First Ride – Specialized Roubaix S-Works SL 2007

A lovely sunny autumn day, it’s mid morning, and I’m supposed to be working, but can’t wait any longer. I decide to take an early lunch and go out on my bike.

Outside it’s warm enough for shorts and a short sleeved jersey. As I carry my bike down the steps to the road it occurs to me that I have dramatically increased the weight of my bike by adding a bottle cage and bottle (did I mention that she only weighs 16lbs? 😉 ).

Round the sharp left-hander and onto the short climb out of the cul-de-sac she handles beautifully, and surges forward when I press on the pedals. Out of the saddle on the hoods feels completely comfortable. Out onto the main road, and along past the school where there is a long stretch of frost damaged road, a perfect test for the Roubaix’s Zertz damping. I rattle across it at a brisk pace. I can still feel the road, the feedback is still there, but the jackhammer jolts that you would get from a normal road race bike have no sting.

Heading downhill towards Wolverley I pick up a lot of speed. OK, now I’m not so happy, I feel a little wary going this fast. It’s not the bike, it’s the traffic. I move out from the kerb a little and push on, it’s only half a mile to my turn.

Up through Wolverley village and onto the lanes. Kingsford lane runs along the bottom of Kinver edge, at around three miles long it’s a snaking roller-coaster of a lane and a good test for the Roubaix. I float along effortlessly, just the whoosh from the tyres, in the beautiful countryside, under the lovely autumn sun. I weave my way through the lanes to the Sheepwalks, probably the biggest steepest climb in the area. Pushing myself back on the saddle I take the first part of the climb seated, hands on the tops. It feels easy.

The climb eases, and the panorama opens out. I can see the Abberleys, the Malverns, and beyond. The final part of the climb is a steep ramp, and I attack it out of the saddle. Legs stinging with ‘good’ pain I reach the top and decide to stop a while and take it all in.

I’d been out for around an hour now, the bike had exceeded all of my expectations. I decided to push on a bit to see if it was real, or whether I could break the spell. By Shatterford I had worked up a good sweat, the faster I went the more I liked it. Back towards Kinver, sprinting every rise, and feeling funky. Speeding into Cookley with 1:40 done I stormed up the last climb before dashing down the A449 towards the lights at ‘Nabarro’s Folley’. No fear of the speed or the traffic now.

Almost two hours done, and I had worked hard in places. No back-ache, shoulder fine, feeling as fresh as when I started out. Spell still in tact 🙂 But, I was on my own, what I really need is someone to test it out on 😉   

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