In our last episode, I was up late-night in Monterey watching my wife at Ironman China on Ironmanlive. Now, she's here, tapping away at here blog next to me (having recorded a 4th place finish in 112-degree F temps) and we're checking in before we depart tomorrow morning for a Wi-Fi-challenged (heck, a cell phone coverage-challenged0 Wildflower—she's racing, and I'm working. Well, I guess we're both working. I spent the evening getting her bike race-ready; the team set her atop a 2009 Cervelo P3, and it's cherry.
I generally pooh-pooh sponsor-spec rides, but hers is a beaut; P3 with Oval Concepts bars, Hed Jet race clinchers, Vittoria Open Pro EVO-CX tires, Cobb Cycling V-Flow saddle and SRAM Red. And thanks to Dan Empfield for getting her set proper atop her ride... it was a longtime work in progress. And thanks to TeamTBB for providing her a bitchin battle ax. I'm the pickiest of the picky, and I'm finally happy with how her bike is set up.
I'll be at Wildflower doing more videos for the new, improving Triathlete website—I currently have some great interviews up there with Steve Larsen and Conrad Stoltz from Sea Otter, and will be doing video tours of several of the pros' bikes that I run across (perhaps including the above described one belonging to my wife).
But before that, I have a few things on that I'll be visiting when I get back. One such thing is my first test of the new Shimano 7900, set up for triathlon. Shimano was kind enough to release a test setup, which worked out perfectly, because my Guru Crono was in need of a gruppo. My buddy Andrew has been diligently building it up, and I'll be set to begin testing of the group in earnest. I'm actually keen to give it a go, as my experience lately has been on SRAM for the most part. It will be great to revisit the brand that has been the mainstay, and see what the new 7900 means to triathletes from a functional standpoint.
I have not only the group, but a few key pieces, including the PRO Missile aerobar. I was also supplied a set of the new aerobar brakes. THIS is the piece that most intrigues me.
These TT brake levers have gotten zero fanfare, and for triathletes, this is gonna be one that ranks in top-three. The Dura-Ace version has a carbon lever pull, the Ultegra version an alloy one. Both have what I would deem the strongest return spring I've felt—and I rate the Bontrager and SRAM brake levers to have among the strongest return springs.
For me, the return spring is a big deal. It means you'll have a positive feel every time you pull on the brakes. There's no rattle as I can see thus far, it's aero enough, and it has a tab at the end to prevent any last-finger slip-off. I think I'm really gonna like this lever.
Off to the land of lost cell phone signals....and a hell of a race.