I had borrowed a pair of demo race wheels, Roval CLX40’s from Total Rush, and was headed home to Eldorado for the weekend, excited to see what the wheels could do. The plan was to ride the Sam Miranda NRS courses over the weekend, but with the torrential rain and the Strade Nero more in a state more suited to a cyclocross bike, the plan was scrapped. I did not want to ruin the demo wheels by climbing the Strade Nero in 30cm of mud!
With the original plan scrapped, a less muddy alternative was sought. I have a tradition of climbing Mt Buffalo every time I head home, so this was going to be Plan B. The only problem, it was a bloody miserable day, still raining, like it had done all night… who likes riding in the rain? No one! Well, really I have no excuses, I have all the gear to ride in the rain, so rain or no rain, we could do it, we could take on plan B and climb Mt Buffalo instead of the Strade Nero.
A quick check of the weather report for Mt Buffalo…snow… Hmmm…. was this going to be a good idea? I went to my wardrobe and got out my ski gloves, socks, and goggles, this was going to be an adventure. This is one of the many reasons why I ride my bike. I like to push and challenge myself and chase the adventure! So I packed the bikes, ski gear and my friend in the car, and we set off, into the rain to ride our bikes up Mt Buffalo.
We sat in the car at the bottom of the climb staring out the windows, it was still raining, probably heavier than before. Procrastination. We eventually mustered up the courage to get out of the car and quickly put every piece of cycling clothing we own on. Including the ski socks and goggles… Lets just say today was not going to be a day for PB’s, despite the fact I was rocking a pretty fast set of Roval’s!
Mt Buffalo climb starts at the toll gates, and takes you up 1,014m, over 18km of about 5% gradient (see the Climbing Cyclist’s guide here). It is a steady, yet challenging climb. Very picturesque scenery and probably the best climb in North East Victoria because of it. I never get tired of This climb…Hence why I’ve done it about one million times (not literally, more like 10).
So layered up in clothing like the Michelin Man, we began climbing with the far out hope that the rain would subside. After a while, we did not think about the rain at all. We just chatted away, soaking up the atmosphere, all the while I was whining that I needed a few more gears. (I’ve recently gone from a 50 BCR to a 52 BCR. Compact to mid-compact) My little legs were feeling the burn. Good burn.
To our surprise, half way up the climb it did stop raining!
It started snowing instead. The wind picked up too and snow flakes were floating through the air just like in the movies. It was absolutely spectacular. The thought crossed our minds, that maybe we should turn back? Nah, this was to exhilarating!
We were more than half way up. We were feeling relatively good, despite our hands and feet were feeling a little frost bitten (toes might have fallen off) and our gloves a little damp…at least the snow meant it was not raining anymore! There was no way we would turn around now, we were way too close.
Naturally as we climbed higher, the snow on the road got thicker. I tell you now that that I’m happy that there were cars driving up the mountain with chains on. They would cut tracks in the snow on the road that we could ride in. The tyres that were fitted to the demo wheels were, lets just say, slick and probably not the best for snow conditions. But they did the job fine!
So we made it to the top, to a white wonderland and a chilly -1.6 degrees, but frozen smiles from ear to ear. We made it, not do it in record time, but we enjoyed the scenery and enjoyed the company.
Climbing Mt Buffalo into the snow has been one of the most rewarding cycling experiences of my life. The challenge of the climb in the snow, the adrenaline, and coupled with the beauty of the terrain was absolutely magical. Often in life we doubt our ability to do things, we often put challenging things off or just avoid them all together. This could have been one of those things that was put off. That miserable morning we could have very easily stayed at home, listening to the rain on the roof, sitting by the fire, or have been snuggled up in bed. But instead, we dragged ourself out into the rain, and climbed a mountain, in the snow. We pushed ourselves, challenged ourselves and had an adventure of a lifetime. It is definitely something that I will do again. The ski socks were a life saver, I did not even use embro, shock horror!
Here is are some of my thoughts on the Roval CLX40’s…
I’m no expert on wheels, but I thought I’d share my thoughts on the demo wheels I borrowed over the weekend.
Though no PB’s were achieved this time up Buffalo, the Roval’s were absolutely fantastic to ride! I’m sure that if there was no snow, I would have been able to give my PB a red hot crack because the wheels felt great during the climb, so light and smooth and bloody fast. Even though they are only >200g lighter than my Roval Fusee’s they are much more aero, cutting through the wind and gliding over the road surface easily. The wheels handled extremely well when cornering, felt stiff and controlled, even at speed. They felt great under wheel when peddling out of the saddle too. The biggest difference I notices was the smoothness when climing, I felt like I glided up that mountain… even in the snow!
The next day I took them out on the flat to give them a bash, to see what they really could do. I was amazed at how smooth they felt on the country roads compared to my Fusee’s – they rolled like the wind, in fact they glided through the wind, making a satisfying mean noise… I think I’m addicted to the sound. I definitely noticed a difference when accelerating compared to my Fusee’s. I was able to accelerate up to speed quickly and smoothly. They cut straight through the wind… I suspect that they will be great for racing crits!
Not only do I think that these wheels are fast, but they make my bike look fast too. Looks. That’s all that matters right? So, I’m thinking that I will need to find myself a set in time for Tour of Bright at the end of the year… and for the summer crit season!
Hmmm, I better get a part time job…or sell a kidney…?
Roval Rapide CLX 40
Moulded Carbon Rims
Sealed Cartridge Hubs
DT Revolution Spokes
CLX40 – 1,425g
Limited Lifetime Warranty
You too can demo a set from Total Rush, click here for more info.
Strava segment can be found here
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