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New Ride!

April 16, 2012 Fitness No Comments

New stuff should be is fun! While un(der)employed, I basically went  2.5 years with minimal additions/upgrades to my triathlon gear (or my wardrobe. or my living space…). I’ve taken Greg’s cast-offs like gloves and foot warmers and have otherwise made-do with what I have. When I do shop, I tend to buy high quality stuff, and that has served me well.

My road bike doesn’t fit me that well, so it seems, and even a professional bike fit isn’t going to make riding 112 miles any more comfortable (or fast or ergonomically conducive to run a marathon afterward). Everyone talks about how much better they feel getting off a triathlon-specific bike. Greg has had a tri bike (also called a time trial or TT bike) for a few years now and swears by it for being faster and more comfortable.

So, I put myself in the market for a tri bike. I’ve got money to spend now, right? According to some documentation on Slowtwitch, the Cannondale Slice is a perfect fit for someone like me. And by “someone like me,” I don’t mean to compare myself to Chrissie Wellington. I mean someone with really long limbs and a really short torso.


A local bike shop happened to have the 2011 Slice model available. IN MY SIZE and ON SALE. This must be the Universe, right? I took ‘er for a spin and decided to commit. I spent an hour getting fitted on the bike and then waited a week for it to stop raining so I could finally ride it.

Well, I went out that day with a few tools in my pockets to tweak things as needed and hoped for the best. The training calendar dictated a 45-mile ride  + 3 mile run. Greg was [supposedly] on stand-by with his phone to help me out in case something came up.

I got three blocks from home and realized the seat was too high. I got off to adjust it and found that it was down as far as it would go. The tech at the bike shop had cut a significant amount of the seat post off, based on how we had sized it in the shop on the trainer, but had given me no leeway to put it down farther. It would have to do (because I was too stubborn to ride 3 blocks back home and have Greg cut it down farther, obviously).

About 3 miles down the road, it was very clear that the seat was tilted up too high ifyouknowhatImean. The tools I had were not the right size to fit in the seat screws so I tried to call Greg, only he wasn’t answering. I left a text and voicemail, hoping he’d call me before leaving the house on his own ride. I made it two more miles and had to stop again, calling and calling and calling him again. No answer. More frustration.

I was about 12 miles from home at this point, and had already decided that 45 miles would be 30 miles and that was that. I was too uncomfortable to push it for the additional hour. Greg called back when I was nearly at my turnaround point, so I told him to not bother with it (we weren’t anywhere near each other) and I’d suffer through for the trip home. Bright side: this would be good mental training!

I made a turn and started to down-shift to accommodate a slight incline and my gears wouldn’t catch. They kept slipping as I pedaled and I finally had to clip out, as not to fall over from lack of momentum. I looked down and saw my chain nearly dragging on the ground. I thought I had just dropped the chain and I’d put it back on and keep going. I got to the shoulder and saw that something was amiss with the rear derailleur.

I called Greg. And called him. And called him. And called him. I CALLED 24 TIMES AND HE NEVER ANSWERED. Between buyer’s remorse and spousal unresponsiveness, I was over it. He finally called back… and had to turn around on his ride to go get the car and rescue me. He confirmed the rear derailleur was completely broken.


I drove the bike immediately to the bike shop for them to repair it. By this time, it was nearly 4 PM on St. Patrick’s Day and I still had to get back on my other ill-fitting bike and ride 20 miles +  run 3. It was cold, the wind was howling, and I was grouchy (<– understatement). Again, I chalked it up to good mental training and was proud of myself for not quitting.

It took me a week to pick the bike up. Then it rained for about a week after that, so it was awhile before I got back on my new ride. And believe me, I wasn’t that excited about it anyway. I had the guys cut more off the seat post, and I’ve had Greg cut off even more twice now. I also bought three new saddles to try out, and I think I’ve found one that works. Greg made a bunch of tweaks to the seat, seat tilt, and aero bar positions before my next long ride. He then followed me in the car with a bevy of tools and made many tweaks along the way for the first few miles. This was priceless — and much greater than an insignificant kindness!

I’ve gone for a few long rides now, and while I will admit that I don’t love my new ride just yet, it is getting better. Patience is what it takes, and that’s something I lack most of the time. Again, I’m chalking it up to good mental training…


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