What is love?

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“You know you have found love when you can’t find your way back.” ~Robert Brault

Love is Specialized.

Love is rocket red.

Love is Dura-Ace.

Love is carbon everything; frame, fork, wheel set, ev-er-y-thing.’

Love is wind tunnel tested aerodynamics.

Love is a new saddle that my tush hasn’t gotten accustomed to yet so it’s always sore when I ride.

Love is so pretty that you don’t want to ever take your eyes off it.

Love whispers your name in your dreams and begs you to ride her.

Love is wanting to spend every waking moment riding the open road together.

Love is riding while watching the sunrise.

Love is riding into the sunset together.

Love is working in tandem to complete a goal.

Love makes you feel like you’re flying.

Love is freedom.

Love is adventure.

Love is fierce.

Love is peace.

Love is solitude.

Love is passion.

Love is cycling.

Love is life.

Love is a new bike.

I recently entered into a new relationship, not with a person but instead with my bike. We have an intense mutual understanding that cannot be found elsewhere. There is a give and take, but I cannot take more than I give. When my thoughts are at war with each other, my bike becomes my safe place. I get out on the open road and hash out just about anything with the hope and promise that peace will soon find me.

In November I decided that it was time to start bike shopping. I had an amount in mind that I was planning to spend but that got blown out of the water when I ‘fell in love at first ride.’ I toiled with the idea of spending the extra, considerable amount of money on the bike I fell in love with but I went back and forth with needing to be responsible and practical as well. I wanted so bad to close my eyes, throw shit to the wind, and dive in head first without thinking twice but I also had to act like a grown up…

Then in a stroke of odd luck, the stars aligned and for once the universe appeared to be on my side. By odd, I mean I was leaving the stability of the job that I had known for 6+ years but the change meant I would get some severance pay. Most would panic at this life change but I decided that panic had no place in my life and I would instead let life play itself out. I am a big believer in that ‘sometimes when good things fall apart, better things fall together’ (I probably killed that quote).

I made the decision to go forward and buy the bike I had fallen in love with, the beautiful fiery rocket red 2016 Specialized Venge Pro. I have not regretted this decision one bit since I brought her home.

We are still in the honeymoon phase, everything is bright and shiny and happy. I am working on learning her at the moment and trying to figure out exactly what she can do. She has a name, Princesa, which is perfect for her given her regal presence in her spot in the center of my house. She has already given me more than I could’ve hoped while helping me finish my most recent adventure, Ironman 70.3 Florida.

I am sure that we will have our differences and bad times, as most relationships do. But, I also know that with plenty of hard work and love, the relationship will grow and blossom into a thing of beauty. I look forward to countless more hours of being in her presence, to learning all her nuances, to many more adventures.

Life is an adventure and what is any adventure without true love to experience the adventure with?

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19 thoughts on “What is love?

  1. That is a beautiful machine! I’ve tried both the new Venge and Tarmac frames and I can’t find that sweet spot in comfort (my L4/L5 are broken and degenerative and the discs are herniated). The Roubaix is what helps me to ride the distances that I prefer. My 2012 Roubaix Expert will have more than 40k miles at the end of this year and I am ready to move from the Ultegra 5700 to electronics.

    I love the rocket red – it is very loud (my current Roubaix is a special edition, traditional “Specialized red”).

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    1. It’s funny because the rocket red was actually a turn off when I first saw it but after I rode it, I fell in love with all of it. That sucks that the Venge doesn’t work for you but if the Roubaix does then there’s nothing wrong with that! I LOVE Specialized and will probably never go to any other brand. I thought about Di2 but the cost difference was huge! I will save it for later on for sure. That is a lot of miles to have on a bike, I can’t wait to be able to say that about Princesa!

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      1. I have been following your progress since early last year (I changed my username) and I am impressed by your progress, especially through the injury setback. I had my own injury in 2012 (nasty bicycle crash) that destroyed my right clavicle and coracoclavicular ligament (requiring surgeries, plate, screws, synthetic ligament replacement). I was told that I would be off the bike for four months…that made my heart sink.

        I started riding on the trainer two days after surgery and never missed a day. I put tires to tarmac five weeks after surgery after being cleared by my PT and surgeons, much to their surprise. I was tenacious with PT and cycling. I still am.

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      2. Omg! That’s terrible about the crash! 😦 I totally get why you got on the trainer so quick though! Cyclists are an interesting breed of people. Cycling is love and cycling is life. I wanted to climb the walls when I couldn’t ride. I am so glad to hear that you are doing better! Keep pushing and fighting through all the adversity, it’s always better on the other side!!

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      3. I was “Will Carrier” before.

        People are frivolous all the time. In photography (one of my previous lives) I’ve seen people spend thousands on equipment rather than to take the time to learn the art and the basics. They have all the nice gear and have so little success that they tuck it all away…then sell it to get rid of it all for pennies on the dollar.

        I won’t tell you how much I’ve spent in the last four years on bikes for my family. At least everyone rides. My son is joining me next week for a one day double-century ride. It will be my 6th consecutive and his first.

