I thought I'd pack a series of questions into one thread since it's all related to a race I have this Saturday. First off, two weeks ago I was involved in a really bad crash in a race. In the crash my bike frame was destroyed but surprisingly I survived with only some small road rash on my legs and arms. I replaced the frame for a pretty penny through the Cervelo crash replacement program, but in the process I had to replace the rear wheel and seat, which were also damaged.
This Saturday I have a 27 mile race on a very hilly course, one section averages 10% for 1 mile and each 9 mile loop has 1000 feet in climbing.
So here are my questions:
1. Since the crash, I don't know if its the new seat (toupe instead of slr, which I find very uncomfortable) or the borrowed bontrager rear wheel, but I've lost a lot of power, almost 40 watts going 5 minutes hard (340 watts instead of 380). Is it the new bike, which might be slightly off from what I'm used to, or is it me?
2. My old bike came with an 11-23 cassette (53-39 crank). I have a steep hill nearby which averages 11% for 0.8 miles which I practice on all the time. At first I could barely make it to the top on 39-23, but I got better and better, averaging about 75 rpm cadence. Usually I prefer a very high cadence between 100 and 105 and I always thought my gearing made me climb at a bad cadence. But while I've been waiting for my new rear wheel I've been training on an 11-26 SRAM and going up that hill doesn't feel the same on 39-26, is the slower cadence actually better up that 5 minute climb? If so, should I race with the 11-23 or should I go with the 12-27 cassette I recently bought?
3. Kind of a stupid question...at sports authority the other day I saw these insulated water bottles, which I thought was a good idea, so I bought two. They are a bit heavier then the ones I already have, marginally though. Should I worry about that weight difference for the hilly race? Is a cold drink worth the extra weight I'd have to carry up a hill?
Thanks for your help