What do you do for your vacation when you spend all day building and geeking out on wheels? Go ride your bike and geek out on wheels, of course! It was a tough move not to spend another week with the excellent people at The Cycling House, but with Nate temporarily living near San Diego, we had to give it a go here. Leaving the East Coast on Friday the 22nd seems to have been the smartest thing I've ever done, 100% avoiding Snowzilla, and enjoying near perfect weather here in the trade.
Of course we wouldn't be us if there wasn't a bit of a testing agenda, and the new Rails (preorder through Sunday) have been under the microscope on this one. People can't seem to figure out why exactly it is that I aim at all the rough spots in the road. I do it for you. Yes, I do it for you. We've had several different brake pad compounds on them, and for anyone who thinks brake pads don't make a difference, well... that's just wrong. They make an absolutely enormous difference. Yesterday, we rode up Palomar Mountain. Big hill. Takes a bit over an hour to get up (somewhat less if you're Chris Horner, who we saw out riding the other day). The descent is pretty psychotic, where you accelerate like a rocket out of each turn, to be confronted with the next hairpin nearly immediately. It's shorter than Mt. Lemmon by far, but you don't need brakes coming down Lemmon. If your brakes failed on Palomar, you'd be dead within seconds. Having really great braking made the descent fun as hell, and I was able to take it as aggressively as my spleen would allow.
This isn't the kind of thing where we'd recommend using carbon clinchers, really. "It can be easily done" isn't the same as "it's the best idea," and rarely is. I'm a confident, some would say reckless, descender. The road conditions near the top would have most people in full pucker factor when going 35 or 40 mph, and they'd then wind up riding the brakes. I honestly would call a cab if I got to the top of this thing and it started raining hard - alloy wheels, carbon wheels, rim brakes, disc brakes - there's no way I'd drop down this mother in really wet conditions.
Of course, it's not ALL work and no play. Stone Brewing Company might have gotten in our way after yesterday's ride (and why I'd been sleeping on Vertical Epic, I have absolutely no idea - it's fantastic), and plenty of Mexican food like you don't get in RI has gone down the old gullet, and the batteries are recharging nicely.
I'll finish this one with a few nice pics, and if you follow along on our Instagram, we'll be posting trip pics through the beginning of next week.