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      4. Wow! That’s awesome! I’m trying to get my kids to like running and riding… It’s been slow going. Lol. I have a nice camera but I can’t quite figure out how to take all those great pictures that people take. I keep telling myself that I’ll learn one day but that “one day” hasn’t come yet. 🙂 And, yes, I totally remember you now 😉 I’m 37… My memory ain’t what it used to be!! :))

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      5. I wish that I got back on my bike at the age that you did. I had far too much going on (wrong) in my life at that stage. You are so far ahead of the game. The example you set goes so much farther than just telling them. My kids are all athletes. The youngest two compete at a very high level. The youngest swims and runs and wants to do tris. Her dad did his last tri at the age of 28. I have done two duathlons in these last two seasons…but cycling is my main activity. I am being asked to compete in crit and circuit road racing in the masters category (now you know my approximate age).

        Take your camera out and join a photography group on Meetup and learn. You’ll have fun once you see the results!!

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      6. It doesn’t matter when you start, it only matters that you make the choice to start! I truly hope that they find a love for all things athletic as they continue to grow up. That being said… I was involved in a crash on my group ride this morning. I hurt. All over. Princesa did fare so well in her acrobatic flight. I’m sad. Here’s life reminding me that it’s in charge…

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      7. We were on a chip seal road and I was drafting right on my friends back wheel. She hit a pothole and went down, I went down over her (while actively trying to use my body to take the brunt so my bike wouldn’t have to), and the guy behind me went over both of us smashing my bike away from me and sending it flying. I definitely fared better than both of them. She went to the ER by ambulance with a concussion and he broke his hip. I have bumps, bruises, and road rash. Bike’s left shifter broke completely in half and thankfully, despite both wheels being unable to spin after the crash, suffered no further damage. Bike shop trued both wheels and they are good now. My friend’s (one with the concussion) bike frame snapped in 2 places.

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      8. Oh my goodness, Rebeca! That is horrible!

        Drafting is difficult on the best surfaces and requires a level of trust and confidence in the riders in the paceline. Even then, it doesn’t take much to bring such a horrible crash into play. I was in a paceline with two riders I had logged 15k miles with. We hooked on with three others we didn’t know. The lead rider didn’t peel out to the left when he needed a break…he just stopped pedaling. We were cruising just under 30mph on a flat road…and the speed and closeness to each rider brought mayhem as everyone tried to dodge the rider in front. I was the last rider and caught the wheel in front and fought to break free as we rubbed. I went down on my right shoulder and hip and then rolled and bounced across the two-lane highway into the ditch on the other side. My bike came apart. I separated both shoulders, shattered the clavicle, my helmet.

        I hope everyone recovers quickly and fear for the man with the broken hip, especially. I had a crash last month and suffered a concussion, too. Haha.

        Your bike is ok after the truing then? Get back out there soon!!

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Oh no…the wheel-rub crash happened four years ago this week. My crash and concussion happened in mid June. I slid into a light pole after losing traction on wet pavement. I hit jaw first and also struck my cheekbone knocking myself unconscious for a half-minute according to my son who watched it all happen behind me…he rendered aid to me in seconds but I was out of it. The good news is that my bike was fine and I rode 40 miles in the mountains.

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      10. Man!! That’s crazzzyyyy!! Crazy stuff happens and yet we keep riding!! Lol. Nothing compares to riding so not much could really keep me away. Except the pain I’m feeling right now, that’s keeping me away a little.

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      11. I hope that you’re not in too much pain. If you’re at all like me (judging by your progress in cycling and fitness, you are), you will find your way back onto the bike despite what your non-cycling friends are telling you. It is a way of life and it feels good to keep the wind in your hair. However, I know that moving too quickly can make the pain worse. Take it easy and rest. Keep the road rash clean and let it breathe as much as possible.

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  2. As a casual observer from afar, I am proud of your progress and it is clear that you are the same and yet are quite humble. That bike is as much of a mark of your achievements (such as your wall of bibs and medals) as it is a love. I will admit that I often scoff at those who are so eager to shell out $5-10k for a bicycle that sees only a few hundred miles (if at all) during the time that they own it. Seldom do I meet cyclists who are every bit the rider who understand what such a machine (like a Venge) means for cycling enjoyment.

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    1. Thank you so much for your amazingly kind words, they are much appreciated! I truly don’t understand the people that buy super nice bikes and then barely ride them. Bikes are meant to be ridden!! Till the wheels fall off!! I didn’t set out intending to spend as much as I did but I knew that I was going to get every bit of worth I could out of it. I don’t intend to buy another one in the near future so for me it is a huge investment in my peace and happiness. It was well worth it!!

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      1. I didn’t intend to buy another bike but I am wanting the new frame technology (more responsive frame that is built for taller people like me – 6’4″). Also, another advancement that I want is hydraulic disc brakes (in addition to Di/Ui2). I put 30 miles on a 2015 Roubaix Ui2 with disc and was so impressed by the machine. I rode my bike to my LBS and met with the Specialized rep. I rode the new S-Works Tarmac and the Venge, too. That Roubaix was perfect.

        The Tarmac was only $10k. 😉

        With just under 39k miles on my bike (only three cassette, two wheel sets, a dozen chains, everything else has held up. The white bar tape had to go as did the white saddle).

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