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Back on the Venge and Happy Again: Finally, Some Better Weather

Or, yet another ode to my Specialized Venge…

My buddy, Chuck and I rolled out early yesterday afternoon. The weather was as close to perfect as we’re going to get at the end of September, and after four days of rain and no outdoor riding, it was a relief to get outside.

It was so spectacularly beautiful I got to take the Venge, whose days are unquestionably numbered for this 2021.

I installed a new shifter cable and housings for the rear derailleur last week, from front to back. Shimano housings and caps with a high-end stainless cable, this time. I went with the good stuff.

I simply couldn’t believe how well the system shifts. I could downshift with my pinkie finger if I wanted.

I see many of my friends buying new bikes and every now and then I think to myself, “Ya know, self, one of those spiffy new rigs with the new hydraulic disk brakes and all the trimmings wouldn’t be so bad”…

Then I throw my leg over my Venge and, without a creak, click or groan, it launches when I put the watts down. Unlike every other bike I own, I can literally feel the Venge cut through the air… and it’s not even 16 pounds. Do you know how much you have to spend to best 16 with hydraulic disk brakes?!

Then I think, “Nope. I’ve already got the best of both worlds (aero and lightweight) under me. I’d have to spend upwards of $6,000 to downgrade…”

It’s right about then I lean into a corner and I can feel the little asphalt grabbers on my Turbo Pro tires dig in so it feels like my Venge is on a roller coaster rail as I round the corner. A wry smile stretches across my face and my decision to stay with my Venge is confirmed once again.

That badass rocket is staying right where it belongs. At the top of my stable.

I wipe the dust off, drop it into the little/little gear combo (while a bike should never be ridden in this gear selection, storing the bike in that combo de-stresses the cables and derailleur springs) and roll it to its place of prominence in our bike room (aka the in-law bedroom).

I love that bike!

Fast or Fun? Or BOTH?

When you absolutely, positively need the big guns for a big, fast ride…

The Ultimate American aero race bike from 2012 thru 2019 (I could convincingly argue it’s better than the newer generation of aero bikes)

Or for fun, when you just feel like cruising (though more than worthy in the event a real ride breaks out):

The Ultimate American race bike from 1996 thru 2006

I’ll be writing more about the differences betwixt the two bikes above, but for today suffice it to say the Venge, watt for watt, is worth 1 to 1-1/2 mph over the Trek. It’d be closer to 1-mph if I put the 38s that currently sit on the Trek on the Venge – both bikes have 10-sp drivetrains so this would be easy as swapping wheels.

The Trek has a lot of pull, though, because that bike, my bike, was handmade in the USA. Everyone has their frames made in Taiwan nowadays.

Anyway, everyone should be lucky enough to have to make the hard choice of which one to ride.

Today is one of those, “when you absolutely, positively, have to get there fast” days. The Venge is all dolled up, ready to go.

TNIL: Ultra-Hot & Melty Edition (Or Conversely, Oh How I ❤️ My Venge Edition)

The thermometer in my car hit 91 preposterous degrees (33 C) on the way over to Lennon. There was a breeze, but at 91 sticky degrees, it felt more like getting hit with a furnace vent.

Chuck and I did the warm-up uneventfully, except one a$$#0le in a POS Chevy pickup who disagreed vehemently with “share the road” and laid on his horn about a quarter-mile before he got to us without another car in sight for miles. I’m guessing, but I think the 45 second blast on his horn meant “get off the road because I’m too stupid to pass you while you’re on the road surface”… but I’m not sure. I made fun of him enough that he pulled over to yell at us. We gave it back and rode by him so he had to pass us again. I made a wild, “well there you go, the lane is yours to pass” gesture with my hand as he yelled something out the window in “I have sex with goats in the barn” English. I couldn’t quite make it out and laughed at him as he went by.

I’m not always Mr. Etiquette, thinking about positively representing the sport, but some people… I’m imperfect. I’ll keep trying.

We were short riders again, maybe 15 between the A Elites and A’s so we rolled together. This time, there were more of us than them, and that gave me the warm fuzzies.

