Free speed: Alchemy Arion

It all started with a trip to say hi to a friend.  My buddy Cody has been working for Alchemy bicycle company for a few years now, and I’ve always thought their bikes were so nice.  We’ve talked about the possibility of me being able to throw a leg over one someday, but I never knew when that might happen.  While I was there, Cody took the time to give me the full tour.  All the machining tools, the frame jigs, the carbon lay up process, the paint booth, and murder.  I was throughly impressed.  I started to see why custom bikes cost so much. There is a lot of work and love that goes into the process.  Cody told me it takes around 40 hours from start to finish to create these works of art, with about 40% of that time in paint.

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jig

frames

Alchemy show room

 

We chatted for about an hour and when it was time to leave, he showed me this bike

Alchemy with white and aqua copy

 

I’ve been riding a Specialized Venge for the past 2 years and logged over 15,000 miles on it in that time.  I’ve got a pretty good idea of what that bike is and what it can do.  Cody was telling me what an incredible ride quality this bike possessed, but he also sells these bikes for a living.  I listened to what he had to say, but ultimately, I would form my own opinion.  He told me to take it for the weekend and enjoy it.  That’s precisely what I did.

The first ride, my friend Larsen and I headed up to Red Rocks.  It’s got great climbs and fun twistys to carve down.

 

into the dark

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We were running low on daylight, so we just played around there for a few minute and then we did the 30min ride back to my house.

The next day provided a chance to take the Arion out on a local group ride.  There was to be a race on Saturday, but it got cancelled due to weather.  I knew there would be a good turn out because there’s just no stopping us Colorado cyclists.  I got lots of looks and compliments as I rolled up on the 15 or so riders that were already there.  “Beautiful bike, when did you get it”?  It’s not mine, I’m just riding it.  I said that a lot that weekend.

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The bike was amazing!  It had all the stiffness and handling of my Venge, but much more forgiving.  Much less road buzz, and it just felt right.  Anytime I needed to put the power down, the bike was willing and able.  Moving up and down the line of riders seemed effortless.  There were quite a few strong riders out there that day, I might add.  We got rained, hailed, and eventually snowed on, but I couldn’t have cared less.  I was having the time of my life!  As we headed back east, there is a road that is mostly chip and seal and always provides a numbing effect.  I thought this would be the true test of how compliant the frame really was. As we turned left, I could immediately tell a difference from my other bikes.  The bike just seemed to float over the rough surface.  I had to look down to make sure the tires were actually in contact with the road.

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I was so excited and full of energy, I decided to attack the group a few times.  So much fun!  After the ride I still needed more, so I went into to downtown Denver to take some glamour shots.  I wanted to really remember this experience.

Achemy on white wall

Alchemy bottom reflection

Alchemy and pipe

Alchemy on grey wall

It didn’t seem to matter where or how I placed this bike, it just looked good.

The day I was to give it back, I took it out for a 4 hour mountain ride that was full of long climbs and ripping descents.  I was tired from racing two crits the day before, but you only get a chance like this every once in a while.

lookout

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It was hard to give the Arion back, but I hoped it wasn’t a good-bye,  just a see you later.

www.alchemybicycles.com

 

Steamboat Springboard to Spring

Riding a bike in Steamboat Springs is something that everyone should take the time to do.  My wife and I were invited to join some of her friends there on a ski weekend.  Since I don’t get on the snow very often anymore and coupled with fact that it hadn’t snowed in a while, we decided to also bring our bicycles.  The temps were forecasted to be in the 50’s and 60’s with no chance of any inclement weather.  I also invited my good friend Larsen as he is always a good person to ride and hang out with.

The first day, the three of us set out to ride the TT course from last years Steamboat Stage Race.  It’s a mostly flat course with a few small rolling hills that takes in the valley floor just west of the ski mountain.

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Along the way, you are treated to open roads, old barns, and amazing mountain views.

After the three of us completed the 12 mile loop, Ann wanted to get in some interval work by herself.  Larsen and I waved goodbye and went off in search of some new roads.  Our search took us north of town out near the regional airport.  What we found were some fantastic gravel roads with almost zero vehicle traffic.

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Running low on food and water, we decided it would be smart to head back to the condo.  What started out as a innocent warm up ride with my wife, soon turned into a 3+ hour tour of Steamboat.  When you’re having a great time on the bike with friends, the miles and the time seem to go by so quickly.

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