That's what I kept telling myself when I discovered that the Bianchi I bought off of Craigslist from a nice guy was just not cutting it. The frame was a little big - top tube on my race machine is 56cm and this was 58. And it's a little heavy - like 10 pounds heavier than my race machine. Now, combine the weight with the "comfortable steel ride" (read: flexy) and I had a good bike for all day slow rides, not any sort of spirited group rides. I wanted a bike that could do most everything. The first fastish ride where the bike really failed me was a gravel road ride. I figured the flex wouldn't matter as much since gravel gives more than pavement. Well I show up to this ride out of shape anyway and it became very clear right away that the title of this post was quite true.
Fast forward to a couple weeks ago and I was in the shop and re-re-re-browsing the bike selection. I studied this one bike very carefully and decided it would make a good all arounder. It's geometry, very much UNlike the Bianchi, was similar to my road race machine. So I asked one of the employees to check to see if I would qualify for the 12 month same as cash Trek card. I've made some progress on my credit debt, so I know my FICO score was coming up. Well I qualified and decided to pull the trigger.
I dinked around with it and put road bars, bar-end shifters, cyclo-cross v-brakes, standard road gearing on and had a good all-rounder bike. I could slap on some very large tires (44C is what I've tried so far) and do some great gravel road rides. Or, like tonights Wednesday night road ride, just run it with some stiff efficient tires/wheels and hang with the group. Which is exactly what I did tonight.
I showed up to the group ride on my Gary Fisher Wingra fully expecting to fall off after the 2nd or 3rd fast section. I stayed comfortably competitive the whole ride. We had a strong group, but were missing some of the really fast guys, such as Shim, Kent (who just happened to get 18th at the Leadville 100 mtb race recently), Steve Jarrett, and a couple other usual suspects. But we had a steady strong group which I could actually hang with. It felt great to be up there again. And when I stomped on my pedals, UNlike my Bianchi, the bike transferred my power to the pavement.
So needless to say, after feeling great the whole ride, I'm floating on a cloud of good-judgement/excitement. I haven't actually weighed the bike, but I figure it's around 20-22 pounds. If I would swap out the current setup with my bestest lightest stuff, I think I could get it down to 19 pounds. Now if I wanted to fork over more mullah, I could change out the cromoly fork for a carbon one and have a truly competitive race machine. I'd probably go with a fork that had disc brake mounts and be able to run full discs for my winter time commutes/rides when rim brakes get kinda scary.
This weekend I'm planning on practicing biking with my new toy on the ride mentioned at the end of this post. Rundown: Shabbos (that means Saturday), 8:30am, leave from Bike Masters, ride up to Ft. Calhoun then back with some good hills and a spirited tempo. Show up for some pain and a little fun. Sunday is still up in the air and then Monday is my b-day. Wish I could take the day off and celebrate, but it's also d-day at my work since it's the first day of classes and I'm in high demand. No hang-overs for me.
Edit: Oh yeah, I should add to this already long post with a weekend report.
Saturday's Tranquility Tire Tantrum mtb race: This was only my 3rd off-road ride in like 3 months, so I wasn't expecting much. The gun went off and I was left in the dust (literally since the trail was bone dry) at first. I kept my steady pace and followed some very experienced wheels (Thanks Samsam and Showen!) so I wouldn't blow myself up too soon. It proved to be a wise tactic as by my 3rd and final lap, I was ready to be done. I had a good cushion ahead and behind me till Samsam made a rally the last half of the lap. I gave it everything I had and just held him off by maybe 20 seconds. Talking to the first 2 across the line, they thought I might have made 3rd. WHAT?!?! That would have been crazy, but alas, there was another guy who was ahead of me by a mere 4 minutes. The top 2 beat me by 8 minutes. Sheesh, guess I need to ride my mtb more.
Sundays Omaha Corporate Cycling Challenge: The plan was to go fast from the gun and we did. It was Bob, Brady, Shim, me and 10 or so other guys who kept a steady 23mph average pace all the way out to Ft. Calhoun. After that turnaround point, Bob, Brady and I toned it down and had a more Shabbos + 1 like ride home. All around a great weekend of riding.
On a more serious note, I got a text from Sean K saying he would have joined, but his Grandmother had just passed away. Sean, I'm sorry for your loss and my thoughts are with you.