Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Wheels, New Tires, Old Legs

So I'd finally trashed the wheels on my tried-and-true commuter, the Redline 9*2*5, meaning that I had to get a new set ASAP: el truckadora doesn't have on-campus privileges, nor can I afford the gas that it takes to sport her around D-town. Low on cash and in need of something quickly, I turned to the wonderful world of eBay.

It was my first eBay experience, and I can see why this could get addicting. Still, I came out with a decent set of hoops -- Formula hubs laced with DT Swiss spokes to Velocity Aerohead rims -- at a decent price. I mounted up some fat new rubber -- Specialized Armadillos -- and hit the road yesterday. Due to a light snafu Ali and I missed the mtb night ride and headed to Duke Forest instead.

The wheels and tires performed beautifully. Granted, the tires barely fit in the fenders, and trash constantly and noisily gets stuck in there, but the SUV-like performance more than makes up for that. Wheels look pretty slick, too: as classic as the old silver-on-silver scheme was, I have to say I like the all-black look of the new wheels better. And the high-flange Formulas are just trick.

The Pirate's performance was less than beautiful. Armed with only my commuter light and trying to keep up with Ali and his mountain bike, the forest wasn't the best place for me. Some of those climbs are of decent length and pretty steep, and I was slogging it up a few at what felt like 12 rpm. Whenever we hit the flat stuff or pavement I was in great shape, but my legs can really feel the slow grinds this morning. I'm hoping that this helps me develop some good off-season strength without destroying my knees, by right now it seems to just make the morning commute all the harder.

We ended the ride with a spin through East Durham and a pass by "Wingz & Thingz" on East Main, where it was surprisingly Ali and not me that wanted to stop and sample the local culinary fare. We managed to make it out of the cholesterol trap (lovely, lovely trap that it smelled to be) alive, but it will be hard to avoid the same after a long summer ride.

All and all a good ride, and I couldn't be happier to have commutadora up and running again. Go eBay, I guess.

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