My goals for the last BTC time trial were pretty simple. I wanted to set new records for the Single speed Aero and Non-Aero Men on back to back rides. Although I have not returned to full power after my illness I am a few pounds lighter than last year. I was feeling quite confident after my recent hard block of TT racing on fixed and felt I could do it,
Event 1: Single speed Aero Men
I had to get up at 4:45am for this event, which is no fun at all, but once I started warming up I felt OK. The temperatures were cool but pleasant and the wind was very light. These were not ideal conditions on this course for a fixed gear bike as you really want a headwind on the mainly down hill outbound leg and a tailwind to blow you up the hills on the way back. I had only converted the felt TK3 to Aero on Thursday and had one brief test ride to try it out but it felt good. My previous fastest time on the TK3 was set with the same setup and pretty normal wheels but this time I was intending to use my HED’s. Unfortunately my HED disk did not turn up until the night before so the race was going to be my first test ride. I opted for a skinsuit and my Kask Bambino helmet for speed.
The race itself went to plan and the bike felt really fast on the outbound leg. I struggled a bit on the return leg on the hills but I could feel I was on for a good time. I ended up knocking off 42 seconds of my p.r, but wished I could have found five seconds to break into the 23’s.
Event 2: Single speed Non- Aero Men
I have been doing a lot of work on my speed in the “Merckx” category so I was hopeful that I could bag the second record of the day. I knew I had my work cut to beat the record as when I did the 24m50s there was a good tailwind on the return leg. Some of the hills on this course (particularly the first mile) end up being speed limited on the fixed gear as I simply cant pedal any faster so it is good to have a wind to push into. The same hill on the way back is slow enough that a good tailwind will make a significant difference to your average speed. Todays conditions were pretty much neutral wind.
After the first event I had to swap bikes, change clothing to regular Shorts and Jersey and change helmets. All this left me with less than 5 minutes to do a very short warmup on the Wabi so the adrenaline was flowing a bit on the start line. Compared to the aero setup the Wabi felt much slower over the first couple of miles (see speed trace below) but it felt great on the hills. You can see the Wabi was quicker over the last 2 miles in the speed trace below even though my legs felt more fatigued. I ended up with 25m05s which was a disappointing 15 seconds slower than the record.
Looking at the Comparison of the two races, the clear speed advantage the aero bike had on the flats and down hills is very obvious. Considering both bikes were speed limited by 48 x 15 gearing the difference over the first three miles is quite remarkable. The time difference between the two bikes of 1m01s is probably a fair reflection of the aero advantages. I think on a flat course the difference would be bigger.
Old but interesting paper comparing Merckx style to TT bike.
Single speed Aero Men
- 24:04 Mark King Kovarus/Wells Fargo Racing Team 6/14/2014
- 24:46 Mark King Team Fremont/ FFBC p.b. Chipotle 3/16/2013
- 24:56 Mark King Kovarus/Wells Fargo Racing Team 2/15/2014
Single speed Non-Aero Men
- 24:50 Mark King Team Fremont/ FFBC p.b. Chipotle 4/25/2013
- 25:05 Mark King Kovarus/Wells Fargo Racing Team 6/14/2014
- 25:25 Mark King Kovarus/Wells Fargo Racing Team 5/24/2014