Bits and Pieces

If I make any spelling mistakes this post, blame it on the Chianti Classico…

1. I went for a ride the other day. This might not seem strange considering you are reading a cycling blog, but it was odd to me because it was my first ride in many days. What I want to say to you is this: if you’ve spent 3 years fartlekking and zone 4 intervaling, don’t worry about a couple weeks off the bike in the off season – you still got it.

I have had this strange sensation since I finished Haute Route. I can’t stop hammering it, especially when I find a hill in front of me. Maybe this is normal for you, dear reader, but for me it’s a new phenomenon, and not one that is entirely unwelcome. It’s like a natural reflex or something that makes me want to go fast. Now, I don’t actually know if I’m going any faster than before, but the desire in the legs is probably a good start. I’m wondering if any Haute Routers are experiencing the same thing.

2. I have been hit good and truly by the Colnago bug and, although I have gotten over the used frame I was slobbering over a few months ago, I’ve graduated to the newest and greatest Colnago frame – the C59. I have yet to hear protestations from my understanding wife, so it is now simply a battle between me and my balance sheet as to whether I’ll be able to afford this beautiful piece of Italianess.


3. John and I are busy building a new self-guided tour in Provence, a custom guided tour for a group of Australians next year centered in Annecy, and a long-awaited guided tour in the wonderful, untapped Cévennes mountains. Oh, and a couple of cycling/wine tours. It’ll be an active winter.

And what are you up to..?

14 thoughts on “Bits and Pieces

  1. Gerry,

    Very much looking forward to welcoming you to the C59inati. That beauty will give you pleasure all your live long days. Given the coin involved, yes, you will experience buyer’s remorse. On about day three or thereabouts. For about two minutes. Then, puff, it’s gone, and ever day thereafter, whenever you gaze upon her you’ll think, Holy Shit am I lucky, or what! Or some such expression of transcendant incredulity.

    I laughed at your description of post-HR hill attacking. I know just what you mean. The HR was a conditioning experience in the Pavlovian sense. The road goes up, we hammer. Perhaps not faster than before (although I hope a little faster), but with a quiet mind.


    • Chris, thanks for the comment. I’ve looked around online for reviews of the C59 and, with a few exceptions, most of them spend the whole article drooling over the ‘storied history’, ‘Ernesto’s basement’, and how the frame is really made in Italy. I’m happy about all that, of course, but I’d love to actually hear how it rides. Do tell!

      ‘With a quiet mind’ is a great description. That’s the big difference pre and post HR, maybe.

      • Gerry,

        It’s true, Colnago reviewers do like to pad out their critiques with a history lesson. I guess when you’ve got a great story, it’s too hard to resist. I just Googled “Colnago C59 Review” and got a good smattering of reivews, though some older than others. I thought this one pretty spot on:

        As I said in a post in early August when you first mentioned you were looking at Colnagos, the number of really nice road bikes I’ve ridden is probably too small–about half a dozen–to offer an informed opinion to someone about to lay out serious coin for a bike. With that caveat, and having learned some things about my C59 during the HR, I’ll throw caustion to the wind and jump in.

        As an intro: My C59 is a black on black 2012 frame, Super Record all around (except for the Rotor cranks, which I ended up getting because it had the Quark PM I wanted), 3T cockpit, Mavic R-Sys SLR wheels. Shifting manual; not disc brakes.

        Two words: fast and comfortable. The miracle of the C59 is that Ernesto seems to have figured out how to get both in the same bike. I’ve never ridden a bike that is faster, both off the line, and going from, say, 35 to 45 kph and beyond in a race. Indeed, it’s that upper register acceleration that is really fun about the C59. Sprinting up a short hill out of the saddle is a joy with this bike–every time. Incredibly, you get that speed and acceleration with a comfy ride as well. Training for HR, I did several rides between 120-160 miles and never felt fatigued from road chatter because there was none. Yeah, I was whipped from the effort, but experienced none of the numbness one sometimes feels in the hands, shoulders, sitz bones from a harsher riding bike. I find I ride in the drops more on this bike than on any of its predecessors. No doubt, that because I got a stellar fit, but the relative lack of road chatter means I’m not sitting up stretching every other mile late in a century ride. I’m as comfortable at mile 100 as I am at mile 1. I’m more tired obviously, but nothing hurts. Did I mention I’m 52?

