Monday, May 2, 2011

Pea Ridge ("chain-drop hill"), pt. 2

May 2: "Pea Ridge" ("chain-drop hill")

From about mile 35 through mile 50, the Assaults course offers cyclists a variety of challenges, including Pea Ridge from about mile 37 through 42. Here, riders face a couple of significant rollers coming after fast downhill sections. The ridges, especially the second, is often called "chain-drop hill" because riders transition so quickly from a fast section to difficult grunt hills. The key, of course, is to know the sections and to shift gears early (and to have your equipment well tuned, including installing a mechanism to help prevent chain-drop on your front derailleur). Pea Ridge is often one of the first places cyclists will experience separations by ability--this section is hard and riders often need to make a decision here about managing their effort for a 102-mile challenging event.

Tips and concerns:

• Shifting from big to small chainrings before terrain changes.
• Avoiding shifting under pressure and cross-shifting (big chainring while in largest rear cog).
• Maintaining attention on the "accordian effect."
• Standing to maintain momentum and power over grunt hills while holding your line and avoiding sudden changes in momentum.
• Maintaining respect for NOT crossing the yellow line and endangering yourself and others on a blind hill.
Paul Thomas, EdD, Associate ProfessorFurman University

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