Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Maiden Voyage of the (Fill in the Blank)

I did it, finally.  I upgraded my bike to a beautiful, carbon, Cannondale Synapse.  And it was everything I hoped it would be.

Quick backstory:

Char and I bought our road bikes three years ago.  We weren't sure about riding bikes so we purchased low end entry level bikes from Trek.  I loved mine, but rode the hell out of it and have started riding in groups where the poor gearing and heavy frame are slowing me down, plus I realized that I needed a slightly larger frame size.  Char's bike was a men's bike, and gave her problems with posture and made riding painful.  We decided to upgrade this summer.  A new women's specific Felt for her and a Cannondale for me.

I struggled with the decision for a while.  Some friends tried to get me into a Cannondale SuperSix, and even a dealer almost had me walking out with one early on.  But I hesitated, thankfully, and came to the conclusion that I'm just not a sprinter or racer.  The more upright and comfort oriented posture of the Synapse was really my style.  

I made the decision to upgrade in June, after I'd finished the Death Ride Tour, and also after the year's bike sales season.  Most companies had stopped producing the 2013 models and were selling through their stock.  By the time I'd picked out what I wanted, my size was no longer available from the manufacturer.

So I did the next best thing and pre-ordered a 2014 Cannondale Carbon Synapse 105.  Which means I got one of the first bikes off the production line before their even released to the regular public.  Go me!

I took it out for its maiden voyage last Sunday, on a 40 mile trip to the Edge of Texas and back.  Beforehand, I cruised through a 15 mile warm up to see how the bike fit, figuring out if I needed to adjust the seat, etc.  It was wonderful.  The carbon lay up reduces a huge percentage of the road vibrations and takes the sting out of most of the more serious bumps in the road.  The light frame and 105 gearing were very responsive and smooth.  The best part?  This bike really fits me.  It's a full 58cm frame, which on a Cannondale is really big, and I feel like I've been riding a little kid's bike for the last three years.  I can really stretch out on this bike, and riding in the drops requires a much less aggressive posture.  

Already, I've taken it out twice more for almost 100 miles this week.  And now comes the hardest part.

What do I name her?

That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet?

This is serious business.  Naming a bike identifies the personality of the bike and the rider.  It will define and help express my riding/racing style, and help keep me motivated in the darkest, most painful moments of some longer rides.

Is my new bike a fun bike?  Does it playfully embark on joy rides through the mountains and along the roads, careless of the headwinds and crosswinds, lithely bounding across potholes and asphalt patches with an abundance of extra sex appeal?  Black Rose, Black Beauty, Black Betty, Betty Boop, Blackberry Cobbler.  (Haven't eaten much today)

Is it perhaps a more serious character that doesn't give herself over to levity but determines to crush her enemies and see them driven before her, to hear the lamentation of the women? The Barbarian, the Thunderclap, The Storm Breaker, Breaking Wind.

Perhaps she's a determined machine that robotically counts off the miles that pass methodically beneath her precisely spinning tires and coldly calculates angles through harrowing turns without so much as a twinge of emotion yet always ready with a snarky comment? The Knight Rider, The Thyme Machine, Synaptic Revolutions.  (ok, the last one is a bad pun on her model, sue me)

Maybe she's an angry beast, a voracious animal that tears across the asphalt and leaves other riders heart broken and despairing in her wake.  She's a crazy Honey Badger, El Chupacabra, La Cucaracha.

Lookin' fierce!

No, she's none of these, because she's just a bike.  Without a rider, a bike is nothing, it has no purpose, no meaning.

Her name comes from what she means when I'm riding her.  It's what the act of cycling has brought me and continues to help me realize.

She's Serenity.
Welcome to the family, Serenity.

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