Sunday, April 3, 2011

1982/83 Colnago Specialissimo

1982/83 Colnago after refurbishing by Joe Bell and co.

In the late summer of 1983, I got a real job, working for the U.S. Army as a civilian weather observer at Dugway Proving Grounds, in the western Utah Desert. Shelly, my future wife, came out to be with me, and in the winter, she gave the go-ahead for me to buy a nice bike before our wedding in the Spring. I found a very quaint little shop in Centerville, (north of Salt Lake City), that I wanted to give my business. The shop had a very nice Fuji Opus on display, and I actually put a deposit on it. But after some thought, decided I should take this one time opportunity and buy European. I still had my Mercian, and had already owned a Peugeot, so I decided I wanted Italian. So the shop owner was happy to look around for a good deal on an Italian frame. He found a nice blue Colnago Specialissimo for me, so we made the deal. I got the headset, bottom bracket and seatpost, (Campagnolo of course), ordered at the same time. Shelly ordered the rest of the components I needed from mail order and they all arrived in time for what was probably the best Christmas presents I ever got!. All Campy Nouvo Record, with a Super Record rear derailleur. It was a thrill just to look at the boxes!

In Winnemucca, in the mid 80s. Original paint with some hand done details,
(head and seat tube painted by me).

When I moved to Winnemucca, my road bike riding was somewhat curtailed by the number of available roads. This wasn't a bike you could slap fat tires on. In fact, it was a chore to install the rear wheel with a 28C tire!! 28 is my favorite road tire size. It gives a comfortable ride yet still offers a nice lively feel. 28C tires are also easier to patch, since the standard REMA patch will fit nicely on the tube. With thinner tubes, you have to fold the patch around the fold of the tube when it's laid flat, making it difficult to stick. So a 28C tire is a must for me. To make the tires fit easier, I finally had to file off a bit of the lower "jaw" of the rear dropout. That helped but didn't completely solve the problem.

Anyway, I rode all around WMC with my Colnago. My favorite pastime was to ride up Winnemucca Mountain on the old road up to the radio tower, then come back down for a high speed descent! Really fun. My annual century consisted of riding down I-80 25 miles east, then back and the 25 miles west! It could get really boring.

The road riding was better in Great Falls, MT. When I moved up there in the late 80s, I found a bunch of interesting rides. My favorite summer ride was out to around Holter Dam and back.

Coming back to California in 1994, I still had the Colnago, but was tired of it's small size and other limitations. I finally replaced it with a used Eddy Merckx, (7/11 edition!), and later with my Mercian Audax. I tried the Colnago as a fixed gear for a while but finally, needing to make room in the garage, I finally put it on EBay.