Everything has been very quiet on the blogging front in recent weeks. That is primarily down to starting my season off rather terribly. Set backs from race entry rejections, cancelled races, a DNF and then going like crap in the CTT and Scottish Cycling Championship 10’s. I’m going to use this post for something more fun and positive before writing about those races. 2019 see’s a bit of a “revamp” on my time trial bike. So let’s take a look at that after one little thing:
This blog is about MY cycling/training/racing…. Performing like shit or performing above expectations. Both fall within the realms of what I am trying to do here. I won’t be hiding away from or glossing over the bad stuff. It’s as much a part of this game as the positive side.
I just needed a bit of time to let it sink in and move on before writing about it. Which I will do over the coming week.
Cool? Shiney bike o’clock!
The Focus on Aero:
Two seasons ago I was doing 5.4W/KG for a 16KM/10 mile time trial.
I was doing 5W/KG for a 40KM/25 mile time trial.
My personal best times for these two distances are 21:38 & 54:45.
In other words I was not going fast and nowhere near the sharp end result wise despite the power I was putting out….. Yeah, yeah, I know W/KG is pointless when it comes to time trials…. Only, it isn’t, actually! Regardless of a hill being involved where rider/bike weight is a key metric, even on a flat drag strip TT’s, a bloke weighing 59/60KG can still only put out so much power in relation to his size.
Whilst pushing good numbers on the power front I was clearly about as aero as a non-aero thing!
Seeing guys 10KG heavier than you go faster off less watts does a lot of things to an OCD brain. Watts is watts and I am doing that. Watts + lowering CdA could be the only path worth following now, right?
It’s quite an aggressive position for me to hold. My time in the gym over winter was primarily spent on core work but I put a lot of time into working on my triceps and shoulders as well. Purely for time trialling and achieving a better position/lower CdA. The (now obvious) thinking was that if I could keep the watts and get more aero… That would lead to much improved times. So far this logic has proven to be very dumb.
Shiney Bike Promise:
Front Wheel – Revolver Kronostok FWS7 with Vitorria Corsa Speed 25mm
Rear Wheel – FFWD Disc with Vittoria CXIII 23mm
Both tubular and the intention is to replace the CXIII on the disc with another Vittoria Corsa Speed or try the new Continental GP5000.
I’m loving the Kronostok FWS7. It’s a wide wheel in general terms and matches a 25mm tyre perfectly. Due to the course surfaces we mostly ride on being as rough as a badgers backside…. I am definitely appreciating the comfort the 25mm on the wider rim provides. There is a lot of data out there now showing the rolling resistance benefits of a wider tyre and just as much data showing the profile of the tyre matching the rim width provides good gains aero wise too.
Chainring – Single Fibre-Lyte 54t
Cranks – Rotor 3D+ 170mm on Rotor Aero MAS Spider
Chains – Waxed KMC X11-EL
I’ll have some big news and a lot more information on super clean waxed chains VERY soon!
The Fibre-Lyte single chainring has let us remove the front mech completely for some weight saving and aero gains. The chainring itself is carbon fibre as well so has shed some serious weight here. I done a brief spell on Rotor Q-Rings which are an oval chainring but I did not get on with them on the TT bike unfortunately.
Groupset – SRAM Red eTap. Blip Grip bar end shifters and 2x more shifters on the base bar under my brake levers.
Aero Bars – USE Carbon 40 Degree Hi-Rise
Arm Rests – WattShop DirtyAero Carbon 10 Degree
Another change I made (prior to winter actually) was to my stem. The Cube Aerium came with a 90mm stem which is a pretty non-standard affair. It is very slim in order to mount the steering tube and not foul the frame. After HEAPS of research and absolutely no help at all from Cube themselves, I tracked down a suitable stem, the Oval Concepts 760 Aero. This was the biggest game changer as it allowed me to stretch out my position as I went from 90mm to 110mm.
The WattShop arm rests are superb. Mainly due to them having a angled wedge beneath the pad which is held on by velcro. That sounds rather tatty maybe but it acts as a buffer or form of suspension between my arms/elbows and the arm rest. I cannot tell you how much improvement this has made to my comfort on the bike. I do not have to cringe every time I see a big bump in the road approaching and I don’t have tears in my eyes from jarring my elbows repeatedly. A problem completely cured! Although I do find they are way wider than I require as a platform for my elbows. If I was to change one thing on the bike at the moment it would be to a custom set of WattShop arm rests which see’s the platform size halved. This would allow my arms to rest on the high rise sides of the arm rest but also keep my forearms much narrower.
Garmin Mount – 76 Projects Modular TT Mount
This mount was a little finishing touch. A much needed one! With aero bars angled so high it left the Garmin screen unreadable whilst riding the bike. It’s a sweet little solution and extremely adjustable that has restored my ability to see my data on the road.
The Parachute Itself:
As we all know the bike itself is only half of the story. The human that perches on the bike is the biggest cause of drag and biggest reason said bike doesn’t go very quickly.
Skinsuit – Velotec Pro Aero Speedsuit with NoPinz Aero Pocket
Helmet – Kask Bambino Pro
I’ve been lucky to ride for Transition Race Team this year and their chosen kit provider is Velotec. The skinsuit is excellent quality and fit but boasts a much cheaper price tag than a lot of the others out there. To top it off, it is testing VERY well in comparisons to other skinsuits also. Mine is an XS size for me at 173.5CM/60KG and I cannot see how it could possibly fit any better. The only possible adjustment I would make is to shorten the sleeve length every so slightly.
The (poor) Bambino has had so much shit thrown at it recently in the time trial world. A previously very popular helmet has seen a polar change to its status and is now renowned for being decent on very few and specific riders. I’ve not done any testing myself on helmets as I do not have any others to try. In the near future though I would like to direct compare it to the Giro Aerohead (the current go-to helmet for most it appears) and see how they stack up. On paper it should net me some free watts based on position and other peoples findings. But it is something I want to establish and determine myself so I can be sure.
Overshoes…. I have no problem with how aero the Velotoze are. To be honest, I like the look of them as well. My biggest problem is achieving 27 TSS before even turning a pedal as I try to put them on whilst perched in my cars boot. I’ve had enough! So I’ve got a pair of the NoPinz Timewarp 2 Overshoes to try. Thankfully they are UCI legal version so I don’t need argue with any comms on time trial start lines…. Well, I assume they are UCI legal as it says so on the website, I’ve not got my tape measure out to ensure they are not beyond my mid calf. Wherever the actual hell that may be?