The first time it happened I thought I was imagining it. The tires were Michelin Race 3s with 2000 miles on them. They were closing in on the end of their serviceable life, signaled by their silky flexibility on the road and the ease with which they could be peeled from the rim to fix a flat. One day my Cervelo crossed some invisible boundary and it tracked better, allowing me to comfortably take my hands off the bars for long stretches. Normally I can take my hands off the bars for a few seconds to adjust my jacket or read my watch, but I've never been blessed with the kind of balance that allows riders to remove clothing, rummage through a musette or ride uphill in a group.
Last week the white Limited Edition Continental GP4000s on my Enigma crossed the same boundary. They've got 2000 miles on them and only a single rear flat blemishes an otherwise perfect service record. And just like magic the bike took on the same subtle handling change that makes it possible to "let go."
Maybe the wear flattens and enlarges the contact patch fractionally or smooths the vestige of the midline seam, I don't know how to explain it but I look forward to these miles. With one more front/rear rotation I should get another 500 miles before they're done. That will give me a few weeks to practice my imaginary victory salute before it's back to the bars and a new set of tires. Or perhaps I should peel them off now and save them for a sportif so I can sit up and give my back a real rest.