Friday, October 25, 2013

Specialized SHIV Experience

I cant believe it, its sitting here in my living room and I still cant believe it.


Ok I'm not going to lie, this may be completely & blately a teensy bit biased because I have wanted this bike for a very long time and I'm still in awe that I have it :p

So training 7 weeks out from a race with a month of being homeless moving from Scotland to Denver, while jumping through USA's homeland security hoops in Canada, 5 cities, 3 countries, never ending flights, failing trying to adapt to altitude and get set up in a new country as a resident alien, lets add a new bicycle to the mix under 3 weeks out from race day!

It really sounds dumb when I write it down.  I don't need the added drama and have more than enough stress and change going on, but its a freaking SHIV!  I figure the bad ass points alone will give me an extra mph or two on race day ;)

Man thats a sexy bike. I was like a kid at Christmas jumping all over the place trying to stay calm when it arrived.  Now its kind of like a toy that comes without batteries, as much as I wanted to I couldn't play with it right away.  I had to get it fit before I could put in some miles.  So online I went and found a Retul fitter in Boulder, I had such a great experience with them in Scotland I was hoping for the same level of quality here and I really wasn't disappointed.  I lucked out finding Colorado Multisport (seriously check them out if you're around Boulder) and they took care of me.

It was fantastic to see just how adjustable the SHIV was, every plane of motion could be manipulated to mould it to my riding position and make a decently aggressive aero position feel incredibly comfortable.  With a knowledgeable bike fittologist fittist fitter I couldn't have been more happy with the position.

Ok so bike is built, fit and ready to ride.  So I load it up in my crappy little truck (that I love) and head to Boulder to give her a try.  Its funny to see the SHIV on my little truck, it costs about 10X as much but has two less tires, no engine, half the seating....wth?  Triathlete prioritites :p

Yes I seat-belted in the Zipp wheel in the front passenger seat
Weather forecast was freaking freezing a bit chilly, with a high of 40, but I was so excited I didn't care.  I looked ridiculous wearing knee high socks and shorts but I was hoping people would be too distracted by the SHIV to may be time I actually invest in some cycling pants.

The ride - Smooth & Fast

WOWZA!  I can't compare my entry level bike to this Carbon Fibre beast.  The first thing I notice is how insanely smooth it is.  I didnt realize how much energy I was expending absorbing the vibrations of the road until I didnt have that stress anymore.  I felt like I was riding newly paved roads, but could see that wasnt the case, the bike just smoothed the ride out for me.

It is also incredibly tight, just a flick and it sails through the gears without hesitation.  Now I had upgraded all of the components on my old bike to Dura-ace but it never felt like this.  It reacted instantaneously and with no effort.

Comfort, like I said before it was easy to adjust it to fit me perfectly.  I had been riding medium frame that was too bike for me, so just going down to the small frame made a big difference.  However beyond that just being able to adjust everything to dial it to the perfect fit was phenomenal.  First ride was about 3 hours and between the fit and less vibration from the road I was less tight than if I had done an hour leisurely cruise on my last bike.

Bad Ass points - Seriously, this thing just looks fast.  Its almost like because you expect it to go faster, it does.  I'm sure the leaps and bounds in aerodynamic technology, and ditching the UCI rules have a lot to do with that too ;)  Not going to lie I enjoyed the attention this thing gets riding it around.

I even had a non biker comment on how fast the bike looked when I was taking it up the elevator to my apartment.  Then they asked, "So are you a famous athlete or something?".  Of course I answered with the truth, "Not yet" ;)

So as much fun as riding the SHIV was I had to cut my ride short, it started raining...then the rain turned into snow as the temp dropped...  Discovered those fluffy snow flakes you catch on your tongue don't feel so fluffy when you are hitting them at 25mph... I was still an hour from my truck.  So not the most pleasant first ride weather wise, but I have never been so happy freezing my ass off.