Levi and I led the rabble out, starting slow and ramping the pace up as the mile and a half ticked off. We were up to 23 when we flicked off to head back for a rest.

With a tailwind, the pace got quick, in a hurry. But it was good. That Pad Thai for lunch must have worked because I was feeling uncharacteristically fantastic. I also didn’t push my luck with long pulls, either. I gave it my best and got out of the way. Then we turned into the wind – crossing for a few miles, and that was a struggle, but then dead into it. The pulls were shorter but the pace moderated a little, and the draft was great.

Then we hit the hills.

I’d kept my breathing in check so I had some gas in reserve for the hills but it’s always surprising how fast the elite guys can shimmy up an incline that’d normally slow us down a bit. They took it a little easy on us, but not too easy. With a little extra want to I got through the hills and we were back on our normal Tuesday night route home. Heading for the homestretch we had better than a 22-mph average and we were on the gas hard. 26-mph uphill and I was wondering who had visited a priest for confession to be given that for penance. I stayed glued to Todd’s wheel, though… and we turned for the home stretch. I was expecting a smooth ride home. Fast, yes, but… reasonable. We were all melting by this point in the ride.

All hell broke lose.

The pace went from 26 to 32 in a matter of seconds (42 km/h to 51.5 km/h). I managed to stay connected for a bit more than a mile and I drifted back after a shake-up at the front had the group a little kittywampus and tucked in behind David. I told him I didn’t have much left and wouldn’t be able to hang… but he started falling off the group. He made a valiant effort to reconnect but he just didn’t have that last 20 yards. I came around close so he’d immediately get in my draft and charged off for the front group. I bridged the gap at 32-mph but Dave wasn’t there when I checked my six.

Well, I wasn’t about to leave him out there all on his own after I rode him like that, so I slipped quietly off the back of the lead group. I could also see Chuck and Clark in the background as well, so I told Dave to hold up a bit and we’d grab those two for a legit charge home. The caught up with two miles to go and we were after it. We raised our pace from 22.1 to 22.2 over the course of the next two miles and pounded the pedals for the City Limits sign north of 28-mph. And just like that, it was over.

I reset my Garmin for the cruise back to the parking lot and it was hi-fives and fist bumps all around. The official average was 22.5-mph for just shy of 30 miles. It was fantastic.

I’d had several thoughts throughout last night’s ride about how amazing my Venge is. My 5200 is a legendary race bike from the late 90s – more state-level wins than any other bike frame in the history of bicycles from what I’m told by our local cycling historian. I love that bike. But my Venge, fourteen years newer, is simply astonishing stood next to the Trek. When you push the pedals on the Venge, the forward reaction is simply violent in comparison. The bike just goes. Everything about the Specialized is perfect down to the chainring bolts. It’s quiet, fast, stout, and aero as they got in 2014.

That bike gave me everything it had last night and I feel lucky to own it. I’d have kept up on the Trek but it would have been a whole lot harder… and it would have been likely I’d have dropped a couple miles sooner as well.

An Amazing 3rd Annual Mike Adams’ Firecracker 100 K 4th of July Ride

The gist of this post, what I’m about to write, is unfair. Let me be very, very clear… I don’t care that it’s not fair. Genes, want to, or whatever it may be, I love the heat. While everyone else is melting as temps top 90 degrees (32 C), I’m in all my glory.

And so we began at 7:30. I met Mike and Chuck at the corner and we rolled to the meeting spot. We picked up Diane and Jeff on Diane’s tandem along the way and quickly went from taking it easy to rolling out. We were there just a few miles later, waiting for everyone to get their bikes out and shoes on. At just a few minutes past 8 we were ready to roll out. We had a great group, eleven strong.

The pace started out easy but it didn’t stay that way long. The breeze was light but we could feel it heading directly into the teeth of it. The best way to put it would be to say it dampened the pace slightly, but the flag shows it all.

