Tag Archives: Tarmac

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!

A different kind of bike Fit

Well, this weekend, I will be heading up to River Falls for the last Saturday race of the 2009 Greenville Spring Training Series. I’ll be taking my bike with me because I plan to race it. The weather will be nice and my finger is feeling much better, so I am pretty confident about giving it a go.

I thought I would use today’s post to show you how I get there. I have a 58cm Specialized Tarmac Pro and have the choice of carrying it in a Chevrolet Suburban or Honda Fit. With what it costs to go racing now days, I figure I need to save where I can. I’m taking the Fit.

People who have seen the video ask me why I don’t put my bike in there in “tall mode.” This seating configuration is where you flip the bottom of the back seats up exposing an area behind the front seats that goes from the floor to the ceiling. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for me.

It does work for a smaller bike. However, my Tarmac is just a little too long. My bike fits just fine height wise. It is just too long to fit across. Besides, I like having the larger space to work with when trying to load the bike.

Beyond the bike configuration, I really like my 2009 Honda Fit. It is fun to drive and good on gas. It has some pretty good options for an entry level Honda and it looks pretty cool.

Can you put racks on it? Yes, manufacturers of roof racks do have systems that work on the 2009 model. However, if you are looking for a hitch mounted rack, you are out of luck. At this time there are no hitch options that I am aware of — outside of fabricating your own!

The Fit is Go! and I am gone.

UPDATE: If you would like to see a close up view of the system, you can take a look at this post.

I already want my bike back!

I woke up a little sore this morning.  Nothing drastic, just enough to notice a little more tenderness in certain regions and stiffness in some of my muscles.  I think I can trace it back to two things: 1) Nintendo Wii and 2) my Specialized Allez with a “new” saddle.

Last week I made the decision to skip the Upstate Winter Bicycle League. It isn’t that the ride had lost its lustre for me.  It was simply a matter that with the race season starting for us next week, I wanted to be well rested going into that weekend after a long winter of riding.

By the way, the final points was extremely close.  Rodney and Yuan were only one half point from each other going into the final ride.  Rodney won the final sprint, but Yuan took second.  Because of the handicaps given in the various categories of riders, this gave Yuan the yellow vest.

Paul Mills easily held onto the green vest, which is awarded to the rider collecting the most points during the various sprint zones during the ride.  I like to think I helped Paul to his victory by helping him pace around Cleveland Park the night before.  Right!  Good job guys!  See you next year.

My plan was to ride with the Sunshine Cycle Shop guys on the Hour of Power.  However, I stayed up too late the night before trying to finish my vlog after a Wii party.  Saturday morning I ended up sleeping past the start time for the ride.  It wasn’t until that afternoon that I got out.

Shortly before lunch I dropped my Specialized Tarmac off at Sunshine to have a tune job done in anticipation of next Saturday.  I told them not to be in a hurry because I planned to ride my “old” Specialized Allez while the Tarmac was in the shop.  However, I would appreciate it if they could give me a used seat to replace the current one I had covered with duct tape.

The ride that afternoon was one of the best I have enjoyed.  After a cloudy rainy start to the day, the sun came out and the temperatures were in the middle to high 60s.  I easily worked my way toward Travelers Rest and headed toward the mountains.

I didn’t make it to the blue elevations before me in the distance, but everything seemed so right with the world, I felt like I could have kept riding to the Rockies!  I had stuck my iPod in my jersey for listening once I got out of town, but it wasn’t needed. This was one of those time when the thoughts in my mind and the sound of the rubber on the asphalt – swish, swish, swish – was the only music I needed.

So, why do I want my bike back?  Well, while the Allez is a very good bike, it just isn’t the Tarmac.  The steering geometry is different and I definitely missed my Specialized Toupe saddle.  My guess is I really need to get a bike fit on the Allez.  Some of the soreness I think can be attributed to that.  What I would like to do is take my old Toupe and put it on the Allez and get a new one for the Tarmac.

I’ll have to wait on that.  John texted me to let me know I was going to have to put on new rubber.  Seems I had all kinds of stuff embedded in the Michelins.  New bar tape to replace my current peeling grips also end up finishing off my budget for the month!

Enjoy the Tour of California.  I won’t be mentioning it much here.  You can find it all over the place elsewhere with coverage from people who are actually there.  I really don’t have much to add.

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