The greatest blog post ever written was almost ready to be published when I added one more link and lost the whole thing! Darn auto-save! I've tried to rewrite it, but it's not as good. What follows is the 2nd attempt...
I met Constance Winters about 18 months ago on a Thursday morning ladies rides from Ride Studio Cafe. I was made aware of her very popular blog a few months prior and had become a fan. Constance is actually a pseudonym, and since she introduced herself with her real name, I didn't make the connection right away. But as we were riding along, I realized that I was in the presence of a celebrity, and suddenly blurted out, "Are you Lovely Bicycle?" To which she shyly replied, yes. We continued riding and chatting until we got back to RSC. Finding we had some common interests, we decided to get together again for more rides.Constance initially cycled purely for transportation. Her blog focused heavily on bikes and clothes and such for the utilitarian cyclist. But she had also started to explore the realm of cycling for fun and sport, and was starting to do more and longer recreational rides.
Anyway a few days prior to the brevet, she joined my Tuesday RSC ride, saying if it went well she'd do the 200km brevet. As part of my cunning plan to get her addicted to randonneuring, I stuck with her that day to ensure she had a good ride. At the end of the ride, we bumped into our friend Emily O'Brien back at the studio, and learned she would be away for the weekend so would miss the brevet. I was sad as I'd been hoping to ride with Emily. Emily and I have done a few rides together this spring and we are riding at a very similar pace these days. Upon hearing Emily would be away, Constance said "Ride with me." And while I knew she was kidding, I ashamed to say that I laughed it off, due to our differences in speed.
While I had every confidence that she could complete the ride, I know from my own experience how nice it is to have company. The time and miles just pass faster when you aren't so focused on the ride!
I also vowed to myself not to get separated like that again. I have an advantage on the climbs, not due to strength, but the gearing on my bike. I have a compact double, with 50/34 chainrings and a massive cassette, ranging from 12-36. This gives me a wide range of gears, including a low one that's less than 1 to 1. I may not use that gear often, but it's good to have when I need or want it. My philosophy, which I must credit to Fear Rothar, is "Better Looking at it than For it." This applies to gears, clothes, tools, etc. With my low-low gear, I can always just shift down and spin along beside. It's not like when I'm riding fixed and have to maintain momentum to get up the hills.
Constance has a low gear of 34X29, not nearly as low as mine. And I know she prefers a high cadence. We talked about how to get lower gears with her preferred shifters, and hopefully she can get this worked out.