Pro triathlete Haley Chura discovered truth about #My1x in North Georgia mountains
Haley Chura is a swimmer turned pro triathlete. She gained noticed as the first woman out of the water at Kona in 2013. She’s found her cycling legs training in her beloved North George Mountains, where she put her SRAM 1x groupset to the test. Here’s Haley’s #My1x story in her own words:
54… 48… 11… 32… Bicycle gearing numbers can sound like some kind of secret code understood only by gear junkies and seasoned mechanics. But it doesn’t have to be that way! For me, the big shift from basic understanding to true gearing appreciation came when I switched to SRAM Force 1 single-front ring system. Suddenly I had an answer and an explanation to that previously puzzling question, “What’s your gearing?”
I’m a triathlete, so I ride a time trial bike. Most of my racing is on fairly flat or rolling courses, but I love training in the mountains – the bigger and steeper the hills, the better. I weigh close to 130 pounds so high watts for me usually fall in the mid-200s with a target 85 pedal rotations per minute.
The simplicity of 1x drew me in. A single front ring meant I’d never drop my chain, and one shifter meant fewer decisions to make mid-race. A secure clutch-system rear derailleur (with its CAGE LOCK feature) meant easier rear wheel removal. And no front derailleur meant no annoying rubbing noises. Simple and silent; but could I survive without the small ring?
Locals call the North Georgia Mountains “The Gaps,” but I call them my playground. The smooth roads wind up and down dozens of mountain passes with sustained climbing grades reaching 15 percent or more. The Gaps are where I’ve grown up as a cyclist and where I put the 1x system to the test.
In my first trip to the Gaps I went with the 52-toothed front chain ring and an 11-30 cassette. I thought the fairly standard sized 52 front chain ring would allow me to keep the pressure on the pedals as I descended. I hoped the slightly larger than normal 30-toothed rear cassette would keep my legs spinning at my preferred mid-80s cadence as I climbed.
I was mostly right with this set-up. The descents felt as powerful as ever. The shifting was incredibly fluid, and I had almost enough climbing gears. It was only when the road pitched steeper than 7-8 percent that I noticed my cadence dropping. I love a good low RPM session when I’m doing specific strength work, but it’s less than ideal if I need to run off the bike. Luckily, the fix was easy: I swapped the 11-30 rear cassette for an 11-32. A few extra teeth in my “easiest” gear meant I could keep my cadence right where I wanted it, even on the steepest climbs.
With SRAM Force 1x, I can find the perfect gearing ratio for me, on my preferred course, and suitable to my style of riding. And whether I’m doing a front chain ring replacement, or a simple rear cassette swap, all equipment modifications are made with a full understanding of how and why I’m making that change. SRAM Force 1x is simple, silent, and the perfect solution when anyone asks, “What’s your gearing?”
Follow Haley Chura on Twitter @HaleyChura