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Old 01-10-06, 11:33 PM   #1
Raketmensch
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Introducing myself...

Been lurking on this forum for a couple of months now… and since yesterday was my fiftieth birthday, it seemed a good time to go public.

Started cycling many years ago, in high school. I was a long-distance runner then, and cycling was just something I did for fun. It was cross-training, I guess, though it was so long ago I’m not sure the term had been invented yet. Had a nice bike, rode it hard, but I never really thought of myself as a cyclist.

College came along, then jobs, and my riding became more sporadic. Then, in ’86, my wife and I decided to do a long bike tour through Norway. Got really nice matching touring bikes in Stockholm: comfy steel frames, Suntour drivetrain with a granny up front to handle all those Norwegian mountain passes. The trip was fabulous… we rode most of the length of Norway, and had the time of our lives. But we didn’t keep it up.

Fast forward almost twenty years. Kids have arrived and grown, the job has gotten very intense, and now it’s 2005 and the only regular exercise I’ve had in a decade has been running through airports. I go in for my annual physical, and things aren’t looking so good. Cholesterol is high, blood pressure is really high, and my doc tells me I’d better do something.

So what to do? Clean up the diet, for one thing, but what I really need is exercise. Running’s not an option; my left knee was funky even when I was sixteen, and there’s no way it can take that kind of pounding now. Swimming is fine, but it’s a pain in the neck to get to a pool every day. And then I remember the old touring bike, which has been sitting unused for something like fifteen years. Get it out, fix it up, and wow… suddenly I realize what I’ve been missing. Within weeks I’ve gotten bike shoes, clipless pedals and a fluid trainer for the rainy and snowy days. Before long I’m designing workouts, calculating wattage, planning my days around when I can get on the bike, the whole nine yards. Since September 15th I’ve ridden just over 1000 miles. It’s not a lot compared to many of you on this forum, I know, but it’s progress. More to the point, blood pressure is down more than 20 points, resting pulse is down 10 bpm, and I’ve dropped fifteen pounds. And best of all, I feel great and I’m having a blast.

So far so good, right? Now for my confession. Today I ordered a new bike… a birthday present to myself for fifty years of mostly good behavior. Some guys when they hit this age go crazy and get a sports car. Some go really crazy and get a twenty-five year old girlfriend. Me, I decided to get The Bike Of My Dreams.

The thing is an embarrassment… an egregious waste of carbon and titanium, and far too good a bike for a hack like me. Me on this bike is gonna be like Joe Sixpack tooling around on the backroads of upstate New York in a Formula 1 race car.

But I haven’t been this excited over a new toy since I was about twelve years old.

I figured if anybody would understand, you guys would!
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Old 01-10-06, 11:50 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Raketmensch
Been lurking on this forum for a couple of months now… and since yesterday was my fiftieth birthday, it seemed a good time to go public.

Today I ordered a new bike… a birthday present to myself for fifty years of mostly good behavior. Some guys when they hit this age go crazy and get a sports car. Some go really crazy and get a twenty-five year old girlfriend. Me, I decided to get The Bike Of My Dreams.

The thing is an embarrassment… an egregious waste of carbon and titanium, and far too good a bike for a hack like me. Me on this bike is gonna be like Joe Sixpack tooling around on the backroads of upstate New York in a Formula 1 race car.

But I haven’t been this excited over a new toy since I was about twelve years old.

I figured if anybody would understand, you guys would!
Welcome to the forum! So... WHAT KIND OF BIKE IS IT? WHERE ARE THE PICTURES?
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Old 01-10-06, 11:58 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum! So... WHAT KIND OF BIKE IS IT? WHERE ARE THE PICTURES?
Oh dear.

I actually researched this quite a bit. Focused on Specialized and Trek, since that’s mostly what my LBS carries. (I live in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and good bike shops are few and far between.) Read everything I could find on the web (including this forum). Did test rides. Fiddled with fit. Agonized over Roubaix vs. Tarmac, Madone vs. Pilot, Campy vs. Shimano, double vs. triple, cassette choice, you name it. Agonized over price, too, plenty.

In the end, I took a deep breath and just went for it. A Trek Madone, built custom via their Project One program. Madone SL frame, 110 OCLV carbon. Chris King headset. Mostly Bontrager Race X Lite components. Dura-Ace double drivetrain. Speedplay titanium pedals. Custom paint job. Even a carbon bottle cage, God help me.

Do I deserve this bike? Based on my riding ability, hell no. Is it going to make me go faster? Only barely. Make me sexier, give me whiter teeth? Nope. But the way I figure it, if I have a bike this nice I’m gonna really want to rack up the miles… and anything that gets me on the bike and keeps me on the bike is a good thing. You can’t have too much of a good thing, right?

