Well, folks, the day I (and perhaps you) have been waiting for.
After seven months of saving, a harrowing six weeks of waiting and a few swipes of my poor credit card, the tri bike is mine. Free and clear. It’s the largest purchase I personally have ever made and, aside from my car, is far and away the most expensive thing I own. Introducing…
THE FELT B14. My best friend and training partner for the foreseeable future.
I decided to go to Bonzai Sports, located in Falls Church, because they are a tri-specific store (though they sell plenty of road bikes) and I could test a wide variety of brands and models side-by-side. I had in mind that I wanted the Cervelo P2 — for a variety of reasons, cost being one — and when I went in January for a test ride I was really set on that. Buuuuuut I had second (and third and fourth) thoughts about that and so went back to retest the P2, the Felt B14 and a QR model. I ruled out the QR immediately, but I realized I actually preferred the more aggressive setup on the B14. And a few days later, I put down a deposit to guarantee my new Felt would be ready for me when I’d finished saving.
Well. Here we are, six weeks later, and I’ve finally brought it home. In the week following my purchase, someone managed to sell the bike I’d already bought, and then Felt took absolutely forever to ship another bike to the East Coast. I panicked more than once that Bonzai wouldn’t be able to get one at all, as Felt basically ran out of the B14 around this time last year. I even had nightmares that someone stole it from my apartment — before I even brought it home.
So today, in anticipation of my appointment with fit guru Adam, I could barely sit still. I had a very busy morning at work, but by 3pm or so I was checked out and over it and just wanting to get in my car and race to Bonzai. When I finally did get there, I saw my bike through the window of the fit room, made a lot of noise and ran a few laps around it. Once I calmed down a little bit and was able to tell Mark, the owner, which shoes and pedals I wanted, we were able to get started.
The first thing Adam did was get my shoes set. I’ve had my eye on the Sidi T2s since they released this season’s model in…wait for it…
SEXY SILVER SNAKESKIN.
Anyway, Adam fit the cleats that match Speedplay Zero pedals — which I also have on my road bike and love love love — based on where they are located on my road shoes. That way clipping in will feel the same, at least in theory.
Then it was finally time to get on the bike. Big moment in my tri life.
[As a sidenote, I could not for the life of me clip in with these pedals. When I first put them on my road bike, they were super stiff and I had to lean against a wall or a car to get my feet in. Same thing tonight — Adam had to press my feet down because no matter how hard I bounced or pushed, they just wouldn’t click. I do know how to do this, I swear. I’m hoping they’ll loosen over time, just as they did with on my other bike.]
We moved the seat, I pedaled for a few minutes, and then we played with my body position. Basically, a road bike has you tilted at a certain angle, while a tri bike moves your body forward and further over your pedals/feet for a more aggressive position. Originally I was fairly neutral, but Adam adjusted the saddle, head tube and aerobars to position me even further down and over my bike. Basically, this means that I’m a little more compact and will have to look up to see where I’m going, but he assured me we could — and probably should — adjust back to a more neutral fit before IM. 112 miles in a really aggressive position and having to look up probably won’t feel so great on my neck and back.
Adam also moved the aerobars back a little bit so I can hold on around the shifters and narrowed and raised the elbow pads. A little bit more pedaling and I was set to go. The great thing about Bonzai is that this fit is included with the bike, and I can go back at any point for adjustments, even if it’s just around IM. Adam said tri fits aren’t perfect, and it takes time to adapt to the bike and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Bonzai also does emergency repairs and annual maintenance as part of the purchase, so even though I hope I never have issues the Thursday before a race, they’ll be there to fix it if it happens. The support team over there is THE BOMB.
So, in summary, I walked out of there tonight with a $3,000 bike, sick tri shoes, awesome pedals, a new bottle cage and beaming smile. I brought baby home after a long wait, and I couldn’t be happier. If only my little old Specialized felt the same about its newer, shinier and lighter sibling.
It was a big day. Now I just need to get outside and ride!