Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Limited Editon Cervelos: Black, white and... SRAM Red

Some months ago I got to build up my dream bike, which was a magazine test: a Cervelo SLC-SL. That bike sits in a case, surrounded by Pringles, spare tires, boxes of Kashi GoLean and bubble wrap. That's right, I'm talkin' road trip.

I'm doing Escape from Alcatraz in San Francisco this weekend, and while that course, with its hills, technical corners at the bottom of said hills makes it heaven-sent for Alcatraz, I'm not riding that bike there. No, I've road-ified the PK Racing Guru Crono (which you'll see in the July issue of Triathlete and you'll see on this blog in a few days in way more glorious detail than Triathlete delivered. If you're at the race, look for the blaze vermillion and silver rocket, strapped with Zipp 808s. Hard to miss.

No, that bike will sit in its box while I race Alcatraz. Because two days after the race, I'm on my way to Switzerland. Thanks to this MacBook, I can do my work from anywhere. So I'm gonna spend a month being my wife's soignieur, cook and grocery-getter while she's doing the Team TBB thing with her team in Switzerland.

So I'll be damned if I'm not bringing the baddest road bike to ride the Swiss Alps for a month. The Tour de Suisse passes nearby for a stage finish and start too, so I gotta check that out for sure.

So this test Cervelo SLC-SL delivers pretty much all I, as a triathlete, look for in a road bike. Light weight, great steering, tight compact design, and the thing few other road bikes offer: aerodynamics.

Sent as a frameset, I got to put what I wanted on it. I've been a big fan of what SRAM has accomplished in short time with its road offerings, and the new Red group was gonna make this thing... perfect. A Zipp Vuma Quad Crankset, Fizik Arione saddle and Flashpoint Racing 60 carbon wheels with alloy rims (in my opinion one of the most underrated wheelsets in the sport), and I'll be damned if I don't have one of the baddest bike around. I wish I was racing it in The City, but with a day turnaround, It would be impossible to pack it with all the other stuff Donna and her teammates are asking me to schlep from Encinitas to Leysin.

When I told the Cervelo folks that I built what I considered the perfect bike some months ago, they nodded, then said they had something up their sleeve. Those that know Cervelo know they only deal in Shimano. This year, as a bit of a test, Cervelo is doing a limited run of three models kitted with SRAM. Here's a traveler sheet with the info on the SLC-SL, outfitted with Red:

Love it, love it, love it. I wonder how many have swapped their Shimano spec for SRAM to complete their masterpiece on their own. Now, in an "act now!" kinda way, Cervelo plays liek Burger King and says you can have it your way, offering SRAM.

There's gonna be only 300 Cervelo RS bikes available kitted with SRAM Force, as well as 215 R3-SL kitted with SRAM Red. And my "dream bike," the SLC-SL, outfitted with SRAM Red? Just 180 of 'em.

Like I said, "act now," and save yourself from having to build it up. I sure hope Cervelo finds this to be a good litmus test as to whether they ought to be spec'ing SRAM. Not that they're having any trouble selling their bikes as it is.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to having fun in San Francisco. My younger brother Jon is doing the race for the first time, and I'm gonna try to steward him through the swim for a bit. While he knows pressure (in '95 he kicked a game-winning field goal with 22 seconds left to help our alma mater, the University of Arizona Wildcats, knock out a Jake Plummer-led Arizona State Sundevil team—in Tempe no less), he's making himself a ball of nerves. Just like I tell anyone else, just enjoy the experience...the boat, the bay, the sand ladder, Crissy Field, all of it. Because I've been to races around the world and there's just one race—Monaco 70.3—that rivals Escape from Alcatraz for sheer beauty. I'll be taking this one in, while tracking the race leaders on the course. You'd be surprised how much of the race you can follow on the bike and run while racing.. so look for a stellar race report at slowtwitch.com after the race.

Then the SLC-SL and I have a plane to catch...

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