After years of being below average, I’m ecstatic to report that northern Minnesota is above average for this time of the year. We have a week of 50’s and sun ahead of us, and that can only mean one thing: riding outdoors.
I’m grateful for all the distractions I use to make riding indoors more bearable. DVD’s of Colorado, old race footage and structured workouts are all well and good…BUT…no one rides indoors unless there’s no other option. We can all go to Couchlandria, or we can do time in our subterranean sweat caves and be ready to do some miles when THE DAY arrives. Today was the day.
My ride ride was noteworthy not only because it was the first ride of the season, but also the first ride on my new Felt AR1 frame. Over the winter I stripped the parts off the Black Pearl and built up the Felt. Mind you, theoretically I was getting a faster bike that was also relatively comfy – at least, as comfy as an aero race bike can be. The weight savings of a 900 gram frame was easy enough to see on the scale, but you don’t know about the rest until you actually get on the road. Riding on rollers only gives a vague approximation of a bike’s character. You must carry your doubt and misgivings until that DAY OF RECKONING. The pavement always tells the truth.
All my doubts, second guesses and misgivings melted away in the March sun as I pedaled 43 miles along the Mississippi River. The ride quality is comparable to my Trek Madone, though the Felt is stiffer. Out of the saddle climbing is immediately rewarding…you can feel the bike surge beneath you. The efficiency and aero qualities were also apparent in how quickly the bike comes up to speed. I had no problem holding 23 mph on the flats, but once in the drops the potential of this frame began to emerge. It was almost magical.
To give you a little background, Felt has been leading the industry with it’s aerodynamic road bikes for the better part of three years. Several larger manufacturers have given chase, but the AR1 frame continues to take first place in the wind tunnel. The longer reach invited me to stretch out in a flatter position to take advantage of the Felt’s wind cheating character. Coming back into a headwind with several gentle rises I had no trouble averaging 18 mph.
But most importantly: we’re riding outdoors.
This week of gorgeous weather happens to coincide with my self-imposed Tour of the Tundra – which was originally conceived to be an indoor high mileage week on the trainer. Looks like I’ll be doing it mostly outdoors. Though I wouldn’t bet on this run of weather to continue for too long, I’m taking what we’re getting. Getting our noses into the wind is down right intoxicating.
The 2015 season is under way.