Battery doping

We had hit Trump, I was in my 53 x 17, and Gavin Hoover was pulling away. I was doing my best to stay on his wheel. At the bottom of the Switchbacks he began doing his best to make sure I was not on his wheel, which was pretty effective, not just as to me, but as to the other four riders struggling might and main not to get dropped. When a dude with his sights set on making the Olympic team hits the gas, your day is done. The peloton was a distant memory.

I tried to shift onto an easier rear cog but the derailleur wouldn’t move. I got off the big chain ring but the 39 x 17 was too small to keep up, and they began pulling away. I realized the rear derailleur battery on my SRAM e-tap had died.

Every Saturday afternoon I charge front and rear, and this week I’d only ridden Tue/Thu/Fri, hardly enough to run down the battery. On the other hand, the batteries were two-and-a-half years old. That’s about 130 charges, which I figured was probably enough to have taken the battery to the end of its life.

I pulled over to swap the front battery onto the rear. Swarms of riders passed. I fumbled a bit but got it done, hopped on, and pedaled away. After a bit Derek the Ninja Destroyer caught me, dragging Ivan and someone else, and towed us to about 200 yards from the first chase group, throwing burned and shellacked droppees into the Destroyer blender as he passed.

I hopped up the last couple of hundred yards and rode up Crest, towed the whole way by Bryant Rolf, who recently relocated from the East Coast back to L.A. and brought a vicious pair of legs with him. I sucked wheel until the end and sprunted around him.

The group re-agglomerated and as we rode into San Pedro I told Gavin what had happened. He nodded. “I don’t think my cables ever lost their charge during a ride or race,” he said.

END

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4 thoughts on “Battery doping”

  1. “Every Saturday afternoon I charge front and rear [derailleur batteries]…”

    Wow… that’s a lot! I’m pretty much SRAM vs Shimano agnostic. I’ll happily adapt to either one. However, my current bike has Ultegra Di2, and I only need to charge it about once every six months. I ride about 40 miles a week.

    True, I there are some inconspicuous wires, and the battery is the size of a stick of butter, but charging once every six months seems a lot easier to live with.

    1. I think the batteries will run for at least a couple of weeks without charging, but I’ve never left it to chance. I recharged the supposedly expired battery when I got home and it works fine, but I ordered two new ones anyway. $38/apiece …

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