A coupla days ago, with tongue very firmly in cheek, I challenged Fixmawheel to a slog fest up the 1 in 20 53/15 style, no standing, no gear changing...would it happen? would the trackie accept a road challenge, and if she did, what would be the return challenge?
I was supposed to have done a hard ride on Tuesday, but humid nights and little sleep had left me too exhausted to manage more than a desultory spin on the ergo. Thursday's ride is now normally motorpacing with Rick Leonard but he's in Sydney with his son Joel for the Senior Aus Track titles, so that was cancelled. ( Here is Joel winning the kilo title wearing MY helmet!... hopefully the aura of speed is still firmly attached to it when I do my 500m TT in April!). I could have gone to Sandown for a vets crit but wasn't keen..so what to do? then a series of SMS's later and it was to be the 1 in 20 with the aforementioned Fixmawheel...prob not THE challenge as she's not feeling 100%, but if I felt ok I'd do it anyway...gotta underline the climbing supremacy(!).
Home from work I looked for the Powertap wheel..not there. An irate phone call to son no. 1 followed..and he'd not got my message to say I wasn't going to the track and I wanted it 'cos he'd gone to work at 0430, a clear 3hrs before I wrote the message! So I grabbed one of his race wheels, dug out the Polar HRM and I was ready to go.
Catastrophe No. 2
Fixmawheel arrived at my house (no that's not the catastrophe!) and we were off. About 1 km later, the Polar chest strap undid itself and I had to stop to fix it, discovering that actually it was broken...well it is old and the other side had been taped up for the past god knows how long...sigh. No watts, no HR...bugger. Big effort..no objective measures.
The approach to the beginning of the 1 in 20 has a couple of rolling inclines that to me are always worse that the hill itself so as I was grinding up those thinking...yup I think this is gunna happen, I looked down to check the gearing and realised that actually I was in 39/15...doh!
But its now or never so as Fixmawheel spins, I grind away and, with gritted teeth made it to the top...sitting all the way and not changing up or down..even when I could have on the flatter spots.
Mini catastrophe No.3
Falling off the bike at the top ( exaggeration for effect), I finally got to see which gear I'd chosen...and I'm fairly sure it was 53/16..not a real catastrophe, but not what I planned so I've added it. Since only the speed and altitude part of the HRM were working I have little info about the ride, except that as the only noise I could hear was me breathing very hard I guess I did most of the climb way above threshold/thrashhold. Speed and cadence were..well ...slow!
Catastrophe No. 4
So then it was a leisurely spin back home with me wondering if my knees were going to be complaining tomorrow. Swooshing downhill was fun until we hit Kilsyth when suddenly my pedals wouldn't turn, so needless to say we stopped! A grovelly check of the back wheel revealed that the cluster was very loose and I mutter about son No. 1's mechanical capabilities. Since there was nothing I could do about the stuckness I phoned home, bade Fixmawheel farewell and sat by the road side waiting for my better half to pick me up.
As I waited I took a closer look and realised that the loose cluster was not the result of a missing spacer or anything, it was just that the final lock screw bit had not been tightened properly in the first place and that it had gradually unwound itself over the course of the ride...either that or the thread was stripped.
By the time I got home I was very cold and despite the fact that this IS summer and that a coupla nights ago I couldn't sleep 'cos of the heat, I got into thermals!....Melbourne weather dontcha love it.