A few weeks ago, I discovered a crack in the frame of my mountain bike. Bad news. The good news is that Giant has a lifetime warranty on all their frames. And, since they don't make the old style aluminum frames any more, they set me up with a new 2016 XtC 2 Advanced Composite frame.
My bike now rides like a whole new machine. It's like all the things that I thought were lacking in my old frame have magically been fixed. The ride is smoother, I have a much easier time getting my weight behind the saddle, it's far more sure-footed through switchbacks, and when I stood to climb I could feel the stiffer frame and immediate power transfer to the back wheel.
It's really cool to be able to make an apples-to-apples comparison between my old aluminum frame and the new carbon one. I'm a convert. I'm sure that a lot of the improvements are in the geometry, but the tide is too much smoother not to credit the better material.
I had a cold the week before Christmas, and I'm taking some time off to enjoy the Christmas and the New Year. (It fit perfectly with the rest week at the end of my initial training block.) I'm really looking forward to getting back to riding and training. And I can't wait to see how 2016 goes for me on the bike.