May 8, 2013 3 Comments
January 29, 2013 2 Comments
We were recently asked the following on Facebook, by Michael P., and we thought it was an excellent question that is not often discussed in cycling:
I always carry a well equipped first aid kit in my vehicle. I also keep first aid kits in my target shooting bag. What should be in a first aid kit for road biking? Recreational biking with the family? Mountain biking?
Luckily we have a certified EMT who also works here in our home office, Chris, who could offer some advice, and he was happy to write up this reply to Michael’s inquiry:
First off, let me say that you sound like a great person to ride with (though I’m sure you hear that all the time). Your question really highlights the varying needs that different cyclists have. To respond very generally, let me start with your basic family trip. Most of your injuries are going to be scrapes and bruises. You’re probably not going to see anything that a basic “stock” first aid kit wouldn’t cover. I would carry: band-aids, small gauze pads (2”x 2”), waterproof tape, anti-biotic ointment, anti-itch cream, and some sunblock. Stock first aid kits will have more variety and will range from $15-$60 depending on the size and quality. A good “all-around” kit would be the this one.
For road riding, you might consider our Brave Soldier Crash Pack: It’s got a very well thought-out mixture of gauze, non-adhering wound dressings (essential for comfortably treating road rash), butterfly closures, and betadine. This pack will keep you ready to handle basic road crashes and get you and your friends home or to a doctor’s office where you can get more treatment. It’s also very light weight and comes in a waterproof pouch – perfect for that un-used jersey pocket.
Mountain biking is an entirely different animal. I’ve been deep in the woods and had a nasty crash that would have had me calling a friend for a ride if I was on the road. No such options exist when you’re in the back country however, so I would recommend a couple of extra measures.
Starting with a basic first aid kit like the one mentioned above, you might think about adding Tegaderm. Tegaderm is a transparent dressing that will seal a wound off from the outside. If you have a cut and have contained the bleeding and cleaned (and dried) the area, Tegaderm will keep it that way until you make it out of the woods.
SAM Splints would also be a good, light weight add-on to a back country first aid kit.
Of course the MOST important thing is your knowledge. Having training can make a panic-inducing situation into just another pit-stop. See if there is a Wilderness First Aid class in your area or take a basic First Aid/CPR class. Most community colleges will offer these things for a very reasonable fee. It’s fun, interesting, and could save a life. Also, I would be remiss to not include a big reminder to call 911 if there’s a real emergency. If someone loses consciousness for even one second, or slurs their speech after a crash, it’s hospital time. If you can’t stop their bleeding or if they have a broken bone, it’s best to call it in. EMS workers will be happy to come get you and will have many more tools than you could ever carry in your hydration pack. That being said, the most important life saving measure we all carry today is probably our cell phones. Keep yours intact and safe in your bag by adding a waterproof case like the Blackburn VIP SL Ride Wallet.
Any other suggestions from our readers out there?
October 16, 2012 Leave a comment
If you’ve been following on our blog, you’ve read how Zach, from our home office, had prepared his body and his bike gear to get ready to tackle the challenge of Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondo in Virginia. But we couldn’t just send him up to the ride by himself, so we put together a team of 3 to report back on the most challenging and adventurous Gran Fondo in the United States!
Below is a photo of our crew the night before the big ride, with Jeremiah Bishop in the middle, sporting his extra-special white tuxedo for the pre-ride dinner (he was the host, after all). Ross, on the left, is a merchandise assistant in our bikes division – and is also an all-around fast dude on a bike. David works in our marketing department as our social media guy – documenting adventures such as this ride. And finally, Zach, one of our web merchants, is on the right – he’s been training hard all year to lose weight, gain fitness and get ready for the Gran Fondo. Read on below to find out how the ride worked out for each member of our team.
After hearing rave reviews from a few friends, I knew that the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo had to be highlighted on my calendar this year. Any time you hear the words mountains, bikes, beer, gravel, and fundraising in an event description, a great time is to be had… and it was. I was very thankful to have taken Jeremiah up on his pre-fondo training ride a few weeks prior to the main event. This ride gave me a chance to test out new equipment on many of the infamous sections of the course such as the hour long paved and gravel climbs and subsequent hair-raising descents of Reddish Mountain. This ride was when I discovered my fondness for road tubeless setups and disc brakes on the road.
