Tag Archives: components

Tale of Two Giants

It is done. I finally have the two Giant TCR Advanced frames built up. This all started back in September and is ending here in February. Now I’ll have another choice to make whenever I decide to go for a ride — do I ride white, or do I ride black?

Back when I joined the POA Cycling Team, I sold my Specialized Tarmac Pro and my first road bike, a Specialized Allez Elite, in order to get the team bike – a black 2009 TCR Advanced with Force components. It was a great bike and I was glad I made the switch.  However, the problem it created was that I only had one bike.

2009 Giant TCR Advanced

2009 Giant TCR Advanced

Now, for most people that isn’t a problem. What I found for me was that I often ran into situations where I would have the bike in the shop for a tune-up or to have something fixed that I had broken, and I would be bike-less. I came to regret getting rid of both of those bikes.

That was never more the case than in September 2009 when I was taken out in a race. The black Giant was cracked on the top tube. I had no bike at all.

Thankfully, Giant sent me a replacement frame. To make things nicer, it was a 2010 Giant TCR Advanced. I was able to build it up with 2010 SRAM Force components. It was the bike I used to ride the relay from Greenville to Austin in October.

2010 Giant TCR Advanced

2010 Giant TCR Advanced

When Giant sent me the new frame, they did not request me to return the old one. At first I didn’t know what to do with it. Then a friend of mine told me that he had a frame fixed with Calfee Design. I looked into it and found that for a little over $300 I could get the black frame fixed.

So, I sent it off and received it about the time we placed the team order for 2010 SRAM parts for the team. It is way too good of a deal to pass up and I decided to snag some Red components. The plan was to move the Force group to the black TCR Advanced and put the Red group on the white TCR Advanced.

FINALLY, after months it all came together. Then I couldn’t decide which bike to use as my primary bike! That is important because my one Quarq CinQo powermeter is in the crank – a SRAM S900. The number 1 bike would need to have that crank.

After a bit of deliberation, I decided to go with my original plans. I get differing reactions from people regarding the look of the two bikes. Some like the white. Some like the black. I think I like the both.

Maybe I’ll be able to find a way to get power on the black bike and I’ll be able to switch between the two of them more often. I could ride the one that best fits the mood of the day! More importantly, I’ll have a bike to ride whether one is in the shop or not.

Now… if the snow would just clear from the roads so I could ride one of them…

Ebony and ivory

Ebony and ivory

Seeing Red

It took awhile for my part of the team order to arrive from SRAM. It gave me time to consider the bike on which I would put the components. I finally decided on the white Giant.

SRAM Red is finally on the bike

SRAM Red is finally on the bike

John James, at Sunshine Cycle Shop, normally puts my bikes together, but he is out of commission with a broken collar bone.  John isn’t going to be building bikes any time soon! He broke it Sunday and won’t have surgery until next week. Thankfully, Mike stepped in and built up the bike yesterday.



The only bad thing is that I was stuck on the trainer yesterday for my hour and a half session. Thankfully, there was a program on National Geographic Channel about the Bugatti Veyron.  Wow! The speed is impressive, but the technology behind it is incredible!

Bugatti Veyron - top speed 253 mph

Bugatti Veyron - top speed 253 mph

The technology behind the SRAM shifters is pretty cool too. It took me a little bit to get used to the double-click action when I first switched over a couple years ago. Now, I can’t imagine using any other option.

Yes, it looks great and that is part of the allure. It also has saved me several grams in weight. Besides, any cyclist will tell you there is nothing like a new set of components.

I’m ready to roll for 2010. Even on the trainer the shift action felt great. The road is going to feel even better. Stay tuned for some pictures as soon as the weather cooperates.

Get ready to rumble… or fly

My 2009 race license just arrived. It represents a number of my goals for this year. While last year I put more focus on distance and organized centuries, this year I plan to put more focus on racing. Next year? Who knows.

