10.23.2010

It's a woman's prerogative, you know...

I'd been lusting after a cyclocross bike as my next 2-wheeled ride...and I really do think that eventually it would be a very practical and well-used bike to add to our stable.  But the earliest I would NEED a 'cross bike would be in a year from now.  And even then there is no guarantee that I will take part in any cyclocross races.  If we're in Death Valley for the 2011 JDRF ride next Oct., then it's doubtful that I would risk banging myself up in any 'cross events.  And, to be honest, lately I have wondered if my left ankle will ever be right, again.  I'm really coming to the realization that I may have done some serious, permanent damage to that joint.  I did everything wrong in the first crucial 48 hours after the initial injury.  At this point I question whether I will be able to run trails.  The same sorts of risks to my ankle running off-road would exist during the off-bike sections of a cyclocross race.

But I do have several Duathlons and thousands of road miles in the plans for 2011.  All that would would be a bit more pleasant on a road machine that dampens vibrations a bit more than my existing aluminum frame.  A frame with more aggressive geometry would be an improvement, as well.

And most of my bike time would still be on roads, anyhow...lots of chip-sealed roads (at least 3/4 of our roads are chip-sealed in these parts). Not so nice with my aluminum frame. I've been getting in some miles with DH on our steel tandem and the difference in the level of vibration transmitted from these frames is like night-and-day. My hands, feet, and ass are a lot happier on the back of the tandem, even on roads that make me really miserable on my Synapse.

I do like Cannondale and they and our LBS offer a 20% discount to JDRF fundraising riders, so I'm really eyeballing this bike at right (SuperSix 4 Rival). The SRAM shifters will adjust to my smaller hands and the carbon frame should dampen road vibration a good deal better than my aluminum frame.

My current ride (Cannondale Synapse 5 Féminine) is an entry-level "comfort" geometry bike.  It didn't take long before I found that I wasn't comfortable with the sort of upright posture of this sort of bike.  We've flipped my stem and swapped 2 spacers up (lowering the handlebars) to get my torso into a more "aero" stance, but I still feel like I need to stretch a bit more, especially in the drops. I don't really have the ideal body proportions for a women's specific frame--I have the relatively shorter legs and longer torso like a guy, so fit-wise I would have likely done better on a unisex frame, but the Synapse Féminine has short-reach shifters, which I need for my smallish hands.  It was a great starter bike for me to become more comfortable and confident on the road. Perhaps a more aggressive frame would have put me off early on, since the handling is much less forgiving.  Not having ever ridden a road bike I had no goals other than to use the bike for cross-training and happy cruises around with my hubby.  But once I got comfortable riding on the road I discovered that I really kind of like going fast and am relatively more "gifted" as a cyclist than I am as a runner.

And now I have race goals...I would eventually like an age group award in a duathlon.  Last year I placed 5/9 in my AG in my first duathlon.  My first ever ride in the rain...POURING rain.  And high wind.  This year I at least want that #4 spot.

Everything about that bike above looks perfect for my needs...the 48cm would fit me similarly to my current 48cm bike...in many ways it would almost certainly fit me better, since it's a men's/unisex frame with a slightly longer top tube and more aggressive ride position.  I shouldn't feel so cramped in the drops and should be able to make the best use of my beasty, powerful legs on a stiffer, lighter-weight frame, too.  Cornering should be a good deal more precise, as well.  Right now I feet less control than I would like.  It sort of reminds me a bit of a car with tight steering and suspension, vs. a car with looser steering and more body-roll...like the handling difference between my previous car compared to my current, sportier one.

The components are also a step above my current bike, with full SRAM Rival and a compact double, instead of my current mix of Shimano 105 triple and some lower-end bits.  After 3300+ miles in less than a year it's pretty clear that this is an activity I'm in for the long haul, so I've progressed beyond "entry-level" equipment pretty quickly.  Hubby admitted that I'm logging more miles than he did when he started seriously riding a road bike--and that is on top of an expected 1k miles on-foot for 2010, as well.

The color is bonus (the SuperSix 4 Rival comes in a very subtle matte black and that white and orange.  I am so not subtle and can't ever see myself on such an elegant-looking ride *snerk*).  I already have plans to essentially flip-flop the color scheme from my current "Oby/Oberon" bike.  Hubby was down at our local bike shop a couple of nights ago picking up the roof rack for our tandem and happened to mention to our shop guy, Mike, that I'm already lusting after the SuperSix.  Mike was apparently not the least bit surprised and exclaimed that we must name it "Oby Two Kenobi!"  I completely agree!

So it's quite clear that I must outfit the bike with "Sid Blue" trimmings.  I discovered both bar tape and cable housings in that color, which nearly identically matches that turquoise blue of Oby.  They will be like siblings!  Oby is the relaxed, practical older sibling and Oby 2 would be the wild, delinquent younger child.  And I still have a remaining Oberon beer sticker from my friend, Heather.  That will look perfect on the bottom of the down tube.

It's too bad I can't actually keep both bikes, but there would be no reason to have TWO road bikes (I'm not my hubby, fer pity's sake, heh!).  We're already running out of room in the garage with 2 road bikes, a tandem, DH's good mtn. bike, our POS mtn. bikes, DH's cross bike, his backup road bike, his cracked old road frame, and DS's bike.  I think there may be more, too...seems like every time I go out there I find another bike that I'd forgotten we have.  Does this mean we have a problem?

2 comments:

  1. Cycling is addictive - somebody should have warned me!!

    I only started because it was unfortunately part of triathlon! Initially I hated it and only got an entry level road bike. Something happend and the more time I spent on the bike the more I liked it. I then progressed to a much better tri bike, now want to upgrade my road bike too. I also borrowed my sister's mnt bike on the weekend for a race.... I liked! Now I want... Oh dear!

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  2. I'm always glad to hear it's not just me. Though I have 0 interest in mountain-biking. I'm too much of a klutz for that business.

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