I didn’t buy shit in 2009 because I was on half salary from my sabbatical. But, fortunately, I can live vicariously through my teammate Don Lowe! Wow!! As soon as I finish my book and get the advance, I’m getting one of these! The Waterford R-33 Stainless steel model! Don has his dressed up in full SRAM RED with Zipps. I think I’ll stick with Campy and go 11 speed, and run the American Classic 58mms….those were a great purchase in 2008.
But, I suppose among what little I did buy in 2009, my most amazing purchase was something relatively cheap, the new Continental 4000 Grand Prix’s. I’ve been running Conti’s for training for a long time, with a break when we were on Vittoria (when I ran the Rubino Pro Tech’s, all the other Vittorias SUCK for training). But, these are a HUGE improvement in durability over ANYTHING ANYONE has produced. I’ve posted record mileage on several sets of these tires, and it saved my ass! I was broke. I didn’t need to be buying more tires, and had only bought a minimum on the team deal. But, I still have three left in the quiver, and I should have been out before the end of summer. The biggest improvement is in the sidewall durability, which has been an Achilles’ heel for Conti’s–particularly for their more expensive 4-seasons model. But, the new 4000s not only improve on the sidewall, but also in the treadwear. I cannot stress enough how much abuse these tires can take. They don’t really pave roads down here in So. Ill, and we do a lot of gravel sections on top of the bad chip and seal. The earlier generations of Contis were not this tough. I haven’t changed my routes or training (if anything, I’m just fatter and therefore harder on the tires); these tires have improved considerably. And, they do this while keeping the sticky smooth feel of the more racy 4000 tire. I don’t use these for racing. And, I wouldn’t even if I used clinchers for racing (I’d go with Supersonics). But, they are fast enough for anything you’d want to do outside of racing, and they are ultra durable….
I’m going to curl up with a picture of Don’s bike now….