As we rolled on, the pace picked up. Pulls up front were short, usually a mile each, and it got lively – in a fun way, not in a “please make the bad man stop” way. We were picking them up and putting them down, as they say.

As the ride wore on, I realized something fantastic; I was feeling awesome. That shouldn’t have been on the second big day – I should have been dragging, at least a little bit (after contemplating this, I’ve got an interesting idea why this is… more later).

The temperature climbed a lot more than we did on the flat-ish route and all of a sudden, after two flicked off in front of us, Mike and I were up front together. I know where to look, of course, but I can actually see the spike in pace exactly when the two of us took over the front. We went from 20-mph to 23 as if someone flipped a switch. We were off the front within a minute. I looked at Mike and smiled, “Some idiot left us up front unsupervised!” Mike responded, “No governor”. Exactly right – zero governor. We dialed it back to let everyone catch up and kept the pace reasonable, thereafter.

The remainder of the ride was sheer bliss on two wheels. Mike and I would end up at the front a couple of more times together and while we were careful not to bury anybody, we bumped up against the pace that was just slightly less than tongues dangling in spokes.

We altered the route for the better a couple of times, taking out a few stretches of gnarly pavement for pristine roads, new in one instance as we took it to the barn. After dropping everyone at the elementary school in town, Mike, Diane, Jeff, Chuck and I rolled for home. I pulled into the driveway with 75-1/2 miles and a 19.1-mph average (my wife’s average for the actual 100 k was 19.6).

DALMAC training is excellent – and today is day three. In fact, I have to start getting ready so we can pack the car and head out to my friend’s house…

The Hylix Specialized Venge Seatpost: It FITS, and I Like The Saddle Attachment Bracket Better Than The Original…

I cracked my Venge seatpost during a seated sprint late last season. I heard it go as I passed 33-mph trying to hold off a friend going for the Durand City Limits sign. It was actually quite the excellent battle. I didn’t have time to stand when I noticed my friend trying to pass on my left. I’d started ramping the pace up a more than a mile earlier, expecting I’d have dropped everyone (or at least convinced them not to bother trying to come around). Jonathan, however, had been busy much of the summer and hadn’t been riding much – he was feeling spunky. I put everything I had into the pedals. It was about the third revolution I put some serious @$$ into it and heard the faint crunch. I did pull away from him well before the line but there was damage…

The owner of our local shop had a look at it and said as small as the crack was, it’s orientation on the seatpost, and with all of the good surrounding fiber, it’d likely last me decades without a problem.

So let’s say it lasts a decade. How many Venge seatposts are going to be floating around out there in a decade, now that the entire line has been discontinued? That’d be approximately zero. A few weeks ago I decided to try to locate a replacement. I struck out with a Chinese exception on eBay. My extensive search produced the Hylix Carbon+Ti Seatpost for my bike and a couple of others.

I hesitated to pull the trigger for more than a week, hemming & hawing about whether or not to risk it. I imagine I could have gotten an original from Specialized for a few Hundred Dollars, but the allure of saving more than $200 and wondering if I’d someday have to mothball my favorite bike finally proved to be too much. Even if I doubted it would fit properly.

I bit the bullet and ordered the Hylix and crossed my fingers. The link above is to the seller I bought mine from. 100% flawless sale.

It came in the other day and I dig it immensely. The saddle clamp is tricky at first glance, but once I figured out how to use it, I like the idea better than the original. We’ll have to see how it works out on the road before I’ll render final judgement. After the visual test came the fit test. It fits exactly as well the original. The carbon layup is sharp and it’ll do nicely once it got its Punisher sticker.

