A new day dawning

It’s one of those yearly rituals that I never fail to look forward to. Packing up the winter bike and readying the summer one. Traditionally it’s been done at the beginning of April, this year being no exception. It signals that Spring is truly here and that the worst of the mud, wind and rain that characterises Winter is well and truly in the past. Better still it means KOM’s will fall and average speeds will see a big increase.

My Cannondale is a loyal work horse, four and a half years after I bought it the bike is still going strong. It’s comfortable enough for those long winter rides and seems to cope very well with being put on the turbo trainer for the early spring interval sessions. Nonetheless this bike does have a few drawbacks, the 10 speed Shimano 105 groupset is reliable but the shifting is heavy and not exactly instant. It’s just a fraction too large, making it difficult to ride on the drops (that’s my excuse anyway). Being a slightly older frame you can feel the flex when putting in a hard effort. Not that any of this is a problem in training, it’s just not much fun.

The weather has been kind enough to make it possible to make the switch to the Specialized. It’s a Tarmac SL4 with a full Ultegra 6800 groupset and currently sporting upgraded 30mm wheels. It might be a couple of ¬†years old now but this thing can still really shift, up until the end of last season it did a fine job as my race bike. There is only one problem, buying a bike with a distinctive matt orange finish seemed like a great idea at the time – I failed to realise just how tricky it would be to keep clean.Every little grease mark stands out, sadly I can never get away with leaving this bike after a ride – even in the summer months it needs a thorough going over.

Nonetheless it’s worth it when taking it out on the road. Lighter, stiffer and a better fit – this bike seems to fly along after months spent on the winter machine. It had it’s first outing on Saturday morning, nothing spectacular but there is always something to be said for an easy spin in the sun. For the first time in many months I claimed a Strava KOM, a segment I have been after for a while. I could sense the last remnants of my cold slipping away as the ride went on, for the first time in a while I felt genuinely positive about life.

The numbers were good too, a lifetime best 1 minute power output. I’m sure some it is psychological but some must be down to the work I’ve put in over the last few weeks, all that hard training finally paying off. I’ve entered a local TT later in the week, hopefully the Spring legs will still be there – a top ten is a serious possibility – perhaps even a top 5. I’ve spent a bit of money and finally ordered a Skinsuit, this should shave off a few seconds and make it that bit easier to eat properly (in such a tight fitting garment, hiding a slightly protruding stomach is next to impossible).

For today that’s all. Time to go and clean that orange bike again. Stay tuned.

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