I recently had the gears ratios on my road bike changed in preparation for the Bealach Beag cycling event that’s coming up. The route features a climb over the highest mountain pass in Britain and the concensus was that it’d be exceptionally tough to make it up the climb and have anything left in the tank using the 25 tooth climbing cog that came with the bike. So in it went to Helensburgh Cycles to have a new spread of gears with a larger 28 tooth cog.
On the weekend I picked the bike up I set off on a training ride using a new route that would include some of the steepest climbs in the area. Taking me past Shantron Farm, the first climb on the road from Loch Lomond over to Garelochhead was the first time I used the 28 and it really made a difference. I knew within a couple of hundred yards that there was no way I would have made it up that hill with the 25 tooth cog driving the back wheel. It’s rare that you have an equipement decision like that validated so immediately, but as each brutal climb came on the route I was really glad I had the 28 to shift into if I needed it.
One of the final climbs on that road really did have me suffering even in the 28, though, and the only remedy for that is to just get better!
I repeated the same route the following week and found that I had improved a little bit. Thinking that I still had a tough climb to come, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was actually on the final, fast descent down to the round-about above the north gate of the submarine base. It’s always nice to discover that you’re further ahead on a ride than you thought!
Unfortunately, due to a long day spent walking around Mugdock Park at a Geocaching event the day before, I just didn’t have stamina to extend the ride up to the 40 miles I had wanted to do for my final training ride. So it’s all in the balance now – the Bealach Beag is this weekend, it’s 45 miles with a monster climb, and my longest training ride has been a tough 35 miles.
So I need to find ten miles of fitness from somewhere. I’m hoping that the banana cake my sister is making to give me energy on the day will help overcome some of that defecit!