It was the best of rides, it was the worst of rides. The climb was steep, the descent was glorious. The wind held me back, the wind pushed us along. For last Sunday I rode hill #4 in a series of what I call the Glennville 6 each progressively harder. In early April I started with #1 and each weekend (when I have been able) tackled the next one. #4 rises 900' with a terraced grade ranging from 4% to 12%. The ride started with a 25 mph wind in my nose which was gusty and never let up the entire ride. It was cold and I wore a windbreaker. While riding the 14 miles out to #4 I had times where I was down in the drops pushing hard and only doing 10 mph on the flats with my jacket billowed out. The climb up #4 had the wind on my side as I headed north east. When I crested the top I was hopeing for a fast descent but the wind was so strong and gusty I had to stay on the brakes to keep on the road - the best I could do was 17mph where I would usually hit 40. Then I got down and made the turn east - with the wind at my back I could do 30mph. This loop neted my 38 miles that day - but the average was only 14 where 16 would have been expected. It has indeed a ride with many contrasts.
But what about the two bicycles? Well, because I will ride a metric on Sunday I wanted to test my old steel bike out - I had only done one short ride on it this season and I needed to see if all the adjustments were right. I really felt just how much more comfortable that bike is over the CF Tarmac, the steel bike has such a great natural suspension and the compact campy chorus is just so smooth. But it does not climb like the Tarmac nor does it have that feel of being as much of a natural extension to your being as the Tarmac - the Tarmac almost leaps out when you hit the pedals. It is amazing just how different these two bike feel and how it took two years of riding them before I could put my finger on each of thier strengths and weaknesses. I can't imagine myself selling either of these two great machines but just like the ride above, they are a indeed bikes with many contrasts.