Scary, Scary Stuff. Or not.
One of the biggest sources of stress for me in making the leap to a pro cycling team was…..the stuff. That’s right, there, I said it: I wasn’t sure I wanted perfectly nice, really expensive, FREE-to-me stuff.
This is mostly because my husband, my cat, and I live in a 900 square-foot house. Where, I wondered, will I PUT everything which is essentially a double (or, God help me, a triple!) of everything I already own? Was I destined, at the end of this bike-racing business, to find myself living in something akin to those cluttered, puke-inducing homes on Hoarders?!
At this point in the train of thought, panic would set in and I would freak out about the three days’ worth of newspapers stacked neatly on the dining room table. (Here, I feel the need to be clear: I have a dedicated house-husband who is the primary cleaner of this place, and not only can you walk un-impeeded throughout the house, but also you can SEE virtually every square-inch of floor.)
And second, more pressingly, I wondered, having momentarily eased the panic of at least acquiring all manner of free cycling goods – will I even LIKE the stuff I am going to have to use?
Okay. I am so lucky. I am in love with all this STUFF! (But I really am. Even though I suppose I am technically, sort of, barely getting paid for this sort of endorsement.) So, now, I really want to brag about my favorite addition to the household: the road bike, a BH Cristal. (Everything I’m about to say also applies to my tt bike, the GC Aero, pictured above.)
When I started my journey back to riding, after being scared off the roads by an incompetent elderly driver, my plan was just to ride my twitchy, second-hand, not-quite-the-right-size bike on the trainer…for the rest of my life.
It took an impressive number of days and stationary miles, but eventually, the anger of being trapped in my garage finally outweighed my fear of being hit again, and I remembered how much I loved riding my bike. Outside.
I decided shortly thereafter that I should reward myself with a new bike – something nice, something that handled predictably, something appropriately sized.
To make a long story blog-worthy, I didn’t just like the Trek 6 series I purchased – I loved it. Even though they painted the flames red when they should have painted them white. How would anything ever measure up to the stability I felt on that bike powering up the hills or hurtling past the Team in Training hordes on the local time trial course? I had no idea. I thought I had hit the bike high note. Was I wrong!
I have found something better, perhaps more suited to my current cycling purposes: the BH Cristal. Wow, does this bike like to race!
After sharing a meal with BH USA owner, Chris, I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover how totally awesome the BH Cristal is. The science & engineering geek in me was fascinated and really honestly impressed at the passion and attention to detail that went into the design of the Cristal. We heard all the details over dinner that night. It really isn’t a WSD (women’s specific design) in the traditional “shrink down the geometry and call it a design” sense. Chris is clearly a thoughtful guy, and as a result, this a very carefully thought-out bike. I’m not even going to try to be more specific – I’d just get all the details wrong. You can trust me, or, actually, you can probably ask Chris yourself.
More to the point – how does it ride?
I’m going to put this in terms that would make Bike Snob jeer: my team-issue, BH Cristal is, yes, “laterally stiff and vertically compliant.” It’s also weighs…..significantly less than my ex-boyfriend’s cat. (This is a standard measure of bike weight, no?) Our inaugural ride was a perfectly flat 5-hour journey along the San Diego coast. So it wasn’t until I got home, and headed up over the hills on my warm-up route, that I discovered the most impressive thing about this BH.
The BH Cristal loves to descend and rip through corners. It is SO solid through the turns. I mean, is it possible that the bike knows the correct line better than I do? (Actually, don’t answer that.)
My flame-painted Trek is an awesome bike and has carried me far (literally and figuratively), but the BH is clearly perfomance-driven – it’s meant to go around corners and down twisty descents at….a high rate of speed. I love my pink and black BH Cristal so much that it will be my “go-to” bike long after the season ends. And I can’t wait to get my pedals on an ultralight mountain bike. (Hint hint!!)
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go out and play with my new toys, er, I mean, go to work, er, I mean ride my AWESOME bike! Ah, I am so lucky.