Wednesday, September 17, 2008


We interrupt the regularly scheduled programming to bring you the latest news flash..........

Can I brag for a moment??

After  hemming and hawing about which new bike and which gearing I should get...I finally ordered my new bike a few weeks ago and I picked it up last Friday!

First, let me fess up. Some of you already know the story (desribed on Innercycling and my Facebook page), but around mid-summer I was returning from a bike ride with a personal training client (love those kind of training sessions), and was blabbing on my cell phone (about Spinning no less) as I pulled up to my house, pushed the garage door opener and proceeded to drive the car into the garage. Normally standard procedure...but with a bicycle on top of the car, it doesn't work too well. The bike went flying off the back, but not before dragging the dropouts of the fork along the roof of the car. That's not a good sound.

Now, when my husband did this same thing 7 years ago, his Giant bicycle exploded into 3 pieces and crumbled around the car. My Serotta, however, looked fine. There was no visible damage, and I thought I had been spared. When I took it for a ride the next day, there was a little catch in the headset as I turned. So I rode the 1/4 mile to my LBS, and upon closer inspection, Frank, the bike shop owner, showed me how the top tube was buckled where it met the headset, and the fork was splayed about 1/2" forward. We're talking barely visible. Being titanium, the frame was irreparable, and the carbon fork as well.

Thus began my search. The Serotta was almost 7 years old, and back then I paid a lot of money for it but never really loved it, if you know what I mean. But the replacement estimate floored me - I had no idea it was worth that much! My home owner's insurance covered all but $1,000, which still allowed me to get a brand spanking new kick-butt dream bicycle with top-of-the-line components (especially with the great deal Frank gave me)! Believe it or not, the Serotta was slated to be put on E-Bay the following week - I had only taken the photos the day before. In the meantime, I'd bought an interim very nice slightly used Orbea Onyx that would hold me over until could get the bike of my dreams next year. (As it turned out, it was a tiny bit too big for me).

Funny how the universe works! I'd been wondering this past year how to get a new bike! Jennifer Klau, a former Master Instructor for Spinning asked me if it was "intentional velo-cide", and I responded that it wasn't but that perhaps the subconscious did have something to do with it; maybe it was "involuntary velo-slaughter."

Well, here she is. She's the most beautiful shade of dark rosy pink, almost magenta, so I thought I'd wear my beautiful Spin Odyssey pink jersey on her maiden voyage.  
Carbon Orbea Diva, with full Dura-Ace components and Dura-Ace wheels, and compact gearing with a 12-28 in the back. (i.e. excellent gears for the big hills around here).

My Serotta only had a 27 in back and I always longed for just one more gear (or two or three), and was almost going to get a triple, but got talked out of it by a woman in the bike shop who was my age and said, "Jennifer, you and I will get triples when we're 80. I'll go ride with you and tell you how you're climbing and what you need to work on."

As it turns out, she works with Chris Carmichael (Lance Armstrong's longtime coach) so she is someone I'll listen to! (After I ride with her, I'll post about it here!)
The maiden voyage was up Bachelor Gulch, my local litmus test for not only my fitness, but also where I've test ridden any bike or gearing I'd been considering. 5 miles of consistent climbing with no break, an average grade of about 8% and easily 13% in parts. Steeeeeeeep. When I know I'm going to ride Alpe d'Huez or another big col in France, this is the one I train on.

My fastest recorded time on my Serotta was 57-ish minutes (although I may have done it faster when I wasn't timing it). A few weeks ago, on a borrowed Orbea with only a 25 in the back, I did in 54 minutes. That one hurt (I had to stand up a lot due to the lower gearing).

On Saturday, I did it in 47:43 - mostly seated! I was shocked when I realized I was on the final switchback. Yes, I was over my threshold and breathing hard for much of it, but in no way did I realize I was going that fast. And the 28 low gear worked liked a dream - it was still challenging, but my cadence didn't drop to 50 rpm like it did with the 27.

[NB: The above photo is just at the top of the climb. Notice the snow on the mountains in the background - that had fallen the night before. Around here, winter is just around the corner]!

Was it the bike???

Or was it me (as Spin Bob from the forums suggested on my Facebook page)?

Maybe I shouldn't give the bike all the credit! Maybe it's those Spinning classes! ;-)

Anyways, I cannot wait to take this one over to France next year. I'm doing Alpe d'Huez for certain with my bike tours, so if you want to come join me, email me! 