The packaging was more than adequate and the matte, naked finish is quite cool. On the other hand, it won’t quite match my bike as it is, no matter how cool that may be…

I’ll have to think that a bit, though. The naked, no paint look is growing on me… it matches the wheels, too. I ended up swapping out the seatpost last night after looking closer at the crack in the original with a magnification app on my phone. It looks like the damaged area was growing. I may try to have the original repaired, though I think that’ll take a little more than some epoxy… In any event, the new seatpost is on the Venge and the saddle’s been dialed in and I gave it a go on the trainer last night to make sure the saddle clamp would hold the saddle solidly. The only minor wrinkle is that, unlike the original saddle clamp which is self-centering, you have to watch to make sure the Hylix mounting system holds the saddle straight. Mine was off by a lot the first time I set it… it won’t self-center perfectly. That said, once it’s in and cranked down it’s solid. I didn’t experience any problems with the saddle moving throughout my 45 minute workout. There is also one component that the replacement post exceeds Specialized’s: The Hylix’s 7x9mm oval mounting clamp better fits the rails of a carbon saddle.

In any event, you can see more care went into the layup and construction of the original Specialized seatpost (lower right photo, the original is on the left). The side wall on the original goes thin while the Hylix sidewalls are almost the same thickness as the ends. Interestingly, the layup for the outer layer is quite close to the original.

The important part is, the Hylix seatpost fits as well as the original. The only question that remains is how well it holds up to my @$$ on the road. If it’s near as good as the Ican wheels I’m rolling on my good bikes, I’ll be a happy cyclist.

A Long Awaited Rain Day – The Perfect Excuse to Tinker with the Venge’s Cockpit

Technically, I was hoping for snow, but it’s a little early for that down here. Rain will do, though. These are my favorite days of the winter – days no sane human would go out for a ride. My buddy Chuck likely will, though did… dude is freaking nuts – I actually passed him on the way to pick up pizza last night. He’s admirably nuts, but nuts nonetheless. It was raining and just barely above freezing (37 F or 2 C).

These days are the days I tinker with bikes.

Oh, there was some general maintenance to take care of first, things like cleaning drivetrains and such. I rolled the mountain bike out to clean it as it’s been on a few dusty rides of late but it was surprisingly clean. I did adjust the rear brake a little bit after tinkering with the rear derailleur’s adjustment that was just a touch off. I didn’t know it, but when I had my ear down by the rotor at high wheel speeds, there was a slight rub in the rotor and the inner pad. That took all of two minutes.

I put in an hour on the trainer, with my wife while we watched Iron Man. Then I took a nap around between 2 & 2:30. Oh how I love weekend naps! Then I turned my attention to the Venge.


Now, this is going to be exceptionally nitpicky, but we all know, if anything, I’m that. When I look at the lines on the Trek, I see fantastic. Smooth, crisp, aggressive… the bike simply looks sharp. The Specialized is superior to the Trek in every single way but one. It’s got a better drivetrain, a better crankset, better pedals, brakes, handlebar, stem (both bikes have the same saddle)… it’s lighter, faster, sleeker, quieter and quicker (yes, quick and fast are two different things) than is the Trek. But the stem and handlebar angle just don’t look right on the Venge. They’re not right. Something is hinky. Wonky.

I took a trip to the shop and borrowed a 17° x 110mm stem from their stock to kick the tires on… to see if I might want to change stems.  I swapped out the old stem and had it on the trainer in short order (with my trainer wheel, of course – because the Trek and Venge both have 10-sp transmissions, I can swap wheels between the bikes).  The front end went from slightly raised with the 6° stem (flipped) to dead nuts level with the ground with the flipped 17°…  and I hated it.  Not, “I simply didn’t like it”, hated it.  It just didn’t look right, like the “organics” of the bike were just completely… off.  The 6°, the way it follows the slope of the top tube, looks like it belongs, at least.  The flipped 17° looked like it belonged on a different bike.

The problem, I think, is last year I rotated the handlebar forward a little bit during one of my tinkering exercises to maximize my drop to the hoods.  I was under the impression the hoods, where my hands rest, should be level with the ground.  I’ve since found out that was a mistake.  So yesterday, when I put my old stem back on the bike, I rotated the bar back up a little bit to where I once had it back in 2018:


Now, you may not see a difference, but I do.  The easiest “tell” is the bottom of the handlebar drop.  In reality, we’re only talking maybe a centimeter’s difference in the height of the hoods, but I think the looks were cleaned up substantially – and my hands will likely be a little happier after next year’s centuries.

