By Stephen Feeney
My preparation for the 2015 season had been going well. A decent winter of training with plenty of good miles covered and that winter, touring cyclist feeling in my legs beginning to make way to a more spritely and eager racing urgency.
After a decent, albeit short, racing season in 2014, I joined up with the Chronomaster team and was looking forward to racing with them in 2015. Adding to my excitement was the fact that we were to be issued with team issue racing bikes, specifically ‘Specialized Tarmac Expert’ 2015 models.
I was, of course, familiar with the Specialized brand. I had always liked and bought their clothing (especially because their logo was a large ‘S’, which tied in nicely with my own need to monograph!). Their bikes are ridden at the highest level and have won the most prestigious events culminating in a particularly successful 2014 where virtually all the big races were won on their bikes. However, I had never ridden a Specialized bike.
It wasn’t long after the team bike announcement that the Internet research began, I know my team mates were as eager as I was to get the low down on our new racing machines.
My first glimpse of the bike came courtesy of Specialized’s own website and I was immediately struck by the bright red paintwork and clean tubing profile. Nice! I needed to know more though and further Internet research began, this is when the tick boxes really started to get filled in!
- Nothing but positive consumer and press reviews – tick
- Amazing success at the highest level of the sport – tick
- Innovative technology and development – tick
- Brand confidence – tick
I could go on but the real test would be when I first got my hands on the bike and took it for a spin and that moment came in late January.
First impressions for my team mates and I were extremely positive, the paintwork was even more striking in the flesh and the quality of the components used to equip and finish the bike were of a much higher standard that I had expected. The bike was light and genuinely ready to race ‘off the peg’.
I had my first ride on my new bike not long afterwards and was immediately impressed with how it felt and handled. It was quick to respond to any pressure on the pedals, felt good and confidence inspiring on the bends and my new bike and I had performed well on a tough pre season training ride with the team, the bike had definitely given me an edge over my previous, and not too shoddy, steed.
Another outing on the bike a week later increased my confidence and satisfaction with the bike and everything was lining up nicely for the first race of the year, just a week later. This would be a real test for both of us.
Unfortunately, a stupid fall, caused by a lapse in concentration on my part at the end of a training ride, suddenly brought about an interruption to my journey with my new bike! A bad landing resulted in me fracturing my hip. The damage to the bike is amazingly minor and is limited to a small scratch on the chainset and rear mech (which I now have plenty of time to fix!). The severity of the injury means I am unlikely to ride my bike for a few months but during this period it will be being cleaned and polished and never far from view and will, I am certain, provide me with some incentive and motivation to recover and get back out riding it again!
To be continued…
(N.B.) Steve, best of luck with the recovery matey. You’ll be back on the bike before you know it! – The Chronomaster team.