Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Riding the Super-Fancy Bike at Hutch's

Project Update:  You can donate via the link to the right titled "HOW TO DONATE"

Wow, things have suddenly come together!  Hutch's is providing the box and will pack the bike for free!  LifeCycle has offered me a great discount on awesome tires (and thinks I can shave as much as pound off my bike wheel weight!).  Friends in Portland have advised on best airport parking.  My mechanic brother-in-law is waiting, wrench in hand, to reassemble and tune the bike.  Another friend is fluffing the pillows for a place to stay before we move to the hotel.    

We have raised $420 towards our cause so far!  (Mostly from anonymous donors, which I think is very sweet!) 

The last thing left is confirming our rental car.  I was all set with it, and had the craziest anxiety dream on rental cars last night, involving a sleazy agent who played fast and loose with my AAA discount and went on lunch break while I was trying to get the car.  In the dream, M was hotwiring cars so we could get to the race while I was standing in line at the rental facility, putting on my wetsuit and crying that I had to go pick up my race packet.  I don't usually like waking up, but wow, that was a relief.

Yesterday, Hutch's let me ride a super fancy bike to make up for losing me on the ride last week.  ONe of the mechanics actually said that, on the ride, "Hey, so you got lost last week.  We gave you an awesome bike this week, right?"  and I said, "Yep, that's like giving a girl flowers."  They also announced VERY LOUDLY each and every turn and especially the part where the fast guys broke off from the slower group.  So I didn't get lost and had a lovely ride, getting the chance to talk to some great people.  One girl in particular was riding her first road bike (still on flat pedals) and was thinking about doing her first triathlon this fall.  "Oh, yes," said I, "You should talk to Multisport Advantage.  The business owner is a woman, too, so she 'gets' it and takes care of us girls!"  Which is true.  Thanks, Cristina!

I was put on a Specialized S-Works 2012 which isn't even out yet, with electronic shifters.  The entire thing was carbon fiber and weighed about as much as a pair of Dansko clogs.  Cons:  Well, I'm not crazy about the color scheme and it doesn't belong to me.  In a perfect world, this bike would be mine, all mine.  Ees so sad.

I don't actually have a picture because I was A) geeking out too much to take a picture, and B) there are no pictures of this bike on the internet yet because it's not yet released.  So. Cool.  I feel so with-it.

I'm not totally sold on the electronic shifters.  They are so smooth and effortless that, sometimes, when I shift from big to little rings my chain would get for a split second and I'd freak that I was about to drop my chain.  The resulting wobble and slow down would drop me off the pack.  There's a healthy learning curve with those.  But I loved being able to shift from the drops as well as the hoods.

The bike I rode was a mens, so I need to check out women specific designs.  I've been riding mens all this time, but I think I'm finally getting to the level where I'm starting to notice performance differences.  And I might want to think about aerobars, which I can't do right now because I'm pretty stretched out as it is.  On the bright side, a few guys said I had a really, really strong back.  Thankfully, M is not a jealous type and had no problem with a few guys commenting on my back.  :-)  But I do have a strong back.  And when I lose some more CT pudge, I'll be able to show off the sort of back muscles you see on TV.  Except my back has all sorts of oddball tanlines from my various jerseys.

Yeah, we finally started tanning a little here in Oregon.  It HAS warmed up a little!

The ride on that bike... now let me take a moment to sigh in desperate longing.  It is like pedaling softened butter.  It is so lightweight you barely think about it.  Pulling on the upstroke feels less like pedaling and more like floating uphill.  Going downhill... well, wow.  Was. I . Fast.  I had to think about braking to slow down on a curve so I wouldn't overtake the leaders.

That pony just wants to run.

Several times, I had to bust out of the pack where I was and head up towards a faster group because the bike just wants to go, go, go, faster and faster.

Run, pony!  Go, pony!

After a little rest break at the end of the Fern Ridge trail (where we do our bricks from), we started back and I hung in second group chatting with some people.  I saw the lead group (a bunch of Hutch's guys in red and white and M in his blue) swooping away ahead of us, and suddenly had this bright idea of catching them.

So I said, "Hey, I'm going to catch the boys."  The group cheered!  (Thank you, ladies.  Love that we have a little gender-competition going on!)

And I chased them.  And caught them, handily.  And it was only one of several chases to the faster group that I had put on throughout the night.  On that bike, I was a Super Rockstar of Blazing Speed Demon.

Yeah, it really was that kind of awesome.   

I will now wish to dream of light Specialized bikes, if the anxiety dreams will give me a break.  I love my Trek because it's so pretty, but wow, that Specialized are just beyond the pale.  The most I can afford to do right now is change my tires to something lighter.  (Maybe next season, I can get real race wheels!) But the memory of that long, light ride will stick with me.  Ahhhhhhhhh...

Thanks, Hutch's, for the awesome ride!  You guys are great!

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