Sunday, September 18, 2011

The mind is a terrible thing to waste

My bike mind is ruled by the tape. Every millimeter measured out. Every measurement checked, double checked, triple checked. I go through the same thing every year. Is my position correct? Does it feel right? A millimeter here, a millimeter there, something feels...off.

This year was no different. I always get nervous when I switch bikes. I'm a man you doesn't like change. When something works, I stick with it. Last season I loved my Ibis Hakkalugi CX bikes. Balanced and neutral handling with a good successful position. Which made switching to the new Trek Cronus CX even more nerve wrecking.

Back in June I ran all the numbers on paper. Top tube length, head tube length, seat angle, head angle, wheelbase, bottom bracket drop. Everything checked out, a 58 Ibis should be a 58 Trek. To back it up, we happened to have a 58cm Cronus in stock at the shop so I took my numbers and did a mock up. Everything confirmed.

As if changing frames wasn't enough I was switching from Shimano to SRAM. The different brake levers meant my hands would be in a different position. Where should I position the levers? The next wrench in the works was switching from Ritchey to Bontrager saddles. The saddle nose to bar distance will be different. Where does that leave me? And don't even get me started on cleats

I built the bikes and I got out the tape. Everything seemed right. Another wrench in works. My road position is slightly different from my cross position. This road position has been virtually unchanged for decades. I've made slight changes as I've regained some flexibility the last couple years. As I flipped between bikes, the CX position felt weird. A tweak here, a tweak there, and sure enough I was lost, and my head was spinning in confusion and un-easiness. Saddle height too low, too high. Saddle too far forward or not far enough. Handlebars too high, too low. Handlebar rotation, up, down. Where the hell, what the hell am I doing.

Reset...

The Hakkalugi was still in the basement. Unchanged from last season. I moved to the garage. The largest flat floor in the house. With tape measure and spirit level in hand I went to work. Final diagnosis...handlebars 10mm too low.

I rode my cross bike yesterday. It felt like homecoming. My mind can rest.

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