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Daily Archives: July 9, 2014

Trek’s Ten Pound Production Road Bike, The Best Road Bike for the Serious Cyclist – Top Ten List, Discuss…

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a few of the guys I ride with regularly.  Now we are the serious cyclists they talk about when they write articles about serious cyclists (and the best bikes for them)…  I ride a Specialized Venge Comp, my buddy Mike a Trek Madone 6.2, my other buddy Mike an S-Works Tarmac (14 pounds dripping wet) and there were two guys (whose names I don’t know, but bikes I do) who ride a Madone 4. something and a NielPryde Diablo…  All serious race bikes and only one or two of the guys actually race.

The discussion centered around the new Trek Emonda, a complete bike that weighs only ten pounds, out the door.  The cost?  A little more than a sub-compact car – or a Custom Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 (brand new, including taxes and tags – technically, you could buy a new version of my bike and the sportster and still save a grand or so).  And so the discussion went, how much is too much and is it worth $15 grand…  It turned out that we all want one, but we weren’t willing to spit out the cash either.  We’ll come back to the Emonda in a minute though because, for serious cyclists, this bike is going to be HUGE

So, what does the serious cyclist want in a bike? The answer will vary with every individual cyclist but I think noobs, myself included not too long ago, take the whole “super-bike fever” too far and for all of the wrong reasons. First, and anyone who has spent a decent amount of time on a bike will agree;  a great bike may ride well but nothing is better than time in the saddle and thousands of miles…  Not only that, the bike isn’t the status symbol, real status is determined by how you ride what you have, not what you have.  If you ride a Pinarello Dogma like crap, it’ll show.  Sure you might get an older lady to compliment you on how pretty your bike is but she won’t know the difference between a Trek 1.2 and that Pinarello.

With that out of the way, I like a blend of comfort and speed.  My Venge achieves this excellently – it won’t flex where it needs to be stiff without being too rigid…  Personally, I don’t need (or even want) the stiffest, lightest bike they made.  On the other hand, the dude on the Madone 4 wanted no flex and had even considered buying a well equipped aluminum bike – great for speed and acceleration but man, that’d be gnarly over 100 miles.  My buddy Mike with the Madone 6.2 wanted a nice bike built for speed (his rain bike is a 5200 as well, interestingly enough) while the other Mike, on the S-Works Tarmac is all about the speed and is fast enough to justify the $12,000 he has into that bike (I believe that’s what he quoted – upgraded wheels and bar).  The guy who rides the Diablo pretty much stayed out of the fray…

Then I ran across an article at Men’s Fitness that gives their suggestions for the “Ten Best Road Bikes for the Serious Cyclist”.  They go pretty much by price, starting with a Tarmac SL2 and ending with the Scott Plasma…  They cover all of the big three (Specialized Tarmac, Cannondale Caad 10 and Trek Domane 6.9) and the two other big American brands (Scott – which is HUGE in Europe and Giant) and include Bianchi, Cervelo, PlanetX, Orbea and the Pinarello Dogma frame rounds their list out…  While I don’t have a problem with top tens, as far as this one goes I don’t know how a top ten bikes list wouldn’t have a Venge, SuperSix Evo or a Madone on it…  Or a Cervelo S5 for that matter – and therein lies the rub for top ten lists.  They’re impossible to get right!  I wouldn’t trust Bicycling Magazine to a top ten list, let alone Men’s Fitness.

However, let’s get back to that Emonda for just a minute, because this is one special bike…

There are ten models that range in price from $15,000+ to just $1,500.  Where it gets impressive is the SL8 and SL 6 models…

What if I told you that you could have a 15 pound, DuraAce equipped race bike for only $4,520?  That’s really the price folks.  What if I told you that the Ultegra 11 sp. is less than $3,200!  Seriously – and it weighs only 16.3 pounds!  Folks, I paid $3,000 for my Venge and I got a 17.5 pound bike (with pedals, cages and bottles 18.3 pounds) and I only got 105 components…  I had to upgrade my wheels to get down to 16.5 pounds and that cost another $370.  So figure I’ve got $3,500 into my 105 equipped Venge and I’ve got a 16.5 pound bike…  For $300 LESS, you can have an Ultegra equipped bike, ready to go with race wheels and knock off two tenths of a pound at the same time…  Ladies and gentlemen, had I not just bought my Venge eight months ago, this bike would be sitting in my bedroom.