I’ll start my recap with a quick rundown of my bike setup, since it was a little different than the other guys. I rode a Scattante CFX Black cyclocross bike, running on Stan’s ZTR Alpha 340 disc front and rear wheels with Maxxis Padrone 700x23c tubeless tires, set up tubeless with Stan’s sealant (of course).
Following a brief staging, the ride was underway, we were winding through the streets of historic Harrisonburg and then off into the farmlands of the foothills. After an hour riding over rollers, you could feel the peloton starting to get a little antsy as the first timed climb of the ride began and the pain began. It wasn’t long before I was up near the front hanging on for the next several miles as Ben King set the pace. As we passed over the summit, I was very thankful to have disc brakes on the wide open descent into the valley. The Avid BB7 road disc calipers provided consistent stopping power no matter what the descent had in store.
With the first climb out of the way, the small re-grouping at the front was off to tackle the next few climbs… which happened to be the hardest of the day! The second climb was 30 minutes riding 10-20% grades on gravel. It was nothing short of exhausting with no chance for legs to recover. The next few climbs were paved but equally as steep and energy draining.
Half-way through the ride, and with virtually no chance for recovery and another food/water break, the “final” climb of the day, a gravel road to the top of Reddish Knob, was breathing down our neck. I don’t think that this road can really be considered “gravel”, it is more of a road cut into solid stone. Tubeless tires won the day on this rough terrain with low tire pressure and virtually no chance of a pinch-flat.
After a grueling hour of climbing, the final check point came and went with a sigh of relief. It was only downhill to Harrisonburg, or so it showed on the course profile. But don’t be mistaken by the elevation loss, the last 20 miles of the Gran Fondo were extremely hard! Fatigue and saddle time had taken their effect but the finish was so close that it encouraged us to ride harder – that and the fact that gobs of food and New Belgium beer were waiting at the finish line.
If you plan on riding the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, be sure to look at Jeremiah’s equipment recommendations on the event website. The route is nothing short of brutal.
I had one advantage over my coworkers, Ross and Zach, going in to the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo – I had completed the ride last year. Yes, Zach and Ross had gone up to Harrisonburg for a special training ride with the host of the event, Jeremiah Bishop, but there’s nothing quite like riding the whole route and knowing how your body will react. Then Jeremiah went and changed the route! So it was back to square one for me – I knew how hard the first road climb and the last rolling miles into town were, but the whole middle of the ride (including the fearsome backside of Reddish Knob) was going to be a new experience. My only real equipment change from last year was rolling on a Stan’s ZTR Alpha Comp Road Wheelset, set up tubeless with Stan’s sealant.
At the start of the ride, I rolled along comfortably ensconced in the peloton with my coworkers – the pace was casual until the first big climb of the day. And that’s the last place I saw them until the finish line – Ross motored on up the road with the leaders, Zach started his battle to finish under the time cutoff for the glockenbell finisher’s medal, and I settled in to a comfortable place somewhere in between.
It’s always interesting on rides like this how quickly you find the group that is going your same pace – for the whole rest of the day I saw a rotating group of the same faces as the pack that crested the first climb near me – a moving mini-group within the group. The good news is that I felt better than I had last year – although for some reason the second dirt road climb felt even harder than before. I blame selective amnesia – 20% pitches on a bumpy dirt road will do that!
The highlight of the ride had to be the soul-crushing ride up the backside of Reddish Knob, a new addition to the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo route. I neglected to read up on this devious climb beforehand, so I was convinced that it was only 3 or 4 miles. Nope, that’s not Jeremiah’s style. Instead it was 9 miles of undulating dirt and gravel road, checkered with potholes, steep climbs, flowy mini-descents, and a finish high atop Reddish Knob with a stunning 360 degree view of the mountains.
On this climb I experienced the high and low-points of my ride. The high point (other than the delicious rest stop food – Nutella, waffles and Orangina are my new favorite mid-ride snacks) was finding an extra burst of speed and power halfway up the climb, which found me flying by fellow riders and the expertly placed photogs from Joe Foley Photography. My low point came shortly afterwards, where I paid for my sudden acceleration with the most painful leg cramps that I’ve ever experienced – I was only able to soldier through by pounding down as many margarita flavored extra-sodium Clif Shot Bloks as I could stomach. All in all, it was another grueling, amazing and memorable ride (and my longest ride ever at 107 miles), and I can’t wait to give it another go next year!
