Participating in a major amateur cycling sportif or race is not just about the cycling.
There is also the Cycling Village to Consider
On our recent etape du tour cycle we had the pleasure to walk around said village and gawp at the wonderful and usually expensive hardware.
We are a little old to scour the stands for freebies, but we did pick up 2 free water bottles, (plug) from the company stimium. Thank you!
We realised Pierre's expertise in this area of equipment, because I just pointed and said GT-R, whilst he confidently said SeaSucker. I trundled over and to my astonishment, yes they are SeaSucker bicycle mounts.
The latest Shimano R9100 groupset, not available even at the time of writing
The latest Madone 9, sit down before looking at the price.
I want to mention my continued soft spot for Decathlon and their in house cycling brand BTWIN. Always great value for money and the nice salesman listened to Marcus as I droned on about the change (for the worse) in availability and materials of their long sleeved clothing. You will recall that due to Marcus' delicate skin I have to wear longs at all times. And finding clothing is pretty difficult.
Very integrated headset
Some vintage Mavic goodness. I still have at least 2 sets of little used Mavic ultra light clincher wheels. Now almost useless because the custom bearing designs can't seem to be adjusted (I had them expensively replaced in Switzerland and the wheels are still loose. Hmm)
Emonda SLR with oversized and I mean custom wide bottom bracket
Trek Domane SLR with variable seatpost stiffness control (see vertical lever)
Fancy recovery Gel
This is just a short summary of a music larger wander. We had a great time.
So in summary, for keen cyclists like Pierre, Agata and Marcus it is not just about the cycling. You have to factor in too the delicious technology, some of which we can afford today, and some, with the trickle down effect, we will be able to afford tomorrow.