Long Distance Road Machine

I’m riding the Cascade Training Series again, and have been pleased by all the differences this year:

  1. Less pain/numbness on the bike. I attribute this to several factors: I started getting weekly massage last year, which has helped immensely with my neck mobility. In addition, the clipless pedals have helped to get my body into better alignment, with less pressure on my wrists and shoulders. I’m finally able to ride a bike whose frame is large enough for me, which brings me to…
  2. The Bike. Although the 55cm frame always felt like a big reach for me, I decided to get the Novara Trionfo ready for long distance riding this year, since it’s my lightest frame. Its time has come! While the downtube shifters had tons of old-school-cred, I decided it would be safer for me to move them to the bar ends. During the Open Shop session at Bikeworks, I also learned how to make the action smoother by adding a pair of wafer-thin metals washers to act like bushings. It was interesting to note that when I took off the original Shimano 600 downtube shifters, the bosses underneath were non-standard, so the downtube housing stops didn’t fit very snuggly. A bit janky, but it still works. The next thing I did was to spread the rear triangle by 4mm (my third time doing this) with a board and a stepstool. Then I could transfer the 8-speed wheels I built for my (mothballed) Raleigh project. Threw on some 25mm Clement Strada folding tires, and this thing is seriously flying.
  3. Hill Commuting. Even though my commute is only about 5 miles each way, there are some monster hills on the way home. Because I started a new contract working downtown during the mornings, I’ve been getting more miles in. And because I didn’t stop riding over the winter, there wasn’t much ramp up time. Each CTS training ride has been a joy, and with the 12-14mph pace group, I’m feeling super strong, riding mainly in the large chainring. (46-tooth, since my Novara is optimized for hill climbing). Now I’m having fantasies of reviving my 1×8 speed Raleigh Comp project, since I’m only using one chain ring for most of the CTS rides…
  4. Strava. This app’s ability to motivate is incredible. Even though I’m not paying for Premium, I think they’ve been teasing features of it to me for the last several months. What this means is that I have a record of every time this year that I’ve done those monster hills, and whenever I beat my time, I get a little trophy icon. I somehow even got on the leaderboard for the SODO trail, because apparently hardly anyone rides it.

I’m currently recovering from a nasty head/chest cold, so have been off the bike for the past 3 days. Can’t wait to be back in action!

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