Life In The Big Ring


If you would have asked me at the beginning of this riding season to explain the type of cyclist I am, I would have said I’m a spinner who spends quite a bit of time in the small ring.  In fact, that is exactly what I told Victor from Bicycle Lab when he did the bike fit on me this spring.

But something has happened this year.  I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but I honestly cannot remember the last time I shifted into my small ring.  I have been living in my big ring and loving it.

Windy days, inclines, whatever….I’m in the big ring and staying there.  Now, I am not exactly situated right now in the hilliest place on Earth. Yeah, Saskatchewan is not known for its mountains. Once I get back to Austin and some of the other locations I plan on cycling very soon, it might be a different story.  But for now I am feeling really strong and powering my big ring through whatever stands in my way.

There is just something so good about completing an entire ride in the big ring.  I’ve also found that my cadence is a whole lot more consistent while here as well, and I’m able to get into a nice groove.

So what’s changed this year?  Well, I can only think of three things to contribute it to:

  1. Diet: I’ve always had a pretty good diet, but about 10 months ago I cleaned it up even more.  The inclusion of homemade falafel, green smoothies, hemp hearts, steel cut oatmeal, and becoming 95% vegetarian….has made me feel like I’m firing on all cylinders.
  2. Bike Fit: As I mentioned, I had a bike fit done in April and I know that the alterations have done me good.
  3. Hard Work: I’ve been giving it all I have for days on end and my legs and lungs are delivering.

For any readers who aren’t sure what all this “big ring” talk is about, let me get technical for a second. First of all, when a pro rider talks about the Big Ring they likely mean the absolute top gears of the big ring (Chain on smallest sprocket in the back).  For me, I’m referring to the large front chainring on your bike (the Crank).  I could also get into the tooth set found within the ring, but we’ll leave that one for another post.

What ring do you spend most of your time?  How do feel the big ring compares to the small when riding?

Enjoy Your Ride


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Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.


Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

Sports Drink Homebrew

Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to

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