A Study in Blue

As some of you may know, I recently took delivery of what I describe as my "midlife crisis bike," even though I'm not exactly middle-aged. I'm sure you're dying to see photos of the new rig, but this experience was also a chance for a little trip down memory lane.

Let's back up about a decade first. I bought my first road bike during my second year of university when I got sick of my fencing coach's attitude and decided I needed another way of staying active. My bikes as a kid were either department store specials, garage sale finds, or my favourite, which was a total dumpster treasure. All were technically MTBs, though I always ended up throwing slicks on anyway, so when it came time to get my first "real" bike, I walked into my local shop and picked up my very first Cannondale in the summer of 2005.

 Not my actual bike, but pretty much identical in spec: 2005 CAAD7.

Not my actual bike, but pretty much identical in spec: 2005 CAAD7.

At 5'7," I soon realized that the shop had done a terrible job sizing me to a 54cm frame and I subsequently sold it (and was defrauded by a shady bike store employee in the process) and picked up a 50cm CAAD8 frame from eBay. From a price/performance standpoint, these aluminum frames were hard to beat for a frugal university student and that bike stayed with me for many years, slowly evolving as I found deals on used parts.

 Blue #2.

Blue #2.

 This is why you wear a helmet.

This is why you wear a helmet.

I rode that CAAD8 all the way through 2010 when I T-boned that car making a blind turn into my lane at speed. That crater in the windshield is where my head impacted. I emerged from that incident relatively unscathed and had to replace the fork on the bike, but otherwise it was still structurally sound. I eventually sold it to a friend (hi Elaine!) who I think it still riding it to this day and traded up to a CAAD10 in the fall of 2011.

Built up as shown to just a hair over 15.5lbs, this thing did everything I wanted it to. Weekly hammerfests, long weekend adventures, tarmac, gravel, stage races, crits, etc. People were always surprised when they picked it up and were told that it wasn't carbon. I definitely went through a full-on weight weenie phase a few years ago, but there's nothing exotic or boutique in this build. It's all workhorse stuff that's served me well over the years and functioned flawlessly, but there were some niggling fit issues I never got properly sorted out. That, and the itch for something new had been building up for some time. 

 July 2013. Before I made the switch to "wide" clinchers.

July 2013. Before I made the switch to "wide" clinchers.

 Fade to black. Its final trim before getting sold in April 2016.

Fade to black. Its final trim before getting sold in April 2016.

In the mean time, my friends and closest riding buddies had all picked up cyclocross bikes and were spending more and more time off the beaten path. I didn't want to get left behind. With my club being sponsored by Cannondale, it was a good excuse to pick up N+1, so I ended up with this in the fall of 2014. I raced my first season with a double chainring up front, but found that my puny little legs couldn't turn over the 46T big ring in races, so I stripped the left Rival shifter and went 1x at the start of the 2015 race season. I rode it through all of that winter including my regular weekly club ride and found that it was still possible to keep up on the flats with the 40T front ring, though I spun out at about 120 rpm / 55km/h on the downhills. I even did a Cat. 4 Spring Series road race on it and while my legs were revving high, I didn't have any problems staying with the pack on that particular course. The CAAD10 has been hanging on a rack in my apartment since last August since I knew I was going to be selling it and didn't want to risk wrecking it.

 Wonky bend Thomson post has since been replaced with something more "normal-looking" since this was taken.

Wonky bend Thomson post has since been replaced with something more "normal-looking" since this was taken.

So, about a year ago, I put down a deposit and have been waiting (not so) patiently for #newbikeday again. It's hard to believe, but as of writing this, it will have been 9 months since I've ridden a proper road bike. 

  The big reveal in the next post...

The big reveal in the next post...