So even though Spring isn't officially here, the time change is, and (mostly) nice weather. Between it getting nicer, races coming up, and my leg rehab going well (thanks to my good friend Bryan) I've been able to get out and ride more!

Highland County with Kelly

Highland County with Kelly

I got a new road bike for the first time in a few years this winter, a Specialized Allez Pro .I had ridden an Allez before, as well as a Venge, Tarmac, and Roubaix. I decided on the Allez because it checked all my boxes. I wanted a light bike with great parts, but my budget wouldn't allow for a Roubaix or Tarmac with those parts. and to be fair, the Allez frame is in the same weight class as the other bikes.

The advancements that have been made with aluminum manipulation and joining specifically in the bike world in the last 5 years or so are impressive as well. The Tarmac with Rider First frame design still rides better than any road bike I've ridden to date, and the Roubaix is super smooth as well, but even my Allez frame is much stiffer pedaling than older carbon bikes I've ridden, and smoother than those bikes as well! 

To get into it a bit more, aluminum is more malleable than steel and titanium, two other metals used in bike frames. It also has a much lower density. Shaping of steel and titanium can be employed, but not as easily, and without the same gains seen when shaping aluminum. This is why aluminum (specifically 6000 series) has taken off in recent years, with new frames far exceeding energy transfer stiffness of their steel and titanium counterparts, and with dramatic shaping such as air forming and hydroforming, as well as new joining processes like Smartweld, we end up with frames made of metal that weigh in the 1000-1200g range!

The two piece bottom bracket from the new Allez Sprint

The two piece bottom bracket from the new Allez Sprint

All this to say I love the ride of the bike! I've been able to get out on some big rides, and some really big rides! Plenty of dirt and gravel thrown in there too, and the bike has exceeded my expectations so far. 

Highland county, where we love to go ride, is so beautiful! We were there during arguably the two busiest weekends of the year, the Maple Festival  Highland County, which has a population of about 2,300 people, draws 60,000 people in for two weekends each March! With tours of maple farms, and plenty of vendors in Monterey, we had our share of treats mid ride! People are great over there as well! I like to stop at the store in Bluegrass about halfway through my Highland County 100 mile route to stock up for the next 3 or 4 hours of riding. Last weekend won't be the last time I head over there this spring!

-Chris

Exploring northwest Rockingham County with Chris Scott (Shenandoah Mountain Touring.) Photo by Chris Scott!

Exploring northwest Rockingham County with Chris Scott (Shenandoah Mountain Touring.) Photo by Chris Scott!

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