Surely I could get a reasonable bike for around $1000, and get it within a few days too. Then I was confronted with terms like sora - tiagra - 105 - ultegra - Dura Ace, compact frame, compact crank, composite forks, alu or carbon fibre frame, vertically compliant, and that was all before the question of which brand came into the equation. My head was spinning from the myriad of options, and me without any idea where to start to determine which option was going to be the best or most suitable for a future champion as I was sure to be. Ok, I had to concede the decision might take a little longer than the one or two days originally planned.
So as my steep technical learning curve ascended the 'mont du cycling knowledge', so did my realisation of the amount I was going to need to spend. From the $1000 I had originally anticipated, it grew to $1800, then to $2450, then to what seemed like an outrageous $3200. It was just a bicycle for heaven's sake, but if I wanted to have a bike that satisfied me on aesthetic, technical and performance levels then that is what it would take.
Many, many weeks of research and study, and changing of mind back and forth eventually led me to the acid test of riding the bikes on my short list. As a new comer to the road discipline, I had little idea of what felt 'right' or vertically compliant, but after test rides on various brands and models, I took the hot looking Specialized on the bike shop floor for a spin. I was reluctant to even bother trying it as it was yet another step over and above my price limit. But silly me decided to have a test ride anyway, purely for comparison sake of course. Well as I'm sure you can guess, it was by far the best ride so far, and I just knew I wasn't going to be happy with anything less. With amazing (and unusual) restraint though, I left the shop without making a purchase.
Having slept and dreamt on it overnight, I rang the bike shop the next day and with a little coaxing on accessories pricing etc, a deal was done. Later that day the bike was mine, but little did I know the bike was contaminated with an addictive substance that would come to control my life. From that time I was cursed with an unrelenting urge to spend many thousands of dollars on lycra, tools, tyres, lights, shoes, glasses and gels. I felt compelled to rise before dawn to ride up hills so until my legs would scream in pain as my lungs and heart would attempt to escape through my throat to avoid the torture.
I am not the only one who has been foolish enough to 'just try it once' though, and I have found some solace in support groups where others similarly afflicted gather to try to defeat this cycling demon. We ride together, admit our weakness and strive to be strong in the face of such powerful forces. I have even tried to COD (cycle over dose) to see if that would end my suffering. I have ridden with BUGs, tried criteriums, road racing, ridden over 100km multiple times, clocked up 8090km for the year, but no, I am still addicted.
So if you decide to try it, you will certainly get your money's worth, but be warned, you might get more than you bargained for.