Thursday, June 2, 2011

Try the tri bike

Bikes are a big deal to triathletes. Duh. But I pride myself on competing on my used, retro-fitted impulse-buy Craigslist special with my helmet from Dick's Sporting Goods and refer to myself on occasion as the redneck racer.  It's not light, it's not aero, still it works for me. But when you are 6 seconds off the overall podium like my last race, you can't help but wonder what impact equipment could have.

(By impulse bike buy I REALLY mean impulse. See the Wed June 3 2009 post when I was still in a walking boot and had the idea for a bike and the Fri June 5 2009 post about being sprung from the boot and buying and riding the bike the previous day.)

Then recently my two talented tri girlfriends got gifts of tri bikes from their knowledgeable road biking and mountain biking husbands.  My beloved prefers stationary recumbent "biking" and even so, only rarely, so I'm not waiting on the surprise bike from him.  His talents lie in other areas like circuit board design (he's an EE), which doesn't translate so directly to gifts!!

I had a discussion with Coach Jim and agreed to a patient approach to the bike issue, particularly since I'm doing well and am comfy on my current setup. Plus I don't exactly have wads of cash laying around and would need to find the right bike at the right price (free would be good!). Like most type-A triathletes, I'm very patient. Hahaha. I'm trying anyway.

I asked some local tri-buddies for some general input and they suggested I see Steve at Just the Right Gear, a shop a few towns over.  He met with me and we discussed several options: (1) upgrading my current much-loved bike (2) new bike (3) used bike and (4) super expensive tricked-out wheels. I was in overwhelm.  The next thing I know, the owner is sending me home with HIS triathlon bike to "try" for a week to decide if that's even the route I want to go.

I was shocked but he simply replied that I looked "trustworthy" :-) This trustworthy soul drove home a nervous wreck with the Q Roo hanging off the back of the clunky minivan. I was vigilantly checking my rear-view mirror to make sure no one was anywhere near rear-ending me!

Driving home I was trying to envision other circumstances where you'd send a near stranger off with something worth thousands....."here, try this diamond ring for a week, I trust you!"  Just another thing I love about the community of endurance athletes. Thanks, Steve, and Just the Right Gear!!

Cue the dramatic soap opera music....
  • Should I even think about a new bike or am I selling out?
  • How do I broach the subject of a bike upgrade with my husband, who returns from a 10-day business trip tomorrow?
  • Will I ever love a new bike as much as I love the one I have now?
Any bike manufacturers want to sponsor a fairly successful age-grouper mom in Virginia??