Friday, August 5, 2016

Meet Ivy!

This post has been a long time coming!  Not that in its overdue, but because I've wanted a new bike for quite awhile! Well, as luck would have it, 24 hours ago I got my wish and finally added a tri bike to my training/racing arsenal.

Here we are leaving the bike shop.  The awful saddle is GONE!
It all started with shattered sunglasses.  In Training Peaks, my instructions for Tuesday's ride said "preferably outside."  I have turned into a trainer junkie and have only done about 2-3 rides outside all year other than races.  I decided I would make the effort.  I got all my crap together (yes, riding outside requires more crap.  Helmet, Road ID, sunglasses, pumping tires, etc) and headed out to the Island.  I was having a pretty good ride but MAN nose was running something fierce!  I was so tired of sniffing and trying to take care of it that way I decided since I was riding alone I would work on my snot rockets.  Maybe it's TMI, but the struggle is real!  I tried and don't ask me how, but it landed on my sunglasses.  Lovely.  So, while riding, I tried to take the glasses off and wipe them on my jersey.  In the process I dropped them and they shattered on the causeway.  CRAP!  Those are my favorite pair of racing glasses that I've had for 3-4 years (huge Tifosi fan here.  One of the few pairs I can wear that don't give me headaches).  I came back home and knew I needed to replace them immediately since I use them daily for training.  I cleaned up and headed into Bikers Edge to pick some new ones up.  

I get to Bikers Edge, pick new ones out (these have interchangeable frames Woot Woot!) and while I am checking out I start up a conversation with the associate.  I asked him how many tri bikes they sell.  He said almost none, maybe 1-2 a year, but if I am in the market they can always special order one.  I shrug it off and then another associate behind him says, "Yeah, take that one over there, it's been here as long as I have and it hasn't sold, that's why we normally don't keep them in stock."  What?  They had one in stock?  How have I not seen it when I come in here before?  I go to check it out and it's a Cannondale Slice 105.  Gorgeous too with black, white and lime green.  And wouldn't you know it, my size of a 54!  I immediately know I better walk away.  It was too tempting.  As if that wasn't enough, they had it marked WAY down, like by more than 50% to get rid of it.  

I left but couldn't stop thinking about the bike.  I texted Ken, my Dad, and my coach about it.  I have been looking casually at bikes online and in the classifieds and nothing had ever been quite right, either size, price, features, etc.  This one was almost too good to be true.

I went back yesterday morning and asked if I could ride it.  They put some pedals on it and I borrowed a helmet and just rode around their big parking lot.  Immediately I noticed two things.  One, it was amazingly smooth, like complete night and day from my roadie.  I now realized the difference between aluminum and carbon :)  Second, I notice how low the aero bars are.  It was a definite more aggressive position than aero bars on Belle for sure.  However, it was super comfy to get into them.  I have always been more comfortable on a bike in aero anyway, so this is no biggie, though it is a lower position.

I tell the associate consider it sold.  I go in and get pedals and a bottle cage and have him add those to her.  They ring me up and she left the store with me!  I get her home, and put her against the wall in my living room deciding I'm going to wait until it cools off to get my maiden voyage on her.  My son brought up just putting her on the Kickr, but that would be just wrong!  The first ride needs to be outside.  However, I am impatient.  I couldn't wait to ride her.  Thirty minutes later I am  fully dressed in my riding gear, jersey pockets stuffed, and on my way out the door to try her out for real ride, one that was not in a parking lot.

I noticed a few things immediately with riding her (yes, its a her).  It is still incredibly smooth.  The chip seal on the way to the causeway is all of sudden less annoying and jarring.  Though I was initially scared of the lower position of aero, it feels awesome once I got down into it.  Shifting in aero now is a possibility!  Game changer!  I click my way through all the gears figuring out how exactly it all works.  The shifting is immediate, smooth and effortless.  Belle, the roadie, has never been this smooth, and lately there is a delay in the changing of gears and some ghost shifting going on.  I also notice how close my torso is to the top of my legs when I pedal.  I also am glancing down at my watch and noticing how fast I am going with seemingly hardly any effort.  My normal comfortable speed on my roadie when cruising the causeway (which is very smooth and pancake flat but ALWAYS windy) is between 16-18 depending on which way the wind is going.  I was between 19-22 on this bike!  Woohoo! My quads also seem slightly more taxed in this position and on this bike.  And finally, I am reminded how much I hate stock saddles and realize this one will have to go ASAP.  

I had texted my neighbor and friend Cristin to tell her about the new bike.  She wanted me to come over and show her so I rode it later that evening in jeans and flip flops down the street to show her.  Her husband, a bike mechanic and former professional cyclist arrives home while we are chatting over bikes.  I tell him about the tweaks we need to make and we immediately go into his garage and on the spot he does the bike fit and makes the tweaks to the saddle, etc.  He swapped out the saddle, lowered the aero bars, adjusted the seat height and angle and she was good to go.  Awesome!

Maiden voyage with Ivy pic
I rode outside with Cristin today.  The bike feels amazing.  This should be noted for a few things.  One, I have never ever been comfortable on a bike.  I had finally accepted to be "comfortable being uncomfortable" while riding.  I have enjoyed Belle and riding, but I have always had comfort issues whether they are saddle issues, my shoulder (which thank heaven hasn't been an issue, even a little bit ,this year), or weird leg pain, what have you.  I have read many times about people saying the bike feels like it is just an extension of them, but have never been that way or completely comfortable on Belle.  However, on this bike I feel like I could go for days in the aero position (yes, I realize I am on a new bike high, but seriously, its soooo much better than its ever been).

So there's the long story of me finally getting a tri bike.  I have named her Ivy with the green accents on her.  I wasn't initially going to take her to Omaha with me in a week, because I was expecting a much greater learning curve than there has been with getting used to her, but that just hasn't been the case, so she is making her racing debut at Nationals :)  I will log more miles on her between now and then, but I'm pretty sure it will be fine.  

I've had a few people ask what my plans are for Belle.  She is staying!  I'm not about to sell her.  I love the idea of having a dedicated road bike and a dedicated tri bike.  The reality is Ivy will get most of the time and attention.  However, there are times when a road bike is just called for.  When I think of all the riding I do with my Dad, that is usually climbing some mountain pass or doing rides where a tri bike wouldn't even be permitted, so I will keep her for such things as that.  I am going to change her back into a true road bike though.  The aero bars will come off, the old seat post will go back on, and I will finally get a road specific fit for her instead of a "lets try to make her a tri bike" fit.  It will be nice to swap them here and there in training, and it will be nice to have a back up bike if one is in the shop, or whatever.

Nothing else is new to report.  Nationals is one week away, and I have most definitely noticed the build and ramping up in training.  It has been challenging and fun.  School also starts in just two and half weeks, so I have to go back to juggling training with real life.  It's all good though! I am excited for a new focus on both fronts. Oh, and I did sign up for IMStG 70.3 for next May.  I am excited and nervous all at the same time, but I've got several months to work all that out :)

Happy training and racing all!

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