I knew it existed, I suppose. It was there when I cleaned the smaller one right next to it and it is attached to my pedal, more or less. But it was neglected and un-loved, there’s no question. That is, until now.
As part of my training for the Etape du Tour next July, I’ve decided to start with something simple – just go faster. Just simply make sure that every pedal stroke is doing something that makes me go forward. Sounds simple, but it hurts!
That’s when I discovered the ‘big ring’. I only ever used it on slight downhills or when the wind was at my back, content to cruise in the low-mid 20s in the small ring. No longer. On the last two short training rides I’ve tried to keep rolling in the big ring on the flats, a feat that is rewarding and painful at the same time. If you’ve got any power in your legs it is pretty gratifying to switch rings and really feel that you are propelling yourself down the road. In a smaller gear it is too easy to just roll without much effort (one of the beauties of the bicycle, I might add), but once you are in the big one you need to work at it. I don’t know why, but it’s true. And if you do the work there is a sensation that you and your legs are a real engine (much like the feeling on climbs).
Anyway, it’s a start. More on the training as I figure it out. Up next: the results of my knee x-ray…