The Q-rings trilogy

I never thought I’d write a multi part blog about a set of chain rings, and I can’t promise I won’t write about them again because the way they’ve helped me stay riding while recovering from my spine damage is far more impressive than I could have ever have expected.

No matter who you speak to about climbing there are three main pieces of advice that always get repeated; fuel right, get in your most efficient gear and pace yourself, I take those things as being the best advice because they are said by riders far better than I could ever wish to be.

Due to my physical crash damage my climbing has crappy, I’m not even talking about climbing, I doubt any proficient cyclist in good fitness would ever call a 2k 3% anything other than a slope but to me it felt like trying to get up Ventoux, for months I’ve been banging trying to get my body to work as those instructional videos say it should, of course it never will because no matter how much I like to deny that I’m broken I am, very.

When I was a child, my life skills education came in two forms, mum give me the skills to get along in everyday life, balancing my accounts and knowing my way around a kitchen; pops gave me the skills to take things apart and have a go at fixing them, he nurtured my interest in engineering and gave me DIY skills. This morning on my bike ride I found myself thinking about the lecture he gave me about there always being “the right tool for a job”, it happened when I was about 11 and he caught me trying to fix two pieces of wood together with a screw…….. using a hammer.

In part one of this series I said that my PowerTap pedals are the thing that changed my cycling most, and I’ve slightly changed my view. With WKO4 from TrainingPeaks I certainly have the tools to understand which areas of my cycling need attention, and there are plenty of them, but all of those wonderful metrics are useless if you don’t have the right tool and for my broken body these Q-Rings are just the job and for the first time since returning to riding less than 90 days ago I feel I can make progress on the data I collect

I’ve never been able to pace myself up anything, as soon as the gradient kicked up I’d get caught in my unbalanced dead spot and spin through the gearing while my wonky right leg rapidly failed to put power out and I end up in a hating myself for being so rubbish.

The Q-Rings don’t make going up a hill easier, if anything it’s more painful because all of those under used muscles are now engaged, my lower glutes, inner thighs, hip flexors, and whatever the outer thigh muscle groups are called, I actually make us of my foam rollers and I have to stretch out my legs. The pain, when it kicks in make me think of that cycling quote “ it doesn’t get easier, you just get faster”, today according to Strava, I went up the Palewell Climb in the fastest time this year posted by a woman and only four seconds off the QOM.

What I would like to show you is how the power is applied in graphic terms, which I can do because the PowerTap App takes into account non round rings and how the power is applied is very different between standard round rings and my wonderful Q-rings, but that would mean swapping out my cranks again to grab some imagery and I don’t know if I can be bothered just yet.

I’m starting to think that perhaps bike shops could offer the Rotor rings as an instant upgrade to new bikes as part of the sales process should the customer mention spine issues


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