Carbon fork is a must. I bought my first bike last year, a Trek 1.2 and I love it. I love running, but a bike gives you speed and you can cover some crazy distance. Just FYI, you really won't find many worth buying ~$850 or so. Some brands to look at: Trek, Giant, Cannondale, Felt. Also, make sure to invest in a good set of shorts; they're priceless if you want to save your azz/nuts.
edit: I'm not sure how the terrain is where you live, but if you'll be hitting a lot of incline changes, then you might want a 3-set up front (a set of 3 gears on the front set). I have a 2-set and I wish I had gone with 3 because the gap between the two is too big for my liking. The upside of a 2-set is there are less parts that could screw up.
Last edited by cowmoo32; 03-18-2011 at 07:58 AM.