I’ll say it up front: I haven’t ridden the steed outside yet. But, I wanted to give it its due with my attempt at a CyclingNews esque Pro Bike review.
First a little background. I’ve been riding an ’08 Cannondale SuperSix with Ultegra SL on it for… let’s do some quick math… carry the 1… ah ok, 4 years now. It’s been a great bike in every respect. I haven’t had any issues with the frame or any of my components. (Well, that’s not entirely true. I broke one of the inserts on my crank last off season and that set off my knee issues. But, in my crank’s defense, my knee issues would have reared their ugly head eventually. The crank only accelerated the rearing part). Nevertheless, it’s all worked very well for me these past few years. But the idea of having just one bike has always made me uneasy. What if I were to go down? What if someone knocked my bike over and cracked something? What if my steer tube broke a ‘la George Hincapie? Thankfully, luck was on my side and nothing major ever happened. I decided last year that I’d wait one more year, then get a new bike – hopefully with the ability to build it up independently of my SuperSix. Thus, TWO whole bikes!
And here we are. A year later and I’ve got two bikes. Team Primal put in our orders for our new Specialized bikes in October with the idea that we’d get our new rigs come January, possibly later. I decided against getting the Tarmac SL4 built up with Force and opted to get just the frame. I figured I could pick up slightly used Force or Ultegra 6700 on Craigslist. (I was right). Anyhow, my bike came in December, slightly ahead of schedule. Hooray!
From the time I ordered the bike, I made a list of the parts I would need to build up the SL4 and keep the Six fully intact. Over the course of a couple of months I was able to get everything I needed at super deal pricing. In the end, most of what I got came from Craigslist (thanks Jimi!) and the other stuff I got from Bike Source. The only thing I switched over from the old bike was my Hollowgram crank. When my bike finally arrived in December, I was ready to start building that bad boy up. I asked BABs to help me out and he obliged. We knocked it out over the course of a couple nights. I learned quite a lot. Thanks bud!
The next call I made was to George Mullen for my annual bike fit. He slotted me in right away and we ironed out my position on my new bike. I ended up keeping the same saddle to bar drop (10cm) as before but with a slightly longer reach (about 1.5cm). Turns out, I not only have really long legs, I have really long arms too. My wingspan is a few inches longer than my height. I can’t wait to take out the new steed and do a real fast descent in my new, more stretched out position. I’ve been wanting a longer position for awhile and now I’ve got it.
Ok, enough talk. Let’s get down to business. You and I both know why you’re here. You came to see some bike prOn. I’m here to show it.
Frame: Specialized FACT 10r carbon, FACT IS construction
Fork: Specialized FACT carbon, full monocoque
Seatpost: Specialized Pro, FACT carbon, 27.2mm
Headset: 1-1/8″ upper and 1-3/8″ lower Cr-Mo cartridge bearings, w/ 8mm carbon cone spacer
Bottom bracket: BB30
Stem: Specialized Pro Set 130mm, -17
Handlebars: FSA Wing Pro, 44cm
Tape: Fizik white pro logo
Grip: Hudz Roubaix red
Brakes: Ultegra 6700
Derailleurs: Ultegra 6700
Crank: Cannondale Hollowgram, 50/34
Cassette: Sram Red 1090, 11-26
Chain: Ultegra 6700
Pedals: Ultegra PD-6700 carbon
Wheels: Kinlin rims, Sapim Cx-Ray spokes, Powertap Pro+
Tires: Specialized all condition armadillo elite
Saddle: Fizik Antares
Bottle cages: Blackburn carbon
Computer: Garmin Edge 800
Sorry for the camera phone pics. I really didn’t want to deal with a slightly crappy digital camera. I should also mention that despite having two whole bikes now, I still only have one set of wheels. So if anything were to ever happen to them… let’s not think about that.
As you can see below, the Six has been relegated to the bike stand in between rides. Actually, the SL4 sits on the bike stand much more often than the old bike. I will not ride the new steed on my trainer. Or when it’s slightly wet outside. Or when it might snow the following weekend.
The rumors are true. I do indeed have a new bike. No, I haven’t ridden it yet, but it’s all put together and has been fit to my oddly long body. I’m excited to take some decent pics (e.g. not from my phone) and write a little pro bike review on this here blog. Let this post serve as a place holder and reminder to give my new SL4 it’s just deserts.
It seems to me that anti-doping efforts in pro cycling suffer from the same catch 22 as the “war on terror.” If you catch any dopers, you can say, “See! The system is working! We’re catching the cheaters!” And if you don’t catch any dopers, you say, “See! The system is working! Our sport is getting cleaner!” No matter the outcome, the system is “working.” By what metric could we NOT achieve this “heads I win, tails you lose” outcome?
I’ve been training since the scariest moment of 2011 struck last weekend and everything is okay. Although riding the trainer isn’t the most fun thing in the world, I enjoy it because I know I’m getting faster each time I hobble off that stationary thing.
I scared the shit out of myself today.
Randy and I decided to ride up to Niwot this morning so I met up with him and his neighbor around 9:15. About an hour into the ride, the bottom of my right knee cap started shooting pain in all directions. The sharp pain surprised me because: 1. I haven’t felt any knee pain at all since the team training camp in March when I finally blew my knee completely out. And 2: The pain was in a different spot than before. Before it was above my knee cap, directly in the center. This time it was below my knee cap in the center. I was confused. I kept on pedaling, putting more force into my left pedal than my right. I thought maybe it was because I haven’t ridden much in the last 6 weeks. I thought maybe I hadn’t placed my cleats correctly since I got my new pedals. Whatever it was, the pain lasted 3 to 5 minutes then subsided.
Another hour went by and the pain came back. Shit. What the hell is going on here? Same place, but this time the pain was more intense. I had to grit my teeth to get through the second bout. After a few minutes it left. Finally, at about the time we were back at Randy’s house, it started back up again. But this time it was so intense that I couldn’t keep it to myself anymore. I told Randy what was going on and he offered me a ride home. I said that I’d try to get through it once again. Besides, I was only a few miles from my house. Randy’s neighbor Don said that I should check my seat height since it sounded like that might be the problem. Hmmmm… Well, my seat height is exactly the same, but I did get new pedals. Granted, I went from the Ultegra 6700′s to the carbon Ultegra’s so I wasn’t thinking they’d have a different stack height. I thought about this possibility as I approached the final hill. My knee was throbbing with pain as I attempted to start the climb. Ouch. This was way too much pain. I went about 4 feet and had to get off my bike. I pulled over to the side of the road and sat down. I contemplated calling Randy up and getting that ride home. I sat there for awhile really freaking scared. I was thinking about losing another whole season to a knee injury. I’m not sure I could do that again. After 5 minutes of scaring myself, I got back up and back on my bike. I tried to pedal again but it was still too much. I went a few feet and had to get off. This time, I reached into my back pocket and remembered that I had my allen key with me! I figured, why not give the whole seat height thing a try. I remembered the rule of thumb: if your knee hurts in front, the seat is too low. If the knee hurts behind, then it’s too high. So I pulled my seat up about 2mm. And what do you know? NO PAIN. Problem solved. Yeah, it was a little sore from all the stress I put it through over the last 4 hours, but it was indeed a world of difference.
Whew, that was a close one.