        People love this bike as a climber and I have to concur with their good opinion. However, one thing that was a revalation to me on the HR was how great a descender it is. I live in NYC, had never ridden in big mountains before, and was feeling pretty nervous about what lay in store in the Alps, particularly the descents. Also, on club rides here I usually let those who want to hammer our wopping two-mile descents do so. To me it’s always seemed a bit pointless to flail wildly on a mile-long gravel strewn road to hit 80 kph when gentle peddaling and coasting will get you to 70. So it was a great suprise to find myself getting to the bottom of an HR col 4 to 5 minutes ahead of my teamates–every time. Maybe I’m just a better descender than I thought, but I give a lot of the credit to the bike, which went in and out of steep turns very smoothly. Indeed, the more technical the descent, the better I did relative to others as she just loves those hairpin drop turns.

        A quick word about my wheels while I’m at it: they are a great match with this bike, especially for your neck of the woods. Freakishly light they are quick climbers. Now that I’m back in Flatlandia, I’m toying with getting a pair of wheels that are a bit more aero; but for hill country like yours, I can’t imagine a better set of clinchers. (If you get them, keep the rims super clean or they will squeel!)

        A final point. No doubt you are an LBS supporter and would not buy your Colango on line in any event, but you’ll particularly want to get your frame fitted from the get go as the sizing is a bit weird. I’ve ridden 54CM frames since before the flood, but with its sloping top tube, my C59, which fits to perfection, is a 51CM.

        Gerry, good luck! I look forward to her arrival.


        • Chris,

          Fantastic! This is the kind of thing I was hoping to read in reviews. I’ve read that link you sent, by the way, plus all the others that exist on the first 3 pages of a Google search! Thanks for sending it over, though. It was also my favorite.

          First on sizing: I’ll be getting it through my LBS, but I don’t trust them to size me up right. I’ve never felt they take the care they need to over here in that regard. I’m doing the research myself, comparing the geometry with my Infinito. I hope that is enough. Looks like I’d be on a 50, which is surprising, but as you said, they are sized differently. I didn’t even know they made a 51, so must go back and check that. It might get me closer. Thanks!

          All that great info on its descending/ascending/speed prowess is really excellent to hear from an owner. I’m very eager to feel what the difference is once I get it. And there better be some or Ernesto will get an angry email!

          Thanks again.

        • And by the way, thanks for the wheel tip, too. A friend of mine here got a pair a few months ago and I immediately took to the look. Glad to hear they perform, too! Do you need Mavic’s special pads, though?

  2. So yumm.

    Yummm…that’s a beautiful bike. Sophisticated cousin, I suppose, to Pinarello.

    And what am I up to. Oh, you know, plotting France trips.

    A tour in the Cevennes … also yumm. I imagine you can easily plan enough steep climbing to keep the legs of even your Alps riders happy. And they’ll get to experience a different part of le Sud on those beautiful tiny little roads.


    • Looking forward to your next trip to France, Suze. I am hoping it will involve Le Sud again!

      The Cevennes tour will be special, I agree. The trick is marketing it since they aren’t very well known. Maybe someone who knows them well can spread the word discretely…;-)

  3. Hammer away my friend. Feeling this also. Nothing around here I would consider a tough hill so that makes it ever worse. As Chris said, “the HR was a conditioning experience in the Pavlovian sense.” Agree!!! Rubber side down!

  4. Ah, I know what you mean… Whenever I come to a bridge going over a motorway or rail tracks, I feel like hammering. Ahaha! I need a mountain round here!

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