Sounds pretty obvious eh?
I’m not much for sitting on a couch and watching sports that go around in circles like sports car racing, or ball games where the ball is being passed around. I find watching them quite a dull. I mean, after you’ve watched the 10th basketball game, how are the next hundred going to be any different from the first two games? So if you ever catch me watching basketball, hockey, football, Formula One, and/or Cricket, it’s because A) I was/am not really watching and more like thinking about something completely different, B) thinking about something completely different and occasionally ridiculing the point of watching the same thing over and over again, C) I was with other company and they enjoy that sort of thing and I so happened to be there, D) it was either that or an Evangelist ranting on about how the end is near, E) it was either that or watching porn while sensitive company is in the near vicinity, and/or finally F) I’m researching for work.
I hate researching stuff for work, but it beats watching an Evangelist preaching something counteractive to ‘sup baat sui bok bok chui’. Don’t hit me! [points westward over the ocean] He taught me! He did!
Sometime in late summer 2006 at Emma’s apartment, I saw a clip of a mountain biking race. It was interesting because unlike track racing or circular sports, in mountain biking, there are a lot of different issues that can cause hazard to the rider and his/her surrounding riders. So although the course may be the same every year, the ride is one way and not looped and depending on the weather conditions, the trail conditions, the riders’ conditions, the race can be considerably different than last year’s race. Mind you, I still wouldn’t put aside time to deliberately watch it, but I might flip to it occasionally just to see how riders ride and what they do to overcome obstructions.
Every year for the decade, I would watch segments of the Tour Of France and every time I think to myself when they do their uphill battles, “How the hell do they manage that at those speeds?”
In 2006, when I was riding with Pat, I noticed something about my bike and my ability. I felt I was reaching the peak of my speed with my mountain bike. No matter how much healthier and how much stronger I became, I couldn’t push myself to go faster. It was different than before. Before, I could always go faster. I trained every morning and every evening, sometimes in the afternoon and I could always ride harder, longer, and eventually faster, but this time in 2006, I couldn’t go further and I found out why.
My bike is an Ironhorse Sonic 03 from 2002 which was discontinued in 2003. Back then, it was considered quite light. The thick frame made it ideal for some entry-level mountain biking. It was also my first bike with front suspension. Despite what many supposed ‘pros’ think, Ironhorse can make good bikes. Mine was one of them. I didn’t pay much for it. Original retail price was roughly $450. I got it for $350. It was the last one left at Sportschek.
After Pat came back from Japan, he brought his Scotts hardtail back and I had a chance to try it out. It was lighter than mine and everything felt smoother. It was probably because I didn’t maintain it as well as I would have wanted with mine, but I do bring it in for basic maintenance once a year or so, and I do hand clean and wipe my bike, spending countless hours on that. I thought maybe I got out of love for my bike, but I don’t think so. Every day I drove back home and parked, I would take a nice long look at my bike and have flashbacks of some of the great memories I had with it. Even last night, out of the blue, I went downstairs, grabbed my helmet and biking gloves, came back upstairs and changed into my new biking jerseys I bought in Hong Kong and just looked at myself in the mirror. Damn I got old.
Well, I looked at myself and put myself into a riding position and imagined being on a road bike and thought back on the time when Pat and I went 60+ km/h downhill in Vancouver that one time. Then thought about riding uphill at Cypress – something I haven’t done yet. With my mountain hardtail, I can ride trails and granite paths but I can’t go faster than what I desire. I can do both with a cyclocross, but those bikes costs in the $4300+ range. Hell no will I put that amount of money into biking. Not that I don’t think it’s worth it, but with the amount I spent on my Sonic 03, I’m sure a $1800 to $2200 bike would suffice.
Pat commented awhile back that if he were ever to get a road racer, he would get a 2nd hand one for cheap, but the way I work is that my bike would be my committed partner. If I were to ride my bike, it would be a bike I can depend on from the start – no one else has ridden it and it will be the bike I will train with and eventually, race with to lose and to win with.
I think this is apparent in almost everything I own. My brother owns a dozen pairs of shoes at the least and he continues to buy more over the year. On the otherhand, I bought a pair for biking (unclipped) and basic hiking, another pair for hardcore hiking (not spiked), a pair of casual dress shoes, a pair of nice dress shoes, and a pair of everyday shoes and these last me at least four or five years. Heck, I bought my casual dress shoes from Marks & Spencers back in October 2002.
Roughly 2002, I bought a 15 inch monitor. I remarked to my partner back then, “Did you know the monitor before this was 13 inches? Yeah, how many designers do you know that works through a 13 inch monitor?!?”
Am I cheap? Hardly. I’m about long term investments. Of course, I do have a balance of short term fun as well – hence my shelf and a half of PC games, the occasional booze, and dining at a place with a nice ambience with so-so food but good alcohol. I don’t mind spending more for something I like, but I won’t over-spend continuosly nor consistently.
Anyway, so the point of this entry was to summarize my thoughts that for me to go faster on the road, uphill and downhill, I need a road going bike. I’m still thinking on the Cervelo Soloist Team. If Razor gets funding in March/April this year, I’m going for it – all out.