First of all, Blain is fine. I have been meaning to write about this for awhile, so decided to give this its own post.
Basically, I felt Blain wasn't getting the love he needed. After the whole saddle height thing - I thought maybe if I bought him something shiny, it would make him happier. After all, it works for me!!
So after last week's 4 hour ride, I took him up to his favorite shop for a new rear cassette and chain. After talking with my PT (months ago...), Coach, and lots of people who know way more about bikes than I do, people suggested getting a 12-27.
What does that mean? Well, from what I gather, it means the following:
I have a 9 speed, so there are 9 rings on my rear cassette with 'teeth'. The smallest right has 12 teeth and the largest ring had 25. If I were to go to 27, those extra 2 teeth would make climbing hills easier. I would lose a gear in the middle, but would notice on the hills. Or so those people said.
So, I figured why not - I could use all the help I could get. I am not great on hills, am working on getting better with cadence (which I really need with hills instead of mashing) so I figured I would give it a shot. Not the best picture - but trust me, it's new and shiny!!
I went on Tuesday to test out the new gearing and I was immediately disappointed. I was skipping gears, making a lot of noise, and just not happy. Oh, and my chain dropped TWICE! I haven't dropped a chain in YEARS! (knock on wood)
So, Tuesday after work I headed back to the bike shop for some answers.
Of course, as awesome as they are, they put Blain on the stand and got right to work. They apologized for me having to come back, but explained the fickleness of Blain and how everything needs to be just right. And since it was a bit off, and I didn't' replace the cables and front rights, it just threw things off a bit more. It helps that I have known these guys for years, and bribed them with cookies and chips so I get good service. But I never feel stupid when I ask stupid question and they will explain every little detail I if I want them to - or just gloss over the facts. And I never feel like I am being taken or they are trying to sell me more than I need.
I was eager to take Blain back out on Thursday, but I was benched due to Wednesday's run. So when I headed out on Saturday's ride, with hills, I was a bit nervous. But Blain stepped up to the challenge and shifted like a pro. No loud noises. No dropped chains on the hills (knock on wood).
And how were the hills you are wondering - I was SHOCKED at the fact that I did notice a difference. My 8th gear was more like the 25 I had, so when I went into that last gear (the 27), it was much easier to keep a higher cadence. I only had to use it a few times but it did feel a lot better.
I don't think I was any faster, which is fine because I do think it helped the knees a lot! And that is also very important.
Blain will have a few more updates and a tune up before IM Moo. But right now, I am super happy with the way he is handling and hope I don't let him down.