Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Fullerton, CA USA
Bikes: 2011 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra
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Evolution on my bike choices. A replay to a question... A long reply!
This is a reply a question that was asked in my introduction thread but I though it deserved its own thread. And thanks for all the warm welcomes.
I first started riding in late 2003 after Lance and US Postal won another TDF. I rode my best friend’s bike that his brother an advance road bike ride gave him. It is Cannondale H300 Hybrid, all alloy frames. I weighed in at 285lbs and I’d lost about 20lbs by the end of the season.
In 2004 I started riding early in the season on the H300, I weighed about 275lbs. I wanted a road bike but every time I tried to ride one I couldn’t catch my breath. I carry most my weight in my stomach, so when I lean forward my thighs drive my belly up into my diaphragm. By the time the TDF rolled around I was down to 250lbs, Lance won again and I had to have a Trek! The Cannondale was just beating me up, the alloy frame just too harsh on vibration. I bought a Trek 2200 ZR-9000 Ultrega bike. It has carbon fiber chain stays, forks and seat post, it was so much easier on my body to ride. The Carbon Fiber was a huge change. I ended the year at about 225lbs but I’d developed really bad issues with Saddle Sores that ended my season.
In 2005 I started off on the Trek but the Saddle Sores came back, I tried everything, different saddles, different short and a couple creams but I ended up hanging up the bike midyear where it hung until this year.
So in 2011 I went to the Tour of California and got so excited I decided to get out the old Trek. I was at the edge of 300lbs and didn’t recall the breathing problems from years before. I fixed it all up, tune up, tires & tubes and the realized I was too large to ride it. I dug the old Cannondale out and tried riding it but it was still too rough a ride. I went down to my local Target and bought a Men's Schwinn 700C Trail Way Hybrid Bike with 28” wheels. I put my saddle and pedals on it and rode it for a couple month’s until I got down too 285lbs. I hated the shocks, losing all that power when climbing drove me nuts! Also the 28” wheels are deep dish so finding tubes is next to impossible.
I had my LBS take my Trek and put hybrid bars, shifters and brake levers on it with the goal of when I hit 250lbs I’d have them switch it back to the drop bars. I really enjoyed riding it but since I only had two possible hand positions, on the grip or bar end I developed Handlebar Palsy. I lost all control of my right pinky finger and my right hand was numb for weeks. I started looking into Carbon Fiber handlebars but that was another expense to a temporary modification to my bike. It wouldn’t be long before was would be going back to my drop bars. After sitting around for 3 weeks I started thinks “All Carbon”, if going from an alloy to a part carbon bike made such a big difference then going all carbon must be good too. I did a bunch of research and found out with my long torso and shorter legs Specialized and Cannondale seemed to be the best fit for me. I decided on a Specialized Roubaix, Cannondale was just too pricey for me. I had a dilemma, my LBS Two Wheeler Dealer, Brea CA has been working with my every step of the way on this journey and I felt bad about not buying a bike from them. One afternoon I walked in there and they had a Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra demo with 100 miles on it for what I was about to pay of the Specialized. They gave me half off on a set of FSA flat carbon fiber handlebars too. The stars aligned and after a quick trip to the bank I had a new bike.
The only surprise was going from a triple crankset to a compact set. I knew I was going to lose the lowest gear but it had an 11-28 on it, I figured I could live with that. After a few days in Colorado’s altitude I desperately needed a lower gear. My LBS put a Sram 11-32T cassette and a Shimino RD-6703 Ulterga Long Cage derailleur on it and I’m climbing like a goat again! Also thanks to Chamois Butt’r no more sores!