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Now is the winter of our discontent

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It has been 3,262 kilometers since my last confession.

Yup, 3,262km since my last blog update at the end of September. I'm not sure whether that's impressive or severely disappointing. I guess I haven't blogged because there really hasn't been much to say.

I've bought some nice cycling kit (maybe the subject of another blog), but done no racing, had no epic adventures (I had hoped to go cycling in The Canary Islands, but Covid scrapped that), no real 'excitement' worth reporting.

Of those more-than 3,200km logged on Strava, I'd hesitate a guess that over 2,000 have been racked-up on Zwift. And none of them on my TT bike which is currently awaiting a scan to see how badly the carbon frame has been damaged and whether or not it can be repaired.

Originally, I had planned to just buy the 2021 Giant Trinity tri-spec frame, but some bright spark at Giant UK decided they wouldn't be importing any 2021-spec framesets (and only two models of fully-built 2021-spec Trinity bikes), so that lovely chameleon paintjob that time trial cyclists and triathletes in other countries around the world will be admiring in 2021 won't be seen on any UK roads next year. A really disappointing decision from the bigwigs at Giant UK (rumour has it the 2022 Giant Trinity will be disc brakes and they're waiting for that).

So I guess I'll be doing one of three things in the next few weeks:

  1. Getting the existing frame repaired (and maybe treated to a new paintjob)

  2. Buying the older 2020 version of the Trinity frame (if there are any in stock)

  3. Moving away from Giant for my 2021 TT bike

Option 1 is the least financially-scary, but is 100% dependent on Target Composites confirming the frame can indeed be repaired.

If not, then it's down to option 2 or 3. Right now the Giant UK website says they have stock of the Tri frameset in my size (I'd go for the Tri version as I don't need to be UCI legal and the Tri version is a smidge more aero than the TT version). Option 3 would be a huge shame as I really do think the Giant Trinity is a great bike.

What else would I look at? Probably something like a Scott Plasma. Although obviously the sensible option would probably be to have the fit first and then find the best bike based on that, rather than trying to fit me to whatever bike I liked the look of (which, if I'm 100% honest, is how it's been so far!).

While all that plays out, I'm still trying to ride and train. And working with a coach for the first time in years means I have to do what I'm told and adhere to the structured sessions. Which actually means more work in Z2 than I would normally do. Slightly tedious at times, but hopefully doing something to establish a base that I can build on in the coming months.

And who knows what racing is going to look like in 2021. I think we kinda got lucky in 2020 with a half-decent time trial season despite the many obstacles. Right now, I don't have the highest amounts of confidence that 2021 will be a 'normal' year by any stretch.

Back to riding. I've reluctantly put the TCR SL away for winter. Rim brakes and expensive carbon are not for salty or wet roads. I'm seriously tempted to have it stripped and repainted for 2021. But I think I need to see just how expensive the TT situation is going to prove to be first!

The Propel lasted a little longer, but that too was put to bed at the end of November as the roads started to get (and stay) that bit too mucky for nice wheels and (dodgy at the best of times) rim brakes.

So that means the poor 2021 TCR Advanced Pro disc bike has been getting all dirty on a regular basis. It feels wrong to put a Di2-equipped, carbon-wheeled and carbon-framed bike through that. I reckon I've already done enough damage to the bearings on the wheel hubs that they're going to need a rebuild before next Spring.

So I have a couple (or three) options for winter riding:

  1. Stay on the TCR but maybe swap the nice Giant SLR carbon rims for some heavy duty winter ones with all-season tyres

  2. Put said wheels (the winter ones) on my SRAM 1-by TCX 'cross bike and make that my winter mule, or

  3. Buy a dedicated winter bike (or maybe even a winter bike that could be something else in 2021)

So I'm half-contemplating buying a Giant Revolt gravel bike that I could use through winter both on and off-road and then use as a dedicated gravel bike next year (might even sell the TCX as currently no plans to compete in cyclo cross this season).

I'd be interested to hear from anyone that's used a gravel bike as a winter road bike. My TCR might thank me if I leave it on the turbo in the shed over winter (although assuming I do get it back, that's where the TT bike needs to be asap!).

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