I’ve had a few weeks to digest the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo. The scenery, both beautiful and tranquil, provided a picturesque background in which to suffer. The event was quite the experience. There was almost every type of cyclist there. Everyone from “fat bike” riders, to Radio Shack Nissan team pro Ben King, and of course, the emcee of the weekend, the man himself, Mr. Jeremiah Bishop. Everyone had fun. Everyone suffered. Everyone made new friends. We suffered together, we laughed together. There were long grinding climbs, world class descents, and hours of relentless focus.
As for me, I did what I set out to do. Finish in under 10 hours – I did it in 8 hours and 45 minutes.
Every time I tell recall the experience, whether to friends or just in my mind, the more details I remember. It’s as if it was an epic, suspenseful movie with ups, downs, twists, and turns. Every time you watch the movie, you pick up on new things you hadn’t noticed the first time you watched it. I remember the folks I had conversations with, where they were from and what inspired them to ride in the ALGF. I remember suffering for hours, by myself, turn after turn yielding nothing but more elevation around the next corner. I remember that pothole I hit at 38mph during a 15 mile descent around mile 80 that could have thrown me from the bike and thinking that, ‘I should try not to lose focus’. After all, I had ridden 80 miles and climbed over 10,000 feet at that point in the day and my mind and body was fading.
I could point out around 20 highlights of the weekend in general, but the two that stand out the most have to be the second climb of the day, and crossing the finish line. The second climb of the day was 3 miles, 1400 feet, on gravel, with nothing but 15-20 percent grade stair step pitches. Many people were walking up most of the pitches. Somehow I managed to stay on the bike, and never walked at any point during the day. Epic. Finishing goes without saying. It was just good to accomplish something that I had spent all summer thinking and training for.
All in all, this was the hardest event I’ve ever done in my life. After three weeks I’m just starting to get my legs back. I’m undecided as to whether or not I’ll try and tackle it again next year, but I highly recommend it for anyone looking to take their riding to the next level. I did things on a bike that I never would have dreamed about when I first started riding a few years ago. It was an event I’ll never, ever forget. Thanks to all my supporters who helped me do it, and most of all, my wife! From here on, I’m looking forward to bike rides to the park with the family, Spaten Oktoberfest, and the off season. Oh yeah wait, there is no off season!
For more pictures of the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, check out the photo gallery on our Facebook page or take a look at the amazing photos from the pros at Joe Foley Photography (who were gracious enough to let us use their images in this post). Plus we want to give a special shout-out to all of the volunteers at the Gran Fondo, who did a great job of making everyone feel welcome all weekend long – and especially to Jeremiah and his wife Erin, who were gracious hosts for this great event, even if Jeremiah did poke fun at Zach after the ride:
September 14, 2012 6 Comments
It’s almost time to see if our web merchant Zach has what it takes to ride hard in Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondo in Virginia. If you’ve been following on the blog, Zach has been training all summer to take on the hardest Gran Fondo in the US – 104 miles, over 11,000 feet of climbing and dirt road climbs thrown in for good measure! So now it’s time to see how he’s feeling and what gear he’s picked to take on the challenge.
The big ride I’ve been training for is in just a couple of days! I’m ready for it. I feel like I spent the entire summer training for it and thinking about it. I got burnt out on training for a while, right after I peaked too early and then fell off the wagon a bit. Since then I have rested up, done some active recovery, and come back a bit stronger and more prepared. I’ve got everything lined up and dialed in! The only thing that’s bothering me is a brutal allergy attack, but I’ve been getting plenty of rest and come Saturday morning I’ll be riding no matter what condition I’m in!
Over the summer I’ve had the pleasure to ride a few bikes from Fuji to try out and see which one was the best for me, given the riding conditions of the Gran Fondo. In an earlier post I talked about the Fuji Altamira and the Fuji SST. I was able to test out two more bikes over the summer, the Fuji SL1 Comp and the Fuji Gran Fondo.
The SL1 Comp was a very comfortable bike, and would be the perfect bike for someone transitioning into their first carbon road bike, or doing long group century rides. For me, though, it wasn’t quite as responsive as the Altamira during the long climbs. Since there will be 11,000 feet of climbing in the Gran Fondo, I may need to pass on this one. Otherwise, the bike did great on long training rides with rolling hills around the Piedmont of NC. I could easily get 80 miles in on it and feel great afterwards.
The fourth and last bike was the Fuji Gran Fondo. This bike is designed for exactly what it’s named after, riding long and hard during a Gran Fondo, or any other similar style of ride. The bike is a very fast machine, climbs great, is comfortable, and absorbs potholes and gravel easily to give a smooth and plush ride. The upright geometry gave me no problems while reaching for energy gels, a water bottle, or getting my phone out of my back pocket to text my wife that I was OK while riding (just kidding on the texting part). Plainly put, the Fuji Gran Fondo delivers!
