Forced single speed on Sunday’s century ride.
Tomorrow morning I’m going to follow-up on yesterday’s post about the broken spoke my rear Zipp 404 suffered on Saturday morning’s ride. I’ve learned a lot of new information over the past 24 hours, and I think it may be of interest to some.
This morning, however, I want to shift gears (this is a pun, you’ll see why below), and talk a bit about a funny thing that happened on Sunday’s 167 kilometer (104 mile) ride.
My friend William, who was literally less than 12 hours back from a vacation, wanted to do a 50-100 mile ride on Sunday morning. I told him I’d be good with any distance and pace, I just wanted saddle time. We decided to roll out at 6:30 AM, and do the full century.
We kept the pace easy, and at the halfway point I felt as fresh as I did when we started. My average speed for the entire ride wound up being 29.13 km/h (18.1 mi/h), and my average wattage output was just 155 watts, which is Zone 1 (Recovery) for me.
What made this ride interesting is that for the first time ever, I’d forgotten to charge my Di2 battery! Normally every Friday evening I do a complete major tune of my bike, and this is also when I charge the Di2 battery. Well, I did the tuneup, but somehow I neglected to charge the battery. It wasn’t a big deal, as there was still more than a 50% charge remaining when I set off on Saturday morning’s ride. Saturday’s ride was fairly short at around 89 kilometers (55 miles), and I knew there would be plenty of juice for that ride.
Saturday’s ride, of course, was the ride when my rear wheel suffered a broken spoke. After Lisa picked me up and brought me home, I hurriedly swapped out my rear wheel and went back out to get some more miles in. When I returned from my ride it was later than usual, and I had some stuff to do. I quickly wiped down the chain and the bike frame, and put my bike in my home gym. Because I normally charge my battery every Friday (I’ve done this without fail for a full year), I completely forgot that my battery had not been charged this week…
So at about mile 70 of Sunday’s 104 mile ride, the Di2 battery dropped below 25%. When this happens, the system locks out the front derailleur to conserve battery life. I’d just completed a fairly steep hill, and so I was locked in the small ring. I knew at this point I had roughly 60 rear shifts left, which is not much with about 56 kilometers (~35 miles) over rolling terrain (not to mention stoplights) left to ride.
I tried to reduce my shifting as much as possible. Unfortunately–thanks in large part to nearly telepathic Di2 shifting–changing gears has become so automatic that I don’t even think about it. I sometimes found myself unconsciously shifting gears, “wasting” some of that precious juice. I decided to make a game out of it, and really focused on remaining in one gear.
I was mostly riding 34/12 or 34/11, but at lights I had to downshift a couple of cogs. Well, at about 159 kilometers (99 miles) and with about 8 kilometers (5 miles) left to ride, I hit the shifter and… nothing. I was locked in at 34/12 for the rest of the ride. “Cool”, I thought, “I’m on a single speed!”
That wasn’t a bad gear combination in which to be stuck. I definitely had to mash away from a couple of traffic lights, but even when I was riding at a little over 38 km/h (24 mi/h) I was only spinning around 120 RPM, which is a fairly fast cadence, but still comfortable for me. I actually enjoyed finishing up the ride on my forced single-speed.
In fact, that little experience makes me want to add a fixie (which are 87% cooler than single-speeds) to my stable. 🙂