The famous raceway at Laguna Seca near Monterey, California is in a bowl of sorts surrounded by hills which at the end of April with the help of some long overdue rainfall were mostly all green. It was from the expo area at the Sea Otter Classic that I headed out abroad the Norco Tactic SL Disc Ultegra for a first ride.
I had scouted out a route the day before and headed out over the rolling steep hills. The bike was equipped with Shimano Ultegra components, Shimano’s BR-RS805 disc setup and a DT Swiss R32 Spline wheelset.
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Before I knew it I had hit the first steady climb of the day. With a 52-36 chainring I was wishing for more gears. My legs screamed as I made my way slowly up the climb. The hills in this part of California are not enormous but they sure are pretty in spring with the wild flowers in bloom.
The climb led me to a descent on a narrow road. Sheltered from the heat, I sipped at my bottle. Another climb and a longer descent later I was headed for what I thought was a flatter loop just a couple of kilometres from the Laguna Seca turnoff.
The road proved to be much tougher than I expected. It felt like every road was a false flat. Good thing the bike was orange. To passersby at least I must have looked fast.
The bike’s thick chain stays mean it reacted well whether I was looking for power out or in the saddle. It was a smooth and comfortable ride with the thin chainstays making rough sections of road feel a little smoother. Even if there wasn’t much in the legs on this day, it couldn’t be blamed on the bike.
Another climb, this one feels steeper. I get out of the saddle and try to push a little harder to make it end faster. I’m now running low on water. Thankfully I get to the top. Away I go. Blasting down the other side. I finally feel fast. The disc brakes react as I have come to expect from Shimano’s trustworthy system.
The climb back into Laguna Seca is tough but the end is close. The legs are finally coming around but it’s too late as I push over the final hill.
After a two and a half hour ride I return the bike to Norco. I’m happy I went out. Now that I am not pushing the pedals I can smile and appreciate the warm California sunshine.