Gears Are Stupid

11 Nov

Or maybe I’m just stupid.  After extolling the virtues of gears last week I had my worst race of the year Sunday on the geared bike completely negating my positive experience with gears the previous week.  This supports my original hypothesis that it just doesn’t matter, you’ll do how you do based on your ability and fitness and not on your bike.  I mean, I already knew this from mountain biking having equal if not better results on a SS. I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, gears might make a difference in cyclocross.  Nope.

I was kinda pissed about it too.  After pre-riding the course at Woodstock I was sure I would clean up.  It was very mountain bikey with lots of dirt and climbs and rough sections, for sure I was going to be at an advantage.  Ended up 16th with nothing left over for the 30+ race that I had signed up for.  I whimpered away with my tail between my legs.

Was it the gears?  Am I not training hard enough?  Am I training too hard?  No warm-up?  Too many encased meat products consumed?  I can go on.

I’m not throwing in the towel just yet on gears, I’ll give them 1 more chance. This weekend is double cross weekend at Chicago Cyclocross Cup and I plan on riding the geared bike for both days.   Of course if I really stink it up on Saturday I’ll have no problem turning my back on the geared bike on Sunday, maybe forever.

7th, 9th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 11th, 8th, 16th (italics for geared races)

12 Responses to “Gears Are Stupid”

  1. Miles November 11, 2010 at 7:20 am #

    Brad, once again, I was becoming concerned for your eternal salvation. 🙂

    All this gears talk had me worried, but it appears you have returned to your senses.

  2. Rick S. November 11, 2010 at 8:20 am #

    have you had any good sloppy, mud races yet?

    • brkeyes7 November 11, 2010 at 9:15 am #

      Nothing but sunny and 60 pretty much every single weekend. Only 3 more left in the series, I’m guessing the last race will at least be freezing cold.

  3. J Burke November 11, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    I’ll tell you what it is…It is Cyclocross! Maybe there is rhym and reason for some, like Bart G., but the eb and flow of this sport is what keeps me coming back to this sport every weekend, every season.

    One week you ride the wind, the next you’re pulling a weight sled. It is such a great form of racing, and riding for nearly an hour at max…there is no faking it. You are on, or you are off.

    We are missing you out here in Utah for the

  4. bob November 11, 2010 at 9:29 am #

    I think you are stupid, sort of, well, yes, stupid, really though, one course may be great for single speed (Think Fort Buenaventura) and one not so much (Think Draper)different jobs require different tools.


  5. mark November 11, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    The problem with the “I’m faster on a single speed” logic is that you don’t have a control. You’re probably just faster now than you were then. It’s possible you’ll go faster on a single speed if you’re training on a single speed. But if you really want to know, you should go do hot laps with a stop watch and alternate bikes each lap. Laps one and four do with SS, laps two and three with gears, then figure out your average lap time on each bike.

    • brkeyes7 November 11, 2010 at 11:18 am #

      Again, I don’t think there is a difference. You will place where your ability on that day puts you. Equipment isn’t going to change that. That being said I have to go with dug, in my case SS edges out gears for the fun factor.

  6. dug November 11, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    which bike do you have the most fun on?

    there, now you’re done thinking about it.

  7. Nathan November 11, 2010 at 11:06 am #

    Are you riding your geared bike like a single speed? I have seen countless change overs ride their geared bike the same way they rode their single speed and I ask why did you add all that extra weight and finger juggling to put out the same torque??? After surges ( since were talking cross) 90 rpm in highest gear you can should be a good barometer if your riding like an SS or the way a geared bike should be, if your still grinding big gears your not getting the power you could and wasting energy on torque rather than power transferred into speed. Many people perceive torque as big power and therefore going faster while they mash a big gear with low cadence, when really the power is lower and the speed is slower, it just feels harder and therefore feels faster. Maybe this does not relate to you at all and you do spin out big gears well, just thought I could add from my experience to help your frustration.

    • brkeyes7 November 11, 2010 at 11:32 am #

      Nathan, good point! Just because it feels harder doesn’t mean it’s faster. I really made an effort to utilize the gears as efficiently as possible. But what do I know about shifting, its been a few years maybe I just need more practice.

  8. Bill Martin November 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    It’s not the gears. Try taking the brakes off the bike. Brake by either power braking (like a hockey stop) or crashing. You will have to work on your core so you can get off the ground fast. But you will totally clean up against the riders with brakes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: