One of the worst things about triathlon is that it tends to be very gear focussed. Of course, there are compensations, and one of the best things about triathlons is all the gear. Sounds like a contradiction and it is, but whether the gear thing is a plus or a minus really comes down to where you happen to be at the time. Been working your arse off, losing weight, getting strong and have a little spare cash then that new helmet, tyres, suit etc can really cap off all the hard work for little real outlay and let you enjoy a little retail therapy.
On the other hand sometimes it feels like there is no gear that can help, or worse, that there is stuff out there you really need (like the new Shiv Crowie rode to victory in Kona) but cant afford. The idea that there is something out there that you need to make that pb breakthrough and that that is the only thing missing in your preparation is so seductive that it can be hard to resist. Worse, knowing there is gear out ther that will make us faster but also knowing its out of reach can lure us into thinking we cant improve and lead to some learned helplessness. I've experienced this before. Photography, the hobby I've been neglecting of late, has the same trap. Those periods where your creative juices have run out or you just cant be bothered finding out how to make the stuff you have work and its easier to lust after gear.
Anyway, thats why I generally try and steer clear of having lists of dream gear or long and never to be afforded wishlists at Wiggle or Pro Bike Kit.
But I needed something - no really I really NEEDED something. The bike I had was perfectly ok, I didnt need to upgrade, but with my part move to Melbourne during the week and weekend commute home to newcastle I needed bikes for training and competition in both places. So with the broad need established it was then time to go shopping.
So, what were my parameters;
1. I was congratulating myself for losing so much weight so I gave myself a bigger budget than my first bike, about $2500.
2. I was keen to move to a carbon framed bike and hoped I could get Shimano Ultegra running gear.
3. Something a little different would be nice.
So the search began and I quickly found some really interesting bikes for sale and started to narrow down on two bikes in particular, the Pinarello FP2 or the Wilier Izoard XP (I've linked to Port Melbourne Cycles because they were the first place I found these bikes, I dont know if these guys are good, bad or indifferent so dont take it as a recommendation). Of these the Wilier reallt attracted my attention.
1. It was pretty close to my budget.
2. It is carbon, has Ultegra (granted a previous version) running gear. And
3. Is pretty unusual.
In fact, I'd never even heard of the company so I started doing some research. First I found the Izoard got rave reviews across the net and Wilier has a pretty good rep for a variety of bikes. As I did more research I started looking up the food chain of Wilier bikes. Before I knew it I was looking at the Cento, seriously trying to justify spending more for a Granturismo and dreaming for the bike that really suited me for my training/tri aspirations, the Imperiale. Like I said earlier, having a dream bike/camera/car is always dangerous, the Izoard was still a better bike than I was a rider and while the Imperiale was lovely, perhaps even perfect, for me I could never afford it, after all these were selling for $6000 or more in Australia so it was never going to happen.
But then something weird happened. I found a shop selling an XL Imperiale with a Campagnolio Chorus groupset and Camppagnolio Zonda wheels for just $4000. Why the bargain? Apparently the integrated seat post had been cut for a previous customer who never came back for it and no the shop just couldnt find a buyer. So what to do, my dream bike, not something I was settling for, not something that was nice but not quite what I wanted, my actual dream bike in near as dammit ideal configuration was being offer to me at a 30% or more discount, just $1200 over my budget. Well I figured, I still didnt know if the bike would fit me so I thought that there's no harm in at least trying it out for size. So a 5 hour drive to Goulburn to visit Greengrocer Cycles who were selling the bike was planned. Well bugger me if the bike didnt fit perfectly. So there I was with a decision to make. Buy my dream or let it go, stick to plan, get a perfectly satisfactory bike and save$1500?
Well, I've spent most of my life not buying my dream, settling, making do. Well not this time! I bought the Imperiale. I have my dream bike. And I love it. It hasnt made me a better cyclist but it has made me a happier one, and thats not a bad outcome.