Turning 30

There was a moment last moment last week as I torqued down the lockring on a larger cassette it was apparent that the game had changed.

When I started riding road bikes, when the bug bit me, I was a teenager, and it was a world of non indexed down tube shifters, in a game dominated by Suntour/Campagnolo/Shimano for components and Columbus/Reynolds on tubing. Steel was not only ‘real’ but also just about your only choice.

‘Cassettes’ as such did not exist. Gears were in the form of screw on ‘block’. Six was the norm, and the Sachs Mailard were the people who did. This for me pretty much continued through my love of Mavic 501 hubs through 7 and 8 speed before they died a death.

I grew up in a much flatter place. Chainrings were 42-52 and blocks were 14 as the lowest tooth count and often then moving upwards in single tooth increments. A 21 was okay – a 23 would raise eyebrows.

Moving to a considerably more hilly part of the world, the 25 and then 28 became the normal, along with giving in to the delight that is a 39 inside ring, and now a 36 – a compact.

It took some “its okay” conversations with myself to move to a 28.

Fitting at 30 was a needlessly big deal.

As I repeat the mantra and come to terms with it – I am now the other side of a lengthy hilly ride, and a week or so away from the monster that is the Fred Whitton Challenge.

I am not a light rider.

So to me this makes sense.

Phrases such as “you will only use it” from accomplished riders do not really hold water for me, they are not an argument against it.. yes… yes I will – and as a day’s worth of brutal climbing batters me… the ability to increase my mechanical advantage even by just two teeth is going to mean that I can / could stay seated for a little longer. I am good with that.

Was it like running on bearings over ice resulting in me being deposited to the top of any given hill with chaefeur driven ease…. hell no.

In fact – there is a lot less perceivable difference between 28 and 30 than there is between 11 and 12 … but for days you are needing the 30… chances are you can let the 11 go.

I will be taking it off once the Fred has done his thing.

*waves fist* I am not a fan of hills – what WAS I thinking?

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