Friday, April 08, 2011


I'm not sure why exactly it happens. I can only assume, or rather, hope, that it is not just me with the affliction. I can say that I've been this way as long as I can remember. What exactly am I referring to you ask? Obsessing, over this, that or the other thing. I'm the type of person who will obsess over details, going around and around in circles. I'm this way with most of the equipment I own but particularly my bikes, where everything must be just right. Often I will waffle back and forth over making a choice with the fear that I may choose poorly, or make the wrong choice. I also a mater of changing something only to change it back it again. A look in my spare parts bin lends evidence to that fact. Experience has also shown me that I am prone to remorse after making a decision, wishing I'd chosen differently. All of this can make decision making rather difficult.

Much of my issue stems from the fact that at heart, I'm just a good old fashioned cheap Yankee MoFo and hate to part with money. The saying that it is "like pulling teeth" isn't far afield. I've gotten better over the years but it still hurts every time I have to, reluctantly, pull my wallet out of my pocket. As a kid I was instilled with the knowledge that money was in fact hard to come by. This was primarily learned through the rigorous hoops that I had to jump through in order actually obtain any of it. I wasn't one of those kids who got allowances or whose parents gave money to or lavished with goods and services, which actually taught me very valuable lessons if not simply the value of a dollar.

I grew up in (dairy) farm country, out in the middle of nowhere so as an early teen, the only jobs available were on the farm. I recall picking corn but my primary gig was haying. I was always big for my age so I got to chuck the hay bales onto the wagon while the owner stacked them and his wife drove the tractor. As I recall I earned $3/hr, which wasn't that bad when I was 13 years old. One particularly hot day we worked 10 hours straight. This wrecked me and I dehydrated and got heat exhaustion, got sick, threw up violently, and then slept for a day, literally. It seems that the owners were then reluctant to work me after that as they were afraid I may die. Another awesome job that actually raked in the big bucks for real was digging a grave, for a Holstein, by hand. I think I got $100, which was incredible money. Any idea how big and deep a hole has to be though for a full grown cow? I know. Roughly 8 hours worth of digging, deep.

Anyhow, what lofty decision am I currently wrestling with, that is causing undo angst and sleepless nights as well as massive wasted time searching for and subsequently pouring over details? No, it isn't something as noble as whether to donate a kidney or whether or not to move to some distant land. I'm sort of embarrassed to say in fact, but it is simply the desire to buy a new mountain bike. Yes, I understand, that is pretty trivial, but I have numerous extenuating circumstances. Remember back to the fact that I am cheap.

Now consider that I own a perfectly good bike at present that was the very pinnacle of the line, just a few years ago and for which despite getting a really good deal, I still paid an ungodly amount of money for. Now consider that prices have increased disproportionately to my pay rate. Factor in the fact that I am looking for a very specific cross section of the market; a 2x10 29er XC race bike. Ideally, I'd like a full suspension as I am all about recognizing the virtues and tactical advantages of suspension, especially in a New England based race situation. Did I mention carbon-fiber? Yea, I'd like some of that too.

That basically leaves me with two bikes, and 5 models between them. One of these I can't bring myself to purchase as they sort of jerked me around this spring with some offers that they then backed out on. The other is the clear winner but availability is nil and the deal while very, very good, does not compare to the deal that I am able to secure on another brand, which unfortunately is not in this category. So, if I then expand my search to include aluminum, 3x10 and also some hard-tails, I can pull in a few other likely candidates. This also put me into the sweet spot of hitting onto brands for which I am able to obtain the best deals, thanks to a very, very generous friend whose patience is likely growing thin given that I keep pestering him. The downside is that the fit of these bikes is in question in one case and the damn things simply are not available in the other case.

So, where am I left by all of this? Right back where I started. Riding the same, excellent but in a worn in, familiar sort of way, mountain bike that I rode last year. I know, life is tough in these parts. My mind keeps saying if it isn't going to make you faster and in all likelihood, it won't, then you are just wasting money, but my eyes and my hands keep saying oohh, shiny new technology.


Chris said...

It's not about the bike. O wait, what was I thinking?

mkr said...

Geeze, I'm glad you reminded me :)