Recently our friends Barry and Angela came around for a bite to eat and a chit chat which before long got round to the Coast to Coast. We actually have quite a few things in common and one of them is cycling. Once we had eaten, with the meat eaters enjoying the vegetarian lasagne (now that made me smile) and had got onto the coffee and chocolates, the serious Coast to Coast conversation started.
I must have said something about having some doubts in my mind about being able to complete it; this has certainly been on my mind a bit. You see 150 miles does seem to be an awfully long way in a day but I think I can handle that alright. The scary aspect is the need to climb 4,500 metres during the ride. These aren’t gentle climbs. They include Hardknott Pass and one or two other really challenging climbs and I’m not convinced they are hills with a fantastic swoop down on the other side either.
We all agreed I could do with every bit of help I could get my hands on. In my mind this was about seeking opportunities for stepping up the training and having time at weekends to be able to do some long rides. Eighty, 100, 120 miles and so on. Somehow or other the issue of my steel frame bike came into the conversation and the disadvantage or handicap this may give me. I know it is on the heavy side compared to most, if not all, of the other bikes being used on the day. I can lighten it easily by removing the mudguards and pannier rack. That didn’t seem enough in the flow of conversation; the issue of the bike itself was questioned and whether something made of Carbon Fibre might be better.
I remember exclaiming “there’s no way I’m investing in carbon fibre for one event (or any number of events for that matter”).
“Why not hire one?” was the counter argument “and that’s the way to get the price down”.
That got me thinking. I could do that and I’d have an optimised bicycle to ride on with better components and a faster, lighter ride. Probably more likely to even out the playing field. I checked this out with the LBS who don’t really do this but from time to time have a half decent bicycle traded in, which I could borrow.
Having mulled this over, weighed it up, it’s almost a tricky decision. But! But I’m sticking with the Thorn Audax for sure. Why? Here goes:
- Loyalty. We’ve done thousands of miles with each other; abandoning it for one event seems disloyal
- Gears. I have a triple chainset fitted – I never really use the 26T Granny ring, unless I am huffing up a 1 in 4 or 1 in 3 incline. No carbon fibre road bike will have this, almost certainly. If I am seriously fatigued I will be grateful for this very low gear.
- Ergonomically it’s a good fit which takes some time to fine tune. Borrowing a bike for an all-day event will easily expose any wrong angles
- In decades to come, events like the C2C will be full of cherished memories involving the bike
- Surely there’s something to be said for being contented with what we have already?