Friday, May 16, 2008

Heavy Training Day / Scattante CFR Elite Review

The morning started with a swim of 2100 yards. I only stopped twice, both times because I had a bunch of phlegm in my throat. This was my longest swim of the year. Honestly, I felt a little nauseated afterwards. I figured that it was because I had not eaten much before the swim, but the feeling lasted for a good 90 minutes afterwards or more.

After running a couple of errands I started my road ride at 11:30. I had hoped to have left by 10 AM, but it just didn't happen for a variety of reasons and I won't go into them here. I rode a bike from the shop that the manager loaned me, or rather he requested that I try out. The bike is a 2008 Scattante CFR Elite.

A Brief Review of the Scattante CFR Elite

It is a full carbon frameset, although the fork has an aluminum steerer tube. To my initial displeasure it had a triple crankset. I have always disliked the road triple. I like the shifting of a double crankset instead. I have not always been able to push a double, but for the past 3 or 4 years I have done very well without it. However, up until recently my rides have been shorter than my current long rides to get ready for the Vikingman Tri.

The bike feels pretty good. I believe it is made in the same factory that the Fuji frames are made--at least the carbon Scat's all come in boxes that say both Scattante and Fuji on them. But I have come to find out that some little outfit called Pedal Force also has this exact frameset available from there website for $800. So if you are looking for this as frameset that is your source because Performance Bike only offer the carbon Scat's as a complete bike (unlike their aluminum or aluminum carbon frames).

Climbing is pretty good on the CFR. Not the best and I am not sure why. The chainstays are pretty darn short and they look beefy. However, compared to my Lapierre or my Fuji carbon, it just doesn't seem to get up and go from a dead stop as quickly. The frame has just a bit of flex in it, but so does the Fuji. Like I said, not sure why or if it was all just in my head.

I am not saying it was horrible, I liked it quite a bit in actuality. This climbing critique was about the only negative I could come up with regarding the frameset. The parts are all very good; Ultegra shifters and derailleurs, a surprisingly nice spec with the FSA SLK Light crankset (again a triple, but you can also get this bike with a double), and a host of Forte parts (Performance's in-house brand of components).

There is one Forte part in particular I would like to address. It is the Forte Pro SLX Saddle.

This is a good 2hour saddle. After that it seems to spontaneously combust underneath you. From about the 2 hour point of today's ride and beyond the saddle felt like it was heating up and causing At the end of the ride it hurt to sit on the thing. Maybe it will break in, maybe it won't. My Aspide saddles have never done this to me, even when new. It is not like I was biased against it either. For the first hour I was loving it. I was thinking that I was going to have to pick one up from the shop with my discount. But then like the gremlins that eat after midnight in that 1980's movie, if you ride it over 2 hours it transforms into something evil and vicious and then it ramps it up further when it got beyond 3 hours of ride time.

To sum up, the bike handles well, it is pretty quick and nimble and is enjoyable to ride. In an effort to be completely honest, I wasn't feeling my best today anyway, so there is a chance that the whole climbing thing is all in my mind. But, after talking to the store manager he noticed something similar as well when climbing.

Today's Ride
A long time ago back in Utah it was a very hot summer day and I was walking into a grocery store. At the same time an older gentleman, probably at least 60 years old, was walking out into the sizzling air. He looked like a typical grandpa sort of guy, he had a baseball cap and a button down short sleeved shirt and looked like just another older Mormon in the Provo-Orem area. Then he said not loudly, but loud enough that I could hear him clearly, "F--- its hot." Yeah, really he said that. Surprised the heck out of me, too. It was the last thing I expected a sweet old Grandpa to say.

Today felt like one of those type of days. Part of it is that I am not used to the heat at all. I am used to riding in 50 and 60 degree weather. Today the temp is sitting at somewhere close to 95 degrees according to the thermometer in the backyard. And I was riding in it for 3 hours and 20 minutes. Yep, it sucked. When I was about an hour in to my ride I knew that without more than two 24 oz. bottles water it was going to be a short day. Luckily, there is a little convenience/auto part store near the intersection of Cornelius Pass and Skyline which was on my route. The first time passing it I bought a 24 ounce bottle of Gatorade. I continued on Skyline road until I hit Dixie Mountain Road and turned around. When I was back at the same store for a second time I bought a 32 ounce bottle of Gatorade and a 16 ounce bottle of water. I downed the water right there and filled up my water bottles with the Gatorade. During my ride I drank almost 120 ounces of water and 3 Clif Shots. I had a hard time stomaching the gels for some reason, although it was probably the heat.

An out and back on Skyline was the route I chose because much of the route is shaded. But the down side is that there are very few sections that are flat, especially when you get past Cornelius Pass and on toward Rocky Point and Dixie Mountain. The outbound section of that section pretty much sucks, especially when you don't have much in the tank. After all, this boy here ran 10 miles yesterday and swam around 1.25 miles this morning.

Here is where I will make the most embarrassing revelation possible regarding my riding shape today. I used the inner chainring. Liberally. I took up a residency there for much of the long uphill sections between Cornelius Pass and Dixie Mtn. If I wasn't so close to popping out there today I would have been embarrassed, but instead I was just grateful. That inner ring saved my ride, my back and made it possible to ride all the way out to Dixie Mountain Rd. According to I climbed a nearly 2500 feet during my 44 mile ride. On a hot day that is about all I can take apparently, with the assist of my new friend the triple crankset. I still won't be putting one on my bike though. This is the first time I have wanted one during the past several years. I will do this ride again with a double, but it just will be under different circumstances.

I also found out that my computer has been about 5% off for the past year or so. I noticed that the milage was under reporting consistently at each milage marker. So this evein I did the rollout method of measuring the wheel circumference and it was indeed off. So my ride last weekend was about 63 miles instead of 60. Nice. I have been riding faster and farther than I thought for a long time now.

Important Side Note!
Beware of riding with your jersey zipper down while flying downhill at breakneck speed. A bee found his way into my jersey and ended up stinging me on my back. Talk about a surprise. I stopped as fast as possible and practically tore off my jersey with my helmet and glasses still on--multitool, phone and gels going everywhere on the ground so that I could find out what the heck was going on. Sure enough, big ol' bee falls out on to the ground. I have never been stung before in my life so I was a bit worried about whether I was allergic to bee stings. Apparently I am not. After about 15 minutes the pain was gone. Fun stuff out there today, fun stuff.


Anonymous said...

Mr Flynn,
Thank you so much for your review, i searched the net for some good feedback and yours was the only one and was very concise and helpful :)
I just saw the 2008 CFR elite and was thinking about it as my first ever tri bike. As opposed to the cervelos and felts which are much more expensive and the fact that for a novice like me this bike would prove to be worth the price and the feel.
Thank you so much

Anonymous said...

Seriously? Never been stung by a bee before? Wow, I wish I was you. I've been stung so many times it just feels like a hot splinter...

Mr. Flynn said...

To Vig, your welcome. I hope you find lots of miles before you no matter which bike you chose.

To anonymous, Nope that was the first time ever. The bees and I made a pact when I was a little kid that if I left them alone they would leave me alone. We had lots of bees around where I lived, but I never had any trouble from them.