Monday, December 1, 2008

Watts this Aero stuff all about?

This is a great article to read for you aspiring Time Trialists and Triathletes!!

It is a commonly held belief by guys and gals who race in Time Trials that everyone should do them. For training, to see yourself in a whole new light and for competition and mental toughness. Tom Humphrey explains from his perspective why he does it with no time trial equipment of any kind, but I will just misquote him. Maybe he'll comment (hint, hint).

TH at States

It is a commonly held belief by guys and gals who race bikes that do not do Time Trials that they would rather die a 100 horrible deaths than suffer through one time trial.

Dave commented after the Chagrin CX race that Time Trialing probably has taught me to push hard and how hard I can push (to exhaustion) when I am all by myself in a CX race. I can see that. Time Trialing is a lonely sport as can be cyclocross.

Have you read the article yet? What I got out of it even with some protocols missing (like making the position on the road bike with clip-ons and the TT bike exactly the same) is that a road bike with clip-ons and an aero helmet is a sufficiently fast platform to be race worthy.

I present my first TT race bike care of Fitter Mike Vannucci at Bike Authority. I raced my bike like this at Presque Isle. Its a standard road bike (Cannondale Six13) with Profile Jammer stubby clip-ons. Saddle raised a bit and saddle slammed forward. My Powertap showed an average wattage of 290 watts for 12.5 miles in 28:05. Good enough for 5th that day. Thats 5th overall on a road bike with clip-ons out of 193.


One year later I went back with a state of the art Zipp Sub 9 disc, P2SL bike and a new fit and I hope greater fitness and went 26:54. A minute and 11 seconds faster. Was it all the money I threw at the bike, the uncompromised aero fit I could get on it or was it weather conditions or maybe it was all greater fitness?

Well, we know its a bit of all of them. But the article is a great answer to that question we racers against the almighty clock always want to know. If we buy this, how much time will it save us?

Again I take from the article that for $200 or less(clip-ons and aero helmet) you can convert your road bike to TT duty and be most of the way towards a full TT bike, only without the $1800 to $8000 of another bike.

I suggest you go to qualified bike fitter/coach to get the most out of your new TT position, even if its on your road bike.


Feel It: The Factory Rider said...

It's so impressive of how much an aero helmet helps. Nearly a fourth of the advantage of an all out *BLING* TT bike. I love that for nearly 1/20th of the price.

I'd like to see the advantage of skinsuit VS. jersey and longsleeve VS shortsleeve skinsuits. Maybe gloves and water bottles, too.

What do suggest for me on carrying my water. I like to take a little on something like Presque Isle. I've been squirting out water before I start as of late (the last two Presque Isles) and carrying a bottle.

I think those clip-ons, close to your face at BA look pretty nice.


Ray Huang said...

RObert, not to sidestep the bottle question, what I think is great for you is as you grow, you gain saddle to handlebar drop. So you can convert any older bike (or current bike) to TT duty and have a pretty aero set-up. As long as you stretch after workouts to gain flexibility that is. The stretching is a big part too (and costs nothing).

On the bottle question, well without a wind tunnel I would go with an old article that stated on a round tube bike, always run a bottle on the seat tube to shade the rear tire. and if your going to run a bottle, might as well have one or two sips of liquid in it. The weight wont matter. That's what I have been doing too.

But if you notice, some teams use bottles (CSC/Saxo Bank) and some dont (Garmin/Chiptle). Both teams do a lot of wind tunnel testing.

Tom said...

My self-imposed media blackout--end of term grading has taken over--is over.

I usually go to TTs with my teammate Brad Beeson, and we often talk what kind of person signs up to ride a TT. I'm sure I'm co-opting his words. Yes, I ride my regular road bike in them, although I'd love to get a TT to see how fast I could go--a different kind of test.

But even if I outfitted myself with all the gear, I'm still more interested in the TT as a test of character and will. Can I push myself as hard as I think I can? Can I go as fast as I think I can?

A TT always reveals a clear, honest answer. Sometimes that's a painful answer, but it's honest.

I also have to say that I'm with Ray, Brad, and Brian Batke on this: more racers should do TTs. They are humbling, yes, but they are also inspiring. I can honestly say that last year at the state TT I saw the times posted by people I ride and race with regularly and was deeply humbled and impressed. I know the commitment it took to get there, and the effort to sustain that pace for so, so long.

I also found those times inspiring. I'm not close to them, believe me, but I think about those racers when I train and ride hard. I know that as hard as I'm riding, those guys are training at least that hard, and usually harder.

That's the other part of TTs that test your character. Yes, the race is hard, but the training to get ready for the race takes character and will.

I have theories about why some people are willing to put so much effort into that kind of training, and training in general, so they can ride TTs and ride at the front of races, but I think that should wait. right now, I'm off to ride the trainer because I know that's what Ray's doing tonight and I can't fall much farther behind.