Hi Abby,I came across your bicycle travel blog as I was researching the Trek Domane 5.2 women's bike. I'm looking into this bike as I'm interested in doing long distance biking. Is that the bike you use for your long distance riding? I appreciate if you would share your feedback about the bike in terms of comfort, handling (uphill and down hill) and vibration absorption. I'm only 5 ft tall and am having issues finding a suitable road bike with a sloping top tube. Thanks!
Hi! I have been riding the Domane 5.2 WSD for about 3 months, and I love it. I recently rode about 700 miles in a week with 60,000’ of climbing on my Domane, and can say with confidence that it is very comfortable for long distance rides. I don’t have any strong feelings about how it climbs, but it descends exceptionally well. It’s super stable and smooth, and I feel really confident bombing down everything from open swoopy turns to tight and technical switchbacks. I’m about 5’3” and I ride the 47, and I know there’s a 43 available. The fit favors endurance style riding, but the frame is light and stiff enough to be a really versatile choice. Basically, it’s been great!
Day 6 for us is day 2 for the actual TOC route since we’re riding the stages in reverse order. As a group, we were exhausted and this was the longest and hardest day. The forecast of rain did little to encourage us as we rolled out under grey skies through San Jose. The first 10 miles were slow due to navigating city streets and waiting at stop lights. Before we knew it, it was 10 a.m. and we weren’t even at the base of Mt Hamilton. Not encouraging. Our group shrunk to 4 and started the almost 20 mile climb up Hamilton into the fog and rain. It was a weird climb that rolled through valleys and seemed to zigzag all over the place. I never saw the peak, but after what was probably over 2 hours of climbing, we reached the top and jumped in the van to stay warm. The day proceeded like this for a while, in and out of the rain, the group growing progressively smaller, and us making very slow time. The rain got worse, we got cold, and after about 80 miles we decided to call it a day. There was no way we would have been able to make it to the top of Mt Diablo before dark, and the prospect of a 12 hour day in the rain at this point in the week would have killed our spirits and put us in a bigger hole for the 120 mile final day. Pulling the plug on the stage was the right call, and one we were all confident with. I just have some personal revenge to get on this stage, but will save that for a sunny day when I’m a little better rested.
We were all braced for the worst today. The thought was that we’d be fighting a headwind the full 105 miles from Cambria to Monterey. Much to our collective relief, the wind was calm. It was there, but not in the oppressive soul crushing style of yesterday’s wind. In fact, it even shifted into a bit of tailwind for the last 15 miles. In short, today was awesome. I’ve never had an easier 100 mile day on the bike, the scenery was unreal, and the group worked together really well. We needed this day and the moral boost. Now for tomorrow… It’s supposed to rain, and we’re climbing Hamilton and Diablo. Suffice to say, I’m nervous.
Today was tough. I’ll put it out there - my dog died this morning; I got a frantic call from Greg, who had just been there with Zeppo as he died, and proceeded to more or less cry for the hour plus drive to Santa Barbra. I watched the other women get excited about the day, the weather, the sun, the ocean, their coffee; I went through the motions of getting kitted up and getting on my bike all while feeling vacant and crying behind the safety of my sunglasses.
We got on our bikes and I sat in the back. I basically thought that was going to be what I did all day: check out, move my legs, get lost in thought, grieve. Then we hit the first climb and I knew I want to work fucking hard and to feel pain that I was in complete control of. It helped that the climb was fun, and that Julie went with me. We punched it, and it felt good. That effort helped me focus, and I was able to control my emotions and engage with the group (all of whom road awesome today). I got through the day, the terrible headwind, and the sketchy roads, but I’m sad, and I miss my buddy, and it’s hard to be away from home.
Today was eye opening. I came into this knowing day 3 would be hard, and it was. It was awesome in so many ways, but not without challenge. Our group is diverse, and we managed to work together really well today, but it was taxing, and we have to improve if we’re all going to be able to finish some of these stages.
All that aside, holy shit was today breathtaking. We went through pretty much every kind of terrain and climate this part of California has to offer and finished in the snow at 7,000 feet. The last mile of the climb was the highlight of my day and I finished feeling better than when I began. Tomorrow we have a really early wake up, then we drive to Santa Barbra to ride 110 miles. Here’s to hoping for a tailwind and some good luck.
Today felt easy despite the 78 miles and 6,700’ of climbing. My body felt good, spirits were high in our group, and conditions were, for the most part, the definition of perfect. My mind was really quiet and I felt strong and confident. We finished by descending Angels Crest highway, which was cool to ride again. Despite a headwind, it was equally as wonderful today as it was during the RGR. Today’s confidence is overshadowed a bit by the elevation profile of tomorrow’s stage, but I know I can ride 90 miles and I know I can climb 13,000 feet. This is all such a great experiment in doing new things and pushing my limits and I’m excited to see how I hold up.