Well, it’s come to this. The end. The finish made before the finish line seen. A goal set, but not met.
The DNF. The Did Not Finish.
It’s with mixed-feelings that I write about not being able to see the full 30DaysofBiking challenge until the end, unfortunately I wasn’t able to maintain the challenge I set for myself of riding my bike for 30 days in a row, when in “normal circumstances” I would have been very much able to do so.
So here is the difference: I’m getting a new groupset installed!!! That kind of news, while disappointing is ultimately rewarding because not only will I have my bike back in full (better) working order than it was before, but I’ll have upgraded my existing Shimano Tiagra set-up to the new SRAM Rival.
This has been a long time coming, over 8 weeks coming, to be precise.
England is normally a pretty temperate island, it doesn’t often see snow, maybe the odd bit of sleet in the large amount of rain that falls during the dark months of January, February and March, but snow and ice throws up a bit of a mixed bag in places like Oxfordshire. This is an interesting timeline from the 21st century (and even further back in time). That hasn’t been the case for at least the last two years. No doubt you will have seen footage of “impassable roads” and airports shutting down in response to a “light dusting” by this Canadian’s measuring stick.
Be that as it may, on one particularly icy morning in mid-January, I hit the deck less than 50 meters from my home on a slick corner of black ice and bent the rear hanger of my Tiagra groupset. I knew it wasn’t completely impossible to by-pass the mech’s cogs and convert my 9-speed compact to a single gear, but a fix attempted isn’t always a fix made. What did end up happening was a trip to the LBS (local bike shop) – photo by Kate Pugh – where Matt, the mechanic, was able to give me 4 usable gears in the big ring, and about 7 in the small ring. Going any higher up the rear cassette, because the chain had to be shortened, would have brought the mech to a halt. Which I found out the hard way a couple of times.
So after about 8 weeks of “conscious shifting” and a lot of patience I’ve now been able to gather the necessary funds, weighed up my options and gone for the SRAM Rival.
The Road Ahead
I’m looking forward to the unique set-up of SRAM’s groupset. The bloc-shifting and double-tap shifter set-up may take some getting used to, but the timing couldn’t be better as I’ve got my first Sportive scheduled: The White Horse Challenge. A solid 90 miles of varying gradients (some a lot bigger than others!)
So the new groupset is going to have quite a baptism, as will I because I haven’t trained as I normally would!
But in the spirit of 30DaysofBiking, I’m just going to get on and ride! And I wonder if this effort gets me off the hook…?