So to sum it up - I had high expectations for this bike, and in reality it was more than I could have hoped for.

To the important question - does she have a name?  I've never named any of my motorcycles or my last bicycle but this one is different.

Stiletto - sleek, sexy and my weapon.

Two weeks until I head to Miami for a training camp with Macca followed by the Miami Man Half Ironman and then I head to Nevis for the MaccaX long distance Triathlon in the Caribbean.  I cant wait to see what I can do on this bike, even though this elevation change has been killing my training.  I haven't been able to hit Half Ironman Watts up here for more than a couple minutes (little less time than the 2.5 hours the race will take) but just keeping positive that between the bike and adaptations from training here I will be able to unleash this bike racing.

Carpe Diem

Monday, October 21, 2013

Crazy Hectic Chaotic Life, I love it.

Ok, its been far too long since I've updated, life has been chaos.  Turns out moving across the atlantic to a country you're not a citizen of takes some time and acrobatics jumping through a few hoops.  Add in training for a 70.3 and life is a special kind of chaos.  I thrive on it.

So I said my good-bye's to Scotland, spent a week in Calgary, Alberta.  I forget how much I miss my home town just eating and drinking my fill with good friends and family.  It was heaven.

I also got my first taste of elevation and the mountains.  Calgary is about 3500 ft up and I didn't think it would affect me much but I was in for a surprise!  Although Denver was a whole other experience.  I had so much fun, there was a ride that I used to go on every weekend on my motorcycle up to Bragg Creek.  Before I got into this triathlon obsession I used to see those cyclists go by on the same route and think they were absolutely insane.  I would flick my wrist, the R6 engine would growl and propel me up the hills...and those cyclists were a blur in my rear view mirrors soon forgotten.

Well I became one of those crazy cyclists and decided to see what it felt like to be my own engine.  I loved it.  Scotland was rolling hills, this was fast straight descents that you just held on and steep uphills that made the legs just burn.  I hit a new top speed on those hills of 41mph, speed wobble is a little scarier on the bicycle than a motorcycle without the safety of full leathers to keep my skin intact!  It was so gratifying to ride my old favourite route on the bicycle, although I'm sure there were a few motorcyclists thinking "why?" as they flew past me as I used to.

With travel its always tricky trying to get in the training.  I came up with a new game seeing how fast I could pack and unpack my bike in each new city and happy to say I PR'd :p Always fun to get to the a new city and hotel unpack the bike, hard trainer ride the next morning, pack it back up in the afternoon and head to the airport once again.  I do love exploring new cities with just a pair of running shoes, running aimlessly getting lost and finding my way back.  I get to know a city intimately and it doesnt get dull.

Eating was another thing.  I know its possible to eat well on the road, there are so many options.  What I am a little lacking in is will power.  When there are so many yummy options on the menu its hard to say no when its at your finger tips.  I've had ambivalent feelings towards food since Ironman, there was so much build up and I thought of that as my last race of the year then I could relax.  Well I did for 2 weeks I ate and drank whatever I wanted and didn't work out.  After that I was craving the workouts and have all the drive in the world to go hard, buuut the diet didn't come back so easily.  I finally got back in the groove about a month later, and then we were on the road again.  It's not so hard at home, but when on the road with so many exciting options I have a hard time saying no.  Well we are finally settled in Denver and have a kitchen and food in the fridge after a month of restaurants on the road so trying to get back at eating things like vegetables and not having dessert every night :p

I'm so happy to be here in Denver Colorado, life is starting to calm down and return to normal.  We're set up in an apartment in downtown Denver until we get things sorted and start house shopping.  I'm a creature of habit and like being able to settle into some sort of routine for now.  Its been a wild ride this year and there are still a few more trips to come but a couple of weeks of calm are more than welcome.

Some exciting things have happened in Denver...specifically a new machine that I can't call a bicycle because it so far outclasses the bicycle I was on before.  So stay tuned!