Sunday, March 04, 2007

Can I be an ultracyclist too?

Today I shopped for a bike.

I've been researching and looking for over a month now. My biggest problem is finding the correct fit for my small size. It seems that all of the smaller frames are NOT scaled down versions but rather contain subtle differences in their frames when compared to frames for average or taller folks. The seat tube angle is one such spec that suffers with smaller frames. Average frames tend to have a slacked seat tube angle of about 73 degrees. The smaller frames tend to make their angles around 74 or 75 degrees. There are benefits and drawbacks to both, having to do with an increased pitch through the trunk with more pressure through the arms and wrists (with the higher angles) and differences with the leg muscles used, like the smaller angle favors quad use and the larger angle favors hamstring use. The smaller angles also favor climbing for much of the same reason.

I understand that there are many arguments for and against subtleties like this. Believe me, I've heard it all! I'm no slacker myself when it comes to doing my homework. And some of the apparent "best" out there cannot even answer what seem to me to be the most basic questions. In any case, yes, I'm familiar with the fact that you can "just move the seat forward or back" and that you can "just raise the handlebars" or "just change out the handlebar stem," etc. etc. That's not what I'm talking about. Rather, it's more fundamental than that. Like buying "petite" clothing....they're made to look "childish" in all pinks and florals and laces. There are only a few stores that actually make REAL average sized clothes for below average sized women...only a few. It's the same with the bikes.

So, ok........I am now OFF my soap box. On to the GOOD news.

I've been spying this one bike and keep going back to the shop to see if it still likes me. :)

Here it is:

Here are its specs:

FRAMESET: C-10 SuperLite High Modulus carbon w/3K weave, Continuous Fiber Technology, integrated aluminum cupped head tube, shaped ride-tuned Energy Transfer Chainstay, replaceable hanger

FORK: FC-330 Fuji Carbon Monocoque Integrated 1 1/8" Carbon steerer , 350g

DRIVETRAIN: FSA SLK Carbon MegaExo w/integrated spindle, 7075 CNC 39/53T, Shimano Dura Ace STI, 20-speed Flight Deck compatible

WHEELS Mavic Ksyrium SL

FEATURES: NEW Ritchey WCS EVO Carbon 31.8mm Road, San Marco Aspide Glamour womens saddle

SIZES: XS (44), S (47), M (50), L (53)

COLOR: Carbon finish with fused purple

WEIGHT: 15 lbs / 6.3kg

So, today I hopped on it and took it for a little test ride. The Centennial Trail was right there, so I got right into a groove and road for 10 miles. Now, it's been a LONG time since I've been on a bike. I have an old Cannondale mountain bike that I road during a few century rides in times past (!) but it's even been a long time since I've been on that. It's been so long that I, in fact, was a little hesitant about getting on the bike for fear of crashing.


Once I hit that Centennial Trail.....WHOO HOO!! I was off and riding! And HO-LY-MAC-A-RO-NI did I ever have a BLAST! Granted, I only had time for 10 miles until the bike shopped closed but I reveled in every mile. Earlier today I ran 15 hilly miles so my legs were somewhat fatigued and this was good; I felt it would give me a more accurate feel of the fit of the bike if I were already a bit fatigued. And well, it felt GREAT! I felt great.

So, I returned the bike and promised to check on her again by the end of the week. Then, I promptly purchased some bike shorts (ouch!). I've got a couple more bikes to try, but this one's tugging at my heart strings. So, I should make a decision by the end of the week. If she's still there, I'll take her home. I've got a trainer for now...but those hilly country roads are calling.

And oh, my next bike (I don't do ANYTHING that I like in MODERATION!) is going to be a custom Rivendell. You gotta check out these steel beauties. I gotta have one. ..One at a time though. I'll see how the first one treats me.

I can't wait to go, go, GO! on the roads and the beautiful 37 miles of paved Centennial Trail that hugs the Spokane River and goes from Nine Mile Falls in western Spokane to the Idaho State line. Of course, it then continues on into Idaho for a total of 60 miles.

