I'm generally not a superstitious person.
However, I have been known to shy away from things associated with failure. They just fall out of favor quickly, and are reduced to backup status or sold off to unsuspecting dupes. Often the failure was not the item's fault, but a result of my own ineptitude. Still, the stink of failure is coating it, and it can be hard to wash off.
Then there's the new Trek Madone 6.9 race bike.
Before the Tour of Fairbanks prologue, I had ridden it around the block once or twice and then done some warmup laps on the course. After I fell, I reverted to my old/trusty/crusty Trek Madone 5.2 Pro, mainly because I was concerned about damage the Madone 6.9 might have suffered in the crash. I was too banged up to want to spend much time wrenching and I had the 5.2 Pro with me to ride around, so reverted to what I knew. It seemed the safest course, although the squeaks and groans coming from the poorly-maintained bike were embarrassing at times.
None of that was fair to the new race bike, but all things considered I don't regret making that call.
After a couple days of choosing healing and resting over riding, I took the 6.9 out for a short ride. Part of it was that the 5.2 Pro was completely filthy, covered in road grime and bug guts from the ride home. Part of it was I wanted to make friends with the new bike after our rough start. No hard feelings.
I was stiff and sore after not moving much for the previous two days, and I didn't push it. Here and there I put in a short effort or two to see what was there, then backed off to avoid further damage. This ride was all about loosening up.
I was descending the Coastal Trail from Kincaid Chalet at a reasonable pace, given the number of tourists and pedestrians out, when I came around a blind turn and was immediately faced with a large group of very large people occupying an even larger part of the available space. I grabbed brakes and immediately started skidding as the holding power of the brakes quickly overcame the traction provided by the tires' postage-stamp contact patch. I started having flashbacks and contemplated which one of the large pedestrians would provide the softest landing, when I managed to squeeze by on the thin dirt shoulder. Crisis averted and confidence restored, I continued on my way.
It will take a lot more than a short ride to make friends with this bike, but at least we've started the process. While the sun is shining and the roads are dry, I plan on getting as many miles on this bike as I can, until it's just as grimy and trusted as the 5.2 Pro.


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