So far this year my training regime has been almost non existent and last Sunday when I decided to go all the way with the group for the spin I suddenly remembered what it was like to really suffer . The funny thing is that , rather than put me off it only served as an extra impetus to get me back on the bike yesterday and to face up to the challenge of ‘ The Coast Road ‘ .
The one change that I made was to bring out my race machine instead of the winter bike , and this really did make a difference .
The bike that I use for my winter training ( about 4 spins in total this year ) is a Ridley Crossbow . In actual fact this is a cyclocross bike converted with slick tyres and mudguards for road use . In motoring terms this would be a Landrover freelander , capable both on and off road . It is a comfortable bike although a bit on the heavy side , and does also suffer from some fork judder under braking as do most cyclocross bikes .
My ‘ good bike ‘ on the other hand is a Pinarello Paris carbon . The Mclaren Mercedes of the bike world . Some may seem surprised with this comparison as there is the obvious Italian link to a Ferrari . They are both Italian race bred ultimate machines with flair and mystique as only the Italians can do .
However I would consider the Paris carbon to be a slightly different animal to the out and out race bred Ferrari . The Mclaren Mercedes is just as fast as the Ferrari but it handles better . It also performs better under braking and then there is the biggest similarity of all . Comfort . It is widely acknowledged that the Mclaren is the most comfortable super car around and this is where the biggest similarity of all occurs . The Paris is the Ultimate in lightweight comfort .
Yesterday as we motored down along the coast being pushed along with a nice tailwind the only distraction apart from the short sharp climbs , was the harshness of the road surface . In parts it truly resembled the cobbled climbs of The Tour of Flanders . This was where I really noticed the difference between the Crossbow and the Paris . I could see how rough the road was but could not really feel it whether in or out of the saddle . Having the Deda Spectrum and Forza carbon bar and stem system and Most carbon seatpost also helped , but it is the frame and fork which does the real smoothing out . However I was glad that I changed the cables from Nokon back to the standard Shimano set as I found the Nokons to be unreliable and clumsy which you don’t want when heading down the coast . I also have a set of Zero gravity brakes which at 163 grams are half the weight of the dura ace equivalent and they do work well but probably not quite as smooth as the shimano set .
Don’t get me wrong , I still suffered yesterday but definetly not as much as I would have on the Crossbow .
The spin itself got of to a confusing start with the group splitting after about 100 metres with some deciding to do the usual lap of Ballymac whilst about 10 others , myself included continuing on to the coast . It was a nice day for it with the tailwind where we needed it and for the most part the spin was pretty steady . The only exception being when a bit of sibling rivalry took place with one younger brother lifting the pace at the front whilst the older brother was drifting of the back . I guess that you’ll have that !
John Maher took the gallop into Carrick from Vinny . A fitting end to the spin as he had been one of the strongest riders all day along with J.P. Sexton and Ray Power .
Smiler also finished the spin well and in his exuberance tried to kiss the rear bumper of an arthritic Dawoo Matiz , but luckily he decided against it just in time .
John Dempsey was looking well in his Team Murphy and Gunne team Sean Kelly pro-team kit and seems to be enjoying life as a Pro .The new gear is brighter than last years colours which were also on display by Eddie yesterday .
Damian too was strong for most of the day and a slimmed down Spot did well on parcours which would not be to his liking .
Nicky Butler also made a brief re-appearance before heading off with the Ballymac group and seemed to have enjoyed some of the Brazilian cuisine whilst over there with work .
Before yesterday I would have been of the opinion that you can’t make a racehorse out of an ass , and that the bike doesn’t make much of a difference once you reach a certain level . But now I definitely think that it can be worth about 10 to 15 % on the day .