May 26th : Beat The Clock 10 mile TT: Canada Road (Aero Fixed Gear)

My chosen steed for entry in the Aero fixie class for the Beat the clock TT on Canada road:

The TK3 is designed for the Track but fortunately it is able to accept a front brake for use on the road. I was very lucky with my purchase of this bike as it fits me like a glove. Even though I have only ridden it 3 times this year I instantly feel at home as soon as I turn a pedal and the fixed gear setup is an absolute pleasure to use.  This is the opposite of my Trek TTX time trial bike that takes me an absolute age to feel at home on.

I decided to ride  a 42 x15 Gear which is equal to 80RPM at 20MPH ,100RPM at 25MPH and 120RPM at 30MPH. I also kitted up with a skinsuit and aero helmet to help with aerodynamics.  I love the purity of a fixed gear machine, all you need to think about is turning over the pedals as quickly as you can.  My friend Digby from the UK swears by fixed gear for time trialing but I reckon unless you are on a pan flat course there is always some sort of compromise.

In my previous blog posting I reported the nasty cold that I have been fighting with since coming back  from Italy. Fortunately by Thursday of this week the chest infection broke just leaving me with sinus issues which were not bad enough to stop me racing. I was hoping for a warm day for the BTC TT as this helps my respiratory system  but today was actually a little cool (low to mid 50’s) so the snot was flowing nicely on the warmup.

On the race itself it felt like there was a bit of a headwind out but I think in hindsight there was actually very little wind at all. I was a little worried about spinning out on the first down hill but I only managed to hit 33.1 MPH which was manageable.  Once the race  course flattened out a little I got into a good smooth rhythm and felt pretty good. I felt a little flat and I was definitely down on power but nowhere near as bad as I imagined. I would probably lay a good portion of the blame on being race rusty after not racing for over 3 weeks rather than just the ill effects from my cold.

When I hit the first uphill section I felt a over geared and was a little concerned to see my speed drop to below 20MPH. Thoughts started going through my head that I might not even beat my single speed Merckx time.  I upped my pace a little after the climb and got a good pace going before the next little climb which is about 1/2 mile before the turn. This little climb always kills me no matter what bike I ride and today was no exception. My speed dropped to 18MPH and I had to get out of the saddle for the first time.

The turn was a little bit interesting on fixed wheel and I took a pretty wide arc but didn’t lose much time.  I hit the turn with the clock at 12m10s which I hoped would mean the possibility of breaking into a 24 minute time. I was also hoping for a tailwind for the return leg to counteract the uphills. I reckon there was a slight tailwind on the way back but not enough to help very much.

At around 7.8 miles the final climb to the finish starts and it is a stair step affair with three distinct sections.  I got out of the saddle on the first one and tried my best to keep over 20MPH but dropped to 18MPH. On the second step I tired a little more and dropped to 18MPH again.  I blew up a bit on the final push to the finish and my speed dropped down to 17MPH for a brief section which killed my momentum enough to fall outside 24 minute region.   My time was 25m04s which I was happy with.

I really enjoyed riding my fixed gear track bike and I reckon I could  knock a minute off my time today with a disk wheel and a bit of training.

Time: 25:05
Winner:  Ethan Sopenski (22:27)
Class Position : 1st single speed [only one entered so that’s hardly surprising 🙂 ]
Overall Position: 24th
Link to Results:   Results

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