TrekEmonda SL8 DuraAce - 4,500 or maybe the LS-6TrekEmondaSL6Yeah, the six…  I like the paint job on the six.

Cycling, Weight Loss and Intensity: Relax, this won’t hurt a bit…

“Weight loss, exercising with intensity to get in shape?  Relax, this won’t hurt a bit”…  Said no one ever in the history of humankind.  At least, never by anyone who A) Knew what they were talking about or B) Wasn’t trying to sell you something that wouldn’t work.

I was approached the other day by a newbie to the whole fitness thing…  Trying to get active and lose some weight for the first time since he was a kid and he asks, “So when does this s#!t stop hurting so much?  I thought the idea was that you feel better“!

My friend was talking about running, but cycling is only a little bit better.  You won’t have the same impact to the body of course, so only your muscles and your butt and your neck/shoulders and the rest of your body will hurt if you’re doing it right.

The pain will go on as you build your body and it gets used to the daily challenges you’re putting it through.  Some days will hurt more than others, but sure enough, once your body gets used to what you’re putting it through, the activity stops hurting as much.  However, when you introduce new challenges, guess what?  It hurts again.

I’ve had some time to reflect on what it was like when I started running all of those years ago and I can remember it hurting for quite some time after I got going.  After the first few months I got used to the effort but there was always something…  Ramping up the miles in the spring hurt, twisted ankles hurt, getting ready for the Crim hurt, half marathons hurt, injuries (though few) hurt…  Then I took some time off to heal up some leg issues (I have a size 11 foot, but short toes, so by actual measurement I’m a size 10 – I was running around in shoes that were a size too small for my arch…  Let me tell you, that can do some damage).

During that time off, I noticed something interesting though: inactivity hurts a lot worse than being active.  In fact, I had no idea how much pain I used to live with until I got back to being active.

So, like everything else, we want a solid answer to a question that can’t be answered solidly…  How long does the pain last?

Based on my experience, initial shock to the system will last anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on the activity you choose – running being the most intense – this one will greatly depend on how much effort the person puts in and how well the body recovers before the next session.  As far as cycling goes, it took about 24 hours for my legs to come around for the first two weeks or so but after that, I could recover from my hardest efforts, at least enough to get back on the bike and go for an easy spin, in about twelve hours.

Now, from there it gets dicey.  When I ride, especially now, in the heart of our season, I’ve always got something that aches a little bit.  For the last two weeks it’s been my right forearm, and I have absolutely no idea what’s going on (nor do I care – it’ll work itself out).  Somehow I hurt it bad enough that it hurts to shake hands (and I shake a lot of hands).  On top of that, I developed a little saddle sore somehow over the last two weeks and it was very difficult to find a comfortable spot on my saddle last night.  So I’ve got a bum wing and a bum bum going into my biggest week of the season (quite possibly my biggest single week ever, about 250 miles if I project it out to the end of the week).  Most people would take some time off, especially for the saddle sore, but I’m not most people.  I’ll be back out on the bike this evening and I’ve got a century on Saturday that I’ve wanted to do for years (the One Helluva Ride – it goes through Hell, MI) so one way or another, I’m on the bike.  Now, is riding uncomfortable?  Yes, indeed it is, but I’ve got my Aquaphor treatment started and I’ll probably be just fine by the time Saturday rolls around…

My point is this:  The physical activity that I put my body through does hurt from time to time, but it doesn’t hurt as bad as hating what I see in the mirror when I’m fat and out of shape.  I’ll put up with a little pain here or there to stay active.  To quote the Marines, Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body.  If you’re looking for a pain free way to lose weight, you’d better get used to eating like a bunny rabbit.

Artificial vs Natural Peach