April 2008, The Season thus Far…

April already, and bearing down heavily on May. Cycling season is in full bloom for us Floridians, as we’ve been riding steadily since February, with only a few short cold snaps to contend with.

David Kirk Custom joins the stable

The purchase of a Kirk has done much to incite my bike lust again. Luckily, the misfortune of a fellow Serotta Forumite allowed me to acquire his beloved Kirk without either the steep expense or the ever-growing wait time that David Kirk’s handiwork has begun to command.

Here she is, Kirk #66.

Kirk

She’s steel, of course, currently sporting a Shimano Dura Ace group, Shimano R700 compact crank, Dura Ace wheels, Nitto bars, stem and seatpost, and a Brooks Swift saddle. She’s definitely setup to be a “long rider.” Since her purchase, she’s done about 400 miles or so, including the weekly Sunday morning long ride and the Blue Line Century back in March.

I’ve been riding steel bikes forever, and currently own a couple very nice Italian ponies. They’ve got nothing on the Kirk. I repeat, nothing. I have not ridden a bike that feels better than this, period. Maybe it’s the geometry, setup to get some of the weight over the rear wheel, maybe it’s the square-crown steel fork, maybe it’s my Roubaix 25mm tires. Whatever. This bike is amazing. It rides smooth as clean teeth and fairly corners like a slot car. It’s heavy to all you weight-weenie carbon lords, but who cares? It’s supple and responsive, and the perfect bike to ride off with no thought of how far or how long you’ll be gone. Man! I get worked up just thinking about it.

Oh, and it’s got fender eyelets, just perfect for a pair of Full Wood Fenders. Booya!

Blue Line Century

Speaking of long rides, I rode the recent Blue Line Century the last weekend of March. Put together by the Policeman’s Unity Fund to raise funds for the memorialization of officers killed on duty, the ride was great! I was accompanied by two of my recent partners in crime, Mike and Jeremy from Higher Ground (dig the kits, yo), as well as a few new friends who’ll definitely be on my short list of ride partners so long as they can stomach my jokes and horrible conditioning.

The ride attendance was poor, at best, due to conflict with the Big Bend Bicycle Festival the subsequent weekend. Lucky for the riders, the sponsorship of food and support was plentiful enough more many times the participants. I have never seen more radio cars and turn-indicating-wavers in my entire life. The final 25 miles, we had our own guy, just motoring along behind us–probably trying to determine if we were dead in the saddle and merely coasting along on reflex.

As this was the first century I’d ridden since 1991 or so, I was happy with my performance. I ate MUCH better than I used to do, and actually made it to about 90 miles or so before I really started feeling the bonk. I should’ve had another gel at the last SAG, I’m sure, but I was far too captivated by the amazing navel oranges. Sure, I live in Florida, but who knew these things were so damnably intoxicating? Anyway, the last 10 miles or so were torture. In fact, the final 5 miles were administered directly to my ass and lungs. When Mike came back and said, “Only about 4 more hills,” I swear I actually started crying.

Stopping was a relief. The tri-geeks hadn’t eaten all the pizza, so we noshed hard, if terribly slow, cradling our food to keep from dropping it. I hated everyone for needing to leave, as I could’ve taken root in that chair and sucked down smoothies for at least another couple of hours. Driving back past Cracker Barrel brought tears of joy to my eyes, and became the post-ride gorge. Biscuits are perfect recovery food. Who knew?

Anyway, photos:

Jeremy and I, stylin’ during the pre-ride

Jeremy and I, stylin during pre-ride

Jeremy and Mike, happy as clams to be riding with such a great guy

Jeremy and Mike

Mike, still happy. We TOLD him to wear the “cool kit,” but either his idea of cool is different, or he’s colorblind.

Mike, Pat, and Keith - we TOLD Mike to wear the “cool kit,” but he didn’t listen

You WISH you looked so good in lycra. Pat drags me across South Georgia. Incidentally, he weighs about 100 pounds soaking wet. There is NO reason for a guy my size to be behind someone HIS size. It’s just a little turbulence in front of you. I have a better draft from my Garmin. Later, he found he could sit behind me and not pedal at all.

You WISH you looked this good from behind.

We give Jeremy a hard time, but he IS a dork.

Jeremy is a huge dork.

PedalForce ZX3

Here’s a wild one. One of those Taiwanese carbon frames, SRAM Force, Zipp 404’s (with dimples, ooh la la!). Came in around 15 pounds, but generally isn’t my favorite bike to ride. Of course, I haven’t ridden it much. Maybe it’ll grow on me.

PedalForce ZX3 First Build, Photo 2