Let me set the scene – I’ve been having a little trouble with the gears on my road bike recently. Adjusted them twice, then they’re OK for a while, then not. I wondered if the cable could be slipping through the rear mech, so on the morning of the race I nipped it up a touch with an allen key, readjusted the gears, and was ready to go.
St Leger Magnazeix is quite a distance north of me. Up above Bellac. The terrain is flatter, more rolling, but still tough. A warm up lap confirmed that this was gonna be a fast one. As we waited on the start line black thunder clouds threatened, and a few spots of rain fell.
3 – 2 – 1, and we’re away. There’s an attack right from the gun. I dunno, maybe these “crazy guys” think that they can complete the race before they get a good soaking. There’s no let up for the whole of the first lap. My legs are stinging. On the second lap it settles down a bit, though there’s still lots of jumping about and nervous energy being spent. Round the back of the circuit there’s a slight rise. Someone attacks, there’s a surge, I change down and climb out of the saddle, and then……..
……and then my gear cable breaks! The chain crunches down the block and I’m stuck in my biggest gear! I quickly check to make sure it’s not hanging off the bike. I reach down to see if it’s still in place under my down tube.
I’m just a little miffed. Actually, I very annoyed. I’ve never broken a cable before in all the years I’ve been cycling. We’re on a slight downhill now, the speed is high, I’m OK in my 50*11. Out of frustration I put in a hard attack. If I can’t win, I’m gonna let them know I was there!!! I get a gap, a good one. I was going to pull out at the end of the lap, but I don’t I carry on. I’m away, one daft idiot singlespeeding roadie! A quick check back, I have a good gap, and two riders are coming across to me.
Unfortunately for me, as we go out on lap three and start to hit the more rolling part of the circuit my legs fill up with lactic acid, as my cadence drops to Phil Bayton style monster mashing. The two arrive, it would have been perfect, but I can’t stay with them. They look at me like I’m some kind of idiot. I am.
Suddenly it occurs to me that I have two gears… big ring and little. I drop onto the little and spin. The bunch arrive, I tuck in.
The rain never came to anything, a bit like my race really. I stayed in for the full 8 laps with two gears. One too big, and one too small. It was good training, I think.