April 29, 2008

A few weeks ago I agreed to be the Team Captain for the SETI Institute’s Tour de Cure Team. As you might guess, I also committed to riding in the event (want to sponsor me?). I will be riding the 75K route. If you know me, then you know it killed me to admit that the 120K was out of reach. I really just can’t stand to sacrifice my best hours with the kids for a more aggressive training regimen. This brings me to my point. Last Sunday I decided that I had better either go out and ride at least part of the course, or beg out and do the 50K. Since my ego couldn’t take the hit, I decided to ride Pulhemus Road. This is a mere 6 miles (out of ~50 for the full course) but its the most aggressive climb of the route. Vick drove me out, and leapfrogged me up the grade (just in case).
I started out hot, smoking everyone I saw (they had probably been riding all day) and quickly lost my steam. By the time I reached the Crystal Springs turnoff (no more than a mile in) I had the distinct feeling that my heart might explode. I forgot my heart rate monitor, but I’m guessing, based on past observations that I was probably at 185. Needless to say I backed off it a little and dropped from 14 mph to ~7mph.
After a 1/2 mile or so I was back to an estimated 175 and decided to slowly ramp back up. I managed to hold ~9mph for the rest of the climb.

Once I reached the top, I was supposed to find a bike trail to descend on. It must have taken me 30 minutes just to locate the trailhead, but when I did, I was rewarded with a sublime descent with a bucolic view of the reservoir and the Santa Cruz mountain range.

What did this experience teach me? I need a new bike. There is just no way that I want to be clawing my way up that hill while sending 5-10% of my energy down into my shocks. Furthermore, striping 5-10 lbs off of my frame is not likely, but getting 5 lbs off of my bike’s frame is. So now I’m looking at road bikes for the first time in over 10 years with an eye to buy.

I think I’ve narrowed my choices down to the Felt F4, or the Lemond Versailles. Financing for this purchase will come from the sale of my motorcycle.
This was a difficult decision to make until I realized that:

  1. I haven’t ridden my motorcycle in 3 years (since Ruby was born)
  2. I ride my bicycle nearly every day
  3. I am fiercely proud of my carbon footprint
  4. Its not a BMW

So please join me in bidding farewell to my youth (I’ll see it again someday), and hello to my healthful, carbon free (or is that carbon fiber), morally superior (wink) future.



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