Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Columbus, OH
Bikes: '08 Surly Cross-Check, 2011 Redline Conquest Pro, 2012 Spesh FSR Comp EVO, 2015 Trek Domane 6.2 disc
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I had a decent season with 2 gear choices: 42/18 for the dryer, flatter days; and 38/18 for the sloppy or hilly courses.
With the 42/18 I still got outpaced by the geared guys on long pavement straightaways, but I was usually making up ground coming out of corners or powering up long inclines when other guys were gearing down. (I race Cat-4, people do a lot of things like that where you can take advantage.) The 42/18 wasn't tall enough to really slog out in tall or damp grass, but a few courses had some boggy sections where I would have appreciated something easier instead of having to stand and hammer to keep up with guys who were geared down and spinning. Meh, it is what it is.
On the 38/18 I had no chance on courses with long pavement or hardpack straights, and I made that mistake a couple times. Don't select a gear based on the short, worst section of the course; that was my rookie error. I was fine through the technical sections and sand, but on a 2.7km course where the sand and technical is only a couple hundred yards, I got dropped hard and would have been better off with a tall gear and running the short segments. Live and learn, right?
"I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
- Mandi M.