The TCX Advanced Pro 1 ticks all the boxes on my cyclocross grocery list. And it has already found a home under pro riders in the highest echelons of the sport, yet it costs about as much as a mid-level road bike. This seems to be the sweet spot in cyclocross, affording you everything you need to make a real run at the podium while maintaining some semblance of a budget for things like food and shelter. Fortunately, I like the way the TCX rides almost as much as I like dinner and the roof over my head.
That’s because it complements my strengths (short, explosive sprints) and accommodates my weaknesses (just about everything else … har har). The size M/L I tested has somewhat long geometry numbers (1031mm wheelbase, 429mm chain stays, 61mm bottom bracket drop, 569mm stack, and 386mm reach), which contribute to its stability during all-out sprints. Pushing the TCX Advanced Pro 1 up a false-flat on the backside of Valmont Bike Park felt intuitive and stable even while torquing hard and leaning the bike over. The Giant encourages pedal-mashing, and it keeps you on an even keel as you do so.
You’ll be able to get over the front end and explode forward without the rear wheel skipping all over the place. Stability is the name of the game here. It’s not the most nimble for tape-to-tape cornering, but everywhere else the TCX is a rocket. The long wheelbase, trail, and chain stays that contribute to that stable feel also limit the TCX slightly in the tightest turns, though it’s far from being a sluggish steerer. If your bike-handling skills are up to snuff, you won’t notice too much fight here.
Quick line changes on fast descents were a breeze, while serpentine twists through the trees required a bit more input. That may be due to the 61-millimeter bottom bracket drop. For comparison, that’s 8mm higher than the BB on a 56cm Specialized Crux. Cyclocross geometry is all about compromise — though Giant’s geo might not feel snappy, a taller bottom bracket will let you pedal through steep off-camber or deep mud ruts without striking your pedals.
It’s an common adage: practice makes perfect. But it’s difficult to prepare for races when the actual route takes place halfway across the world. Or if your schedule doesn’t give you appropriate time to hit the course.
Whatever the reason, indoor smart trainers (like the KICKR ) have helped riders access unique training plans that can dynamically recreate courses and conditions in high detail. In conjunction with Best Bike Split, for example, riders can access a complex physics engine that takes into consideration power data, course info, and race day conditions to carve a perfect plan of attack.
For triathletes, this is crucial training; Getting as close to real conditions in your workouts can shave off valuable time when rubber hits the road on race day. When each second counts, you can’t afford to throw away training time to incomplete sessions.
So are you looking to maximize your training time for a race? Reach a new PR? Take on your first triathlon? Recreating these routes for your training is simple; just grab your KICKR, start up the Best Bike Split program, and follow the steps below.
How to Set Up Best Bike Split on Your KICKR
Step 1: Create a race course within Best Bike Split. Most Ironman courses are already included (just a simple search for them should pull them up) or you can build your own custom route.
Step 2: Choose a race plan based on your FTP to provide an optimum bike split OR plug in a target time and BBS will load a plan based on those specific targets.
Note : Once you have your race plan, you’ll notice it looks a bit like a cue sheet; there is target wattage or speed to hold for X Miles information available.
Step 3: After you save your race plan, navigate to your ELEMNT and authorize BBS. It will sync your course down in the “Routes List.”
Step 4: Now get on your KICKR. There are 2 ways to utilize this new race plan.
If you want your ELEMNT to control it in simulation mode, just select the route and it will augment the KICKR based on grade simulation (insane KICKR CLIMB session, anyone?). You’ll also have your target power/speed to hold just like you will have to do on the road.
If you want to see the BBS race plan while you train, just select the BBS custom screen on your ELEMNT for live updates on your progress and targets.
Bonus Tip : If you want to practice being held to that wattage, you can export your data as a variety of files and then attempt it on Trainer Road or put it in the Zwift Workout builder.