So which one did I go for? It was a hard choice. The SST and SL1 Comp were ruled out as top contenders for a Gran Fondo. They’re great machines for what they’re designed for, but not great at long ascents on gravel roads. The Gran Fondo would seem to be the obvious choice, but given that I also had the option of the similar Altamira that’s decked out with Shimano Dura Ace electronic shifting, I went with the Altamira!
There was just something about the Altamira that felt better for me. It’s quick and snappy on the climbs, is very comfortable, it delivers optimal power transfer with its oversized bottom bracket, and at the end of the day was lighter than the rest of the choices. I’ve been riding it for quite some time now, and have made a few changes to prep it for the gran fondo riding conditions. The Altamira came with an Ultegra standard 53-39 double crankset and an 11-25 cassette on the back. I swapped those out for an Ultegra 50-34 Compact Crankset paired with an 11-28 cassette. With that low of a gear ratio, I should be able to ride the hills of the Gran Fondo with no problems! For tires I chose Continental Gatorskins in a 700X25 size, that, when paired with Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher wheels, actually measure out to about 26mm in width. Running this set up at about 90 psi gives it all the cush and grip needed for those long gravel climbs.
So that’s the bike! It’s a very important part of the puzzle, but there’s plenty more that’s needed for the fondo. After testing several products over the summer, I’ve come up with my own personal checklist of things that have worked the best for me from head to toe:
- Shoes: I use Sidi Ergo 3 shoes (similar to the Sidi Ergo 2 Carbon Lite Road Shoes) as the adjustability and control of personal fit on these shoes is unmatched! They’re light, stiff and make for great climbing shoes!
- Socks: DeFeet Air-E-Ator HiTop Honey Badger Black Socks are sooooo nasty!! Defeet has stood the test of time, miles, sweat, rain, multiple washes, and continue to be at the top of the sock drawer.
- Kit: Louis Garneau Mondo Evo Bib Shorts and Team Short Sleeve Jersey - This kit is the absolute most comfortable kit I’ve ever had. It’s light, breathable, and it wicks and dries sweat away in the blink of an eye. Our Garneau Custom Cycling team from Performance wears this combo for our team kits.
- Jacket: Depending on the weather report, I may be packing my Cannondale Pack Me Jacket. It stows away into my jersey pocket nicely and is a welcome addition if the rain starts pouring.
- Gloves: Pearl Izumi Select Gel Gloves because they fit great, are comfortable, and my hands don’t go numb after four hours in the saddle.
- Eyewear: Smith Pivlock V2 Max – I’ve never in my life owned a better pair of cycling glasses than these. The tapered lens tech is no joke, and after riding them I’ll never go to another brand. They’re very lightweight, and extremely durable.
- Helmet: Giro Aeon Helmet – I switched to this after riding a Specialized Prevail for a long time and I have to say, the Aeon feels lighter and it fits my head better. The red and black also match my kit. DONE!
- Nutrition: I thought I had this dialed in, but at the Gran Fondo training ride, I had some severe cramps despite staying hydrated and eating. Since then I’ve started taking GU Brew Electrolyte Drink Tablets. They’re packed with plenty of sodium and seem to be doing the trick! For solid food I’ve always enjoyed the multiple varieties of Honey Stinger Waffles, and margarita flavored Clif Shot Blocks Energy Chews! I also take some supplements here and there such as SportLegs or Endurox Excel, depending on what I’m doing. Lastly, I love Endurox R4 for a recovery drink. The chocolate flavor is my favorite, but they’re all good.
- Inflation: The Spin Doctor Rescue HP mini pump will be tagging along with me. With all the gravel I stand the chance of having to change multiple flats, and I’d rather not carry a bunch of CO2 cartridges.
- Pocket Essentials: The Blackburn VIP SL Ride Wallet will be carrying my ID, credit card, phone, etc. I’ve been using this thing for months and have been caught in downpours and sweat through my jerseys. Everything inside stays completely dry.
- Computer: Garmin Edge 500 with H/R monitor and the BarFly computer mount. All around I think this is the best GPS device out there. I love the compact design and that it’s fully customizable to give me everything I want to know. The BarFly makes it a quick glance of the eye to view the Edge 500, instead of having to tilt my neck all the way down to view the stem mount.
