Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Anyway, that's the way it seems. After reading Fe-Lady's post about her frustration about not being able to go to a championship race because of cost, it got me thinking of some of the things I have put off doing because of cost. Just to name a few related to triathlon: getting a new bike, doing races in exotic or tropical places, even signing up for an Ironman. Then last night I find out one of our spin instructors got a new bike. She does one triathlon and gets a new bike. (!) Granted, she needed one, so I won't begrudge her there. But its one of those things that cause me angst in this sport. Just how much of a disadvantage are you at with mediocre equipment?

When I first became introduced to triathlon, way back in 1994 no less, it was indoor tris. I'm not even sure I had heard of a triathlon before that, what with the miniscule amount of information available on the Internet at the time (and the fact that most of us had limited access to such a common day luxury). When the idea came up to consider doing an actual outdoor tri, I turned down that opportunity--I didn't have a bike. At least not what one could even consider a bike: a rusted Schwinn with a baby seat did not seem the ideal means of transportation to consider using for such an event. When two of my best running buddies decided to do a duathlon, again I had to decline, because not only did I not have a bike, I did not have a helmet nor could afford to buy one. I choked on the cost when my friend told me how much she spent: $25. I decided then and there that I would never do an outdoor triathlon because I would be at an unfair advantage with all that fancy equipment everyone else had! At least with the indoor tris, everyone had the same handicap--they used their best abilities.

Eventually (1997) I was persuaded to do an outdoor tri and was offered the use of a half-way decent bike to train with and use in the event, as well as a borrowed wetsuit. That worked great until I had to return the bike and wetsuit, and then I was back at square one. Sort of like Cindarella at midnight.

Fast forward to the year 2000 when I got my own first bike with Don's help and his hand-me-down wetsuit (I find out this year he got rid of it because it was so hard to get off. Tell me something I didn't figure out right away!) The bike wasn't that expensive and has served me quite well to this point. In fact, I'm okay with it, but keep hearing from him about getting a new one or upgrading. Until now I didn't feel the necessity, and wasn't even sure what to get. Suddenly, I can see a need for a new bike, but I can't see it happening any time soon. So I'm envious of anyone getting a "new" bike, even though it was used and bought from someone else. I can't really even afford that! Because today was the first tuition payment due for my son for college. An expense I will most likely shoulder on my own. Yes, financial aid is pending, but it still has to be paid back, and I would rather be paying on it as we go rather than 5 or 6 years down the road. (And yes, he's helping!)

So once again, do I put my dreams on hold or splurge and charge a new bike?? My very tiny part of my brain that is impulsive says "yes" but the rest of my brain says "wait." So I have to ask: Is it possible to train for and participate in an Ironman race with a $650 bike (from 7 years ago)?? Parts are wearing out. I expect to be no less than 8 hours on the bike. How uncomfortable can I possibly be after that long with a bike in this shape?? What to do, what to do??


E-Speed said...

sometimes I think we just have to treat ourselves to something nice. You can get a really good bike for under $1000 now. You can probably get a used once that is in great shape for much cheaper. With triathlon being such an equipment heavy sport people are tossing perfectly good equipment all the time.

If you had to charge a $1000 bike you could have it paid off in a year with $100 payments a month, that isn't so bad!

Fe-lady said...

I guess my beef is all these YOUNG kids having $5000 bikes and having the bucks to fly all over the place to compete. I guess I just chose the wrong vocation...I started out at $7000 a year back in the fall of '75. And I have had two custom road bikes to my name, so I shouldn't complain (but they were around a grand and that was it). Now I guess "kids" make much more or live on credit, which I won't do past a certain amount!
I really shouldn't complain tho...I have been to some nice places and done some great things. I guess with the summer coming to an end and having to go back to work (again!) I was just feeling BLAH! :-) Glad to have a like-minded sister out there!