Thanks everyone for the input. Fixed or cross bikes are not in the cards, though I might repurpose my old Specialized Allez for that specific purpose. Boston is flat, but when you get out into the Worcester hills, it can have some serious grade (the hill I have to climb to return to my house is 5%...and a neighboring street where most serious riders in town do hill repeats is close to 12%)...so I need gearing!
I have a professional fitting with the best 'high end' store in greater Boston in a few weeks. Being a Techie, I'm all about the science, and they take a very scientific approach to measuring you for a bike (3 hour fitting)....and they give you a list of bikes that fit your riding style, size and biomechanics. I am lusting after a Seven Axiom (so elegant) but we'll see if it can fit. I was a bit put off by the salesmen, though. When I entered the high end bike store...the first store employee gave me the 'what is she doing here' look. I am pretty sure it was unintentional (his facial expression self corrected pretty quickly) but I think he was still pretty skeptical...he said 'you can buy all your accessories, like a bike computer, here'...and when I quickly responded, I have all the gear, wireless cadence computer, clipless Speedplay pedals, etc on my existing road bike....he sorta clamped his mouth shut. Hopefully the fitter is a bit more accommodating.
DMC..thanks for the specific feedback, nice to know there are others in my shoes. And NK, ditto. I probably won't go Dura-Ace, as that would leave a serious hole in my wallet. I'd rather go for the last model of Integra, with the last of the triples (I am a constant shifter to keep my cadence high and hate the gear ratio 'jumping' that you get with compact doubles). Some folks say Ultegra is a bit mushy in shifting, but lordy knows it's got to be better than my 12 year old 105 gruppo. And it will be interesting. I know 3k ish will buy a very nice bike....but I don't know if I will want a stiffer bike than I would normally ride because of the amount of stress I'll be putting on the BB. Usually not a fan of Aluminum, but I'm not ruling anything out until I get fitted and take a few bikes out for test rides. Usually within 5 minutes I can tell if I like the 'feel'. I also know I prefer riding on the tops of the bar right now instead of the brake hoods, I think because I have never installed spacers on my current bike and I need the 'breathing room'. So bottom line, I am going to go into the fitting with an open mind and see what they recommend. No gold, though, it flexes too much
I went out for my first ride yesterday. Met a few women from my LBS store. We had different ride objectives and pacing, but they were unfailingly kind and it was nice to meet new riders. I waved them on after the first few miles (mostly downhill!) as I hate to hold the pack back. But it was a glorious day to be out. I did 15 miles @ 13mph, pretty slow, but I was happy, as it was great to be back on my bike (and I had to force myself out as it was a seriously working weekend). My old Specialized still rides okay (was sorta surprised, usually I get this weird creaking coming from the BB), but I definitely need a spring jacket. Any Athena recommendations (I'm a 2x/size 20) beside Team Estrogen (they are pretty spendy) are greatly appreciated. And although I only used it sporadically, I did download my fitness pal and entered some days last week (not all, but it's a start). So fitness wise, it was a decent beginning.
Of course, this great feeling from yesterday was immediately deflated when I boarded the plane at 5:30am this morning (I usually travel for work) in a middle seat (late booking) and the skinny guy next to me looks at me like the plague. I try to be polite, lean forward so to let them have the armrests, and to keep my bulk away from their personal space, but he just keeps giving me nasty looks. Enough to make me want to eat something sugary when I get off the plane!
I just hate when people are judgmental. Every deals with stress differently. Some are mean, some work out, some drink, I eat (particularly when I am overworked). Am I fat? Yes..and I trying to fix the mess I've put myself into? Yes. So be kind, people.
Sorry, rant over.
Thanks everyone for their input and happy Monday!