Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"New" race wheels for the 2011 season!

Okay... OCD seems to always have negative connotations associated with it... and although I have not been officially diagnosed with it... I am fairly confident I have some version of it as the symptoms appear as if I had written them myself! Now... I have a tendency to use them to my benefit... at least in my mind... my wife and kids may see things differently but this is my blog.

So... in my ongoing obsession with everything triathlon... I decide I want to get some race wheels for this season! Now... for those involved in the sport you know that is a HUGE investment and in my case it would make the wheels cost more than my bike... but this is where my OCD helps me out. Now I can build a spreadsheet that would make Mr. Excel's eyes water and they usually include lots of embedded formulas as well as conditional formatting to change cells different colors. No one else really understands the spreadsheet as I tend to not label many columns but I know exactly what the cells mean and I read the resulting data like a Ouija board.

Okay... so I set out on a plan to find medium depth carbon rim race wheels that don't break the bank... again... how one defines that (read: my wife) is probably up for interpretation but I am on a frickin' quest at this point and I set an arbitrary price point that I think is reasonable... again.. this is my blog so I get to come up with the definitions. So I conduct my due diligence and arrive to this conclusion... 50+mm on depth, clincher rims, aluminum braking surface (I don't want to have to fart around with special brake pads), name brand, used (to remain on budget) and with tires/tubes if at all possible... just in case you have not priced race tires for bikes... let's just say they ain't cheap. So I start the furious and obsessive searching of the online forum classifieds, doing searches on all of Craigslist and of course my personal favorite money pit... eBay! I am trading emails with people in San Francisco... some guy in Italy that imports stuff from Asia... my "Watch" page on eBay is 4 pages long... but I have done the math and I know what a "good" price is at this point and I have no deadline so I can afford to be patient.

Now... I stumbled upon a listing on eBay for a Zipp Flashpoint FP40 (38mm carbon depth) wheel that does not fit the bill but the price seems low enough to garner my attention... but the photos REALLY GARNER MY ATTENTION... as they are clearly photos of a FP60 (58mm depth) wheel with FP40 stickers on it... and another interested eBayer even queries the owner about that fact to which they reply... "Thanks but even the stickers say FP40"... WRONG... and suffice to say... I end up as the high bidder for what amounts to a steal of a deal! How much of a deal??? Immediately following the end of the auction I got an email saying... "We mistakenly advertised the wheel at an FP40 only to find out it is an FP60... we will happily refund your money and relist!" Uhhh... NOOOOO... I am all good on this end! And three days later the wheel arrives and it is a beauty!!!

Okay... front wheel done... now I need a matching rear wheel and I have to admit that at this point my patience is not nearly what it was when I was uncommitted... so the furious hunt goes on... and I decide to post a "WTB" ad on one of the forums... looking specifically for a rear Zipp Flashpoint FP60! The next morning I find a private message from a forum member saying he had just upgraded his race wheels and had a rear FP60 he was looking to sell... now this was not simply a rear wheel... it was a Zipp Flashpoint FP60 wheel laced with a Cycleops Powertap power meter hub... now this was something I had only looked at in passing previously as the price of a power meter alone is more than my bike cost... never mind on a medium depth carbon wheel... but I ask for more information... HOLY CRAP... the package he is offering is the wheel with power meter, complete setup for 2 bikes so all you have to do is transfer the wheel... so two computers, two wiring harnesses, two HRMs, two computer mounts, two of everything... plus the original Flashpoint hub... plus a custom rear disk cover from www.wheelbuilder.com which gives me the option to run a solid rear wheel if conditions warrant! Long story short.... Jeff is an incredibly unselfish kind of guy... not only did we make a deal on all of the stuff listed above but when the box arrived he included 2 carbon water cage bottles, 2 fiberglass cages, a brand new Michelin Pro Race 3 tire, 2 brand new tubes with 80mm valve stems, a Profile Design Aero Drink bottle set up and two Profile Design aero bar computer mounts!!!

SCORE!!! Not only did I get a great deal from him but he also offered his unconditional support along the way as I set it all up... plus he provided a rather lengthy email with tips on training with power that they use in his cycling club!! What a great deal... and timing is everything! THANKS JEFF!!

Now it is time to ride...

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