By: Mike Tomlinson
My New Bike
All day I was anticipating that first ride on my
new bike. The day was spent at the Ocala Stage
Race. I enjoyed the day at the races. Something
about hanging out with really fast cyclists
has energy in it for me.
But, my new, yet to be ridden bike, was parked
in a trainer under the CycleOps Neutral Warm-up
Zone canvas. It sat there, a day long distraction,
which fueled my anticipation.
There was no clear plan to ride, only emotional
response to a vague idea that I would ride it
sometime that Saturday afternoon. Anticipation
of difference and hoping for the best.
Johnny Cash in a car commercial once said,
“There’s no man as proud as a man in his new
car.” I don’t know if Johnny is correct but that
pretty much sums up the way I was feeling about
my bike. How would it ride? Would it feel stable,
responsive, stiff, flexible? Would I work well with
this bike? Confidence in the corners makes for
faster cornering and less chasing. I wanted that
feeling from the new bike.
I built out the new Stradalli Palermo Limited Edition
frame just the way I wanted it in every detail.
It is a flat black beauty with gloss black accents
and gray decoration. The Reynolds 46/66s for
aero speed and gray decals for drop dead looks,
a matching 3T carbon bar and stealth stem, Fizik
Antares stealth saddle and a groupo of the New
Sram Red had me excited like a kid on Christmas
The bike wasn’t completed until Friday afternoon
and I was working to 7 p.m. After work, packing
had to be done in preparation for my Saturday
morning trip to the Ocala Stage Race. There
was no time for a ride. I like stage races and
considered racing but short sleep and an unfamiliar
bike put that out of consideration.
The racing was exciting. Teammates and other
friends were in abundance. Jen Rhyner, FCM’s
Creative Director, was working with me at the
CyclOps and Get Healthy Tents. A day at the
races is always a good time and the combination
of it all made the day pass quickly but not quick
enough. In the process Jen and I talked about
taking my new bike out for a ride.
We worked all day plus Jen served as starter,
holding each bike with racer aboard for the start
of the Time Trail. We were tired, but I was fueled
with excitement for the new ride. Jen was bound
to be weary but would she bail out on the ride?
Not a chance.
We departed from Jen’s hotel, northeast of Ocala,
along rural roads with no particular destination in mind.
This wasn’t about the route it was about
the bike. As fortune would have it, the wind was
at our back which only increased the sensation
of easy speed as I began to turn the pedals. Almost
immediately I was telling Jen how stable
the new bike felt as we got up to cruising speed.
Johnny Cash in a car
commercial once said, “There’s
no man as proud as a man in
his new car.”
Like a kid, I severed from side to side as we rode
down the deserted country road getting a feel for
the handling and liking what I was feeling. My
confidence increased as I learned how to work
with the bike. I loved the balance between stability
and responsiveness and pushed the bike
harder with every turn. A few sprints to get the
feel of it and before I knew it twenty miles were behind us.
We turned into the wind to head back. A look at
the clock said we were going to have to hammer or be late
for our dinner rendezvous with Donald and Carole Davis.
Jen found a “shortcut” using the GPS on her cell phone.
As we traveled the “short cut” the road began to deteriorate
and soon potholes turned to broken pavement headed
toward dirt. We were too far to turn back. Jen said, “This
might get a little bumpy, but we’ll be FINE” as the road ride
on my new bike turned into Cyclocross. I did not purchase
the Palermo to be a Cyclocross bike but “Jen the Naviagator”
gave me the opportunity to test it in a much wider wide
variety of conditions than planned. I am pleased to say it
was up to the challenge.
All in all, the ride was more than I expected. As if the first
ride on my new bike wasn’t exciting enough, Jen added to
the adventure. The bike was all I hoped it would be and
more plus I had tall tales to tell to Donald and Carole at dinner
about my first ride.
At the end of the day I know bikes are just carbon
and alloy but my bike is extra special. I think the
name Darth really works for this bike. Yep, meet
my buddy Darth.
Jen said, “This might get a little bumpy, but we’ll be FINE” as
the road ride on my new bike turned into Cyclocross.