As I have stated numerous times in many of my blogs, my current bike needed to be changed. In my investigations it has turned out that my current Cannondale bike is not only very old it is the incorrect size for me. This means that I am stretched on the bike and peddling something bigger than what I need to be peddling resulting in some fairly uncomfortable positions. I knew that this year a new bike was on the cards so I began my investigations looking at all types of bikes. I knew that I needed a time trial bike. There is no point in purchasing an expensive road bike and then for races, slotting on some aero bars and trying to go fast on it. I needed a bike that was specifically designed for racing. I would use it for training as well as the Cannondale but regardless, it would always be ready for racing with no adjustments required.
So I begin my search in late January looking at all major brands. Googling best time trial bike in the world and reading my triathlon magazines. Eventually I make it to the Cervelo website and discover a new bike that it soon going to be released. It is the Cervelo P5. Looking at it on various websites and reading about it, it comes across as the ultimate and fastest time trial bike, and I convince myself that it is way out of my reach. I am happy to admit it but I begin to fantasize about this bike. It becomes my Excalibur (Waynes World) and eventually the only bike I want is this one. The problem is that it is near impossible to track down. I can't find one for sale anywhere on line and I spend months thinking that it is a lost cause. I continue to search for a P5 for sale, trying to find a price for it and someone who I can talk to about it. Eventually after much searching I find that Capital Cycles in Wellington is a distributor of Cervelo products. I send them an email along with a couple of other shops across the country asking about the P5. Capital Cycles is the first one to come back to me (and the only one in the end). Unbelievably they have a P5 on loan from Cervelo and they have it currently displayed in their shop. I arrange a time to go the shop and speak to Paul who is the owner who will talk to me about what I want to achieve and whether this is the right bike for me.
I count down the days and eventually a couple of days later it is time for me to head to Capital Cycles to view the P5. I walk into the shop and just like Excalibur in Wayne's World, it is hoisted up in the centre of the shop on a stand, above all other bikes. I love it straight away. I begin to talk to Paul and we discuss my needs. He measures me and we discover the bike he has is the perfect size for me. The bike is on loan from Cervelo so he has no great demand to sell the bike. The price of the bike is a little more than what I was expecting but I am given a commitment that he will make this bike fit me like a glove. He also tells me that he will include a pair of shoes and peddles of his choosing but that they cannot be chosen until he sees me on the bike. I need to make a decision as I am told that a shop in Christchurch has an interested party and they want the bike down there for display in a couple of days time. It is Friday and I tell him that I will come back to him on Monday. He tells me that he will ignore the Christchurch phone calls until then. I toss back and forth that night and Saturday and have great discussions with my wife. The bike is a lot of money and there is no guarantee that it will make any major difference. Regardless, I decide that it has to be mine!! I email Paul on Sunday and negotiate a deal, hopefully I am not too late.
I receive an email whilst away at a conference and am told that the bike is mine. I am ecstatic but then a dread comes over me that I have made a very expensive mistake. I soon push that fear away and realise that this is something I deserve and it will be the right decision in the end. I organise payment and schedule in my first fitting. A week goes by and I am so excited to head down to the shop to finally sit on the bike. I get changed from work and walk to the shop. I get there and there is huge anticipation but I stop in my tracks when I realise that the P5 is not on the wind trainer waiting for me and Paul is no where to be seen. I speak to one of the other guys in the shop called Gareth and ask where Paul is. Paul was getting married the weekend prior but was meant to be back at work on the Monday. Gareth apologizes as Paul is not in and I tell him that I am here for a bike fitting. Gareth again apologises and states that Paul may not have been thinking straight as his mind was on the wedding. I am disappointed, I have almost been counting down the hours to this moment. I ask Gareth to call Paul and he is reluctant but offers to reschedule. He asks what bike I am being fitted on and I state the P5. He replies with an "Oh what!!! That bike!! Let me give him a call." A couple of minutes later he comes back to me and tells me that we will have to reschedule. I make a booking for two days time.
Two days has passed and I am back in the bike shop. This time I see the P5 sitting at the end of the shop on the Wind trainer waiting for me. I see Paul and he apologises for the other day. I am half listening to what he is saying but I am fixated on the bike. Only the essentials are on at present as I soon learn that this bike will be custom built for me. Every inch of the bike will be cut and glued perfectly for my body.
First things first, bike shoes. I have bought shoes in the past for my bike and to me, if they fit you and look good they are fine. Wrong!! It is more than that and Paul explains to me that there are various differences in shoes with regards to the level of support they offer as well as what will work for my body and positioning. He chooses a pair of shoes and I try them on. They feel amazing already. He puts the cleats on them and then attached the corresponding peddles onto the bike. The peddles are like nothing I have ever seen before. They are tiny little circles and look nothing like a peddle. They are a minimilist peddle as I discover. The big peddles that I am used to are long gone. I learn that the peddle needs to be small as the power from the foot needs to be transferred straight into the bike and nothing should be lost on a clunky peddle. The next thing to adjust is the seat height. This bike has a carbon fibre frame with a carbon fibre seat post. Paul wants to get the seat height exact. Once he has the seat where he wants it he will cut the seat post so that it is resting on the bottom of the frame. This way there is no way the seat will move and it will be easy to remember the seat height if I take the seat post out. We measure the seat and then it is cut to perfection. Next job is the bars and bar height. My arm angle is measured to ensure that my forearm is at right angles. Once these are done the handlebars are glued into position. After around an hour the basics are done. There is nothing on the bike except for the bars and wheels so the rest of the bike needs to be built including brakes, gears and minor things such as the tape on the bars. Another appointment is made for a couple of days time. It is Thursday so I am going to have to wait for a weekend before I get to see the bike again. It is so close now until that first ride and I just can't wait.
I return back to the shop and walk in. Again the bike is not on the stand and Paul is not in the shop. I catch up with Mike who is another guy who works in the shop. Paul is stuck in a meeting but will be in soon. I take the time to start organising the bike for me to take home later in the week. I will be riding this bike both morning and night so need some lights as well as a seat bag to carry tools. Mike starts helping me out and showing me some of the options however as soon as I look at the options, I am immediately limited in what can go on the bike. For example, the seat post is thick and will not hold a normal saddle bag. The options that I have is a seat bag that will sit on the back of the seat which is fine but the bags on offer do not allow for a light to be on the back. The light options are even harder to decide upon. Out of all the options that we have nothing will fit on the bike. Eventually it is decided that we will put on a tube that sits on the rear frame of the bike and go with a seat bag made by the company that makes the seat itself. By the time we have discussed the lighting options Paul arrives.