I had been kicking around the idea of "upgrading" from my aluminum road bike to a carbon triathlon bike for a while. Since I came into a little bit of cash recently, I figured "What better time?" I started just looking, and I really liked the Felt bikes, mainly because they seemed to offer the best components for the price. Just looking at them, and talking with some people, it seemed as though there wasn't a whole lot of objective difference between the various manufacturers' tri-bikes.
When I got more serious, I actually started test riding. The shop that sells Felt was nice enough to let me borrow one for a while (they encouraged I keep it overnight, but that didn't work for me that day). They didn't have the model I really wanted in my size in stock, so they lent me an aluminum version with the same basic geometry. I took it down to one of my favorite riding spots, a relatively flat (with some small rolling hills) stretch of road near my house. A co-worker who has encouraged my budding triathlon habit (I'll refer to her as IM), and with whom I have ridden at lunch a few times, had already planned to be riding in that area and invited me to join. The riding was a little awkward, seeing as it was my first time on a tri-bike, and they're fairly different from road bikes. The muscles where I really felt the difference were my triceps and my neck, because of the streamlined riding position. I wound up riding 20 miles, and was pretty much ready to buy the model I wanted as soon as one came in, but I promised IM I would at least check out Cervelo, her bike of choice.
So, two weeks ago, I went to another bike shop that carries some other brands, and took some bikes on short test rides. I liked the Cervelo P3 almost immediately. It felt a lot smoother than the Felt had, mostly in the way the steering felt in the aero position. I tried some other brands, and a P2, but wound up buying the P3 (actually a 2010 model, so it was on sale) right then. I rode it about 6 miles that day, and again about 6 miles the next day (after the indoor tri). I rode with IM at lunch that Thursday, and for the first time not only kept up with her, but actually passed her. After picking up some accessories last Saturday, I rode it for 33 miles on Sunday. I was glad for those accessories when I got a flat on the way home and had what I needed to fix it with me.
About a week and a half ago, IM suggested I should join her in doing the Blue Norther' Duathlon tomorrow. Since I didn't have anything else planned, I will now be racing a bike I've ridden for a total of about 60 miles in the morning. Wish me luck!