Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Upgrades and Late for work

Yesterday morning I was hoping to leave early while it was still dark for a 2 hour ride up the canyon and back, but just as I was about to hop on my bike, one of my friendly neighbors popped into my garage and started asking about cycling and my bike lights (I had to chuckle when he asked whether my lights were battery operated or "powered by the bike"). He's a good guy and is considering buying a road bike, so I offered up some suggestions. Normally when someone who is starting out asks whether to buy a carbon frame or an aluminum frame, I'll tell them to just buy a quality aluminum bike that's not going to break the bank and explain that if they end up really enjoying cycling, they can always upgrade a year or two later once they get some experience and know what they really want.

I agree with Eddy Merckx who said "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." which to me means if you want to be a good cyclist, get out and ride (preferably up mountains) and don't worry so much about your bike. The gains you'll achieve from increasing your level of fitness will far outweigh any gains from an upgraded bike.** Caveat: Of course, if you're a competitive cyclist, then you'd definitely be at a disadvantage if you didn't ride a quality racing bike, but for most people who are buying a bike for the first time, you don't need carbon this and carbon that unless you have money to spend. That being said, I'm the first to admit that I'm very anxious to upgrade my bike.

**To back this up, note the first time I road up the South side of Suncrest when I weighed 30-40 lbs. heavier than my current weight, I did the climb about 15 minutes slower than my current PR using the same bike.

Anyhow, with this particular neighbor, whom I knew to be a successful businessman with extra cash to spend, I didn't hesitate and explained that he should go for the carbon bike. I mean, if you have the money, you might as well, right? It'll be interesting to see how long it will take before I see him cruising around the neighborhood on his new carbon bike.

The rest of the story...

I had a great ride up AF Canyon to the top of the Alpine Loop. It's my favorite ride around here. I saw more cyclists than cars on the climb. The leaves are starting to change colors and the air was noticeably cooler at the higher elevations making the descent a bit chilly. I think next time I'll take my full finger gloves and my beanie cap to supplement my windbreaker and arm warmers on the descent.

By the time I buzzed down the canyon and made it back home, I was already late for work. I rolled into the office at 10 AM. I have no regrets though of being late. It was well worth it. Plus, here at my work people are pretty cool about having a good work life balance as long as you get your work done.

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