First date and I’m in love

As I watched John turn the wrench to loosen the heart of my Tarmac I felt a tinge of guilt for the action I was about to take. My Specialized Tarmac Pro had been a wonderful friend. We had climbed Mount Mitchell together and crossed the finish line as winners for the first time. Now another would take its place.

Enter the new Giant TCR Advanced. It arrived just yesterday and I got the call to bring my Tarmac to the shop so I could switch out the crank and wheels. The crank had to go with me because it houses my Quarq CinQo power meter. The wheels were my better ones so I wanted those on there for my first ride.

2009 Giant TCR Advanced

2009 Giant TCR Advanced

Looking at the two bikes, I wasn’t so sure what I thought. The Tarmac is a very elegant looking machine. The curving top tube and narrow carbon fiber frame of pearl white and blue is very appealing. The Advanced is the dark color of graphite. The header and bottom bracket are over sized and the down tube is huge. The look isn’t elegant. The look is solid and fast.

Of course, you can’t judge a bike by its looks. John finished the construction and told me to hop on and take it for a ride. The first thing I noticed was that it was lighter. When I rolled it out the door for the test ride, the bike weighed 15.5 pounds. That is nearly a pound less than the Tarmac.

John did an excellent job moving my measurements over to the Giant. The bar was slightly lower but the hoods were in the same position. He said I now had the “racer boy” setup. My quick spin around the block showed some promise.

Now it was time to give the bike a better workout. Not too much… I didn’t want to stress the cables and connections too much. Just a bit of a test to see how my body worked on the new setup.

I met up with my friend Chris Hartzler at Cleveland Park and we began to make some laps. I’m not here to say that I could notice all the nuances of difference between the two bikes. I could obviously tell I was using new components. The shifting was crisp and responsive.

The ride was very similar and I’m sure a lot of that had to do with the fact that I was using the same wheels. However, there were some differences that I could feel. These changes had more to do with the geometry of the frame.

The Advanced frame is slightly smaller. So, there was a bit less bike beneath me. I noticed this mostly when I would come out of the saddle to sprint. The top tube was much lower as I rocked back and forth. The center of gravity was lower still. This gave me the feeling of the bike being more nimble.

The setup is different, but I like it. The TCR Advanced gives me confidence. Diving into the corners was enjoyable. Coming out of the saddle on a burst up a climb was exhilarating. What a ride!

There is still a soft spot in my heart for the memories I made on the Tarmac, but the way I figure I’ve got more time ahead to make some new ones. If the next rides on the Advanced are anything like the first one, I’m pretty sure my future memories are going to be great ones. Let’s go!