Friday, April 22, 2011

Hill Climb Rides finish up.

Due to poor weather in the last few weeks. We only managed to get in two "official" hill climb training rides in, though we did ride up Aggie a couple of unofficial days too.  We started with a bitterly cold ride on March 28. It was my self and long time shop friend/customer Brian Wade.  We accomplished two repeats that night and got tossed about by the wind a little.  Good training! Then the next week it rained and or snowed, then it snowed again followed by more rain. April showers bring May flowers, or so we always try to convince ourselves... 

We did get in our final ride last Monday, April 18 and it was bliss! After a nice warm up on Scituate rd, then directly to the base, up the solo rider (Steve) went, climbing again for a total of five! It was a rather gray night, but with the trees still lacking leaves, the sky turned blue with the contrast off the Ocean and I admired the usually great views of York Harbor, Nubble Light an all the coastline way up to Kennebunk. There was one other rider there who parked at the base and did his own program, not sure how many climbs he did, but he was still cruising up on my last descent. It felt great to get in a ride and I fell into a nice rhythm on every ascent.

If we get enough folks interested in another Hill Climb Series we may start one up again for the month of June, but it would probably be on a different night. Let us know if you would participate.

I would encourage anyone who is aspiring to ride a White Mountain Century, The Six Gaps in Vermont or getting ready for Mount Washington, to use Aggie in their training programs.  One can nearly gain as much elevation with repeats on this hill as you can gain in the higher country and it averages a 13% grade!

Here is a map link from our final ride. We ended up with 2475 feet climbed in 21 miles.

Join us for our regularly occurring Monday night rides at 5:30 from the shop.  We will push the start time to 6 PM on Monday May 2.

Have a good ride!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2011 Specialized Roubaix Expert SL3

Ninety nine percent of us don't need the absolute fastest, stiffest race bike. We don't put out over 1000 watts of power in an all-out sprint like Mark Cavendish, we're not going to pull ahead of a world-class group of climbers headed up Alpe d' Huez like Alberto Contador. We're going to go out for a few 1-2 hour rides a week and throw in an occasional century ride or 60-miler, and we're going to ride New England roads with pavement that is cracked and rutted with frost-heave lumps.

The Specialized Roubaix was built for exactly this kind of riding. Well, actually, it was built to win races like Paris-Roubaix, where the race course includes dusty, muddy, rough cobblestones covered with a patina of tractor gear oil with myriad unexpected obstacles placed between the start and finish lines. Luckily, that just so happens to describe a lot of the roadways here in northern New England too!

The Roubaix SL3 is a fantastic frame whose technology was only available on the $7000+ S-Works version of the Roubaix as recently as last year. Carbon is a fantastic material to build a bike frame out of, since it is almost infinitely tunable in terms of compliance - shaping of the tubes, layup of the carbon fabric make it possible to keep significantly stiff lateral and torsional rigidity while adding a substantial amount of vertical compliance, resulting in microsuspension that both smooths out the potholes and dampens the smaller inconsistencies of the roadway.

The thing that makes the SL3 version of the Roubaix so much better than previous versions is the way it is laid up in better sections. SL2 and earlier versions had a separate bottom bracket piece that chainstays and downtube plugged onto, which resulted in extra structural carbon overlapped and bonded together. The SL3 chainstays, bottom bracket, and seattube make up one piece that makes the bike about .25 lbs lighter, and BB30 carbon bottom bracket shell also contribute to a stiffer, lighter weight system. Size specific stays for EVERY frame size mean that there is specific thought going into every size bike, not just the 56cm one like a number of competitors.

The geometry of the Tarmac is relaxed. This gives it a longer wheelbase than a race bike, which makes it more stable and predictable at speed. It is still a light (16 lbs.), stiff, responsive bike, just more like a sport sedan than an F1 race car. The ride is plush and forgiving, but there is a sort of positive springy feel to the ride that seems to drive you forward with every pedal stroke. The headtube is probably at least as tall as any of its competitors, and with the 4-position stem that comes spec'd on every level Roubaix there is a huge range for fitting you comfortably (or aggressively) on the bike.

Full Shimano Ultegra 6700 drivetrain, Fulcrum Racing 4 wheelset, and FACT carbon seatpost w/ Zertz insert all add to the ride. Specialized's own Avatar saddle is plush, anatomically correct, and comes in three widths to fit any rider's sit bones.

We have Roubaix SL3 bikes in our Test Bike fleet. Come in, get fitted, and take one for a long ride over any road, smooth or rough!