I’d noticed at the end of last season the front brake had developed a bit of drag in the line.  This presents itself with just a few millimeters of play in the lever when the brake is applied and released.  The lever should have a little bit of snap to its rebound.  No snap?  You’ve got drag in the line.  On close inspection, the angle that the angle that the housing entered the brake caliper was slightly off.  The housing was too long (btw, too long is good… too short is a much longer post).  If the cable housing is too long, especially for the front brake, it puts a strain on the cable to make the odd turn into the brake caliper.

To fix this is quite simple.  I took off the cable end, disconnected the cable from the brake’s lock nut, threaded the brake line out the hood to a point I was absolutely certain I wouldn’t be trimming the brake cable, then trimmed the end of the cable housing off, pushed the cable back through, reconnected everything, set the brakes, and presto.  Perfect braking.  The interesting part in the last two paragraphs is the length of the piece of housing that had to be removed:


To demonstrate size, I’ve got an end-cap to a presta valve innertube, the lock nut, a pair of needle-nosed pliers and my housing/cable snippers. The length is about 10mm, maybe a half-inch. I probably could have taken a little more but I didn’t want to run into issues with the housing too short for the handlebar to be turned. Probably a touch over-nervous, but I can wear that.

And with that, I’m done with the Venge till 2021’s Venge Day. I’ve cleaned and lubed everything that can be cleaned and lubed, fixed the fork length, taken apart the headset for its yearly cleaning, and attended to even the tiniest of issues to make sure the bike’s good to go for next year.

… Although, thinking about it… maybe I shouldn’t close the door on a 100mm 12° S-Works stem for the Venge.  Hmmmm…

Hardcore Fast; Thursday Evening Speed and Happiness on a Bicycle

There comes with cycling, a virtually indescribable joy in being a part of a solid pace-line, speeding down a winding road so fast cars have a tough time keeping up.  I “train” only so I can be a part of that.  I don’t care about Strava accolades, KOM’s, PR’s, or beating other people… for me, it’s just about being a part of the group.  The speed and intricacy of it is my definition of fun.

We prepped to roll out Thursday night coming off a record event the week before. Conditions were perfect last week. This week, less desirable – better temp, more of a breeze… but we had a larger, faster group with some serious heavy hitters from Tuesday Night in Lennon.  With the fantastic weather and 0% chance of rain, I picked the Venge for this ride.

Craig and I led the group out in a double pace-line.  We had a big group, but it splintered quickly under a rubber-band effect and unfortunately, with a few new guys in the group, we missed a couple of regroup points.  We did manage to hit a couple, though, one a few minutes before this photo was taken by a friend and regular in our group who was stuck attending a graduation party (don’t worry, Gov., social distancing was being practiced – well, ish).  Coming out of the Lake Shannon loop, we were pushing, unbelievably, a 22-mph average (35-kmh).  20-mph is fast for the ride.  21 is crazy and was our record just last week.

Coming over a major hill that I PR’ed on last week, I PR’ed again (by a lot) but still got dropped and the group rolled right through the regroup point so four of us, rather than try to chase down a group we were never going to catch, cut a hard mile of the out-and-back portion of the course off and waited atop a hill that was going to hammer the lead group.  We simply stopped, took a second to catch our breath, take a drink and waited for them to appear on the way up an ugly 6% climb.

Sure enough, once we caught a glimpse of them we started rolling and took the lead as they latched on.  From that point on, we stayed together, sharing the headwind ride back.  I’d dropped from 22-mph down to 21.6, but the average climbed as much of the headwind was actually slightly downhill.  We turned right to a crosswind and hammered down the road.  Our average passed 22-mph by a tenth as we closed in on the last climb.

I, having spent way too much time up front early on while the group was sorting itself out, was completely spent.  As we rounded the corner to start the climb, I flicked off the front and didn’t bother latching on at the back.  I was popped and I just didn’t have a desire to try to keep up.  I didn’t care about the average or the record.  I eased my way up in the granny gear and lumbered down the back toward the City Limits sign and the end of our most excellent ride.

