It's funny when deprived of something, how you can convince yourself you hate it. I have used this technique to recover from disbanded bands, one sided romances and jobs I've been asked to leave. Since Shimano is never going to make a Dura Ace C1-7 neck gruppo and my stock parts are getting squeaky, I decided road riding sucked. It was a little easier to take the denial route. Oh sure, I made a half hearted effort to run a higher stem with drops. The bike handled like a Yugo with a V-8. Then Big Worm took the bike to the lab, and Frankensteined that biotch. He gave it back to me with flat bars, rapid fire shifters and bar ends. The results looked cool, but the bike got real scary over twenty mph. It danced like Peter Boyle and people moved away from me like I was an escaped mental patient.
I gave up. After my extended recliner engagement a few years ago, I made deals with (Deity of Choice) faster than a Hummer salesman. Could I just ride a recumbent a few times a week? Could I maybe ride my MTB on the side walk? People heal and forget all those desperate hours, but I never will. I figured (Deity of choice) took my road bike, for the same reason he closed The Mill, took Northern Exposure of the air, and ended my tenure as a bush league manager of a one hit wonder; because he/she/it/wave/particle couldn't let mortals have it all. You can either bitch and moan or push the rock up the hill. The blood of my beloved Raleigh was dripping off the alter and the Mayans where playing soccer with its head. I had to ride the MTB and move on.
A funny thing kept happening: I would try friends road bikes and I noticed the longer ones (even with low stems) felt good. As a last ditch effort (and to make the rig sellable if all failed) The Large Segmented Night Crawler, put a longer stem on the Blue Bomber. I have done two Joe's rides with an acceptable amount of discomfort. It happened just in the nick too. Even though our trails are getting better by the minute, it was a wee bit monotonous doing the MTB thing. You can only pretend you are "Ricky the Cabana Boy" so many times before the novelty wears off. Eventually you are the same dweeb you've been for years, wearing some stupid white shorts. When that happens, the smell of cocoa butter is not so sweet. Every so often the venue must change, or the gig starts to stink like old fish.
The two Joe's rides I have done where the best rides of the year. You couldn't pry the smirk off my face with a crow bar. I will never be a smart rider in the peloton (my panicked stint at the front last night is proof). If I ever do anything cool on a road bike it is purely motivated by fear and nerves. I am the biggest dork that ever rode Joe's. I promise you I am cutting up, sprinting for yellow signs, and having more fun than anyone out there, and that makes me the winner.
Here's hoping (Deity of choice) doesn't send a group of Transylvanian rednecks up the hill with torches.