The New Addition
When I signed up for an Ironman , I knew that my Bianchi road bike, Beyonce, just wouldn’t cut it. We have had two amazing triathlon seasons together, and I’ve learned a lot. I could probably have done upgrades to her to get her in shape for an Ironman with clip-on aero bars and the like, but I knew if I was serious, I needed to be serious, which meant, upgrading my bike.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to all of the bike stores around DC, which I feel very thankful for this area because there are a plethora and I enjoyed my experience at every single one of them. My decision was based on the bike that felt right and truthfully, I felt emotionally upset about not being able to buy a bike at all of them, but only one had the bike that I clicked with.
The first trip to the bike stores, I perused, inquired about sales, asked about specs, but didn’t get on a single bike. I got a feel for the packages and the service and the store. Then over the course of the next week, I read reviews about bikes and pros and cons and tried to learn as much about bikes that I could within a week and without really knowing anything about bikes. Luckily, the Beast likes to research and came in knowing more about bikes than I did.
The next weekend, we set off on bike adventure round two. I was dressed for the occasion in tights (very windy, cold, but sunny day), a jacket, and my clip in shoes. I ended up test riding all the bikes with flat pedals because I was nervous about trying a tri bike out for the first time and being clipped in. I looked at bikes at the following stores:
Tri360 – This store is amazing. It is geared towards triathletes and the owner of the shop Blake remembers my name every single time I go in there, which is only every four months or so. He’s incredibly nice, knowledgeable, and helpful. They have Felt and Orbea bikes here, and at least one more brand I think, but it was out of my price range. You cannot go wrong here. They also carry SOAS triathlon suits, which are specifically geared towards women and are comfortable and cute. Even though I am a SOAS Brand Ambassador, I really cannot recommend their gear high enough. I may have to wear spandex for triathlons, but thank you SOAS for making cute patterns that make me feel confident and sexy doing it. I believe this is one of the only retail locations for SOAS for quite aways around.
The Bike Lane in Reston – This was my first time at the store, but they are definitely more of a bike store than anything else. They carry Felt and Trek bikes primarily. This is where I test rode my first tri bike, a Trek Speed Concept 7, and I really liked it. However, since it was the first bike I tested I couldn’t walk away with it. I needed to make sure it was the bike and not because it was a tri bike that I felt so good. The brakes were a little soft and the bike was a little wobbly, which could also be operator error.
Bonzai Sports – This is where I ended up getting my bike. They had a good selection of last year’s models and the bike that fit me the best. At this store, they have Quintaroos and Cervelos, which I test rode back to back. The store was nice enough to give the Beast a helmet and let us ride out and then switch halfway. Not only did it let me do a side by side comparison, but I also had someone out there to look at me on the bike and see what worked. The store didn’t feel up tight and were easy going. I ended up going with the 2014 Cervelo P2. It felt fast, it felt the most solid around turns and clung to them like a sports car, and it just gelled the best. The bike was on sale and I got an additional discount plus 15% off additional items (including the seat, a Fizik Tritone).
This adventure took up a lot of time and I really recommend test riding as many bikes as possible and seeing what works for you as well as what each store offers for service plans. I was a little late on sale season, apparently October is a better time, and here I was thinking I would wait until after the holidays. Ooops.
The price tag hurt a lot, but it was something I was prepared for. I intend on keeping a list of things that I buy for Ironman to be able to give a summation at the end of how much it costs. Next step for Ironman is trying out hydration mixes and energy mixes for the bike and run.
Oh, and of course, the name of the bike. His name is Traveller, or more affectionately named Trav, after General Robert E. Lee’s horse. The bike is blue and white, which was my school’s colors, and with my obsession with horses, the name only seemed appropriate.