Sunday, June 6, 2010

Plan B

On Thursday I put my biggest fattest tire on the front of BluSteel and crossed my fingers hoping the extra cush would soften the ride enough for my thumb to tolerate.
Unfortunately my cast prevented me from being able to grasp the handle bar at a reasonable angle, and I rode most of the less than 45 minutes resting my hand on top of the bars, or "cupping" the end of it.
When I did try to grab the bar, any bump was jarring.
Plan B.
I decided to put gears on the Fun Machine. In the basement the flare of the drops seemed to work better for me than the more traditional drop bars of the Sunday Princess, plus the Princess was already set up with Ergopower which requires a functional thumb.
I set it up using a Shimano 8 speed barcon in friction mode, with an older Ultegra 600 8 spd derailleur, a 105 front derailleur as a chain retainer, and a 9spd Campy rear wheel.
I cobbled together a 13-29 cassette with loose cogs, and kept my 42t chainring up front.
In the basement, it took a little coaxing to get the chain up to the 29, but eventually, it seemed to be dial.
Out on the road, there really isn't a comfortable way to grab the bars with a hand cast. There are tolerable positions, but nothing really comfortable. Changing positions often, seemed to be the way to go. At some points, I would just hang my hand at my side. Resting it on top of the brake wasn't bad either. Ironically, I put gears on the bike so I wouldn't have to stress my upperbody as much, but one of the most comfortable positions was climbing out of the saddle in the drops.
Any broken pavement was a sharp spike of pain, and with the rain, I seemed to hit every pot hole in the Farmington Valley.
It's good that climbing out of the saddle was working, because, the 29 wasn't. Even in friction mode, 8spd barcons just don't have 9 spd range out on the road.
So I went back to the basement and re-cobbled the cassette to 13-21. I'd rather have more top end and eliminating the 23, 26 and 29 let me add a 14 and have 1 tooth jumps from 13-19. I'd love to end it with 12, but I have 3 or 4 13t cogs, but no 12's in my bag of tricks. But honestly, I don't have much more speed on the flats than the 13 can provide; 100rpm's is over 40kph (that's all Euro-kool for over 25 mph).
Finally, I can't imagine how horrible my cast will stink after 6 weeks; just one week in and it's even offending me.

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