July 10, 2007

What was I thinking, and other flood water notions.

So, there I was, waist-deep in flood water. With my Steamroller by my side, most of it under water, and the back-end sliding a little in the current, I thought to myself, "this could end poorly." It's amazing what trying to avoid a six-mile detour will make me do sometimes, but today I was really thinking that I should have taken the extra mileage. I was one giant floating branch away from becoming another flash flood statistic. Gotta get to work, though. Idiot.

Hey, Carradice bags DO float!

Making my way across the bike trail... I think that's what I'm stepping on.... underneath Switzer and US-69 highway, after a HUGE dumper of a thunderstorm, I suddenly felt like I was wading across some swamp in a foreign country during war-time, but my only weapon was a bicycle. Keep your powder dry, moron.

Easy to reminisce about it now, sitting safely at my day job, working my way to the bottom of a bowl of hot bean soup, but that was REALLY dumb at the time. At one point I thought about turning around, but I was already past the halfway point. What a mess I'll have to clean up after I get up outta here, too. The bike will need a lot of lube and a lot of time upside down to dry out after this. Don't
forget to pull the seatpost.

It's another in a long line of "what was I thinking?" moves. Along those same lines lives the Cannondale decision. After hearing tales of failed frames, cracks, truncated warranties, and other horrors, I'm starting to question my purchase in the first place, much less my desicion to put this bike in a randonnuering mode. These issues started popping up with the CAAD7 frames, and mine's a CAAD8 - even thinner and lighter. Maybe I ask too much, but for MY STYLE of riding, I don't need a bike that comes with an owner's manual that indicates "hey, be careful - this bike is designed to go fast for a couple seasons". I need a bike with an owner's manual that reads: "here's your new bike. Go ride the crap out of it. It won't care."

What gets me THAT? Steel. I have to chalk it up to a fit of idiocy. I "needed" this Cannondale for a purpose that STILL hasn't come up. I missed the KCCC time trial, which was the only remotely tangible reason I could think of to have this thing. Yeah, it's comfortable, fast, stiff, climbs well -- but it's twitchy. Especially after 2500 miles since January on the Kogswell, this bike feels WEIRD. I know I'll get used to it -- but I'm not sure I WANT to get used to it. It might as well be a ticking time bomb, and regardless of the reassurances I've received about other riders on Cannondales, I have to remember that those are OLDER Cannondales. Back when they were built sturdier. Before the legal provisos, and the ranting forum entries and secret dealer recall notices. The shop I work at flat stopped carrying them. Completely. Too many issues. That SHOULD be telling me something, and lately it's been screaming it in my ears. DON'T use this bike for brevets.

What was I THINKING???

Dudes, seriously --
I just can't fathom riding that aluminum can for another five years. It's just not me, not safe for me and my riding style, and not worth the risk. I'll take the hit. SOMEbody will want that frameset for racing, and that's what it's made for. Me? I'm steel. I'm good, solid, long-lasting components. That's what I have to stay true to. I don't know what I'm going to do exactly to accomplish that end, but I'm working on it. I may ride the Cannondale at Tejas, I may not.
We'll see --

I don't know what I was thinking THEN, but I do know what I'm thinking NOW.
Much like getting across the water yesterday, it might have been a mistake but I made it across unscathed. In this case, riding the Cannondale is almost like standing in that water and waiting for something bad to happen. THAT would truly be foolish of me.

Stay tuned --- and please forgive my momentary lapse of sensibility.

Steel is real!

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