Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi

Yes, another St. David’s Day is upon us and it seems like only a year has passed since the last one but in fact it has been 366 days.  I observed the “leap day” by wondering why anyone would have chosen to extend February when he could have added a day to April or June.  Today I am observing St. David’s Day only insofar as I know that it is St. David’s Day.  I’m not Catholic or vegetarian or opposed to the consumption of intoxicating beverages.

St. David and I are separated further by our respective attitudes toward material possessions.  During the 6th Century in Wales, owning a goat was an extravagance.  St. David would be appalled at my materialism, but as a cyclist I am comparatively frugal and practical.  For me, cycling is sport—I would make very different equipment choices if it were transportation—so from a certain point of view every cycling-related purchase is frivolous.  Still, I think I’m more concerned with reliability and value than with following every fashion and chasing every gram of weight savings.  When I upgrade to lighter equipment, it’s more of a happy accident than an obsession.

Today I ordered a new wheelset for the cyclocross bike and a new saddle for the road bike.  In each case I chose products with which I have had positive experiences.  On Sunday I mentioned the 2012 Mavic Aksiums but I opted instead for last year’s model.  At 1795g they’re a tiny bit heavier than the current model but they’re still 155g lighter than the wheels they will replace … and I got them for less than $200.  The new saddle is a WTB Valcon Pro like the one that came with my cyclocross bike.  The worn-out saddle currently installed on the road bike was original to my Giant OCR1 back in 2005.  The new one will be more comfortable, is 100g lighter, and was a steal at $58 (MSRP is $90).

When I was getting ready to buy my cyclocross bike, one of the things I considered was the compatibility of its parts with my road bike.  Today’s purchases give me three interchangeable wheelsets and two saddles that are nearly identical.  Both bikes use the same 10-speed drivetrain and have the same pedals.  For me, there’s security in such redundancy.  I don’t have to worry about missing a Saturday morning race just because I popped a spoke on Friday evening or because I brought the wrong pair of shoes.

It’s easy to break the last of the Ten Commandments when you’re surrounded by ultra-light, carbon fiber everything, and I do my best not to covet anything that is my neighbor’s.  But I’m no saint.  And if I can’t be canonized, then perhaps someday I can be Cannondaled.  Back to shopping ...

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