I decided, with a little urging from my road-weanie friend Eric, to buy myself the TCR C2 Giant road bike for Christmas. With all the gear, it came to around NT$75,000 (US$2300). This is a seriously fast bike. Now, I just need to get myself into shape to make it go fast. It's the black bike (above), next to Eric's even more expensive Italian job atop Yangming Mountain. They're good bikes - the water in my two bottles weighs more than the bike itself.
I took Christmas off (it's not a holiday in Taiwan). I woke up at 5:45 a.m. to ease her out for a maiden voyage. We went up the back of Yangming Mountain, past Taiwan VP Annette Lu's home (see other picture) before coming down the front side and completing our 50 km jaunt along the Danshui River back to Taipei. It was raining, so I had to take it extra slow. Plus, I'm still not comfortable with how she functions. This bike only has 20 gears -- go figure -- I could use a few more to get up Taiwan's torturous mountains. The TCR C2 also came with slicks, meaning the tires don't have treads. This makes it even tougher when it's raining, like it was today at the top of the mountain. Eric and I descended past the site of my accident (see previous post). Eric says we were doing 70 km that time. Needless to say, we were (or least I was) reigning it in a bit for this pass. According to the TCR G2 literature: "High-speed downhill or competition riding can lead to serious accidents.... Even with state-of-the-art protective safety gear, you could be seriously injured or killed when riding downhill at speed or in competition." Don't I know it! The accident happened in September, and my leg still aches from time-to-time.
When I returned home, I retrieved my daughter from the babysitter's. Normally, she sleeps afternoons; this afternoon has been a different story. I guess she's pretty wound up to see her dad all afternoon. Dad could really use a nap.
I'm still getting used to my new riding cleats. I have to twist my foot to release them. Sometimes, I still forget, and brake first. This leads to a momentary sense of panic, as when the bike is stopped, I need to put a foot down.