Mo's 100 Miles of 1x
Mo Bruno Roy is an East Coast cyclocross legend and long-time staple on the US and international racing scene. She has retired from professional racing to focus on her business and family, and is currently a member of the Rapha Women’s Ambassadors Program, which SRAM supports. Mo recently participated in one of the Ambassador Brevets and began to question her preparation at around mile 70 (of the 120+ mile ride). Here is her personal account of the event.
This year, I was invited to ride with the Rapha Women’s Ambassador program, starting with the Portland Brevet. This event was the vision of the folks at Rapha, seeking an adventure out their front door. Each day was a bit over 100 miles of rolling terrain and some solid climbing. Being a cyclocross racer with a training plan geared to shorter efforts, I had only ridden 100 miles three times before. I set out to train for back-to-back centuries, building up to the distance.
There would be about 80 riders total and set off in groups of 10-12 at varied paces that allowed mixing up along the way. It was really nice to meet new people all day long. I thought it remarkable how many people were completely comfortable and capable of riding 100+ miles back to back. There were so many fit, strong and happy people riding what I consider HUGE distances!
I had been anxious about the distance, not knowing how much to eat or drink or how good or bad I might feel on the given days. My training rides had felt harder than I hoped and I struggled in the wind, getting easily discouraged with my fitness. I’ll admit to feeling actually anxious at the start. I barely knew anyone or their ability to ride and I worried that I would get myself in my usual long ride situation: with a group of men a little too fast for me. I’m too stubborn to give up, so I ride just under threshold all day and I just want it to be over with.
I stuck with a handful of more experienced distance riders – all of whom happened to be women. They were encouraging and positive the whole way. They offered tidbits of advice and made sure to take note of the beautiful moss covered trees and Oregon forests, even as we struggled together on the longer climbs.
The Rapha Women’s Ambassador Program is sponsored by Trek bikes, SRAM and Giro. When we were asked if anyone would like to spec their bikes with SRAM 1x, I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve been riding 1x on my MTB and my cyclocross bikes for the last few seasons and found it really suits my riding style. It inspires more confidence in my gear choices, allowing for faster accelerations and more efficient riding.
I chose to spec my Trek Silque SSL carbon road bike with a 42t front ring and the 11-36 cassette. I chose the 42t over the 44t, because I prefer a slightly lighter gear for climbing to reduce strain on my low back and hips, which have some chronic issues from being a lifetime athlete. Racing single speed cyclocross has allowed me to smoothly pedal a very high cadence when I run out of gear, so I was comfortable with losing the low end of the gear ratio.
I’m hooked on 1x completely. I honestly can’t say a bad thing about it. For me, it has eliminated all of the second-guessing about whether I should have been in a different gear at any point. It also eliminates the potential for distraction regarding last minute decisive shifting or fear of dropped chains when racing or training. I love the simplicity. I love how quiet it is. And, I’ve never dropped a chain, even in the muddiest of cyclocross races. Thanks! Xo
Photos courtesy of Mo Bruno Roy and Daniel Sharp (hero image)