Wednesday, February 07, 2007

no excuses

it is a known fact that, compared to regular bike racers, the bike handling skills of multisport athletes (like triathletes and duathletes) are abysmal. when i went over to the dark side a couple years ago i tried to keep my defection a secret because i knew i'd become the new object of derision of all my elitist roadie teammates who delight in making sport of the clewless legions i'd now joined. and indeed, while warming up for my first triathlon i watched a woman topple off her bike right in front of the first aid tent.

but i gave multisport athletes the benefit of the doubt. i always figured their phred-ness derived from the bikes they feel compelled to ride: time-trial frames with whacked geometry designed to go in a straight line for 'taint-deadening hours in the aero-position. those bikes are probably as responsive as dick cheney, so when you get bumped in a county-line sprint on a group ride what recourse do you have but to crash in the privet hedge at the side of the road? ride a shitty bike; ride like a penis, i figured.

boy was i WRONG. slick rik let me test-ride his fuji aloha this weekend and that thing is sweeeeeeeet. nevermind that i looked like a total tool riding a disk in february, months before the racing season takes off; i felt like a fucking BAD.ASS. no complaints about responsiveness, turning radius or stiffness climbing out of the saddle. the steeper geometry felt great: with more of the bike in front of me it felt like it was almost powering itself. this is what it must feel like to have a cock, i thought. it was that good. the only thing that took some getting used to was shifting when you're not aero. taking a hand off the bars to shift recalled the prehistoric days of downtube friction shifting, when you couldn't shift sprinting or climbing out of the saddle unless you're like my college boyfriend who could shift with his knee. but unless you're climbing (or descending) alpe d'huez, this is a minor issue.

conclusion? there are no excuses: if you're a triathlete who can't ride in a group without a 5-foot safety zone it's because you suck, not your bike.

so i am sold -- or a 2007 fuji CF2 is sold to ME.

i cannot wait.

4 comments:

addon said...

gee. sounds like there is more to this biking business than jumping on and going as fast as you can. i love it when you talk technical ...

Brown Suga' said...

I can ride like the devil but my biggest problem is getting ON and OFF the damn thing. Here, there are usually 2 kinds of bikes - the ones with a bar running from the handles to the seat (like the pic you posted) which are usually "men's bikes" and the ones WITHOUT that bar, which are pegged as "women's bikes". (Beats me why, I think the latter is safer for men - I've seen many a guy pal of mine fall and hit smash his parts onto the bar. Yeow.)

The women's bikes are better for me, though, because my short stature can be a real bitch while getting on and off a men's bike. It's really difficult to swing your leg up and over the bike to get on it ... it's kinda like mounting a horse. Which is why horse-riding scares me too - I always think I'll fall off a horse before I even get on it. Arrrgh, to be a f#$%king shorty.

addon said...

subhamgi

so-called "ladies bikes" were made like that so the dears in their long skirts could simply pass their leg through the bike rather than attempting the difficulty and possibly immodest, not to say hazardous, task of swinging their full skirts over the back of the bike. in the quaint old days.

finn said...

what is this "skirt" thing you reference, adam? it sounds awful. it's a good thing the quaint old days have been supplanted by the era of lycra and skinny jeans.

sugasubh, my new TT bike is a size smaller than my road bike to better facilitate the flying mounts & dismounts performed in a tri or du. i've no doubt there'll be smashing of parts as i try to master this skill. being tall brings its own disadvantages: longer, floppier parts that are harder to control.