I'm a mountain biker. It's my passion. That being said, I have always dabbled in road riding sporadically for fitness. Then I moved to Boulder, Colorado, where the road riding is fantastic! Beautiful sunny days. Bike friendly roads and drivers. Stunning canyons to climb up and fly down. Awesome views. Road riding became much more interesting and fun.
So, I bought an entry level bike got more into road riding. The bike served me well for two years, but I was ready for something better. Better than me, so I could grow as a rider. And a bike that fit me. At five foot one and a half inches, my 51 cm unisex bike was too big in every direction. I tested road some bikes and decided that I wanted a carbon frame. I determined the dimensions that felt best.
Armed with this information and a tape measure, I headed off the the Velo Swap with the hope that I'd find a nice bike at a super low price. The Velo Swap is an annual bike goods sale held in a massive facility used for major livestock events. Hundreds of people gather there to sell their used bikes, bike parts and other bike related goods. In addition, many bike shops come to sell end of the year bikes and parts to make room for the newly released models.
After waiting in line in the cold, Jesper and I were up front when the doors opened at 9:00 am. The place was instantly an insane mass of swarming people. Attending Velo Swap is an extreme overload of the senses. Hundreds of booths jam packed with bike stuff. Bikes, new and used, everywhere. Thousands of people moving in every direction, frantically looking for some fantastic deal. Jesper and I split up for a couple hours so we could each scope out the things we were looking for.
I focused on carbon road bikes sized 48 or 49 cm. I quickly discerned that there were a few other small women looking for the same thing. Hmmm... maybe there'd be a Cat Fight! After my two hour sweep, I had identified a few booths that had bikes I wanted to look at again with Jesper and a friend, Mike, who knows a lot about bikes. I quickly dismissed the Colnago, which was priced at $4,600. Just a tad too much! I also wasn't too sure about a bunch of used Fuji bikes, all from the women's professional Lipton Team. Quite honestly, they were butt ugly and I wasn't sure if a good price could make up their hideousness.
My main contender was a 49 cm 2007 Scott Contessa, brand new and beautiful. The asking price was $2,380. From my prior research, I thought the retail price was $2,800, however, I later found out the MSRP is $3,249.99. Mike offered that I would pay $2,200. We put the bike on a trainer and Mike adjusted it to fit me. It felt really good! Then I took it for a chilly ride outside. It felt fantastic! I returned to the booth and tried to decide what to do. The owner, a bike shop in Loveland, Colorado, informed me that a couple other ladies were seriously looking at the bike. I believed him, since I had heard this at other booths. The bike was a good deal (actually a better deal than I knew at the time), but $2,200 was a lot of money and a bit more than I had wanted to fork out.
Then I realized that for a few hundred bucks over my intended budget, I could have one hell of a bike. So I bought it, right then and there! I had slight buyers' remorse until I got home and realized I had bought a $3,300 bike for $2,200. That was an $1,100 savings! The bike is spec'd with full Ultegra components, an upgrade for me from my 105 components. The Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheel set is very nice. The brakes are short reach, so I can actually touch the brakes. Here's a linky to the full description: http://scottusa.com/us_en/category/72/contessa_road
I was the proud owner of a full carbon Scott Contessa. I instantly knew what I'd name the bike; the Royal Bitch!
I took the Royal Bitch for a short ride when I got home and showed it off to my friend Sue, who appreciates a nice bike. The next day, after I installed a new carbon stem, I went on a long, 50 mile ride with Sue, Mike, and some other fast riders. I got my butt kicked - I live in Boulder after all. But I knew this was a bike that I would be able to grow into. Today, I'm testing out the bike in the mountains. Let's hope this warm weather sticks around so I can continue to give the Royal Bitch the attention she deserves!