I rode the Merlin SS on Saturday. Stopped by Jacques' to see his shoulder. Saw the X-rays. Weird stuff! Instead of his collarbone snapping like most peoples, his separated at the shoulder blade. There was a gap of about 1 cm. The doc in Caracas used titanium wire to tie the bones back together, then sutured the tendons back in place.
On Sunday I rode the Litespeed. I rode alone mostly, but hooked up with the locals for a little bit, then continued on my own. I climbed as much single track as I could. I climbed and descended the Fausto Trail which is tough.
Riding the two bikes is like night and day. When I get on the Merlin, it is almost an extension of my body. I've been with this particular frame since 1996 and my other Merlins since 1990 (1990, and 1993), so I am used to them.
The Litespeed has only been around since 2006, though it is a 2000 model. I like it a lot. It is probably a better riding bike than the Merlin, but I don't spend as much time on it as the Merlin. I am now tweeking it more and more to suit me. Steve Garro of Coconino custom cycles will be building me some custom wheels for it. I've also locally ordered some new 2.4 tires for it. I plan on getting a Thomson stem and seatpost for it in the next few months. Slowly, I am giving it more of my personal touches so it is my bike and not the previous owners.
Job wise everything is okay. My big project now is getting the middle schoolers to make polystyrene bird models to test in the wind tunnel. We are investigating the physics of bird flight. They are jazzed about this project.