Thursday, February 07, 2013

Buzz

I've owned Buzz since January 2009, when I walked into my local bike shop and officially began my journey as a triathlete.  Buzz was the first non-knobby tired bike I had owned, since my 15 speed I had as a kid.  I still remember the day I got him.  I tried out several other bikes but he was - luckily - the one that fit the best.  And he was on clearance.  And obnoxiously yellow.

I loved him right away. 

It was a bit scary riding him at first, being a TT bike, he was a bit wobbly.  As I got used to riding aero more, we had grand adventures.  Click on the bike tag linky thing, our adventures are well documented.  We've ridden fast on the flats, nearly been blown away by the spring winds on Galveston Island, raced a ton of races, had miles and miles of solo adventures, and became an Ironman together.  When we reached mile 100 of the bike on IMTX, I got misty-eyed, patted him on the aero bar, and was so proud of us and what we had accomplished together.  I told him he was a great bike that day.

I loved that bike.
IMTX - a great ride
And now I'm a traitor.

Somewhere in the back of my head, I knew I was having a hard time climbing.  During group rides, people with similar bikes and crank set-ups were blowing past me.  I was dying on the hills.  Dying.  And for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to get better.  Last summer, my solution was to buy a road bike with a triple crank, and figure out how to ride hills that way.  Hills which used to kill me were manageable on the road bike. 

Then I signed up for IMCDA.  My coach promised me that I'd be riding my TT bike for the race.  A race with huge hills, that traditionally, have killed me.  Hmm.  I was scared.

A few weeks ago, I noticed on facebook that a custom bike builder from Houston was opening a shop here in Denver.  His bikes are amazing.  I'd previously said that it was a good thing I moved away from Houston when I did, or I'd own a Shama bike.  Fast forward 2 years, I have HUGE cycling goals, and I gave him a call.  He has a system where he can adjust a bike-like piece of equipment, while sensors monitor your movement, cadence, speed, and power.  Essentially, they develop a bike geometry that specifically optimizes your power output.

As soon as I talked to Phil, I knew that Buzz was not going to like where we were headed.  Traitor - big time.  Oof.

It came down to this:  I work hard - really hard - at cycling, and I thought I owed it to myself to know for certain if my challenges with hills was due to my bike not being right for me, or if it was due to operator error.  I did not want to be struggling this year with that as a question in my head.  Self doubt, in Ironman, is killer.  If it turned out that Buzz was good and I needed to work, cool.  If not, well, then I'm a traitor.

I did my evaluation last night.  Phil set me and Buzz up on a computrainer and had me ride along at a set power output.  He took some recordings and looked at me for a bit.  Then I hopped off and he moved my stem around at a steeper angle.  Hopped back on, and pedalling was SO much easier.  Crazy easy.  Only the power hadn't changed.  Free power, simply by switching my saddle around.  I've had 3 different bike fits and no one has done this.  Ugh.  We kept tinkering around, optimizing my fit on Buzz.  Then it came time to go on the fitting machine (Retul) and "see what a good fit feels like."  At this point, I knew I was doomed.

We got the Retul set up and I started riding.  Phil would make micro adjustments and I'd spin faster at the same power level.  He made some minor adjustment and *bam* I was spinning at over 100 rpm - and the power level hadn't changed.  They saw my legs kick in and commented "she found her sweet spot". 

Traitor.

I'm getting a custom carbon Alchemy TT frame and a custom build by Phil of Shama Cycles.  To pay for part of this new toy, I have to sell Buzz.

Big time traitor.

I am also big time conflicted.  I am deeply, deeply attached to this bike.  How can I not be attached?  I've ridden him for 6,000 miles.  460 hours.  I've had him for 4 years and have ridden him in 3 states.  We've reached some huge milestones together.  And I'm selling him.

Part of me is excited, though.  I get a bike made for ME.  I get to choose the colors and graphics.  This bike should help me climb and soar and reach my mountainous goals.

If you love it, set it free?  I think that's what I'm doing here.  Hopefully he will go to someone who loves him as much as I did.  I will also probably cry a bit when I do give him up.

1 comment:

beerrunner said...

Oh man... I'm so excited to see how a custom bike affects your riding! BTW, I would totally cry over my road bike too.