A day of firsts

At noon I registered for my first ever Ride to Cure event benefitting the JDRF. A little while later I FINALLY managed my first outdoor ride on my 3-months-new (to the day) road bike. I'd call today a definite WIN (this day was so full of win, in fact, that I'm positively wired, even though it's well past my bedtime)!

My ride went well...better than expected, really. I knew my new bike would handle differently than my old bike--and it does. But it didn't take more than a few miles before it felt pretty comfortable. I'd be a complete liar if I said that those first few pedal strokes didn't scare the shit outta me, though. Granted, part of the feelings of instability are as much a part of having spent almost 4 months entirely on the indoor trainer, but most of the sensation was that of a bike that requires very minimal "instruction" to go right or left. People often refer to stiffer, performance geometry frames as being "responsive" or "twitchy." Now I totally GET what they're getting at. My new bike definitely feels twitchy. Not in a way that I won't come to love and find very 2nd nature, but after riding 3500 miles on a "plush" geometry frame it's a very different sensation.

The other thing I noticed right away is how insanely light my new ride is--what a difference 3 little pounds makes (though my butt now weighs at least 3#s more than it did during my previous outdoor ride on my first road bike). I'm no faster than I was in the Fall, though. All those 100-200 mile weeks had me a LOT more fit on the bike than I am now (and 10#s of clothing to keep me warm riding in 36º temps certainly didn't make me any faster, either). I hope that returns pretty fast once I start logging more serious miles outdoors. At half (or less) of my Summer mileage I've gotten pretty soft (in more ways than 1).

The cornering is one place where I actually felt MORE stable. I HATED corners on my previous bike and never felt like I had good control on them, requiring taking them slow and wide. Granted, I still took corners slowly today, since I'm out of practice and there's a lot of debris and stuff left from plowing. But the few corners I did take had me feeling like THIS bike wants to take corners more sharply and at a faster speed without feeling at risk of losing control. I'd compare it to the sloppy/soft suspension of my Ford Escort vs. the stiff and sporty suspension of my little zoom-zoom Mazda 3. In car terms my previous bike had a ton of "body roll."

Things that we may further tweak on the new bike: I think I may need a slightly longer stem. I believe my current stem is an 8cm and I'm suspicious that I may do better with a 9, or maybe even a 10. On the trainer the reach seemed comfortable, but on the road I'm feeling like I'd like to have my hands just a hair more forward than they currently are. A longer stem would make the steering a little less touchy, too.

I hope to get another outdoor ride in later in the week. In the meantime I have running and weight workouts on the agenda and will be doing my first fundraising gig this weekned at a Disney on Ice show...every popcorn and pretzel sold gets me a little bit closer to that $4,000 fundraising goal.


  1. My daughter will be at Disney on Ice with my parents this weekend. I'll send them with some cash for the concession to help you out!

    BTW: I LOVE your new bike! I'm choking on a large lump of bike envy.

  2. Thanks! I hope you can figure out how to get a new road bike in your stable soon, too. I know you've been wanting that for a while, now.