Another One.

It's a bad idea, but I do it anyway. I know what's going to happen, because it always does. There's no use in fighting the urge, because it's a losing battle. Sure, you may choose to lose a less damaging engagement instead of one that will land a crucial blow, but in the end the result is the same- you lose. You need to accept it.

I check Craigslist and eBay almost every day.

On Craigslist, I check the local bike market and note what's selling and what's not. I check prices and compare them to resale values. The research can at times be extensive. Once in a great while I find something I can't pass up, but mostly it's an academic exercise driven by habit. I can quit any time. No, really.

eBay is a different matter. It's a vast market of stuff I really, really want and can't live without. I have a bunch of search strings I follow on a regular basis, and I have to restrain myself daily from buying stuff I have no pressing need for. My watch list follows auctions for almost-justifiable consumables like SPD cleats and cassettes to "I already have too many of them" items like frames and wheelsets. It's in constant turmoil, as I overcome one fascination (say, SRAM Force mid-cage rear derailleurs) only to fall prey to another compulsion (like boutique brand brake pads for carbon fiber wheels). Only brief spells of fiscal responsibility or crisis can pull me from the edge.

I have a problem.

Recently I took to cruising the frames category. Road racing and time trail frames in the 55cm, 56cm, M, and L sizes. I've been fortunate, because most of them were either far out of my price range or inferior to what I already owned. There were a few that had my "Buy It Now" finger twitching, and only the fear of bankruptcy and foreclosure stayed my hand. A few steps to the garage to look what's hanging from the ceiling tells me I made a solid choice. I have too many already. I need to make some room, to ride what I already have, and to remember "it would be fun to build up" is not the best justification in the world.

Briefly backed away from the edge, I did what I always do. I picked a fight that wouldn't beat me up as much.

I bought another SRM power meter for myself as a Christmas present.

For those keeping score at home, the running power meter tally is two Quarqs and two SRMs. I just traded my Stages to Joey Bacala for a bike frame I didn't need but thought was kinda awesome. Most professionals have two or three power meters spread between race, training, and TT bikes. Most elite amateurs have one or two. I, a no-talent hack in a cycling backwater, have four. I guess I win. Where's my trophy?

This year the wife and I bought a whole lot of stuff for the kids, but not so much for each other. I bought her gift certificates to places she could go and relax. Nail salons, massage parlors, restaurants, and places like fabric shops that cater to her own set of compulsions. She seemed very happy with my choices.

I, on the other hand, got t-shirts with bicycling themes from various family members. All of them were a size smaller than I usually wear. I guess my annual diet has taken on new significance. The t-shirt designs were selected for me carefully, so they spoke to my own particular brand of two-wheel recreation. I appreciated the thought and effort. Still, something was missing.

Apparently that something was another SRM.

It popped up in one of my searches one morning. The seller received this wireless SRM a few years ago from a friend and never used it. He had no idea what it was worth, so he mistakenly priced it in the same range as older, wired models. eBay junkies with impulse control issues like me live for moments like this. I jumped.

The purchase meant I had a dedicated, consistent, and reliable power meter for every one of my bikes. I would no longer have to swap power meters between bikes for stage races or other events. That really didn't matter either.

What mattered was the itch was scratched. I didn't risk financial ruin. While it isn't likely, I could turn around and sell it for a profit tomorrow. Among the battles I've lost, I came away relatively unscathed in this one.

However, now my watch list is clogged with Shimano Dura Ace 7800 130 BCD 52-tooth chainrings. I also have to decide what kind of power meter to install on the frame I got from Joey.

The battle may be over, but the war still rages on.


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