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A perfect 170 mile week…


I love my 5200 now that it looks badass.  It’s quite comfortable but it isn’t without its problems.  There are two to be specific, but whether they’re bad or not, well that’s up to one’s way of looking at things.

My Venge is on the higher end of 16 pounds.   It’s light.  It has a ridiculously light headset, a light fork, a light frame and light wheels… a light handlebar, a light stem and a ridiculously light crankset (one of the lightest in the industry).  My Trek, on the other hand, is four or five pounds heavier and I can feel every one of those pounds on a longer ride.  Add to that, my additional six pounds and after 35 miles my legs are cussing up a storm.

The second problem has to do with the wheels.  The wheels on the Trek, which came with the Venge originally, are heavy and slow.  The wheels I now have on the Venge are light and fast.  The wheels on the Trek are so slow, I can feel the difference riding the two bikes.  They’re so slow, I’ve contemplated putting the Venge’s wheels on the Trek just to see how much of a difference it makes.

On the other hand, riding the Trek the way it is now will absolutely help later in the year when I’m pushing a lighter, faster bike down the road.  Add to that, the fact that I’ll be six pounds lighter as well and I should be in phenomenal shape.

That said, while it’s fair to say it’s the engine, not the bike, having a fast bike sure doesn’t suck!

The last two months have been phenomenal, but mostly for outdoor cycling.  Indoors, I’ve lacked a little bit of want to, especially early in the season.  Thankfully I’ve been able to make up for that outdoors though, whether riding mountain bikes or even road bikes.  I live far enough north that we’re usually snow-covered and frigid enough that only the toughest (craziest?), most dedicated cyclists are going to bother with riding outdoors.  While I can certainly understand the desire to ride outdoors under the gnarliest winter conditions, I can’t justify the cost of the bike and all of the winter gear required to do so comfortably when weighed against the benefits… at least not at this point in my life.

That said, when I started cycling five years ago, my limit was 50 degrees F (technically it was 55 but there was no way I was giving up the chance to ride outside for five degrees, so call it 12 C).  Now I can deal with temps down into the 20’s but once it gets below freezing my enthusiasm wanes.  This year, with El Nino, our normally brutal January and February have been quite reasonable for cycling.  While I can’t ride during the week for a lack of daylight and time, Fridays and the weekend days have been less than perfect but more than good enough to suck it up and put in quite a few outdoor miles.

Last week was my first perfect week of 2016.  seven days on the bike in a row – four on the trainer and three on the road for a total of 169 miles and some change.  The majority of that, more than 90 miles, was outdoors.  In the  process I managed to lose two pounds of my seven that have to go by spring.

Things are about to change though…  This is Michigan and I knew from the outset that we were never going to ride this great weather all the way to March.  We’ve got snow heading our way and the temperature is going to make a nosedive.  It was inevitable.  We’ll be relegated to the trainer for at least a week.

The problem will be next year though.  I’ve been through enough Michigan winters and El Nino’s to know what comes next.  We’re going to pay dearly for this winter.  We always do.

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5 Comments

  1. tamsynsmith says:

    It is lovely to transfer to a light bike after riding something heavier. The first three months that I commuted to work, I had to ride the mountain bike that I got in about 1990. My optimistic parents bought it for me to grow into, but that never really happened. It was so heavy that I could barely lift it with both hands. In comparison, my modern hybrid felt amazing and then I got a carbon bike that I can lift with one finger, which made me feel like I had improved my cycling ability dramatically. However, as I sit here typing, Storm Imogen is howling outside and I can see the trees being buffeted by the wind, so I’m quite grateful that I have a reasonably sturdy bike to ride home on as I hate been tossed around by the gusts!

  2. I do love my winter/commute bike, but I can’t wait to get back on my “nice” bike! It’s been around three months since I’ve ridden it. Hopefully it’ll feel like a rocket!

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