My 2009 USA Cycling License

My 2009 USA Cycling License

Yep, I’ll be turning 41 on the 21st of this month. Interestingly enough, that is the first race of the Greenville Spring Series. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping to do well that day. Still, the season isn’t a day and there is a good chance that we’ll have 18 plus races in the Greenville area this year.

That race will be my first real race as a cat. 4. I did double up back in October and do about nine laps in the cat. 4 criterium after racing in and winning the cat. 5 race. Doubling up is not easy! So, I consider this my first true attempt.

Track? The stars would have to align in some miraculous fashion for you to ever see me on a track. Then to get me racing on a track… There is more of a chance that you might see me someday attempting a cyclo-cross race.

I started riding on a mountain bike and I love riding one. Still, I don’t think I am cut out to be a MTB racer. Picking my way around boulders and trees is one thing… careening over and into them is entirely another!

My club is the Greenville Spinners Bicycle Club. It is also my “team.” Most of the teams out there on a given race in Greenville are not truly “teams” in the technical sense of the word. The only official teams are those sanctioned by the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale).

The Spinners club is a great way to start into organized racing. Basically, if you pay the fee and wear the colors, you can be a member of the club team. There is an amount of racing as a team, but it is typically more informal and just a step above being unattached.

There are other club teams that are more selective. Perhaps if I have a good year, I’ll get invited to “move up” to one of those teams. Those teams are still simply clubs, but are smaller and have a little more structure to them come race day.

I’ll tell you one thing, there are some riders out there this year that are going to be flying — at least if the weight of their bikes counts for anything. I stopped by Hincapie Sportswear to pick up a cap I had left there this weekend. The Scott frames had just arrived.

Those frames were like paper — but very stiff. With the full range of SRAM Red components and the light weight Fi´zi:k saddles, they are going to have to find some heavier wheels just to keep those machines legal!  Can’t wait to see Chris Butler’s time up Paris Mountain with this rocket.

Quarq CinQo and Garmin Edge 705

For over a year I’ve been thinking of getting a power meter. Recently I finally made my choice and ordered a CinQo power meter by Quarq (www.quarq.us). Perhaps I’ll discover some limitations in the device, but so far… I’m quite happy.

My interest in the CinQo started when I learned it would work with the ANT+ Sport wireless protocol. I also liked the fact that it was integrated into the crank leaving me free to change out wheels should I desire.

I made contact with Quarq to see if I could beta test their power meter with the new Garmin Edge 705. Things were looking good as Garmin agreed to allow me to use their new computer for the test. I was pretty stoked about being able to be one of the first to review the 705 and the CinQo.

Soon, I had two 705’s from Garmin, but no CinQo. The release of the power meter kept being delayed. Finally, the CinQo was available, but by that time Quarq was not willing to allow me to beta. They offered to allow me to go on the waiting list, but no test for me.

Then I learned that the first CinQo’s would only work with standard cranks. I had purchased (what I thought would be) a compatible SRAM S900 compact crank. Now nearly a year later, the opportunity came to purchase the standard crank with the CinQo installed directly from Quarq.

Frankly, the way the deal worked out, I almost went the PowerTap route. Their ANT+ Sport version is supposed to come out this winter. However, the fact that I would have to purchase a whole new set of wheels kept bringing me back to the CinQo. Why didn’t I just get an SRM? $$$$$.

Now that I have it. I’m loving it. Once the guys at Sunshine Cycle Shop had my crank put in the frame things were just about ready to go. Some advice should you get the CinQo…

1) Read the directions. Make sure you upgrade your Garmin to the latest firmware.
2) Pay attention to the illustrations in the manual.

Once I had the firmware updated I was ready to get the two devices to talk to each other.

1) Click on “Settings” in your Garmin menu screen. Follow the menu through the “Profile and Zones” to the “Bike Profile” choice. Once there, make sure the “Power” check box is checked. Then go back out to “Settings”.

2) Choose the “ANT+Sport” option.

3) Click on “Accessories”.

