So I posted a spy shot and have not had a chance to update since. The new bike arrived, it didn’t get here in time for the Bonelli race but that is okay. I don’t know if everyone goes through the same thing with new bikes (specifically race bikes, I am sure everyone feels the excitement!) but I wind up tearing the bike down to the frame and then going through every little piece. I am pretty meticulous about this process and I think it gives good results but it takes a lot of time.
So while all of this is going on we are also working and training which is why I haven’t had a spare minute to post anything more than the teaser shot!
Last weeks training went pretty well. The week started out as usual with Monday off, then Tuesday and Wednesday’s hard workouts. Thursday I was feeling pretty good but Allison bonked hard on the ride and we called it early. The poor girl just needs to figure out how to eat more. (She has since bonked on another ride and we are working on her nutrition to get things squared away.)
Saturday we wouldn’t be participating in the VQ or CC which is a break from the last two years. Both of the last two years saw me coaxing Allison forward toward the finish line (it certainly wouldn’t be like that any more!) but we decided that this year things were going to be more focused (if you haven’t figured it out yet, that means XC racing). This focus has brought new heights to both our fitness levels and we have learned so much… I do miss DH racing but with any luck it will still be there when I get the Gravity itch.
In any case since we weren’t participating Allison came up with a plan to cheer for some of our friends while we got a training ride in. It worked out awesome! We climbed up SJT and then up to Trabuco. We stopped at Bluejay to snap a shot of us in our new Lucca kits. :)
After seeing the second place rider pass by we traversed Main Divide over to the top of WHT.
On the way there we saw Slater who was absolutely DESTROYING the course. That guy is crazy fast (he better be with muscles bulging everywhere and veins sticking out!). We hung out up top and cheered for the riders. Luke came through looking very fresh and definitely looked like he was just out for a Saturday ride which is crazy considering he was in the top 20 or so riders in an event like this. Way to go Luke! We hiked down a little ways on the trail to snap some photos and cheer.
The view of the peak was great. I longed for a telescope to see the riders coming down but settled for a nice pose from the wife.
We got to see our buddy Mark Scheetz cranking along happily. Although Allison was anxious to get back to our training ride I convinced her to wait a bit longer to cheer on our co-worker Bruce Wilson. He wasn’t having such a good day but I ran after him TdF style in hopes of motivating him.
After he went by we jumped on the bikes and rode back down to SJT and back to the truck. Climbing is cool and all, but I really live for the descents!
Technical climbing is also something I really embrace. Too bad you don't get bonus time in a XC race for not dabbing. :)
I even disrupted my own "flow" on one of my favorite descents to snap a few shots of the wife! :)
Who says I can't be an engineer AND and artist!? :)
Post ride we figured since we were already in the OC we would run some errands. We went to Rock ‘N’ Road and I got a new jersey along with some smaller items. They have a really nice shop and atmosphere there. We then traveled over to The Path to say “Hi” and I picked up some grips for my new steed (pictures to follow). I was starving so we drove down the street to Chipotle and I happily destroyed a burrito.
(Avoid the bonk!)
REI was next on our hit list and we managed to spend way more than our annual dividend (no surprise!).
Sunday we rode a really hard route through the local hills on the road bikes.
It was cold in the morning so even though I wanted to show off my new jersey (that I absolutely LOVE) I was sporting my new Specialized Deflect Jacket/Vest (it is convertible which makes it versatile - LOVE IT!)
Before too long we got to the goods! STEEP!!!!
Here is a shot of my LRF WC jersey. :)
Onto the really good stuff that you have all been waiting for!!!!!
The new bike was ready to go and the time change has provided us with an opportunity to ride after work so who could refuse?
Hope we never get rear ended...
The bike was 19.5 lbs out of the box without pedals, I am not sure what it weighs now but it is LIGHT and FAST.
The Brain fork works great. I am still tweaking the settings but even without being fully dialed in it works awesome.
The frame is extremely stiff. No flex in this puppy. When I stand up this thing ACCELERATES. I am sure that the new wheels are also part of this equation as they are quite stiff for being so light (we will see about durability!)
The handling is quite crisp on this thing. I can certainly see how it might amplify any mistakes made due to fatigue or inattention. I am still working out tire selection, pressures, the detail stuff.
One thing that stands out in my mind is that the 26” wheels seem to be much more prone to problems in sand. Washing out in a corner or slugging through deep sand in a straight line is definitely not a strong point of 26ers.
I feel that it bears mentioning again that this bike is LIGHT! When in the air it is like not even having a bike under me. The same effort to do a small whip on the 29er yields a “Whoa did I do THAT!” on this bike.
The overall impression so far is that this bike does everything faster, tighter, quicker than my Niner. On the other hand those that know me and my riding are wondering what the hell I am thinking with a full carbon frame. I don’t have an answer to that except that I am hoping to tone down my riding a bit for many reasons. I can’t place well in a race if I am getting flats because I was having too much fun.
Bottom line is time will tell, but this bike seems to be the ultimate weapon for me to do battle with the likes of James. Hopefully I can come up with the goods and pass him on course saying something like, “Your skinny ass isn’t going so fast today!” (Lets be real folks, this only happens in my dreams.)