Category Archives: Tues/Thurs 7:45am ride

Endless ramblings regarding the every Tuesday & Thursday-morning bike ride, leaving Olive Hill & Canada Road at 7:45am, rain or shine

Can’t get a new engine, but a new bike helps!

When you look up at Skyline from below, seeing all the fog, you're thinking great, my brand new bike, first real ride, is going to be a mess. But it magically burns off before you get there, and you wonder what could be nicer than a morning like this?
When you look up at Skyline from below, seeing all the fog, you’re thinking great, my brand new bike, first real ride, is going to be a mess. But it magically burns off before you get there, and you wonder what could be nicer than a morning like this?

There were supposed to be three more rides left in my 2010 Madone 6, not quite 5 years old. Last night riding home, this morning on the regular ride up Kings, and a final ride to the shop. Quite the surprise when UPS delivered my bike a day early, so I got it built up enough to ride home last night, leaving my old Madone in a sad state of partial disassembly, prior to stripping everything off and sending the frame back to Trek so they can see what 36,652.9 hard miles (including a crash or two, one of which resulted in a broken wrist) have done to it.

I weighed my Madone bare, with pedals, 15.73 pounds. This bike is 14.43. Still using the same wheels (Bontrager Aeolus D3) which had been on the Madone for about a year. Weight difference comes from a new one-piece bar & stem, lighter frameset, and 11-speed DuraAce Di2 vs 10. But what does it ride like?

Well… it couldn’t quite overcome some significant air intake issues with the engine this morning. I really wish I could have had a dramatic entrance with the new bike, blowing past everyone on the climb, setting a new PR for Kings, but today’s lungs were the worst since last winter. 27:22, could be worse, but sure would be nice to get under 27 again. Considering how I was breathing, I’m surprised I could get under 28. But once up top the world became a nicer place, with the sun’s rays piercing through the trees and streaking across the road, and the wheels of Kevin, Todd, JR, George and Marcus to pull me along.

Yes, that's actually Kevin pulling at the front, followed by George, Todd & JR.
Yes, that’s actually Kevin pulling at the front, followed by George, Todd & JR.
Strangest thing on the ride this morning? Seeing Kevin (my son, not the pilot) actually pulling at the front as we descended the west side of 84! Thought I was hallucinating, but I took a picture, just to prove it.

So what can I say, so far, about the new bike? Yes, it feels lighter. When you stand and sprint, it feels like there’s less of it to throw around. And it’s absolutely positively smoother on chip seal, a definite plus! Handling is virtually identical to my Madone, which is a very good thing, since that bike handled amazingly-well, head and shoulders above anything else I’d ridden before. I set the bike up identically to the Madone, with two exceptions. I shortened the stem’s reach from 10cm to 9, and narrowed the width of the bars from 44 to 42. The bar width was absolutely the right thing to do. Shortening the length? The jury’s still out on that one. I might drop the stem a bit and increase the reach slightly, something I couldn’t do before without getting into some pain.

Can’t wait to get it out on a long ride this weekend!

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Farewell to an awesome bike & wardrobe malfunction

Getting ready to set out on its final ride to the coast. Awesome bike. Trek builds them well!
Getting ready to set out on its final ride to the coast. Awesome bike. Trek builds them well!

Found out ¬†Friday that my new bike (Trek Emonda SLR9) shipped out earlier than expected and will arrive on Tuesday! Which means today was the last ride to the coast for a bike that’s served me well for nearly 5 years without issue. Four rides left to go before it enters the “retired” column on Strava- commute to & from work Monday, regular Tuesday morning ride, and its final commute to work shortly after. Why not keep it around? Because it’s been through the wars, it’s been, well, on the ground a couple times, and Trek has a program for customers that allows them to trade in their questionable frames (as long as they’re carbon Treks!) and get a new bike at a 20% discount.

Today’s ride. We knew it was going to be challenging, since Kevin hadn’t ridden since last Sunday (he skipped Tuesday’s ride because I’d traveled to Las Vegas so he slept in, and Thursday he had pretty severe kidney pain). I let him pick the route; reverse Pescadero with West Alpine. So up Old LaHonda, out to San Gregorio, Stage Road south to Pescadero, over Haskins and up West Alpine. Normally, you’d get a tailwind heading south on Stage. Not today. And if you’re lucky, you might not get a headwind out to the coast, thanks to the off-shore flow that keeps the fog away. But not today.

Ewww! Busted jersey on the left, "repaired" jersey on the right.
Ewww! Busted jersey on the left, “repaired” jersey on the right. Was a bit worried about an odd hourglass sunburn I might have gotten had I worn it too long this way.

And normally you’re not wearing a jersey that’s connected only in the middle up front, but after a couple years and couple hundred times through the washer & dryer, the zipper decided it was going to give out. A YKK zipper no less, supposedly the best! But eventually everything wears out, and I don’t have the usual closet full of various jerseys like most people do… I invariably carry the flag, wearing my Chain Reaction store jersey. It was suggested by someone related that I shouldn’t have posted a photo of the jersey “repaired” using safety clips (bought them at the Pescadero Bakery… who knew, great food, drinks, and safety clips!) because it bears our name on an apparently-defective product. But I give our customers more credit than that; I think they know that anything, worn & washed enough times, isn’t going to last forever. And I’m even willing to say this- if you’ve got one of our custom Chain Reaction jerseys and the zipper fails, even if it’s 5 years old and you’ve worn it every day, I’m going to give you a new one. :-)

She wasn't sure how much further to the top
She wasn’t sure how much further to the top

OK, back to the ride. I told Kevin not to overdo it on Old LaHonda, figuring a 22 minute time. He did 21:58. Close enough. I was about a minute and a half behind, helping clear up a woman’s confusion about how much further it climbed. It shouldn’t have taken that long, but I can’t talk well when I’m climbing, and I overshot her very quickly. I also made sure that she knew about “the other side” of Old LaHonda (which it turns out she’s ridden before).

In Pescadero we had our usual Coke plus split a sandwich between us plus one of the face-sized cookies. Then we set off, not feeling quite on top of our game but you can’t feel that way every single ride. Haskins is never easy and it wasn’t this time (Kevin even had a seizure on the way up) and West Alpine? Enjoyable, yes, fast, no. But in the end, a pretty decent 68 mile ride.

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