaded riders. I held on for about 4-6 miles. Then I sent the others ahead, as if I had a choice. I needed to make a few adjustments since I was experiencing some shimmy in the handlebars. Minor load adjustments didn’t work. I’m fairly certain the shimmy is because the rear panniers are too far rearward. I’ll reposition the rack and rear panniers later. I also may need to rebalance the load to move more weight to the front of the bike. I’ll do more testing later.
This is the sort of thing I’m glad to have discovered before I committed to 100 miles of riding without the convenience of a repair stand. I’ll make some adjustments and report the outcome when I write about the camping trip. Until then…
Imbalanced, (in more ways than one)