Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wildcat Mountain TT

Well, I think everybody dodged a bullet weather wise for this race. Heading to the staging area in my car, I saw a lightening bolt off in the distance (probably 10 miles away from the start line). I could also see rain in the area, but where I was at it was dry.

Getting set up, it was dry, but just before starting to warm up some rain drops started to fall. Some riders on the road reported some wet roads before warm up. However, due to a little wind and the rain stopping, the roads cleared up and were dry at the start. Once the races started the weather held through to the top of the climb. When we all came down, the rain hit and hit pretty hard with big rain drops and lightening.

The race it's self went well enough. The start is a 1.5 mile climb that averages around 8%, then is followed by a downhill that has some twisty sections near the bottom. From there it's a lot of false flats, low % climbs and a fewer higher % climbs.

All told it was 11.3 miles with about 2100 feet of climbing.

Last year I ran a little over 44 minutes, but with the wet weather didn't get a good idea of what I could do on the course because I took it easy on the downhill sections.

This year, I went all out, but still played it safe in a few sections ... but was able to shave off 3:40 from my time last season. Power wise I was a bit higher than last year at 333 watt average, but weighing 18 - 20 less than last year made a big difference overall.

I ended up 2nd in my category and 10th fastest time overall ... not a bad day for a bigger racer.

Next up ... Revenge of the disc in two weeks.

After that I may race the 2nd Revenge of the Disc, but may take the week off for extra training because the week after that is the two championship races (flat TT on Saturday and hill climb on Sunday). At that time my season is completed, but I may race the Eugene Celebration stage race just for the fun of it ... time will tell on that one though.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

New Scott Foil

I've coveted a Foil since it was first introduced ... however, the last time I needed to purchase a new road bike (crashed out in a race), nobody had one available at that time, so I ended up with a Cannondale CAAD10 (4). I liked the Cannondale a lot, handling was good, weight was good for the money and it was a good bike overall.

Recently I found a closeout 2013 Foil 40 for a great price and did the math ... sell my Cannondale, MTB and Powertap wheels and I could more or less offset the cost of most of the Foil (with a few added accessories). I'm still working on selling them, but financed the bike through 18 month 0% financing which once the items are sold and a couple more months of payment ... and it will be paid off.

The bike came in on Tuesday and I rode it into work on Wednesday for my commute (41 miles round trip). Even stock, I was pretty impressed with the bike. It felt solid both front and rear, accelerated quickly and was more comfortable than expected.

My other add on's came in on Thursday with a new set of handle bars (I needed wider bars than the stock 42cm) and a set of Boyd Carbon Clinchers (44 mm). I also switched out the saddle to my trusted Specialized Romin 155 mm. I went with the 44 mm Boyd's due to their light weight (rims only 460 grams), medium depth and solid build (24f/28r spoke count). Overall, they dropped almost a pound from the stock Shimano wheels and give the bike a much livelier feel.

I took it out for a shakedown ride on Thursday to dial in the fit and another shorter easy ride to continue dialing in the fit on Friday.

Today was my first "Big" test and ride on the bike ... 84 miles and 4600 feet of climbing on a team ride.

The bike accelerated very well and climbed extremely well ... better than expected. Out of the saddle, it feels like all power is being put into forward motion, with little bottom bracket flex. Given how stiff the frame feels out of the saddle I was happy to see how 
well the bike handles bumps. I had heard that the Foil was a very stiff ride, almost too stiff ... I however found it to "Mute" small bumps and handle bigger bumps every bit, if not better than my Cannondale.

The bikes handling was neutral. Bombing down descents was predictable and solid. Nothing unexpected or quirky about it ... just straightforward cornering, easy counter steering and simply "Predictable". In reality, you can't ask much more out of a bike than to have it do what you want with no unexpected "Surprises".

One aspect of the bike I like a lot is that it's an "Aero" bike, but doesn't really look like it. The tube shapes do make a difference at speed, but under 20 mph it doesn't seem to do a lot. Once you start hitting speeds over 20 mph is where it can be felt. Pedaling at 24 mph required less effort than in the past, going down hill was faster (I've hit higher speeds and moved way up some KOM STRAVA segments going downhill on this bike) and it handles cross winds very well. It's a bike that seems to like going fast!

After 84 miles today ... I was tired, but not beat up. 

Going into this team ride, I posted wanting to try for a local KOM that has stood for around 2 years. I had been close in the past, but was about 30 seconds short of the KOM. I had one teammate show up that wanted to go for it ... so we did.

I started out with a hard pace up the climb, then settled into a good pace that was a little above threshold. My teammate struggled a little during the first mile or so due to having a hard ride the day before, but was able to hold on until the pace came down a little. From there we were able to work together with me taking pulls on the lower % grades and him on the higher % grades, playing to our strengths on the climb.

At the top I knew we would be close having looked at the time before we started ... but not having an exact time I wasn't sure if we were able to get it until I uploaded my data. My teammate stated a time of 21:10 which would have got us the KOM. Upon uploading the ride data we did indeed get the KOM with a time of 21:06 which was 19 seconds faster than the previous KOM (this bike can climb!).

After that climb we settled into a regular riding pace given neither of us were fresh and the rest of the team didn't want to go that fast for the rest of the ride.

With all that said ... This is the first bike that I've owned (and I've owned more than a few) that not only met expectations, but exceeded them!

Bike set up:

2013 Foil 40 (size "M" 54 cm) with full Shimano 105 components
Thomson -17 degree/110 stem
FSA 46 cm ergo/wing handlebar
Stages 105 powermeter
Boyd 44 mm Carbon Clinchers
Specialized Romin Expert 155 mm saddle

Total weight (with pedals, bottle cage, computer mount and Garmin 500) ... 16.5 pounds