Last night, before heading out for an evening ride on a day that was supposed to have been a rained out day off, I put my 38 mm Ican wheels on my Trek for good (and changed out my brake pads, obviously). I’ve got a set of Ican Fast & Light 50’s coming tonight for the Venge.
It has long been a rule of mine, if I need something to write about, buy a new bike.
Friends, it works.
Not so drastic this time, though. A new set of Ican F&L 50 wheels is vastly less than a new bike and I can probably squeak at least a couple of posts out of them.
With the Trek, I’ve been chasing the Venge ever since I brought it home. The “good” wheels have always gone on the Venge so it’s always been much easier to ride the Venge fast. The difference between the 38 mm Ican’s and my normal 25 mm-deep alloy Velocity wheels is surprising.
First, we all know (or should be so lucky) the difference in ride quality, going from an alloy frame to carbon fiber. Well the difference going from alloy wheels to carbon fiber is just as nice. Carbon fiber hoops (especially being able to go from 23 to 25 mm tires at the same time) make a grin-worthy difference in ride quality. Second, the speed I’m capable of holding between the two wheelsets is equally smile inducing. In other words, my old Trek 5200 just got a lot faster.
As for the Venge, the Fast & Light line of wheels has upgraded hubs and uses Sapim CX Ray spokes and wider (25 mm compared to 23 for standard wheels) rims for an improved ride quality and better aerodynamics with my favorite 26 mm Specialized Turbo Pro tires. Put all of that together in a wheel and my new 50’s will be lighter than the 38’s. That means I get improved ride quality, better aerodynamics on my aero bike, with faster bearings… and no weight penalty. It just doesn’t get any better than that, my friends.
So I went out for my ride last night with a giant smile on my face and had a hard time containing my enthusiasm. I’ve been tired lately – a lot of miles, no rest, and not much in the way of active recovery days (though I did finally have an easy day Wednesday). We’re going to have fantastic weather this weekend and I only needed 98 miles to hit 1,000 for the month… with a ride Friday (tonight) and the potential for two big days on Saturday and Sunday, I didn’t need the miles – maybe even should have taken a day off. On the other hand, in six months I don’t want to think back on any days that I could have ridden but chose not to.
So I pumped up my tires and rolled out… and the Trek rode gloriously. Before I knew it I was at 19-1/2 mph for an average. I could have sustained it, but I gave myself permission to not want to. I dialed it back and enjoyed the much improved ride. Until it started raining. Well, there was a chance, and in Michigan, if there’s a chance you can get wet, you probably will get wet. It wasn’t horrible, though. It was a hot, muggy afternoon and the light rain felt quite nice.
That is, until the rain started picking up.
I cut two miles off my route and made a bee-line for home. Well, if bees rode in lines that followed roads, anyway. I also rode out of the drizzle. About a mile east of where I was when it started and it lightened to a dull sprinkle, then stopped altogether. It was perfect. The bike almost had a chance to dry out on the way home, though the sprinkling did start and stop again a few times.
Now this evening’s ride, if my new wheels show up in enough time to throw them on the Venge, will hopefully be something to write about. We’ll see.
I’m only 98 miles from my second thousand-mile month in a row. The good aspect in this month is that I was working through most of it.
Over COVIDcation, I put in a lot of enjoyable miles, taking it easy for most of them. I didn’t know any better so I was antsy a few of those days about taking it too easy riding with my wife. Oh, how wrong I was and I’m actually really stoked I can relax through March and April in the future. My early training was… how should I put this… not exactly according to standard practices. Most people go too easy and wonder why they can’t get fast. I went hard, all the time, and got fast quick, but I never learned to back off and that’s affected how I ride today. Let’s say I’ve developed a nervous tick that won’t let me enjoy easy miles because I keep thinking I’m missing out on an opportunity to get stronger – and that’s entirely the wrong way to look at it. I’m working at correcting this.
Anyway, Wednesday night’s ride was going to be interesting… I struggled mightily in the heat Tuesday night and I think it was just too much over too many days, plus 91° heat. I was cooked after 24 miles (unfortunately, I the route was 33).
I got a text from Chuck that he’d be ready shortly after 5 and I was ready to go at 4:30 so I left early for some extra miles. I had my bandit parking lot AA meeting that evening and I wanted to be showered and ready to go and I needed some miles to put myself in a position to successfully hit 1,000 miles for May. I readied myself and took off.
I should add, I took off thinking I’d corrected a bottom bracket tick from the other day. A mile later I knew I hadn’t and it wasn’t a bottom bracket, it was the headset. I went three miles then turned around and headed home to straighten out the tick. I also re-set the seat post, just in case. Then I headed over to my buddy’s house to pick him up, bike still ticking. When I got to my buddy’s house I used his Allen wrenches to try the chainring bolts. Two were loose. Maybe that did it, I thought.
I got out of the saddle to accelerate and pulled back hard on the handlebar and that caused something in the headset to click into place – I don’t know what the hell happened (everything was properly tight, checked, double checked, etc.) but the tick went away. And so I was happy. All’s well that ends well (I re-set and tightened up the headset later, after the ride and after I cleaned up).
I mentioned to Chuck that I needed an easy day and he said that would be perfect for him so we had a mainly sit up and chat fun ride. We talked about government edicts and being governed over being ruled and a whole host of other fun topics. Chuck and I play for the same team so, when we’re riding together, we can safely discuss such things normally verboten on bike rides (there’s no politics on bike rides… UNLESS you know for an absolute fact everyone is on the same team – in that case, discuss away).
So we fixed a little bit of the world Wednesday and I was able to get 28 fantastic, easy miles in before heading out to our meeting.
It was a busy day, but I slept like a baby. Life is good.