First race of the season

2013 Cannondale Slice RS Black Inc.
2013 Cannondale Slice RS Black Inc.

Almost 2 years ago I finished a time trial back in Hawaii and told myself I would never do a TT again. As of yesterday, I’m back at it. Funny how time has the ability to erase memories of pain :)

Just getting to the start line was a challenge in itself. For the past 6 weeks or so, I had plans to build up a TT bike from a particular brand. As such, I procured the various parts needed to get it up and running – This included Di2 with an internal battery. Fast forward to a week ago and the whole deal for the originally planned bike crumbled. I’ll spare you the details. I’m 5′-10″ which would usually put me on a 54cm bike; however, I’m the lucky recipient of legs that were meant for someone that’s 5′-3″. Looking at the available TT bikes with the criteria of:

– Compatible with Di2
– Low stack height to match up with my short legs, resulting in a bike that doesn’t look like I’m sitting on the top tube thanks to 2″ of visible seatpost.
– Proven (data to back up the claims) to be fast, not just “fast to the eye”.

Plan B was a Shiv TT. The deal breaker was that a small would fit me more like a 54, and an XS (only slightly smaller) are just as hard to find (used) as a unicorn.

The final result was that a Cannondale Slice RS meets all of the above. I saw a few but most were 54’s and the occasional 52. I saw a 50cm Black Inc. posted on Craigslist and Ebay and ended up emailing the seller, negotiated a great deal, and took it home 1 day later!

The bike came with SRAM Red, so that was the first thing to go. Off with the ugly vision aerobar setup (Kind of well thought out design, but curved bullhorns and a chunky basebar were the deal breaker). The hurdle I came up against was that there’s nowhere to stash an internal Di2 battery – Mostly thanks to the seatpost (and the bike in general) having a very skinny front profile. Thus, a frantic search for a Di2 short mount and external battery ensued. Nothing to be found locally so I had to overnight those items from California and got them mere hours before yesterday’s TT! Thankfully, the Di2 fired up first time and worked. PHEW!

As for the race… Most things that could go wrong did:

– Thunder, lightning, hail, rain, wind – Check, check, check, check, and check!
– Took my rollers to warm up and quickly realized they had inadequate resistance to warm-up properly.
– Rear brake stuck dragging on the disc for the whole race. I don’t think this did my any favors!
– The road is hands down the worst I’ve ever raced a TT on. That combined with my basebar coming lose was not good. Lots of time spend riding upright trying to not fall off the front of my bike.
– Started a little too hot… Pace yourself man!

Despite all of the above, I managed to get 5th place not too far off the top 3 guys who were all within a hair of each other. I can’t wait until the next TT on April 8 when I can hopefully have a more solid run at a top 3 result.