Saturday, June 20, 2009

His Coy Mistress

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime
We would sit down and think which way
To ride and pass our long love's day.....
-Andrew Marvell

Well, the good guys over at Paragon Cycles got my bike in and built it up last week. Aint she beautiful? It's a Cannondale Synapse 4. Seeing as the entire country seems to be drained of Synapses they got ahold of a Synapse 6 and stripped the tiagra components off and put Sram Rival on. The downside, which is kind of an upside to me really is the fork is carbon but has an aluminum steerer, the 4 usually has a carbon steerer. Being a rando kind of guy, the aluminum steerer is a good thing as it means I can adjust the stem without a torque wrench out on the road somewhere if I have to. The upside is they got me Rival brakes too which replaced the tektro junk that came on it. I must say I almost went over the handlebars the first time I put the brakes on. Good brakes work!

I chose the Synapse because it is designed with a more relaxed geometry to keep the rider more comfortable. The Carbon Fiber layup is also done to maximize road vibration and bump dampening. I must say the design works good. I kind of feel a little sheepish on it. This is a lot of bike. I mean it's not a 4-5000 dollar team bike but it's not a entry level bike either. I'm still pinching myself.

A new bike should be properly broken in of course. I figured I'd do a longish ride today. The Brumbys were heading out the Bush hwy to the Beeling and I hopped on. I kept to the back since I was still getting used to the Sram 2 click system and the brakes that actually worked (as opposed to my old road bikes 'squishy' brakes). I think the back gets almost as much work as the front since they get to yo yo. It's really kind of an interval workout back there.

I managed to stick with them through the first hills even though a lot of people got dropped coming up Lil' Kong. Around the Saguaro lake hills I fell behind the group but among the guys that lagged, I wasn't the last one up the hill and I made it into the short regroups at the tops of the hills. This is huge for me. These guys ride fast and to stick with them has always been a personal goal. Granted I am among the stragglers on the hills, but a straggler among super strong riders is not that bad a thing. It won't be too long before I don't straggle.

Somebody flatted coming down the beeline and I stopped to make sure he had everything he needed and then moved on. By then the group was a ways down the road. A few of us banded together and kept pretty good time down to the Verde river. At the first light I asked the guy if that was the way to rio verde and 9 mile hill, he said 'yes'. I think he misled me a little and didn't realize it was actually the next light but that's ok, it was a pretty detour.

After I got some water at the gas station I headed off into the Fort McDowell indian reservation along the verde river. It was a pretty ride and eventually I came to a dirt road. Figuring that rio verde was not up a dirt road I turned around and wandered westward along forgotten paths. Incredibly I actually managed to meander into the houses of Fountain Hills (the hills is in that name for a reason) and onto Fountain Hills Blvd which of course runs out to rio verde.

It was nice to spend some time alone out on the road with the new bike. I determined when I got to the McDowell mtn park turnoff that I didn't have enough time to go down to rio verde and 9 mile hill so I decided I would ride up into the park. It was a nice 3 mile climb up to the campground where I would pull into the empty camground host's parking space and sneak some water out of the faucet there.

It was kind of amazing that I wasn't in more need of water on a day in late June in Maricopa County Arizona, but here it was! It had been 65 degrees down by the verde and temps where starting to climb into the 70s. Just a beautiful summer day! You can't buy weather like this.

Going back to fountain hills I cast my manliness aside and asked for directions. The way out was over a couple of pretty steep rollers, the steepest of which topped out at 10%. Soon they were gone though. I was pleased with the fact I was doing good on the hills despite losing my triple. Yes, fair reader, I am now a 2 chainring guy. It's a compact though.

The ride home was windy and at around 80 miles I had to work a little to keep the speed up despite growing fatigue. Still though, I'd hold the average speed at 18.2 mph for the day. I went 92 miles in 5 hours and 2 minutes with 3000 feet of climbing. I think it was a good first ride on the new bike. I am very happy with it so far, and my that carbon monocoque frame is sexy!


Bruce's Bike Blog said...


Dan Trued said...

Relaxed geometry, SRAM rival, very nice. I have a carbon steerer on my Roubaix Pro and it scares the hell out of me, why do they do that? One of these days it'll probably crack, and I won't know it's cracked. One guy that worked at a bike shop, said he didn't believe in carbon steerers, as he said he'd seen too many cracked ones. That gave me some confidence.