Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More Humbling

August 2007. I had recently purchased my first bicycle as an adult. I predicated on the decision for weeks, debating between the utility of a road bike vs racing triathlons on a time trial bike. In the end, racing won out as I purchased a Cervelo p2sl.

So I had a new bike. I was the shizznit and was in sensory overload. Crisp shifting from the 10 speed Dura-Ace group, the supple hum of 220 TPI Vittoria rubber on the tarmac and a sleek jet-black paint job edit: anodized finish shredded any sense of buyer's remorse.

Meanwhile, Old Yeller was in shambles. Its STI shifter controlling the rear derailleur had lost its ability to index, effectively reducing it to a triple ring three speed. Yeller's fate was still undecided as it hung on a hook in the garage. Not that it mattered. I really wasn't interested in riding it much since purchasing the p2sl.

So without a road bike, the p2sl was it. I rode it everywhere - on group rides, commuting to work, whatever. I never hoozier-stooped to wearing cutoff jeans while on it, but I did have my share of embarrassing moments in those early days. Still do. Here are a couple that I'm aware of:

1) Lights
If you happen to be a first time owner of a time trial bike, don't make the mistake of visiting your local bike shop and asking what type of light you can affix to an aero seat tube. Geez - what a freaking newb! Perhaps I should have asked for a clip-on generator for the back wheel to complete the set. Anyway, I did this. They made no effort to conceal their laughter from behind the counter.

Is Shim still here? Good riddance. Let's go on to #2

2) Track Stand
When the bike is so new that the tires haven't even worn off their nubs, you think you're invincible. This is especially true on a time trial bike. You're not.

Again -- having only one bike -- I brought the p2sl to work for a group ride drop-fest over the lunch hour. Fortunately, Fred suggested the airport loop, which is perfect for time trials. Thanks Fred. I was licking my chops and ready to feast.

A total hammerfest ensued for the next thirty minutes. To Fred's credit, he not only hung on but even pulled some. Those were the days when he was riding lots, had a high golf handicap and probably didn't mind converting bytes and string vectors very much.

Anyhow, after basking in an elevated state of self-aggrandizement for the better part of an hour, fate had its way of pulling me back down to earth. While waiting for the light to change at the corner of 24th and Cuming, I had the p2sl balanced in a neat track stand with a Munson head-wag or two to underscore the moment. When the light changed, I applied pressure to the crank and slipped the chain right off the big ring. Did I clip out to recover gracefully? On my day of glory? Preposterous! I was intent on riding this thing out. So in a desperate act of futility, I spun the crank up to about 180 RPM as gravity slowly keeled me and my brand-spanking-new TT bike right over. (If this was a scene in a movie, you'd see the Titanic's orchestra playing music while riding unicycles all around me.) What a jerk. As I lay beneath the p2sl, the group I had toasted only minutes before pulled away. I believe I heard Fred call back, "No...this way, Brady".

Ahhh yes. Delicious, sweet humble pie.


  1. Yeah - that was good and funny. I hope my comment lifted your spirit. I think we were cruising along at above 30(mph) as we got to the westbound part of that loop. Keep that up for an hour and you might have something.


    I also had the hots for food-stamps back then. Ahh, those were the days.

  2. Looks like they left a few of the large cogs off the back. :)

  3. Umm...actually that black 'paint job' is not a paint job, it's anodized.

    Sorry, just being a nerd!

  4. Everyone knows that you use a helmet light on a TT Bike.