2017 Giant TCR First Impressions. Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolate

me-n-ave-01It’s early October and I just got back from riding rollers and steep hills in Lancaster PA. and Northern VA.  Lancaster  is Amish Paradise miles away from suburbia while Northern Virginia is Dodging Dumb Drivers. Picking the right time of day to ride is critical there.  Back home here in South West Margarettaville  it remains hot, humid and the rainy seasons lingers. There are some big storms lurking just over the horizon. To complicate matters even more, our population is ever increasing and it’s not just the return of the snow birds. More and more people staying year round attracted to……….ahh………….heat, humidity, monsoon season, zika virus, red tide?  The mountains north east of Atlanta are calling me.

I have some training time left before the Hincapie Gran Fondo later this month and I want to continue with the longer intervals riding at higher cadence while trying to manage my heart rate. I plan to keep my HR < 160 as much as possible. The 5 AM crew is back from those Georgia mountains, 6Gap, and the 5 AM training rides specific to higher cadence and more power will be good stuff, BUT……….. none of this, riding rollers, short steep climbs and the 5 AM training rides will simulate the rigger of riding in the Appalachians.

Along with power to weight, riding at a higher cadence during long accents is key, more but less stressful revolutions. I’ll switch over to my compact crank soon. I broke a spoke on the rear wheel a short while ago and upon inspection 3 cracks in the hoop were discovered. OOPS! Another wheel for the wheel art project. It just so happens that I’ve been lookin’ to upgrade my wheels and had my eye on a couple of sets, the Dura Ace C24’s and the HED Ardennes. They’re within $50.00 of each other. The Dura Ace are lighter and described as fast on the tarmac and great on the accents while the Ardennes are wider and described as great on the gravel and cobbles. Fast on the tarmac is my primary thing and so the Dura Ace C24’s got the nod. Not to mention the 3 year warranty + I know a handful of riders who love them. Good enough for them certainly good enough for me.

It’s comes as no real surprise actually that with all the miles I’ve been piling on over the last months that I’ve surpassed being tired and arrived at fatique. But I’m okay.  My heart rate drops nicely and my weight is good. I’ve been described as scrawny and while that’s bad for football it’s good for cycling.  If it’s not my imagination my cardio is getting better. It appears as if my labored breathing is now at a higher HR. Someone, probably the surgeon general, has determined that ones maximum HR is 220 – their age or 157 for me, me being 63 years old.  I seem to be able to ride for hours at 150ish.

Traveling for days in the car makes for days off the bike and the arrival at complete rest especially  for me bottom. I jumped back on and headed for the hills of Lancaster and felt so good that I just wanted to look for something more to climb. It’s true that rest is good. Before Hincapie I will taper down all the way to nothing about a week out.

I’ve been bombarded with information regarding eating healthy and so have you. Not wanting to loss weight puts everything on the menu in and around the workout. Well………….I do try to skip the high fructuous corn syrup. The body is not prepared to digest this ….ahhhh…STUFF and so it becomes that stubborn belly fat, just one example of what the FDA has approved for us humans to consume. It’s hard to eliminate this garbage because it’s in everything.  Anyway……I don’t think it’s just me, but I start to feel empty towards the end of long hard rides and I can’t eat. Nothing appeals to me. If I force myself to eat it seems to do more harm than good, nothing sits right in my stomach. I know a few of the ultra cyclist types, you know the ones who go out and ride a 100 miles everyday, and they suggest loading up on carbs the day before (knew that) and having a good breakfast (also knew that). In addition to this sound advise I plan to eat  during the ride before I get empty. A lot like drinking water before it’s too late. BUT WAIT!! I can only drink so much water before I start feeling bloated, another problem. My guess is I’ll just have to suffer with this as well.

2015-frame-crack-01Oh by the way I received my new frame set from Giant. What! You didn’t know I was getting one? Yup. The 2015 frame had a straight black line show up right where the head and down tube join. I had no idea what this was and after denying any potential problems rationalizing that it was just something in the clear coat or paint I came to the realization that I had no idea what I was looking at, time for a 2nd opinion.  Real Bikes in Venice Florida is my friendly neighborhood Giant dealer and upon inspection they had no idea what they were looking at but hinted to the fact that it didn’t appear to be a crack in the carbon fiber. Carbon Fiber cracks don’t appear as straight lines, they say, because the fabric is a weave and so a crack would appear jagged. Okay so what is it? A picture is taken and sent to Giant. They have no idea what they’re looking at and so a new frame set is on the way. So the deal is that I get a new frame set every two years. You may recall that my 2012 TCR had a blister pop up on the seat tube due to improper assembly by a different shop. Giant to the rescue that time as well.

2017-tcrBUT…….Life is like a box of chocolates with Giant warranty, you never know what you’re gonna get. The 2015 frame was a Giant TCR Advanced Pro 2 ,an upgrade, where as this one is the TCR Advanced 1. seat-post-top-tubeThe Pro had a composite steerer while the new fork has a alloy one, a down grade, BUT…. This new TCR is lighter. head-tubeThey’ve reverted back to the smaller head tube and slimmed down the top and seat tube. The new seat post, Giant Variant, Composite, is radically different, still aero but smaller and the clamp is hidden within the top tube. Giant says it’s more comfortable without any dampening features. Well all right. The internal cabling has been reroute as well which Giant says makes it easier to install/replace the cables.

Giant’s new colors nicely compliment each other through out their whole lineup, warm and cool, festive and  trendy. The orange and blue is quickly growing on me as is the feel and response this lighter bike. I am truly this machines weakest link. Add the Dura Ace wheel set and life is good out there on the tarmac. And guess what! No more pearly /sparkly white bike that shows every spec of dirt and needs to be wiped down all the time. The matt finish on the new frame is user friendly when it comes to looking clean without all the fuss.

IF indeed the damage to the 2015 frame IS cosmetic Giant USA could have walked away from me. The finish comes with a 1 year warranty just like most other brands. I rode it for 2 years. They didn’t and so maybe they know something and they’re not letting on. OR………Maybe they just want me to be happy. I am. They did replace my ride sensor years ago 6 months out of warranty and there has yet to be any push back from them on anything. That goes a long way with me. Still can’t tell the difference between the carbon and alloy steerer and who knows maybe time will tell, but I doubt it.  The bike is so new that I’ve yet to find any independent reviews and Giant’s international web site is the only place I could spot this particular model.

Also a big shout out to Real Bikes in Venice Florida. They did the build up for me and as always the thing was dialed in perfectly. The Giant TCR remains a sweet ride.


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