PCSD 40K #4, Felt TK3 48 x 14 Fixed Gear

I rode the last 40K TT time trial (PCSD 40K #3) on Putah Creek on my Felt Track Bike and barely scraped under the hour.  I felt under geared on my 48 x 15 setup and so for PCSD 40K #4 I upped my gearing to 48 x 14.

  • 48 x 15 @ 90RPM = 22.5MPH
  • 48 x 15 @95RPM = 23.75MPH
  • 48 x 15 @ 100RPM = 25MPH
  • 48 x 14 @ 90RPM =  24.1MPH
  • 48 x 14 @95RPM = 25.44MPH
  • 48 x 14 @ 100RPM = 26.8MPH

As you can see from the above comparison the 48 x 14 gives me a “beat the hour”  pace at my pedaling sweet spot of 95RPM.   The only downside is that for headwind sections and accelerating out of the dead turns there is a lot more pressure on my legs and knees.  The higher gearing also makes it difficult to do a  warmup as even at 90 RPM I had to be hammering along at 24 MPH. This meant that I felt pretty bad on the warmup especially as the course was pretty windy.


I felt pretty good on the first leg which I think had less wind hindrance  (especially after the 90 turn where you could feel a tailwind) but I did feel slightly over geared. I didn’t look at my Garmin until I got to the turn where I made sure I was on a sub 15 minute time. I was on schedule  and turned in 14m38s (25.77MPH).  As expected the return leg felt harder but I was in a groove and it really didn’t feel to be that much different from leg 1.  The last 2 miles to the turn felt hard and I had to dig deep to keep a good pace. I hit the leg 2 turn in 29m00s (25.71 MPH) which meant I was still on schedule to beat the hour and my time was only 4 seconds slower than the first leg (14m32s – 25.65MPH).

As I turned for leg 3 (repeat of leg 1),for what should have been a slight cross tailwind, I hit a bad patch and struggled to keep greater than 25MPH. I didn’t panic and just tried to push through but it was relentless. The tailwind section after the 90 turn allowed me to spin at 100RPM for half a mile or so and this seemed to refresh my legs but allowed a geared rider to pass me. I felt much better and actually kept the rider about 50 meters in front of me all the way to the turn. I hit the turn for leg 3 in 44m59s (25.43MPH) which meant leg 3 was much slower than leg 1 (a whopping 31 seconds slower) and it took me 14m59s (24.88MPH) which was below my 25MPH goal time. I was still on schedule to beat the hour but I was a little concerned that things were going pear shaped.

After the turn I caught and passed the rider on the climb under the freeway overpass (I later learned he was riding to a 30K based training plan in preparation for the championships) which gave my morale a great boost. He didn’t pass me again until about 2.5 miles to go and gave me a great carrot to aim for over the grueling last 2 miles.  I also managed to catch and pass another rider in the last half mile which certainly helped to keep my focus. I finished in 58m27s which was a new conventional bike course best for me and a sound beating of my last fixed gear effort.  I did the last leg in 14m28s (25.77MPH) which was actually 4 second quicker than leg 2.

Time Breakdown:

  • Leg 1 (6.2137). Time : 14m28s (25.77MPH)
  • Leg 2 (12.4274). Total Time : 29m00s (25.71MPH) – Leg time 14m32s (25.65MPH)
  • Leg 3 (18.6411). Total Time : 43m59s (25.43MPH  ) – Leg Time 14m59s (24.88MPH)
  • Leg 4  (24.8598). Total Time: 58m27s (25.51MPH) – Leg Time 14m28s (25.77MPH)

My legs were totally shot after the event and it was all I could do to ride back to the car. It had been another hot event and I felt very dehydrated at the end. I really enjoy riding fixed on this course and I reckon I could improve further to challenge my recumbent p.b. of 57m02s. It should be noted that I beat my geared best by 3 seconds but when I did that time I was not on the best of form.

Comparison of My two Fixed gear attempts:

Speed (7/5/2012 vs 8/22/2012):

The Speed Trace shows the complex nature of the wind direction but it is surprising just how much faster I went on the smaller fixed gear with the tailwind.

Pulse (7/5/2012 vs 8/22/2012):

There is a huge difference between the pulse traces for both events. I am not sure if it was the larger gear allowing me to push harder or I was just fresher tonight.


Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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One thought on “PCSD 40K #4, Felt TK3 48 x 14 Fixed Gear

  1. Peter Borenstadt

    Mark, maybe instead of 48/14 a 50/15 would be better? Not quite as much of an increase and a bit more efficient.

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