Even chilling up the last hill I beat last week’s average by six or seven tenths of a mile-an-hour.

It was all laughs back in the parking lot as we loaded our toys and headed home.  Another record breaking Thursday night… and I can feel it today!  I’ll be looking forward to a slow evening ride a little later.  I have no doubt, with excellent weather for the weekend, we’ll put together a fun, long ride for Saturday.

After having leftover pizza for dinner, I’m pretty sure I fell asleep with a smile on my face.  I surely woke up smiling.

An Ode to Joy, An Ode to My Venge After A Fantastic Tuesday Night In Lennon

No, I’m not going to drop a true ode to my bike… maybe a sonnet…

I tried to downplay the awesomeness of the new wheels I bought for my Specialized Venge.  Surely, they can’t be that much of an improvement!  My old alloy wheels were put through a lot and they’re still pretty fantastic.  Then, my original set of Ican carbon wheels were (and still are, on the Trek) stellar…  Truly, after all that masterful piece of carbon fiber and epoxy and I have been through, it can’t have gotten that much better over time, could it?

It most certainly has.  Vastly superior wheels, astoundingly more wonderful crankset, better gears, upgraded drivetrain and shifters, better brakes… they’ve all contributed to a ride quality so stellar, it’s hard to believe how much fun it is to throw my leg over the top tube and clip in.  Sure, all of those people saying, “Don’t worry, you don’t need all of that stuff” was cool, it made me feel like I had a fighting chance, but in the end, I can do things I could never do before I put the goods on the bike.

We rolled out last night with a whole lot of new blood.  Guys from the C Group giving us a try, a few new guys, and even the wife of one of the regular B’s on her brand new Bianchi decided to give it a try.  It was a little sketchy at times, but it remained calm and collected up front until one of the new guys, pushing way too easy a gear (maybe a 120-130 cadence), decided he couldn’t keep up so he tried to come off the front through the middle of the double pace-line.  I saw it coming three bikes back of him.  It goes to the excellent professionalism of our riders that someone didn’t get taken out, but we navigated around him without incident.  I let him know that we most certainly don’t do that as he dropped back (later, after the ride, I took the time to explain pace-line do’s and don’ts in great detail).

The pace was a little subdued starting out last night, and that was surprising.  With only a slight breeze and reasonable temps, I was expecting it to be fast right out of the gate.  Instead, other than a few instances where the speed spiked, we kept it between 22 & 24-mph.  After the hills, we were passed by two A guys and we let them go.  A few minutes later, a good chunk of the A Group passed us and we did latch on to them – and the pace got fun.  The pace bumped up to 24 to 28-mph.  We crossed the line in a big bunch, smiles all around.

So here’s my schpiel (or spiel, depending – I’m particularly fond of the “ch” version) one more time…  I am, without question, faster on the Venge as it is now, contrasted against when I brought it home.  Some of my fastest rides, however, are on a non-aero Trek 5200 (though it does have 38 mm wheels finally).  In other words, and on one hand, it’s definitely the engine that matters most.  On the other, all of that aero makes fast easier.

On the Venge last night, with an average of 22.7-mph over 28 miles, I never dropped more than five riders back in a pack of 20 in a double pace-line (10 each side).  I was always up in the rotation, pushing hard – often driving the pace.  I was never, at any point, close to my red line (with one exception; when I jumped two places in line and drove the pace up from 25 to 31-mph on a flat section leading into a sprint – I drove the pace).  On the Trek, with a pace like that I have to be a little more judicious with my effort.  I can still play cat and mouse a little, but I have to be careful.  In other words, speed, on the Venge, is easier.  And that, in a host of reasons, is why I’m grateful for my Venge.

That bike is fast, baby… and those Ican F&L 50’s are freaking spectacular.