So here’s the funniest part. As my wife and I are at the LBS, putting in the order for the Madone, we decide to get her some clipless pedals and bike shoes too. And as we’re walking out, she comments on how indexed shifting with brifters looks so much nicer than the down-tube friction shifters she’s got on her old Swedish touring bike. And she’s gonna turn fifty before too long. I think I can see where this is going.

Unfortunately, there are no pictures to post yet… it won’t arrive until sometime late next month. When it does, though, rest assured… you’ll see it in all its glory.
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Old 01-11-06, 12:01 AM   #4
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Anybody 50 and above who fights their way back to an active, increasingly strenuous life style deserves whatever wondrous engine wrought from whatever wondrous and rare materials they want ... its not your speed that earns those bikes--its your dedication. And with that flourish....welcome, Raketmensch, to the forum where speed & distance are all relative...and "heart" counts for most. You, from your story, seem to have plenty of heart and "deserve" plenty of bike.....(even the, gulp, custom paint).

LOL...sounds like your wife does,too!
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Old 01-11-06, 12:24 AM   #5
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Your story brings a smile to my lips and (almost) a tear to my eye....Good on ya! I look forward to many a story out of upstate NY. Remember to keep the rubber side down.
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Old 01-11-06, 12:51 AM   #6
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WAY TO GO! Never apologize for getting what you may think is "too much bike for me." If you can afford it, go for it. I like your style - your story is inspiring. I can't wait for the monsoons to stop around here and then I can get out and ride, too. I started riding again about 4 years ago but we moved last year and as a result, only got out riding a handful of times. This year will be different. Getting out the trainer next week......looking forward to your progress reports. Welcome to the forums.
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Old 01-11-06, 05:52 AM   #7
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Hail, Raketmensch!

>>> an egregious waste of carbon and titanium

Well done! Just the way we like our egregious wastes!!

>>> far too good a bike for a hack like me

You know, there is something good and noble about quality and craft in and of itself. There's so little of those things left. You will find that it provides satisfaction even when you just walk past it. . .to say nothing of then you're astride it. We're happy for you.

OK, OK, I'm of German extraction [Hession], so was ist das "Raketmensch"?
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Old 01-11-06, 06:49 AM   #8
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Welcome to the group Raketmensch! With age is supposed to come wisdom, and one thing I've realized that should have been so very plain a long time ago is that you don't earn the bike by your physical prowess, you get it simply because it makes you happy and because you CAN.
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Old 01-11-06, 06:53 AM   #9
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Oh the bike of my dreams! Congrats and welcome.

I once was stopped in the company parking lot not because I was speeding thru the lot but the security officer told me my car looked fast .... therefore it must be fast. Same with that bike!

Many happy miles to you & the wife.
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Old 01-11-06, 07:32 AM   #10
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Hooray for you and Happy Birthday!!

From your bike selection it's obvious you did a lot of research but wasn't that a lot of fun anyway? What a great bike at that. While you've invested a little more up front, you made a very wise choice because that is where you would have wound up anyway, plus you would have spent even more dollars to get there. I've ridden the Madone all year and it's a terrific bike, will handle about anything you'd like to do-long, short, etc.

The Race X Lites are a really good set of all round wheels as well. I only use mine for the mountain rides and I can really tell a difference in the lighter weight when going up the hills. They will compliment the Madone/Carbon to give you an excellent ride. But you already knew all that!!

I know it seems a little early because your Madone is not in yet, but you might as well go ahead and start researching what your next bike needs to be, I know, I know, the Madone is a great all-round bike and you will not need anything else. Surprise!! It will come one of these days. Maybe a tandem for your wife and you???? Oh well, let's don't get too far ahead.

As you know, you have a lot of fun and enjoyment ahead of you. Be safe out there!!
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Old 01-11-06, 07:46 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Raketmensch
So far so good, right? Now for my confession. Today I ordered a new bike… a birthday present to myself for fifty years of mostly good behavior. Some guys when they hit this age go crazy and get a sports car. Some go really crazy and get a twenty-five year old girlfriend. Me, I decided to get The Bike Of My Dreams.

The thing is an embarrassment… an egregious waste of carbon and titanium, and far too good a bike for a hack like me. Me on this bike is gonna be like Joe Sixpack tooling around on the backroads of upstate New York in a Formula 1 race car.

But I haven’t been this excited over a new toy since I was about twelve years old.

I figured if anybody would understand, you guys would!
First, Welcome to the 50+ group.

Your quote above describes my situation, only I purchased a lemond Ti for my birthday. I had wanted a ti bike for many years. I figured the bike would be cheaper than the sports car and certinly it was much less the divorce which would have resulted from the 25 year old girl friend (However, I must confess that I do look).