Then, if I have an inkling of a chance at finishing it, I will do the Furnace Creek 508 to complete the Death Valley Cup. The 508 will be my FIRST official bike event. Now, how's THAT for compulsive??? :)


Bob Gentile said...

huh?? what the heck is that thing?? Don't you even try to sneak on that thing for a few miles during Badwater...where is the Crew Chief, I need to talk with him right now!!


OK that does look like a pretty sweet ride and WOW what a paved trail course you have available to you, that is a wise investment with having a fun course like that to ride...

I am gonna wait on my bike purchase, hard enough figuring out how my body reacts to all my other trainings I don't need to ADD a bike to the mess I have started--lol

Great RUN today also, nice 15 miler on the hills ...way to GO!!


olga said...

I'd say, go for it. Furnace Creek and BW combo for a BIG PRIZE...YOU CAN DO IT!

marathanna said...

You MUST buy this bike immediately, Lisa!!!

OMG, cycling is just the bomb. When I realized that my body simply couldn't handle the volume of running that I'd need to do ultras, I got into triathlon. Signed up for Ironman as my first step (might as well start big). I now love cycling so much more than running (and I love running a lot).

If I could never run again, I'd be okay with that. As long as I can ride.

Go, Lisa, go! I can see the DV cup in your future!


Cathy said...

I used to be a bike tech and fitting bikes was part of my job. I agree that just moving the saddle forward or backward or swapping out the stem is not the same as having a frame that fits you well. Those kinds of adjustments should fall into the category of fine-tuning. In my opinion, the best way to find a bike you'll love is to do what you already have; get out there and do some test rides. : ) Good luck! To me there is nothing like finding that perfect bike that makes you feel fast and powerful. -Cathy

GotLegs! said...

Lisa, wow ... I can't imagine being on a bike that long. (A side note to bob gentile ... I think the tires would melt on the BW course - ha)!

Anyway, good luck on your BW training. I envy you ... sorta ;-)


Kendall K said...

Lisa, I purchased my first decent road bike in November of '05 and promptly got a second used Cannondale in '06. I've been following the same program of not training for biking that I have for running and still seem to sign up for several events during the year. I will be riding the NW Crank in Wenatchee April 27th-29th. You should come over and play. Kendall

Triteacher said...

Words fail.

Nope, no half-measures for you. I feel proud just to be reading your blog!

Lisa B said...


The bike is to help with running. Like marathanna said, it'll help with my training without trashing my running legs. I just can't seem to add up enough running miles to make a difference in my races. Cycling will be a means to run better...but it is also FUN in its own right. I can't wait to actually purchase one and ride!

Lisa B said...


Thanks for the encouraging bike words. Yes, I think I'm gonna like it. I've done some century rides in the past, but with a real bike, I will enjoy it much more. I was amazed at how happy I was in the saddle. :)

Lisa B said...

Thanks Cathy. And I checked out your blog. Very nice. :)

Lisa B said...

Hi Kendall,

Nice to hear from you! Please tell me more about this NW Crank in April. I wanna play!

Your "running partners" are so cute, esp. the pup. Doncha just love dogs??

Lisa B said...

Hey tc,

Thanks for good luck wishes with the Badwater training. I need it. I see your blog is up and running again. David just signed up for CCC, so it looks like we'll be there again. I'll see you there, if not sooner...

Lisa B said...

No 1/2 measures. Great motto to live by, tt.

Lisa B said...


Thanks for the heads up on Chuck. I'll do my best to keep tabs on the website. It would be great to see you there. Remember last year when Steely and I cheered for you at the finish when you squeaked in under 6:01? :)

Kendall K said...

You can find all the details about the NW Crank at
The event is put on by the Seattle Randonneurs Club. They strike me as being ultra-runners on bikes. I would like to do more of their events. As for the puppy, he is now approaching 70 lb (@8 months) and is as tall as our other dog. He ran 10 miles with me at the Fund Run on Saturday. KRK

Lisa B said...

Wow, thanks Kendall. NW Crank looks great. (Hopefully people will know I'm talking about a bike club when I say the name!) I will definitely do this if I can swing the time. Thanks for the lead.

Big puppies rule.