And if you know anyone looking for a fabulous used bike, I will be putting that interim Orbea Onyx on E-Bay and/or Craig's List later this week. 51cm, Full Ultegra, 11-23 cogset (not good for these hills, unless you're a Cat 1 or 2 racer). Upgraded Full Speed Ahead wheels.  Note: Onyx's have long top tubes - my new 53cm Diva has a slightly shorter top tube than this 51cm Onyx. Contact me for more info:


lamspin said...

You looked great up the hill there! Is the color on top of your shoes pink too? :>))))
Love reading your stories and experiences of your life/rides...

Jennifer Sage said...

No, they're red Sidi shoes. Kinda clashes with the pink but oh well! Don't want to look too geeky with everything matching!

Kloba said...

You know so much about bikes. Could you tell us women about buying a bike and what were your selling points.
I am a road novice. Somewhere in between knowing a good brand and not knowing the particular upgrades a bike can have.
Is there an area to focus on- I know you want specific bikes for a reason but the details are beyond me.
I hear so much about "fixed gear" bike.
beside the two tone hipster lavender gold paint job, what is the difference?

Jennifer Sage said...


there are so many things to consider when selecting a bike, like what your goals are (short and long term), what will the predominant use will be (fitness, fun, transport, recreational races, travel, etc), your budget (you can spend from $1,000 to $10,000 or more on a road bike), where you live (big city, flat, rolling hills, mountains, suburbs), and your personality (roadie, gearhead, mountain bike, hybrid, fixie, cruiser, etc). For example, the "fixed geared" bikes are a bit of a counter-culture. There's a place for them, but again, it depends a lot on you. You may be miserable with one.

A Spinning instructor from the forum asked me about bikes last year - she had an old hybrid and wanted to do triathlons for fun, and asked about doing them on her hybrid. I told her she'd be miserable and to bite the bullet and buy a road bike. I just heard from her the other day and she was so thankful she took my advice - her experience was so much better than had she used the hybrid. But there's a place for hybrids too.

I took a lot of years to "graduate" to my current bike, trying a lot of different ones in the process, different brands and gears. But my goals are to ride a lot, primarily for fitness and the road riding experience, and to do a lot of big hills (can't help it around here where I live), and to travel to Europe with my bike and do the big challenging hills over there, so being very light with excellent components was paramount in my selection. Those requirements make it pretty pricey!

I can give you a lot of tips, but best to do it by phone or email. email me at

I'm always happy to talk bikes! :-)


Kloba said...

Hey Jenn,
I am sorry if I left more than one comment...I thought the first message didnt go thru! Thanks for your answer!

SaraSpin said...

Um, you're welcome?

Jennifer Sage said...

Only one showed up here, so no worries. And as I said in a post a few days ago...the more comments the merrier!! ;-)

Hope my response helped you out - email me if you want to talk specifics.


Jennifer Sage said...

Sara! It was you! I was trying to remember who was it I was talking to when it happened (I got a fair amount of calls from forumites and certification students this summer, especially around that same time). I even was thinking, "maybe she'll come make a comment and 'fess up'" so I can thank her profusely!

Yes, folks, it was Sara who I was talking to on my cell phone when I rammed my bike into the garage! She heard it firsthand, she heard me say, "Oh my God! Ooooh sh!t". Oh Sara, you don't know how much I was holding in my anxiety, the curse words poured forth when I got off the phone!

So yeah....Thank you! ;-)

Julibird said...

Yay!!!! Welcome to the bliss world of riding the Orbea Diva.

Maybe it was the bike or maybe it was how passionate you were about the climb that made you faster - or maybe a chemical reaction of the two together?

When I first picked up my black and white Diva from the shop last year, I was actually trembling with excitement. Riding has never been so pleasurable - a sound investment in my opinion. It is a truly beautiful machine. (Love the seat clamp - loosen it once in awhile and get the accumulated dust/dirt out btw).
I just have to get out to your neck of the woods and do some real climbing!

Shoes: those new Sidi shoes with the blue and pink flowers might look fly with your magenta bike. Saw them in Road Bike Action this month.

Jennifer Sage said...

yeah, I think I'm in love. Rode it yesterday down near Boulder on fabulous rolling roads. What a treat it was! I'll have to look into those shoes...

Anonymous said...

NIII IICE, Jen!!! Got your vitamins in toe??

You go, girl. :)