- Water Bottles: CamelBak Podium ChillJacket Insulated Bottle – I dismissed these until I forgot my bottles on a training ride and ended up having to buy water bottles. Now, I’ll never use anything else. It keeps your water cool and that goes a long way both mentally and physically when you’re out there grinding it out.
Well, that’s the gear. The only thing left to do is head back up to Harrisonburg this weekend and ride the Gran Fondo! I can’t wait to get back up there and do it. Hopefully this allergy attack will subside and I’ll have a strong ride come Saturday morning. I’ll have a full report after I get back. Thanks for reading!
September 11, 2012 1 Comment
Every year, thousands of riders swarm the town of Wichita Falls, Texas for the largest 100 mile bike ride in the nation. This year was no different, as the 2012 Hotter’N Hell 100 attracted almost 12,000 riders, plus racers for criterium races, mountain bike races, a USCF sanctioned men’s and women’s road race, a trail run, 10k run, and half marathon run – this is one busy weekend! The mid-90′s temperatures for the Saturday event were cooler than the past several years, when temperatures were well over the 100 degree mark. Even though it was cooler this year, the wind picked up to over 20 mph during the day and blew straight into the rider’s faces as they rode the last half of their routes. Performance Bicycle supported the event by providing a hydration and nutrition station at the Finish Line Village on Friday and Saturday.
August 31, 2012 2 Comments
It’s time for another update from Zach, one of the web merchants here at our home office, who has been training all season to get ready for Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondo in Virginia. Zach has been working hard to get his training rides in around work and family life (1 year old twins keep you busy), but he’s got his work cut out for him to get fit for the hardest Gran Fondo in the US - 104 miles featuring 11,000 feet of climbing and two dirt road climbs! Last week he headed up north for some course recon to see if his training has paid off.
Last weekend I headed up to Harrisonburg, VA to get a sneak peak at the course for the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo (which takes place for real in three weeks). I headed up with Ross, one of the other merchants here at Performance, on Friday night and we had dinner with Jeremiah and some other riders there for the training ride. Friday night was great, as Jeremiah told us all about the history of the Fondo and Harrisonburg. We talked about everything from dodging deer on your road bike during descents to the latest Lance drama. JB was a great host and being that this was the first time I had met a professional cyclist, he set the bar very high with his friendliness and honesty.
We started the training ride at around 9:30 on Saturday morning – in store for us was an 80 mile ride that went over the hills of Virginia and West Virginia. There were four total climbs, the last of which was a 10 miler with a gain of 3,000 feet on gravel roads called “The Backside of Reddish.” After Reddish we had a 15 mile descent and then a few more miles of rolling terrain until we got back into Harrisonburg.
It was a great time to test my legs and see if I was ready for the real deal. I felt very prepared for it, but despite eating a lot of food and drinking tons of fluids throughout the day, I started to fight cramps at the start of the last climb up Reddish. Not sure what the cause was (other than the 60 miles and 5K ft of climbing we had already done) but it was definitely a red flag for me. I was able to get some extra salt in me and fight through the cramps after 45 minutes or so. I definitely thought about throwing in the towel and hopping in the sag wagon, but quickly dismissed that thought. As painful as it was, I kept on, fought through them, and made it to the summit.
Over the next few weeks I’ve got a good gameplan provided by Jeremiah. This week is some stong muscular endurance building and hill repeats along with some off-the-bike exercises. Next week is a little more mild with a few hard efforts, and the final week is active recovery, and tapering for the fondo.
Overall I’m feeling great about the ride. The training over the summer has helped a whole lot! I’ve lost close to 15 lbs, logged 152 hours, 2,307 miles, 137 rides, and 82 personal records (data provided by Strava). As long as I get my nutrition dialed in, I think I’ll be golden! Plus I’ve even been able to raise some donations for the Prostate Cancer Awareness Project.
All this definitely wouldn’t have been possible without my wife Haley, my training partner Ken, Jeremiah Bishop, and the great company I work for, Performance Bicycle. Just over two weeks, and it’s go time!
July 31, 2012 3 Comments
It’s time for another update from our man with a plan, Zach, a web merchant here at our home office. As you’ll recall from his earlier entries, Zach has been trying hard to balance work, family life and time on the bike as he gets ready to take on one of the hardest gran fondos in the US, Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondo in September. Read on below to find out how he’s doing and what bikes he’s tested in an effort to find the perfect setup for the ride.