4) Here is where I messed up earlier. I left the “Cadence Sensor Present?” choice as “Yes.” This needs to be turned off or you may get some really weird speed readings.

5) Make sure the “Power Meter Present?” choice is “Yes”.

6) Turn the crank backward about five times and then click on the “Restart Scan” button. You should see a message saying “Power meter detected”.

7) You can then “Calibrate” the unit by clicking on the button, or you can simply turn the crank backward five times to zero out the unit to the factory calibration.

8) Hop on and ride! You’ll see your power come up in the field you designate to show the power. Actually, you could fill the screen with current, average, and max power fields.

9) Upload your information from the Garmin to your computer. I have a copy of Ascent for Mac and WKO+ for Windows. The data is great for both.

The Quarq CinQo appears to be a pretty solid option for people looking for a lower cost option for measuring power. Time will tell whether it holds up to a full season of cycling. The construction seems solid and I’m looking forward to what it can do.

Bye, bye, triple

I no longer have a triple crank on my Allez. I’m now going to try to make it with two front rings. I’ll let you know what I think about it whenever I get a chance to try it out.

So, why did I do it? It was because ever since I got the bike the bottom bracket has made a racket. Whenever I would climb under load, it sounded like the crank was going to pop off the bike. Besides the physical stresses that most have been going on in there, I’ll add the mental annoyance of hearing that over and over again.

Turns out the problem was a documented issue with that crank set. So, the answer was to replace it. The deed is done, but I won’t get to test it out until tomorrow evening.

Hope my upgrade to a Shimano comp will cut out the racket!

I’m told that I really will have the same range at the triple with the added value of a solid bottom and smoother shifting. Somehow I am a little skeptical that the lower range of the gears will spin quite like the triple. I’ll let you know…

When not to ride

Somehow, I don’t think this was a recreational rider. Why would you be riding your bike at 4:30 in the morning unless it was your primary means of transportation? Not wise.

Bicyclist hit by car as he waits for an ambulance
The Greenville News

I won’t be able to ride today — or perhaps a couple of days. Ever since I got my bike, I have had issues with the bottom bracket. There is a lot of play when you put pressure on the pedals. Thankfully, it is still under warranty and I am supposed to take it by Sunshine Cycle Shop and they are going to replace it.

Here is the next item I’ve collected to help me in my training. It is a Sports Instruments ECG Pro 7. I’ll admit that I haven’t learned how to take full advantage of the computer.

“Based on your Threshold Heart Rate or your Maximum Heart Rate the Pro 7 automatically calculates 5-training levels based on contemporary training philosophy. The Pro 7 then automatically tracks the amount and percentage of time you spend in each training zone during your workout.” Now, what that means I’m not sure. I primarily focus on the time spent in the fifth zone, the average heart rate, and the workload.

There are lots of ways to use the computer that I have not even tried yet. However, just being able to see my heartrate during a ride has been a help. It causes me to focus on recovery between periods of intense output. I’m learning to control my system through breathing and altering my output.

They really work

I discovered that the two 16 oz. water bottles I was using were just not large enough for longer rides. I figured it was a simple thing to just go in a bike shop and grab a larger bottle. I noticed that Chris was using one of these Polar Bottles. So, I checked them out. I was skeptical, but they do hold 24 oz. So, I thought I would try them out.

I put one of the bottles full of sports drink in my freezer. Later when I was about to do a 20 mile ride, I took it out and hit the road. I never got to drink much of anything. The liquid never melted enough for me to get a drink! Saturday when I took my 72 mile ride, the ice in my water hung around for nearly 2 hours and the water stayed cool until the very last stretch home.
These bottles are not a gimmick. They really work.

Bye, bye, while bar tape

No ride today. I did rewrap my handle bars. No longer do I have that glaring white tape on there. I put some black Specialized Phat tape on there and it looks good! More importantly, the tape is nice and tight. The white tape had started to separate and the gel beneath was all messy. Now it is even more padded than before with the new gel. Can’t wait to get on the seat and give it a try!