Posts Tagged ‘Cervelo R3’

Taper! Anticipate! Stress!

I’ve been negligent on my blog, but there’s a pretty good reason for it. šŸ˜‰

Let’s start catching up by mentioning the “taper.” This past week/weekend started my tapering for the big race. The last weekend in September was my last for some long rides. I had a great ride with some 508-veteran friends of mine, followed by a long solo ride the next day. Then it was just slowing down and taking it easy. I did 5 hours yesterday, which was great, followed by a (very) deep-tissue massage. And today, an even shorter ride to help settle everything down.

So, it’s all down to the final logistics at this point. I got both my bikes (the Cervelo R3 and the Jamis Xenith SL) into the bike shop for a final clean and tune by my awesome mechanic/bike shop owner/friend/crew member Rob Mardell of La Dolce Velo bikes in San Jose. I’ll get new tubes and tires on both, as well as a new battery for the Polar Heartrate Monitor/Computer. And I’ll pick them up Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning when it’s time to start planning for the big getaway.

I wish I was calmer. I’m stressing over the finances and logistics. There are so many small details; so many little expenses that siphon off a few dollars here, a few more dollars there.

Next up are the final preps and plans. Tuesday/Wednesday night will be the grocery shopping. I have to buy a cooler for the crew van still, which I’ll be renting Wednesday morning. Wednesday afternoon/evening, I’ll be prepping the van with my signage, as well as packing up. Then Thursday it (finally) will be time to pack up the van and head South. Having been through this process a few times, I am well aware of the sense of “inertia” that takes place this week. I know each day is packed with a lot of planning and details. Saturday morning will get here way too fast.

I’m trying to keep the stress to a minimum. I’m trying to just stay cool and zen about the whole process. I escaped last night for a very long drive up the coast. There’s been an unmistakable pull to just go be isolated and shut off the thoughts, so it was good for me.

Santa Clarita is right there. The start line is waiting. I’m nervous. I’m as prepared as I can be. I won’t say I’m “ready.” But I will say I’m ready to start.

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So, Why Did I Switch Bikes?

I’ve been asked that question a couple times over the past few weeks, since I acquired the Jamis. So, I wanted to answer that question.

It really wasn’t a question of “need.” It was a question of want. My cycling year centers on The Furnace Creek 508. I may do a double century here or there, but they’re training rides. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with my Cervelo R3. In fact, that bike is very much “right” for The 508.

So, here’s my logic.

When I successfully completed The 508 in 2009, I was on a two-man team. My teammate and I were roughly the same height, and we both rode a 58cm frame. I rode the Cervelo, and he was on a Trek Madone. Between the two of us, we had two complete frames. Had catastrophe struck, and some terrible mechanical malfunction befallen one of us, we could have each ridden the other person’s bike with a couple of minor adjustments to the bars or saddle/seat post. Now that I’m on my own and going for a solo completion of The 508, I don’t have that luxury.

I started weighing my options. I thought about buying redundant systems: a second chain ring, second cassette, second wheelset… Well, very quickly I realized I had a second bike at that rate. I just needed another frame. But buying a second bike really wasn’t in the realm of financial ability at the beginning of the year. I was making due with what I had laying around. When I started working at La Dolce Velo, though, I earned a steep discount on merchandise, including bike frames. So a whole new set of possibilities opened up for me.

Why The Jamis Xenith SL?

Once I made the decision to buy a second bike, the real question became “which bike do I buy?” As I said earlier, there’s nothing wrong with the Cervelo. And I’m not selling it. The point wasn’t to get an upgrade. The point was to get a compliment.

In looking at various bikes, I wanted something that would perform in a way the Cervelo wouldn’t. My choices were the Jamis, a Bianchi Sempre, or a Look 566. All three are fine bikes. But the 566 was simply too much like my Cervelo without being as good. It’s a plush ride, but the Cervelo is plenty comfortable and it can take a beating. I wanted something snappier, more responsive, and able to give me a little get up and go when I’m tired and feeling sluggish.

With the Look Ā out of the picture, it came down to the Jamis and the Bianchi. There wasn’t any competition. The Jamis is, quite simply, the most responsive bike I’ve ever ridden. Also, it’s a much different geometry than the Cervelo. The top tube is the same length, so I am still quite comfortable on it. But the wheelbase is 5mm shorter than the R3. And, given that it’s a 56cm frame, it’s a much more aggressive bike than the Cervelo. I feel like I have two bikes that will ride quite differently from one another, and I’ve now got a ride for any road condition or elevation.

Rather than go with a triple chain ring (which I simply won’t do), I can go with different gearing ratios and a compact on one bike, and a beefier cassette and standard double on the other. The Jamis won’t be as comfortable as the Cervelo, but I intend to start on it and complete the majority of the race on the SL. When I hit the largeĀ aggregate pavement past Baker, I’ll start looking at the R3 to get me through that area. Also, with the fatigue factor setting in, the shift in geometry will allow my body to work in a different way, and hopefully take some of the sting out of the final climbs.

In riding the two bikes, I feel like the Jamis will “buy me a stage” somewhere on the course. It is so much faster and more responsive, and the effort is so much more contained to the large muscle groups, that I’ll get a lot more miles out of that one before fatiguing to the same level I would have on the Cervelo alone. And buying the bike in mid-August means I have plenty of time to ride it, break it in, and get myself comfortable on the new bike before the start line in Santa Clarita.