Saturday, January 06, 2007

Porsche Cayman of bikes.

I was trying to think of an apt automotive equivalent to my new road bike, and the Cayman seems to fit. It's not the top 'o da line Tarmac (911) in the Specialized product offerings hierarchy, but it could possibly be the better bike.

Alto Velo is a good club. One of it's members was selling her "old" bikes. Granted, old to these semi-pro, super serious riders is like 2 years. So she was getting rid of a Serotta Ottrott and a Specialized Roubaix Pro, both with some very nice kit (can you say bling?) and at very attractive prices.

I knew they would go quickly so I e-mailed my friend Augi. He was all over it. He went to see the bikes and was luckily the first one there. Of course he ended up buying both, and was gracious enough to offer me the Roubaix. I saw the Ottrott when I went to check out the Spec and it's a gorgeous bike. Didn't fit me or else we would have had some serious discussions...

So I decided to try another AV group ride, choosing the "easier" B-Ride this morning. I usually get dropped after about 5 miles with either A or B groups, but I thought I actually had a shot of staying on with the new road rocket.

Turns out I was right! This bike is simply amazing. My wife asked me if it was better than my trusty Davidson and I had to admit that it was. In every way. It's lighter (16.5lbs w/regular Chorus wheels and Eggbeater pedals), stiffer, more compliant, faster, quicker, sharper but also more stable. It accelerates faster, slows quicker, climbs easier and descends better. I couldn't believe it, but I guess technology moves along pretty quick (10 yrs of improvements). I still love my lugged steel bike and will likely keep it forever. But the old girl is looking pretty shabby next to this new machine.

I managed to stay with the group, even when the pace inevitably picked up on Arastradero. I was riding along Portola tucked in at the rear when I heard a strange noise. It was a twap, twap, twap like the old playing card in the spokes noise. Had on my earmuff/wrap thing, so it was a muted sound, but the two guys ahead turned around and were looking at my bike. I thought I might have something stuck in the frame/wheels, so I did a quick check and was still ok.

The group slows and turns up Old La Honda. I hope to be able to climb with everyone in the pack. I make the left and the bike feels very odd. I go a bit up the climb and then realize my front tire was flat! I haven't had a flat in about 5 years, so I was glad I actually brought my old Zefal frame pump and an extra tube. I pull over to repair the wheel and it was a little thorn/pine leaf thing that actually went through the tire. Unbelievable. After a slow repair (to catch my breath) I decided to continue forth. A lot of cyclists had passed me, and a majority of them had asked if I was okay. That was pretty cool.

I didn't time myself, but I know I would be much faster on this bike. We'll have to see next time. I'm really starting to like the OLH climb, and my little 30 mile loop.


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