Elite National TT championships on fixed…Am I mad ?

June was forecast to be time trial month for me as there were 4 TT’s on offer. Unfortunately the Dunlap TT and Satley TT were both postponed or cancelled which left me with only the USA Elite nationals TT on the 26th and my own clubs Diablo HC TT on the 27th (see Diablo HC blog posts).to look forward to.

Common sense would dictate that I should ride the National Championships on my geared Trek but I have a real passion for TT riding on fixed so I am going to ride it on my Felt TK3. UCI rules allow the use of a fixed gear providing there is a front brake on the bike.

From USA Cycling rule book:

“3E2. Road bicycles shall be used. Bicycles with a front hand brake and fixed wheel may also be used.”

Unfortunately the UCI also require that frames appear on their approved list.

“Each licence holder shall ensure that the equipment he uses on the occasion of road, track or cyclo-cross events shall be approved by the UCI according to the specifications of the Approval Protocols in force and available on the UCI Website.”

“During the transition stage, this procedure does not apply to frames and forks which, on 1 January 2011, are:
• already manufactured
• on the market
• already at the production stage.”

Now my Felt TK3 is a 2011 model but it does not appear on the UCI list. In fact no track bikes appear on the UCI Road TT approved list. Being a 2011 model year it probably means that my frame was manufactured prior to January 1st 2011 but in any case the 2009, 2010 and 2011 models all share the same frame so I believe I should not have a problem. I contacted Felt for help but got no response.

2009 Model

2010 Model

2011 (My model)

Riding fixed is perhaps not as mad as it seems as the course is supposedly very flat and I have a faster 40K time on my Felt than I have on my Trek TTX with gears. Pasted below are my 6 fastest 40k times on a regular style bike. My two fastest times were actually on my Bacchetta Recumbent but that is definitely not UCI legal.

There are two things that I need to do to the Felt to get it ready for the Championships:

Find the optimum gear
Make my position UCI compliant and fast.

4th May 2013 PCSD TT running 48 x 14

Finding the optimum Gear:

Looking at the chart of my best 40K times it should be considered that my fastest fixed time was on 48X14 at 96.6 average RPM and my slowest time was on 48X15 at 99.64 average RPM. I definitely found the 48×15 to be a little low and was happier on a 48×14. Although spinning at 100RPM isn’t really a problem on fixed I find that on aero bars I feel more powerful and more stable on a slower cadence. My ideal Cadence seems to be 95 to 96 RPM so my gear choice for Nationals needs to reflect this. My goal is to break into 56 minutes and get a lifetime personal best which means 26MPH plus.

I have decided to go for 52 x 15.

48×14 = 26.8 @ 100rpm
48X15= 25.0 @ 100rpm
52×15 = 27.1 @ 100rpm

Of course such a big fixed gear could be a huge problem if it is really windy on the day but seeing as I am not up for a win or anything like that it just makes it more of a challenge. I am sure if I rode 48×15 I would struggle to beat the hour.

Getting a UCI legal Postion:

Here is my current setup which has issues on both the 5cm and 75cm rules. The saddle also doesn’t have a hope of meeting the horizontal rule and I think the aero bars  may have to move down too.

Felt TK3 before fiddling to get to UCI legal position.

The position is now UCI legal with the help of a new saddle.

New TT saddle

New Position:

New Position

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