Never ending journey… two wheels at a time
The bike is undisputedly the biggest investment for a triathlete… both in terms of money and time spent in training. This is no surprise given that in most triathlons, the bike segment takes up the largest proportion of the entire race duration (unless you are having a bad day and the ‘run’ segment is no longer a run but more like a walk/crawl, but let’s not go there!) Your trusted steed, your race machine, your ride of pride, your prized possession etc…. the bike goes by many different names and I’m sure each triathlete shares a special bond with their bike(s).
Throughout my 10 years or so of doing this sport I’ve gone through my fair share of bikes. Each etched a significant part in my memory and adding different flavours to my triathlon experience. I did my first sprint triathlon on a borrowed bike, which was two sizes too big for me. You bet I had a sore bum after but I was pretty much hooked into the sport.
I then bought a used Giant OCR3 from a local bike shop in Perth, Australia. I know many who had this model named theirs the Yellow Submarine but back then, I did not know it was a convention to give pet names to your bike, so I didn’t give it one. I did my first Olympic Distance triathlon on this bike in Port Dickson, Malaysia.
I soon realised that the Giant was one size too small for me. I gave it to my younger sister and it served her well for several triathlons and duathlons. I then bought an Avanti Monza and also invested in a pair of clip-on aerobars. I had many fond memories with this bike and even did my first half Ironman with this bike in Busselton, Autralia.
It was then when my triathlon journey took a leap. After completing the half Ironman without too much suffering, I was ready to take on the next challenge… so I signed up for what was touted as the Toughest Show on Earth – Ironman Malaysia in Langkawi. I decided it was time I invested in a tri bike. I got a good deal on a Quintana Roo Kilo that was on clearance. But the I had a poor fit which was evident below.
Still, I completed the full Ironman in one piece but the bike porn at the race with so many superbikes at transition must have fuelled my lust… lust for carbon (okay, maybe the poor fit was just an excuse)! I upgraded to a Felt B2R, a full carbon tri bike with Sram Red components. I call it my Faithful Felt, as it served me well through ridiculous miles in training and countless races including 4 full Ironmans.
After being my loyal steed for 3 years, I bade farewell to Faithful Felt. As technology progressed, I saved up a bit of money for my next bike purchase. I still remained a fan of the Felt mafia. I got a good deal on Felt DA1 frame and had local bike shop in Taman Bahagia, Malaysia take care of the rest – the new Sram Red, Zipp Vuka R2C shifters, Prologo Tri40 saddle. When the bike was fully built, I was salivating and could not wait to take it out for a test ride! Affectionately called my Dark Knight, I’ve raced 2 full Ironmans with it and looking forward more races to come.
Despite going through quite a handful of bikes, I’ve only had one bike at a time - yes, it was a monogamous relationship (although my wife would disagree)! New bikes with state of the art technology are launched each year and although the temptation is always there to upgrade, I cannot justify the costs of upgrading. So I’m sticking with my Dark Knight for now and I’m more than happy to do so.
Unless… I get a deal I can’t refuse somewhere down the road… (shh, don’t tell my wife!).