With each new one you try, you're hoping you'll find "the one."
You target certain stores because you know they carry a style you've seen online and you're crushed to find out they don't actually have what you're looking for in stock.
Looked everywhere for this bike. Never got to try it.
Eventually you find "the one". It fits best, looks the nicest, and is in general the most awesome. If money weren't an issue, you'd buy it immediately.
But then reality smacks you in the face when you realize it's easily $300-$500 over budget.
A small part of you dies inside as you put "the one" back on the rack and reconsider all the more budget-friendly options you've tried.
You pick one that could work. It has a good fit and you feel comfortable with it.
It's not "the one", but it will get the job done on the big day.
That's how I ended up with my new bike: the Fugi Newest 3.0.
It wasn't the Trek I really loved (and still think about), but I felt comfortable on the Fugi and most importantly, it didn't break the bank.
Just like some brides have to walk away from the dress because they can't justify spending whatever amount on something they'll only wear once, I had to walk away from that Trek.
If I fall in love with triathlons or biking in general, I will have no problem shelling out the money for a higher-end bike. But for this little triathlon trial run, I couldn't justify spending nearly $1,000 on a bike that I may only use a few times.
At the end of the day, I'm happy with my new bike and I'm anxious to get some riding time in so I start to feel more comfortable in the saddle.