The Tale of Two Specialized Venges

I made some big changes to my 2013 Venge this year. First, I grew tired of the 52/36 chainset so I swapped the chainrings for a compact 50/34 combo just into winter. After trying the 50/34 combo on my ’99 Trek with an 11/28 cassette and I absolutely loved it. I had enough top end for sprints and plenty of low end for climbing up the hardest hills I have to deal with all year easily (well, easily-ish – 22% is still 22%). I also chose anodized black chainrings over bead-blasted aluminum (a change I like a lot):





Next, I swapped out the Blackburn bottle cages for some lighter cages I picked up that, to tell the truth, looked better on the Venge than they did on my Trek – the newer styling just didn’t fit on my classic Trek.

Next up, I had to finally change out my pedals after six years. I’d worn the Look Keo’s out. I upgraded (and down-priced while dropping weight) to a set of iSSi carbon road pedals. With several hundred miles on them, they’re exactly as pedals should be – I don’t ever think about them.

Another new change for this season is a saddle upgrade. I switched from a Specialized Romin to a Selle Italia SLR Tekno Flow:

This decision was a little trickier to make. A Specialized Romin saddle was my first fitted road cycling saddle.  I’ve ridden one since I bought my Trek 5200… like mid-season 2012, and I love that saddle. The Romin is heavy, though, and I wanted to give a svelte little carbon number a second chance. Its first, last summer, crashed and burned. Now that I’ve got a little bit of experience, it wasn’t the saddle that was the problem, it’s how I had it dialed in that was problematic.

After dialing it in, I’m glad I made the change. I’ve ridden it on short, 20-mile rides, a couple metric centuries, several 40-50 mile rides and one 104-miler. I still have to get a lot more base miles on it, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the saddle while getting those base miles.  Of 199 weekend miles I rode 155 on the new saddle.

And after all that, I took the bike from 15.8 pounds down to 15.5


CoVengeCation-2020; The REAL Venge Day Finally Arrives!

Dear God, thank you for spring and some time off!It was cold yesterday morning – cold because there wasn’t a cloud within a hundred miles of us – and it warmed up quick. Mrs. Bgddy and I rolled out yesterday morning around 11 and it was still a little nippy out, but the temp was climbing rapidly. We’d decided on headwind first and chose our route accordingly. My Venge was built for days like these and I rolled it out the door with a smile on my face.Within a mile I knew tightening the chainring bolts the day before did the trick to take out the little tick the bike had developed. And I think that was the last negative thing to enter my gray matter for the next two hours.I took the first twelve miles into the headwind, paying attention to keep the pace within a certain range of effort that would get us to tailwind, but not so fast that I’d burn my wife up getting there. It was a firm northwesterly wind but certainly not brutal – just 10-mph, but enough to require some wattage to the pedals to overcome it. We hit the tailwind 17 miles in and it was smooth sailing after that. The temp climbed from the mid-40’s to mid-50’s and a couple of miles after we hit that tailwind, I had to shed my vest. It was too perfect out.My wife and I laughed and played around, enjoying the Zombieland car-free roads… minus the zombies, of course (it wouldn’t be much of a vacation dodging zombies, now would it?). We stopped to take a couple of photos, one at a bridge we’d crossed over, and one at a City Limits sign to taunt my buddy, Mike with. Messing around killed our average pace but I didn’t care (and I know my wife didn’t care). It was a perfect April day – a rarity for the month, normally we get a perfect half day if we’re lucky. After our little photo session, we hit the road and headed home, letting the tailwind push us home. We pulled into the driveway with 37 glorious miles and smiles on our faces.I had to clean up in a hurry to pick my daughter up from work, and I picked up a Big Mac guilty pleasure lunch… but I called my buddy, Chuck in the meantime to find he hadn’t ridden yet. I asked if he wanted some company.Yep. It was too perfect a day. I went out for another twenty miles. CoVengeCation regulations demand one spend as much sunny time on the bike as is possible. I complied. Happily.Stay safe, my friends – and know that when I talk about riding with my buddy, Chuck, we go beyond the rules of social distancing to take wind speed and direction into account so we’re not “in each others air”. Riding with my wife, well, we draft each other everywhere we go… that’s a luxury we get living under the same roof.