2016 Tarmac Pro Ui2 Disc

Fast and quick.  These two words best describe the characteristics of the bikes that I just test rode.  Turin bicycles, here in Denver, offered me the opportunity to ride a 2016 Tarmac Pro Ui2 disc and I jumped at it.  I’ve been riding a Venge for the past 2 1/2 years and wanted to see what the other flagship bike from Specialized had to offer.

The weather here in Denver has been hit and miss lately.  26F with snow everywhere to 65F and cloudy with wind.  The day I took out the Tarmac it was the latter.  My training plan called for 4hrs of zone 2.  Perfect, I’ll take this beauty up into the mountains.  From my house, it takes around 35 minutes of riding west until the real climbing starts.  One of my favorite canyons are here averages about a 2% grade for 10 miles.  It’s a climb that is suited to my style. testride

I tried to restrain myself from going too hard because what I had planned for myself was going to require most of the energy I had. The bike felt very planted underneath me.  If I stood up and put some power to the pedals, it responded immediately.  I ride a 58cm frame and currently weigh in at 190lbs.  As I like to say, I’m not a climber.  Duh.tarmac

I guess I picked a good route for this bike.  From my door, I essentially climbed for 34 miles and gained 4,500′ with the steepest bits towards the end.  The bike did everything that everyone says that it does on the climbs.  Where I was surprised was on the descent.witter

I really metered my efforts on the last few miles of the climbing.  The downhill that awaited me was one of my favorites.  6.5 miles of twisty mountain roads with gravel in the corners but almost no traffic.  I tend to cheat a bit when I descend.  I use the maps on my Garmin 1000 so I can see what’s coming at me.

I took the first few moments to get my legs use to a different pedaling style than I had just been doing for the past 3 hours.  Ok, legs are feeling good, let’s ride some tempo.  The disc brakes allowed me to brake a bit later going into the sharp corners and with less effort.  The lever pull initiated in a different spot than it does on my other bikes but that was easy to get use to.  I’ve also gotten in the habit of shifting into an easier gear before the corner and allowing myself to get my feet up to speed sooner.  The Tarmac really accelerated out of the corners quickly, it felt much different than my Venge.  I ended up setting a PR by 14 sec on that section of road and I didn’t really feel like I was going that hard.

The rest of the way home I just rode a moderate pace.  There are some nice long sections of downhill where it’s easier to do a “super tuck” than it is to pedal.  This is a position that I use all the time and am very comfortable when in it.  I’m happy to report that there is more room to fit your body comfortably on this bike than there is on my current Venge.

Bottom line: I liked the bike a lot, however I would not buy the disc version.  I just have too many other wheelsets that are not disc.  If I was just getting into the sport, I would probably feel differently.  Disc brakes are a good thing, and I’m sure they’re here to stay.  I would love to have them in wet conditions where I’ve had some scary rides on carbon rim brakes.  This bike proved to be quick to get up to speed and could hold it’s own when the road turned down.in the snow

Down valley

Erik and I had just finished up with a long day in the saddle and were enjoying a cold beer when his phone rang.  “Hey Troy, you’ll never guess who’s sitting across from me right now.” Galen.  Yep we just rode 105 miles.  A ride tomorrow? Sure.

Troy is Troy Reynolds, one of the nicest guys you’ll ever have the pleasure to ride with.  He and his special lady friend, Peg, have a place in Snowmass just up the road from Erik’s.  The three of us raced on a team together a few years back.  Troy and Peg now run that team and his roofing company is the title sponsor.  Super happy for those two.

Troy

Erik makes for a great guide.  He gives an excellent description of what we can expect in the few miles and we’re off.  We had just ridden around 25 miles, almost all downhill and now it was time to get in some vert.    The first climb was short and not too steep.  Troy and I rode it together as the rest of the group was just behind.

kom

america

We regrouped at the top and took a few pictures, and I somehow managed to crack a few jokes.  Hay fields and horses would be our companions for the next few miles and I was definitely not complaining.

flats

 

Another Froome impression later, and we reached the top of the climb.  These are the hidden gems that you tend not to find on your own.  I consider it a gift when a local rider shows me the goods.  “This dirt road goes all the way to Eagle”, Erik told me.  Sometime I’ll have to check that out, but for now it was time to descend back to the valley floor.

fun begins

After a ripping descent, we all stopped into Basalt bike and ski where we found our friend Iain working hard.  I kind of feel like we just stopped in to rub it in a bit.  As cyclists, we always want to be riding and it stings a bit to see your buds out there having a great day.

Erik was feeling the effects of the ride the day before so we just rode easy.  I was happy to do it too.  Lots of time to take pics and enjoy the new roads that we’re laid out before me.  As we pedaled on, quiet roads were bordered by farms and ranch land.  We all really noticed the temperature as we climbed a dirt road back towards Basalt.  I love the felling of not knowing where I am, just pedal the bike and listen for the next turn.

climbs

 

views

This is where we split.  The Reynolds Roofing crew headed back for the bike path, but Erik had something up his sleeve for the two of us.  He spoke of a view of Snowmass that few people got to see and I was more than ready to see it!  Perfect tarmac gave way to chip and seal and the chip and seal gave way to some of the most perfect dirt road I have ever pedaled on.  Beautiful ranches and green fields lined either side of the road.  Erik held a steady pace as I jumped on and off the bike snapping pics along the way.

snowmass

REal Estate

Behind Bars

A few more miles of dirt and the road changed a bit.  Erik warned me the there were a couple of ramps ahead and he wasn’t kidding.

steep dirt copy

Just around the bend from here we hit the top of the climb and it would be just a few short moments before we were back on his deck, enjoying another one of those refreshingly cold brews that we had the day before.  I hung out at Erik’s for about an hour and then went to pick up the rest of the group for lunch. We took the Sprinter van into Aspen and enjoyed a nice late lunch.  I said my good-byes and navigated my way through town to get back on Independence Pass.  Once again, I took my time driving up the pass and took advantage of the opportunity to take photos as I pleased.

carve

bolt

pass

As I was driving up, I passed a few cyclists heading out for some late afternoon climbing.  Since I was hanging out anyway, I decided that I snap a shot of them and give some encouragement.

cyclist

miles to go

I arrived at the summit about 30 minutes before the sun was to set.  You know what’s coming next, sunset pics.  It’s always worth it to watch it to completion.  Sometimes, when you think it’s over, there’s just a bit more to see.

Back home

Chain

indy sunset