Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I can't get the silly grin off my face

If you see me today and I have a silly grin on my face, I don't care. It is a residue of my ride last night. My new Tarmac Pro put it there.

It was the supposed last Thursday night ride. I'm going to stop calling it that because we keep figuring out ways to get another one in. At this rate, we'll ride all the way through winter! Right now, I wouldn't mind, but come January I'm sure I would have other thoughts!

There were four of us, Art, Mike, Webb, and myself. We did the typical Thursday night route. It was anything but typical to me. I had been waiting several days to finally get a chance to put my new bike through the paces.

The ride was soooo smooth. I had the guys use ceramic bearings in the bottom bracket and replaced my old Speedplay pedals with a set of Speedplay X2s. Finally, the old ticking sound that I had been hearing for months disappeared! Turns out it was the pedals - mystery solved.

I relished each rise. It was a chance to feel the difference in the weight of the bike. I felt like I was dancing as I rose from the saddle to accelerate up the inclines. The Tarmac responded immediately.

The crank moved so well with the bearings that even when I stopped exerting pressure on my pedals, they kept moving pulling my legs along with them. I'm telling you, I was giddy!

Then we came to Paris Mountain. Art pulled up beside me and said, "Now remember, you aren't supposed to push it tonight. You have a race on Saturday. Mike and I will be pushing it though." For the first time of the night I shifted to the smaller front ring. We turned up Altamont.

I decided I was going to take it easy - but not too easy. I set a goal to keep my HR below 175. Typically on a climb of Altamont, I will exceed an average of 180 and will max in the high 180s. My max heart rate is 196 bpm and there have been times I'll exceed 190 as I climb "The Wall".

Using my heart rate as my speedometer, I started the climb. Sure enough, Art and Mike took off. Webb and I started the climb together. At the first sustained incline I moved the chain to the largest big rear ring. So far so good.

I was maintaining a 9 mph speed without even trying. The Tarmac Pro is certainly a climber! I was pulling over a pound less weight up the mountain - not to mention that I have lost about two pounds myself over the last week.

We reached the top and it took me 14' 33" seconds. Art made the climb in 13' 03"! Mike also broke the 14' barrier. Man! Had I just hooked onto Art's wheel and followed him up, I could have had a new Paris Mountain personal best! Still, it was wise to take it easy. After this weekend, all limitations are off.

I wondered what things would be like coming down the mountain. Would the bike show itself to be stiff enough to make handling a downhill as fun as climbing? Well, first I should point out that my maximum speed as 49.5 mph. That was without pedaling during the point where I typically push to get my max speed.

Had I tried, no doubt I would have exceeded 50 mph. But more important than that, the bike almost moves before you have a chance to think about where you want it to go. The responsiveness is not just in the pedal strokes. Carving the downside of the mountain was awesome. It really was as though the bike was an extension of myself.

I know you probably think I am overselling it. How could a bike be so different from another one? It just is. The thing about the Tarmac Pro is that you don't think about it. You almost don't notice it is there. You just go.

And you grin!



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