Any bike junky will agree, there is always room for one more bike, and all it takes is the tiniest excuse to ignite the insatiable New Bike Fire. I admit my addiction. No 12 Step program on the planet can cure it and I have no desire to change. Usually, I shamelessly seek out the excuse – faster stronger lighter tricker newer shinier prettier cooler – whatever! Once the fire is stoked, it burns ’til the Brown Santa arrives with the Fix. Every once in a while though, the fire is lit by necessity. No, I didn’t break my bike, it wasn’t stolen, worn out or outdated; my beautiful Genius Diablo was just not fast enough – not up against true TT bikes anyway. I found out the hard way on a blazing hot weekend in Chico, CA.
Road stage racing was a new venture for me this season. My fitness was peaking and I wanted to test myself, so I signed up for the Chico Stage Race, which consisted of a 45 mile road race on Saturday, a Crit on Sunday morning and finished up with a 10 mile Time Trial in the afternoon. Saturday was hot. Africa hot. It was 100 degrees on the start line, and about 120 in my shiny black mountain bike shoes. I was ready for it though and I ended up winning the road race – my first road win ever! Re-hydration and sleep had me good to go for the Sunday morning Criterium, where I took second place by a bike length – my best crit finish ever! A mistake on the last lap cost me the win, but I had earned a 30 second time bonus for winning the road race, and had captured all the time bonus primes in the crit, so I was feeling confident and strong sitting in 1st place overall before the afternoon Time Trial.
I rolled up to the start of the TT on my trusty Diablo, knowing all I had to do was hold my own to win the overall. Looking around, I realized I was the only girl at the start line without a proper TT bike. Surprise Surprise – the other girls had metamorphosized into aero aliens between races! What the heck, how much faster could they be? 3… 2… 1… GO! Off I went and before I new it, I could see the wavy heat mirage finish line through the sweat stinging my eyes. I had a good ride and I felt like I had left everything on the shimmery-hot blacktop. It wasn’t ’til my eyes uncrossed enough to see the finishing times that I realized that I had brought a knife to a gun fight. I was over 2 minutes out of 1st in the TT and had dropped to 2nd place in the overall. Damn! I knew these ladies were not faster than me; I had proven that two races in a row! Obviously, they had the right equipment and it made all the difference in the end.
Needless to say, the new bike lust flared in my brain and bowels like a mouthful of wasabe dipped habaneros! And once again, my heros at Unreal Cycles came to my rescue, soothing the burn with a gorgeous cool Genius Cronometro and sick tubular carbon Grammo wheels – even the name sounds fast! With just a couple of hiccups in the build process, I was ripping up the pavement on my new TT bike! During the first ride, it became obvious how big a difference the aggressive positioning and aero nature of the Cronometro made in my overall speed. Ok, now I need to race this beauty! Since I have to wait a year for a do-over of the Chico Stage Race, I am going to spend some serious TITS (time in the saddle) getting used to the new position. My first TT race is coming up next week! Stay tuned!