White Hot

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Quick preface: I updated my Blog software, so it's easier to make cool entries and include URLs... you should see more of them in future entries.

Last night, my friend BJ and I drove down to Little Rock to swap out the Cervelo Soloist (aluminum bike) for a Cervelo R3 (carbon fiber bike). I had originally planned on renting something extremely expensive, like a Colnago or Prince, but changed my mind and decided to rent something more reasonable. I figured why rent something uber expensive if I had no shot at ever buying anything like it?

We had an uneventful drive down to Little Rock - we stopped at Feltner's Whatta-Burger in Russellville. We got the usual - a cheeseburger and small fries, and it was absolutely glorious. It's definitely worth the drive to get a burger from that place.

We arrived at Competitive Cyclist just a little bit after 3pm. My new friend Zach was waiting with the R3, and took return of the Soloist. After some measuring and adjusting, he had the fit pretty close. I hopped on the trainer and we made a few more adjustments - it was just about a perfect fit.

I picked up a new set of pedals - Time RXS and we loaded up the bike to head out.

We were sort of hungry and a little bored, so we hesitated for a few minutes while trying to decide where to go. It was still early - around 5pm - and we didn't feel much like driving another 3 hours back home. As we hesitated, BJ noticed two guys fighting - they were across the street from us (on the other side of a busy highway), and apparently quite upset with each other. Fists were flying, and after some time, out came a garden rake. It ended up bent in half. We eventually scored a break in the traffic and were able to skee-daddle before anything really bad happened.

We drove down toward the River Front area, and passed by a few dozen restaurants. Nothing seemed too interesting, so we decided to head over toward Cantrell Road, as I knew of a few good places to eat over in that direction. We eventually settled on the Buffalo Grill, but after we got inside, we decided to just have an appetizer and a drink; apparently their specialty item is the burger, and we'd just had a burger for lunch.

We then walked over to The Pizza Cafe and had a tasty supreme pizza with a couple of beverages. The place was tiny and extremely warm; the pizza was good, but not spectacular. We hung around there for an hour or so, then headed back home. I think it was around 11:30pm when I finally walked in the door and crawled into bed.

I woke up this morning later than I had planned on; my original plan was to be on the bike trail by 8:15am, as today was supposed to be a scorcher. I rolled out of bed at around 9:30am and then went about fitting my new pedals and cleats. I transferred my riding bag, got dressed, took some vitamins, filled my water bottles, and loaded up the bike. It was nearly 11:00am by the time I got rolling. The thermometer showed 91F. Nice.

I hit the trail and was immediately impressed by how the R3 rode. It was buttery smooth. I also immediately fell in love with the SRAM Red DoubleTap shifters - they're super ingenious and incredibly slick. The rest of the components were SRAMs less expensive "Force," and they worked extremely well.

I did five laps on the trail (about 32 miles) and was ready to call it quits - the heat was just too much to take, and my heartrate was once again sky high. I believe it's related to the temperature; last week, I rode three times as many miles without issue; today I was dead after just five laps. Last week, it was 70F.

The good news is the R3 is amazing. I was immediately impressed by it. It climbs without issue, it's silent while riding, it's silky smooth, and incredibly stiff. And, it fits me perfectly. A 100% winner, no questions asked. Even the cheapie Reynolds wheels worked great.

Here are some pictures of the bike:

cervelo2.jpg

downtube.jpg
Look at that beefy down tube - carbon fiber...


cervelo_bb.jpg
Huge bottom bracket = no flex = no wasted energy = strong climber/acceleration

comparison.jpg
Comparison to my current Trek 2000 SL.

The Cervelo weighs about 1/3 less than the Trek - it's amazing how light the thing is.

I just got back from another quick ride - I went to Bentonville and took it for a 12-mile spin around Memorial Park. It rode so nicely, even over sidewalk cracks and heaves - never even felt them. I think we've found a winner; I'm going to compare this against the Soloist Carbon, but unless the Soloist Carbon is absolutely phenomenal, I think the R3 will find a home in my living room.

We're off to Fayetteville to wish farewell to a coworker - she's moving back to the UK, so she invited a bunch of people out for dinner. Thanks to BJ for letting me use his camera today, mine's still at work.. I really need to bring it home!

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