My overall training is going well. I’m still working hard, riding 4-5 times a week, and doing off-the-bike workouts. I do feel as though I’ve hit a plateau with my progress and weight loss, but this is to be expected after three months of training. I took a short rest period of about a week or so, and now the next month and a half will be full of weekend climbing trips.
One of these weekend training trips will actually be up to Harrisonburg, VA to ride with Jeremiah Bishop and his posse. I’m super excited to go up for a weekend and pick his brain about training, get a preview of the route, and enjoy the cool mountain air! If you’ve got any questions for him, post them on the comments here and we’ll be sure to ask him.
Also, I was inspired by the charitable mission of the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, and decided to raise money to support the fight against Prostate Cancer during my training. Prostate cancer is a growing health threat for men, and I want to do my part to raise awareness and help fight this disease. All funds I raise during the preparation of this ride will go to the Prostate Cancer Awareness Project. If you’re so inclined and are feeling generous, I’m taking donations on my personal fundraising page. Every dollar and penny will go a long way to help fight this disease, as well as push me a little harder towards the finish line!
So that’s my personal training update. Now let’s talk about bikes!
This ride has around a total of 11K + feet of climbing, so to say it’s hilly would be an understatement. It’s on pavement and dirt/gravel roads. It’s long, excruciating, and will be awesome. This unique ride definitely requires just the right bike with a unique setup.
Thanks to our friends at Fuji Bikes, I’ve been trying out a few bicycles during lunch rides and weekend training rides to see what feels like the right fit for the Gran Fondo. So far I’ve tested the Fuji SST 2.0 and the Fuji Altamira Di2 Limited Edition. I made some tweaks to the spec of each bike, such as changing out the wheelset to either a pair of Mavic Ksyrium SLs, which are one of the best all around wheelsets I’ve ever ridden, or a pair of Reynolds DV3K carbon clinchers, which are very aero, stiff, and fast, but don’t climb quite as well as the Ksyrium SLs. For each bike I also changed out the stem and handlebars to achieve the appropriate fit for me. Proper bicycle fit is the most important thing I’ve experienced in my four years as a cyclist. I’ve felt the difference in having a bicycle that has been professionally fit to my specific body needs, and I applied that fit to each of these bicycles.
First up was the Altamira Di2 LE, which may have spoiled the party for the rest of the candidates. The Shimano Dura Ace electronic shifting, the overall balance of compliance, comfort, sprinting and climbing capability, and the responsiveness of the bike make it a likely candidate right off the bat. It’s extremely comfortable on 100+ mile rides, yet with its carbon frame and oversized BB86 bottom bracket, it sprints and accelerates up the hills with quick precision and ease. It will be hard to pass this one up. The only problem could be the gearing setup. It has a standard double 53/39 crankset on the front, with a ten speed 11-25 cassette on the back. While the bike has been great around the rolling hills of the Piedmont of North Carolina, it’s definitely not set up to be a climbing bike. I took this bike to Western North Carolina and while I made it up some 14% pitches, I definitely needed lower gearing. Turning a low cadence/high power pedal stroke is doable for 50 miles or so, but wastes a lot of energy, and will not be suitable for the long steady climbs of a Gran Fondo. This will ultimately affect my decision and though the Fuji Altamira set the bar high, it may not be the best option.
My second ride was the Fuji SST 2.0. The SST is a lot different that the Altamira. Aside from the components, the biggest difference was the stiffness and the overall aggressive geometry of the frame. Once over 18 miles an hour the bike was extremely fast and required little effort to keep up its momentum. There was no problem sticking with the group on our weekly 40 at 20 rides (40 miles with a 20mph+ average speed). Sprinting on it was also fun. It was quick off the jump and I could feel every bit of power output being spit out the back wheel. Climbing was fairly sluggish, however. The bike seemed a bit unresponsive for me during long hills, and when stacked up against my other hill times, I was slower on the SST. The bike is also a little heavier than the Altamira. I’m sure there are other technical features I could talk about, but the overall difference was that it just didn’t feel right to me for a climbing machine. I love the fact that it’s super fast and sprints great. If I had room in the garage this would be a great addition to the stable of bikes at home, but as a climbing machine for the Gran Fondo, it’s not the one.
I’m still riding the Fuji SL1 Comp and the Gran Fondo, so I’ll write about those next, and make my decision after riding all four. I’m looking forward to getting out on those and finalizing my bike selection. Thanks for reading, and I’ll have another update soon!