I was sporting my recently acquired Verge Mabra Super 8 leader's jersey and my new Giant TCX Pro 1 a couple of Sundays ago at the Ed Sander Memorial Cyclocross race at Lily Pons. I picked the bike up on Saturday afternoon from the fantastic folks at Conte's and raced it 24 hours later.
See how sweet it looks, even if it's not in official black and red team livery.
I admit that I was a little wary of racing a new bike with completely different brakes, shifting and tires/wheels, especially after said wheels are a bunch heavier than my 303's. However, one lap on the new bike vs. a half lap on the old bike just prior to the race convinced me to go with the Giant. It was so much smoother on the rough and dry course, the braking so much better, and the steering so precise that I risked it.
After a not so hot start because I hit the downshift instead of upshift button as we accelerated off the line (the downshift button is in front of the upshift button, which just doesn't make sense. Forward =faster).
Anyway, I was back up into second as we caught the back end of the 45+ field by the drop in. Curtis Southern was able to slip by a backup at a slippery off camber that unsettled the less experienced riders. I had to stop behind the guy in front of me, but Roger Massie somehow slipped past the blockage. It was full gas to catch up to him, but at the end of the lap I was in the red zone and had to let him pull away. I stayed close, just a few seconds down on Roger for much of the race, but by one lap to go I was struggling. Fortunately, the new Giant was so easy ride I didn’t make any big mistakes in the closing laps (last year I got tangled up in the course tape on the last lap due to fatigue, which cost me a couple of places) to hang in for third place, which lets me keep the leaders' jersey another week and try to defend it at Rockburn.
Favorite things about new bike: upshifting (or downshifting) under full load while powering up the short, steep climbs. Not sure how long the thing will last, but I love that aspect of the Di2. Braking: now I know why everyone wants discs when weight isn't the most important factor. Comfort: not totally beaten up at the end of the race. I wasn't faster, but was much more comfortable while suffering.
Looking forward to seeing the roadies crushing it in the spring!
Race notes: Curtis Southern's elapsed time was faster than the 45+ race winner's time despite having to fight through traffic most of the way. This season he currently owns or has worn the leader's jersey in the Sportif Cup, MAC series, and Mabra Super 8 series. He has won 3 of the 4 races he did in Super 8. John Rogers started the series with a W, but has had bad luck since, but still sits in 3rd place.
DC Velo's own Jim Wagner was out there, besting his cohort, sporting a quiver of wheels. I want to give a big shout out to the folks promoting and putting on the races this year – fantastic job!