Saturday, November 15th, 2015
What: The Maiden Voyage of Sarah’s Trek Emonda SLR
Where: 2 hour jaunt in the Belgium of the US (South Jersey where the headwinds are our hills)
As some of you might know… I’ve been a Specialized devotee since 2008 when I bought my first Tarmac. It’s not to say that I didn’t like any other bikes, I’ve just been so happy with Specialized (and they’ve sponsored every team that I’ve been on since I began racing) that there was no reason to look elsewhere. So, to say that I was a bit nervous about switching to a new bike company and a new bike would be an understatement. Yeah, I had some nerves about it. But, I have to say that after a two-hour jaunt on the bike today, those nerves have been soothed and I’m completely stoked about my new ride.
And, here’s the thing… you always hear pros talk about how awesome their bikes are. Or, at least, they say that when they’re “on the record.” However, we must remember that pros are PAID to say that they love their bikes. But, we aren’t pros. So, when we give a bike review, you can pretty much be sure that it’s not simply about pleasing a sponsor, but it’s about what we really think. So, here’s my review of the first ride on my new Trek Emonda SLR road bike.
Let me start by saying that Brielle Cyclery was amazing in building up my new frame and getting me fit properly on my bike. I cannot ever explain how important proper fit is on whatever bike you choose to ride. It ensures that you can use your body to it’s fullest, and helps stave off injury. Clarence spent quite a bit of time with me (not to mention with Teresa and LJ earlier in the day) to dial the fit in so that it’s as close to perfect as possible. Then, the rest was up to me!
The bike is stiff, light, and responsive. I was quite pleased with the smooth ride in spite the stiffness of the frame. Despite how little the bike weighs, it’s really solid and connected to the road. I felt like I could really push it in a sprint or up a hill and it really held onto the road. Did I mention that it corners like it’s on rails?? I felt fast and comfortable when climbing, which is saying something for me (NOT a climber!). I’m looking forward to getting it on some bigger climbs and faster descents, but I’m certain that it will handle equally well there.
In short, despite my reservations in switching bikes, I’m super excited about the straight-up awesomeness of this bike. Plus, it’s HOT! ;) It’s a great looking frame with nice lines and a really beautiful structure.
In short, I think this bike is one of the best out there. I’m thrilled with it on many levels and can’t wait to get out on it some more! I really can’t wait to race it and put it to the test out there with the big girls! Bring on the 2016 season!
Up next: a review of my new Trek Speed Concept 9 series time trial bike!! :)
Date: November 1, 2015
Race: Bubble Cross
Location: West Milford, NJ
Rider: Danielle Ferland
For the past several weeks, I have been participating in a cyclocross training series at the Bubbling Springs Park in West Milford, NJ presented by Team ProPower. Held at the same location as the race every Tuesday night until race day, the training series went over the basics of dismounting, remounting, how to properly/effectively carry a bike, and gave all who came a good idea of what the race course would be.
The course itself was a wide verity of technical terrain – a few steep climbs, fun descents, grassy switchbacks loaded with off camber turns, a bit of pavement to pick up speed…
…and sand. Lots and lots of sand.
But with the help from the training series, all the practice and insightful advice – I felt ready to tackle the race!
Sadly, my front tire did not share the same sentiment and I got a flat shortly after the start. I was only able to complete 1 lap, but what a lap! I made it through the sand pits and nailed the first run up like a champ! Such a fun course and I highly recommend it (and the training series) to everyone next year!
Not to mention a good portion of riders showed up, and raced in costumes!
Date: October 4, 2015
Race: Caffeinated Cross
Location: Mullica Hill, NJ
Rider: Danielle Ferland
This was definitely a mountain biker’s course, lots of good winding single track through the woods in the beginning sections, which I absolutely loved. There was a tricky sand run-up that I hadn’t seen anyone successfully ride just as you exited the woods. After the woods and running up the mountain of sticky sand, trying to clip back in was a challenge all in its own with mud and sand caked around the cleat, which made the last section of course all the harder. Off camber turns and short steep hills challenged riders of all skill levels, and if you couldn’t clip in, it really tested a rider’s strength.
Overall, I was doing fairly well until the last lap – I had ran (or really climbed) the sand hill twice and even though I couldn’t reclip for half a lap, I slowly overtook other riders one at a time… then, I listened to the guy with the blue trombone who yelled “You can do it Danielle! You got this!” and tried to ride the sand hill against my better judgment. Halfway up, like everyone else I had watched, my front tire lost all momentum and dug deep into the sand. I ended up in the back of the pack. But! I had a blast through it all! Great day and fun race!
Results: 20th out of 21
Date: September 26, 2015
Race: Hippo Cross(ing)
Location: Lambertville, NJ
Rider: Danielle Ferland
As the first annual Hippo Cross happened on September 26th, I figured I’d also make it my cyclocross racing debut. The course was very bumpy with some climbing and a lot of rather tight turns packed in. It all reminded me of the snake video game, fitting as much course length in a field as possible without intersecting itself. As far as obstacles went, there was a small pair of stairs that were in the beginning portion of the course that were pretty rideable then two planks towards the end that made the majority of racers dismount to jump.
Results: 13th out of 18