Category Archives: Personal stuff

If things ran so smoothly I wasn’t needed… (a fantasy)

If the shop ran so smoothly that either I wasn’t needed or if it was the case that, when here, I’m in the way of better things, then in about two hours I’d be jumping onto UA#990 to France. Save award tickets are available in both business and economy, and I’ve plenty of miles at the moment. I’d quickly re-pack my BikeFriday (Kevin’s is still packed, so no problem there) and head to the airport.

We’d land tomorrow in Paris (direct flight!) and take the TGV to Geneva. Plane arrives at CDG 10:45am; train to Grenoble at 1:58pm, arrives Grenoble at 5:34pm (one transfer at Lyon). We’d probably stay here, right across from the train station. 9 nights, $631, air conditioned, includes a small kitchen. Great reviews on Booking.com (which I’ve used with great results when booking overseas accommodations).

Using that hotel as a base, we could explore most of the Alps and all of the Vercors region without a rental car. Awesome. Getting out past Alpe D’Huez would be easier with than without one though, but I think we could do it for just a few days and not spend too much (budget about $70/day for a small rental car in France).

Thursday the 21st we’d take the direct TGV, 10:23am to 1:22pm into Paris, Gare de Lyon station. Maybe stay here, at the Hotel Terminus Lyon, right in front of the train station, and right across the street from the bus that takes us straight to CDG airport Friday morning, where we board our plane for home (saver award tickets available!) and arrive back Friday afternoon at SFO.

OK, I just spent about 25 minutes planning the important details of an entire trip to France. Specifically, a cycling trip to the Vercors and Alps. You could even make a run to Ventoux from there! Hey, you can always dream, right?  –Mike–

Updated 4:05pm- I checked on Flightaware; UA990 SFO-CDG left on-time, without me. Maybe I’ll re-pack my bike, just in case. No, just kidding.

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I love my bike, but it’s time to upgrade!

The maiden voyage of the bike I'm retiring, 10/25/09, on Ebbetts Pass
The maiden voyage of the bike I’m retiring, 10/25/09, on Ebbetts Pass. It won’t quite make it 5 years to its final ride.

Are bikes like dogs you’ve owned? Defining a period of time in your life? Maybe that’s what makes my present bike special; it represents the period of time in which my son, Kevin, went from ambitious but pudgy emerging cyclist to blazingly-fast (to me) climber. And my daughter, Becky, went from having some issues at school to honors-student at graduation and near-rockstar status at the shop. For political reasons I can’t push the shop rockstar thing too far as I’ve got a great crew overall, but she’s getting a great sense of how it all pulls together. And during that time my wife has gone from weighing quite a bit more to weighing quite a bit less! Ultimately dogs, and bikes, pass on, but are remembered together with the times you lived through with them.

Approximately 35,000 miles on my 2010 Madone 6 Project One and it’s time. Time to replace absolutely positively the best bike I’ve ever owned… and I’ve owned quite a few over the years. Not sure what more I could ask a bike to do than this one has done for me. But aside from a lot of wear & tear (a testament to the durability of Shimano Dura-Ace; I’ve replaced only a large front chainring and a few rear cassettes, in addition, of course, to quite a few chains), it’s now 3 models behind, and it’s time to enjoy the many improvements.

The new bike will not appear too much different from the old, with a very similar color scheme (black frame, green decals) and the wheels will actually move on from my prior bike to this one (Aeolus 3 carbon clinchers with less than 20,000 miles on them; they replaced earlier Bontrager XXX versions that lasted 33,000 miles through two different bikes). It will however feature a new one-piece bar/stem combination, and the latest & greatest 11-speed Dura Ace electric shifting. I’d considered going with mechanical, but after putting all those miles on the original Dura Ace electric shifting system, with nary a hitch… and never having to replace a broken cable… I’m spoiled. Staying with the program.

And now I have to wait until the middle of September. That’s right; a show owner who’s supported Trek for 25+ years has to wait in line, just like everyone else. It’s going to be really, really cool. I’ve ridden our stock floor bikes and they’re pretty darned awesome. Wonder what its first “real” ride will be?

Click on the photo for a complete description of my new bike, all the specs, everything.
Click on the photo for a complete description of my new bike, all the specs, everything.

What happens to my old bike? That’s the sad part (not really, unless you’re the type who never gets rid of their old bikes; I used to be that person). Trek has a loyalty program for all who own a carbon Trek bike; if you turn the frameset in (you get to keep the parts), you get a 20% discount on a brand new bike. Trek’s thinking is that your current bike might have a lot of wear & tear on it, has probably been through a couple of crashes, and it makes sense to get it off the road. Nobody inspects it to see that it actually was crashed, but few haven’t been. So the old frame goes back to Trek and literally gets ground up and recycled, while you get a new bike at a hefty discount. Please note this program could disappear at any time; there’s no formal written policy with a time frame. While it’s here, if you have the opportunity and need, take advantage of it!

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