I’ve been so busy with work lately I can hardly see straight let alone think straight enough to write a decent post. I try, though.
I had a couple of points I wanted to slide into my post yesterday but I just couldn’t figure out how to squeak them in there without muddling up the post – this is how I write, incidentally; I map a post out in my melon first, if it ‘feels’ interesting in my melon, I begin writing. This was one of those rare cases where the interest was there, I just couldn’t wrap my head around how I was going to get to the points I wanted to make without getting lost in the weeds… I didn’t fight it. Instead, I decided they were important enough point to just bull in a china shop this in a later post. This happens to be it.
First, and this absolutely baffles me, it’s amazing what a little shakeup in a bike’s setup can do for the rideability and enjoyment of a bicycle – but it depends on the bike and the change… I’ve long held that it’s best to find one’s “perfect setup” and don’t mess with it. Ever. I haven’t changed a thing on my Venge for years until just this off-season. My Trek, however, has been changed around quite regularly. New headset, new stem (which changed the drop and reach), new handlebar (changed the width, reach and drop), new saddle, another new saddle, and finally going back to my old Specialized Romin standby (which is where I plan on staying, btw). What didn’t change much was the fore and aft location of the saddle, the saddle height, and the angle of the saddle – those stayed relatively close to my original setup (as should be the case). The only adjustments were for saddle padding (more padding means raising the saddle height to allow for the padding to squish down under my weight).
My aversion to changing things in my setup goes back to an Assenmacher 100, back in 2014, the first A-100 after I bought the Venge. A big rookie mistake, I accidentally moved the saddle too far forward by almost a full inch which completely threw off what I’d trained to for years. This meant my power went to crap because I wasn’t used to the position and I bonked, big time about 48 miles into the ride. I was a wreck. Of course, without that experience, I wouldn’t be so prolifically careful about maintaining my setup today. Well, riding the Trek Tuesday night was some kind of special – I can’t recall the bike ever feeling that good. I did lower the nose on the saddle by an eighth-turn of the front bolt because the saddle was fighting me a bit when in the drops, but other than that the bike was spectacular.
With that stated, the setup of the Trek leads into the more important piece of yesterday’s post; riding in a group at speed is, honest to God, one of my favorite things I do with or without my wife and with clothes on. After that long winter’s break, the feeling of being back in the mix with the guys was invigorating. I was surprised at how much I’d missed it. About two miles in, or roughly time point in time I realized my hard work through the winter had paid off because I wasn’t struggling even a little bit with the pace, a smile stretched across my face and stayed there until I loaded my bike in the car. Part of this little tale has to do with the fact that, at just seven degrees above freezing (4 for you Celsius folks), only the hardcore riders were going to show up – those who can really ride well. Cycling in a group of 20 exceptional riders is simply awesome. Almost indescribable.
It’s good times and noodle salad, folks. It’s as good as it gets.