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Time Trial Speed and Bike Tuning

As most of you are aware I tend to cross over the cycling disciplines throughout the year and love all manner of bike racing. As well as the MTB and Road Racing the Individual Time Trial has a special place in my heart. Being brought up on the English scene the classic summer series of evening 10’s and 25’s was all part of the staple diet and included into each and every training schedule.

The feeling of pure power and speed got me hooked at my very first race. I remember it well as it was the New Year Day 10 at Steyning back in 1990. I rocked up on my road bike standard with no mod cons  and certainly no aero helmet. It was a brutally cold morning and about 2 degrees with frost on the ground and very little wind. I remember the starter holding me up and setting me off. It was awesome, no snivlers sitting on, just measured power and effort and pure speed. To my amazement I won my very first 10 in a time of 23.05 with an average speed of 26.03mph or 42km/h. I had a cyclo cross race the next day and I could not stop thinking about the ITT.

How things have changed, bikes, gear, knowledge the whole sport was in the dark ages back then and knowledge was passed on through the A graders in the club if you were lucky. There was no internet, no wind tunnels, no anything, just trial and error and away you go. I was hooked from then on and found that I had a talent for time trialing, my pretty average physiology could be pushed beyond its real limits against the clock and solid results followed. Part of this is due to my inquisitive and partly OCD nature. I love the tinker, the changing the gluing and moving of all the bits and pieces involved on the TT rig.

Now than I am not going to give away all the secrets for Uber speed , unless you are one of my riders as it has taken literally 20 odd years to learn, but, I am wiling to show pictures of the rig and see if you can work most of them out for yourselves. I gave a report of the new CUBE as soon as I had built it up and transferred the measurements from the Transition, but, there have been lots of changes since, so, I think a revisit is in order.

The front end, is the most critical first point of contact with the enemy. Frontal area needs to be reduced to a minimum, but, still allowing breathing and power output. There is a crossover point where getting too low reduces power. A lot of testing needs to be done to establish this point for you as an individual. Too high not very aero, but, lots of power vs too low very aero, but, no power. Let look at the front end of the CUBE for details.

CUBE front end neat and tidy

CUBE front end neat and tidy

Neat and tidy front end, very narrow with elbow touching and a 30 degree bend for the extensions. This position has taken years to get into and most people cannot ride like it. If you try it be carefull the overall control of the bike is far more difficult and cross winds really get you!!!

TRP Brake mounted behind the front fork to smooth airflow

TRP Brake mounted behind the front fork to smooth airflow

USE Tula bars adapted slightly with armrests 120mm below the saddle height. I have found this the maximum drop height before I start to lose power. The average is between 110 – 120 for most riders as an optimum drop height.

Awesome USE Tula 380mm wide the minimum width allowed by the UCI

Awesome USE Tula 380mm wide the minimum width allowed by the UCI

I am using the 54 tooth OSymetric rings as used by a large amount of the SKY team and most notably Bradley Wiggins. I once tested Bradley when he was 16 years old at the lab with Simon Jones for the BCF. He had just I think won a World Champs on the boards. It is amazing to see him now rally at the top of his game and the pinnacle of his physiological capacity..Anyway some great studies have come out with these rings and after chatting to a good mate back in England Chris Mc and email with his coach Jon Sharples I decided to give them a go.

As I am now unfortunately injured the test period was small, but, I did hit a peak pb 3 minutes of 460 watts at 70kg, with one crippled leg, and was 3 second off my course record at a local 15km TT, so, signs are very good indeed. They actually ride very naturally straight off and I was amazed by how good they feel. If anyone is interested I can get them for a good price. Go onto my website www.ftptraining.com and send me a message and I will see what I can do for you.

54 Tooth OSymetric Ring on a Quark with Keo Blade aero pedals

54 Tooth OSymetric Ring on a Quark with Keo Blade aero pedals

The Keo Blade Aero Pedals help smooth airflow under the foot as well as looking bloody great ;o) There are more little things that I am not going to tell you as you need to travel down the path of discovery for yourselves, but, there is more free speed in the setup if you choose to uncover it.

Good luck on the journey of discovery and ultimate speed, I am over 20 years into it and simply love it.

CUBE = FAST

CUBE = FAST

Cheers Fenz

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