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.