Wonderful that your wife is interested in riding. I wish mine would ride. Take advantage of the opertunity & get her an equally nice bike. Bob
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Old 01-11-06, 08:11 AM   #12
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Welcome to the forum - Based upon your background and story you will fit right in here. Can't wait to hear of your riding experiences and reactions to the difference from your current bike.
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Old 01-11-06, 08:16 AM   #13
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Welcome. After lurking at this forum for a very long time, I'm new here as of turning 50 myself. I hope you enjoy cycling and be safe.
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Old 01-11-06, 08:28 AM   #14
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Yeah, happy birthday and welcome. By the way, looking at your mileage, that comes to about 3000 for the year, not chump change at all!!! And you haven't even gotten to your first summer yet.

As for the Madrone, I always buy toys for myself as motivators to keep going. My rationale is that if it helps me keep fit, then the pricetag is secondary. I have no doubt you'll be getting tons of rewards for a lifetime that more than compensate for the one time major expenditure of the bike. In my book, you did just right.
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Old 01-11-06, 06:57 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Coyote!
OK, OK, I'm of German extraction [Hession], so was ist das "Raketmensch"?
It's from Gravity's Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon.
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Old 01-11-06, 07:02 PM   #16
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Wonderful that your wife is interested in riding. I wish mine would ride. Take advantage of the opertunity & get her an equally nice bike. Bob
Yeah, that's in the plan. Daughter No. 2 goes off to college in September of '08, and the current (as-yet poorly formulated) plan once that has happened is to spend the fall of '08 doing a very long bike tour through Italy. We'll see if it happens, but it's fun to think about (and should be a good excuse to get yet another new bike!).
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Old 01-11-06, 10:08 PM   #17
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Welcome to the forum, Raketmensch! Your story does, indeed, sound familiar.

I'm a year ahead of you, cycling-wise. I got mine in September, 2004 and put 970 miles on it the remainder of 2004. My 2005 mileage was 5013 miles. There's a target for you; I'll look forward to hearing about your cycling adventures.
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Old 01-12-06, 12:58 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raketmensch
Now for my confession. Today I ordered a new bike… a birthday present to myself for fifty years of mostly good behavior. Some guys when they hit this age go crazy and get a sports car. Some go really crazy and get a twenty-five year old girlfriend. Me, I decided to get The Bike Of My Dreams.

The thing is an embarrassment… an egregious waste of carbon and titanium, and far too good a bike for a hack like me. Me on this bike is gonna be like Joe Sixpack tooling around on the backroads of upstate New York in a Formula 1 race car.

But I haven’t been this excited over a new toy since I was about twelve years old.

I figured if anybody would understand, you guys would!
First... welcome to the "family", 'cause that's what it feels like sometimes.

I for one, can understand what you're saying as I'm living it right now. Been biking for going on full year #2 now, and have the bike of my dreams. I'm also lucky enough to have the woman of my dreams who fell in love with, not only me, but bikes as well. While this is good, it's also expensive

But, what the heck. I work for my money, and if I want a bike far better than I can possibly hope to be, that's ok. At least I'll look good being dropped by all the young hotshots on the "A" club rides.

So, I say good for you!

Now... where are the pics?

Steve
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Old 01-12-06, 02:01 AM   #19
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First... welcome to the "family", 'cause that's what it feels like sometimes.
Yeah, I can see that... and what a difference from some other forums. I like it here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeseflavor
I for one, can understand what you're saying as I'm living it right now. Been biking for going on full year #2 now, and have the bike of my dreams. I'm also lucky enough to have the woman of my dreams who fell in love with, not only me, but bikes as well. While this is good, it's also expensive

But, what the heck. I work for my money, and if I want a bike far better than I can possibly hope to be, that's ok. At least I'll look good being dropped by all the young hotshots on the "A" club rides.
Yeah, that's about the way I look at it. And you're right... having the love of your life to ride with make riding all that much better.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeseflavor
Now... where are the pics?

Steve
If only I had some! The bike's being built up custom, from scratch, and it takes awhile. Best estimate from my LBS is that it'll show up roughly February 23, which is 42 days from now (but who's counting?). Until then, here's a rough estimate of what it'll look like. The frame's a different material, and the component set is rather different, but at least the dimensions and the paint job are about right.

42 days to go... 42 days to go...



(At some point I'll figure out how to embed an image in a post, but it doesn't look like it's going to be tonight...)
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Old 01-12-06, 07:18 AM   #20
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(At some point I'll figure out how to embed an image in a post, but it doesn't look like it's going to be tonight...)


Nice bike and welcome!
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Old 01-18-06, 10:12 AM   #21
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Hallo Rackemensch,

I responded in the road forum to your post on vintage steel,
you should post about your bike (old) in Cranky & Vintage forum (its nice
there too). We are not so cranky there, really.
Gravity's Rainbow is my favourite (if not most obtuse) Pynchon book.
Congrats on the Madone, and happy belated Birthday.

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