Red Kite 2017 Tempus Fugit TT Summer – Merckx – 6th Place



Picture Thanks to Katie


I decided to ride this event in the Merckx Category on my Wabi Fixed Gear Bike. I have quite a thing for 70’s style time trialling and before my stroke my big goal was to beat the hour for 25 miles 70’s style (not going to happen now). My 4 previous attempts at this course on the Wabi were all less than 30 minutes but back then I was pushing out over 300W.  My goals for this event were rather more humble and I just wanted not to finish last.  I reckon I would have to beat my time  from earlier in the year to not be last (geared bike with Hed 3 wheels and Kask aero helmet where I managed a 31m46s).  Last year by coincidence the last place time was 31m46s. In order to beat this time I would need to see quite a fitness gain as this setup was probably around 30W more efficient.

My Best Times on Wabi:

Date Distance Strava Time Speed Pulse Race Time
8/24/2014 11.1 0:28:36 23.6 169 Race (28:41)
8/23/2015 11.1 0:29:00 22.9 163 Race (29:04)
8/10/2014 11.1 0:29:10 22.8 154
3/22/2015* 11.1 0:29:12 22.8 165 Race (29:18)
7/30/2017 11.1 0:30:48 21.1 158  
  • Note:  This was my third TT of the day

I think I am fitter now than I was 3 months ago and my FTP is slightly better but I am not feeling too great.  I have been seeing some encouraging results on my Del Valle practice TT course despite the general feeling of malaise. I have been getting within a minute of my previous Wabi times on this course and my times are quite consistent.

My only changes to the Wabi was the addition of a new back tire (after the original Corsa let go in a big way) and a power pod power meter.  I also decided to stick with the 48 x 15 gearing which really is a compromise but I don’t think I could push anything bigger on the mainly up hill way out.

The Red Kite people have always been quite liberal with the Merckx rules and some people have some pretty aero kit.  I am riding a classic steel tubed bike with no gears and absolutely no aero stuff. I feel I am more than meeting the spirit of the regulation. This article “article here” claims that the difference beween a TT bike and a road bike is around 70W at 25MPH. I would say that for me on this 11.1 mile course it is about 2 minutes difference.  The difference between the Wabi Fixed and something like a Venge is harder to guess. I would guess that it could be a minute. This test has some shocking differences and shows that an aero road bike can save around 30W.  I think my geared bike with aero wheels and helmet was a good bit faster than the Wabi but I am hoping my fitness has improved.

What was quite significant from the aero testing was the “aero hoods” position which is the virtual aerobar position you see quite often with breakaway riders.  With my current state of balance I cant consider doing this as I consider it too dangerous.  It would probably get me quite a saving on those long drags on the way out if I could do it. According to this test it was worth 40W on the slowest bike which was huge. When my wife does this on training rides I can notice a big difference.

Aero Rankings

Bike model Aero watts at 45kph Aero ranking
Hoods Drops Aero hoods
Trek Madone Race Shop Ltd 301.6 299.1 279.1 1st
Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS 301.6 300.1 286.1 2nd
Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 307.6 295.2 281.5 3rd
Cervelo S5 309.2 306.5 281.1 4th
Giant Propel Advanced SL 343.0 332.6 298.0 5th


 I did a practice effort the month before the event and did a time only 2 seconds slower than my March time which was really encouraging.  The time was 2m12s  slower  than my best on the Wabi but better than I hoped for. I estimate that since the spring my  FTP has improved to around 260W.
Ten people signed up for the Merckx Category including super fast Chris Evans who did 26m39s last year.  That is a storming time for a non aero setup and actually faster than I have done aero (my p.b. is 26m49s). On the start sheet I had Carl Nielson two minutes behind me who last year did 28m01s and was hoping I could hold him off until the turn.
 I got a really good warm up for the event by riding out from home and felt pretty good at the start.  There was quite a bit of aero kit on bikes at the start line which is a bit disappointing but to be expected. Really Merckx just means no aero bars or disk wheels to most people. It felt quite hard to me on the way out and the little hills were quite a struggle. My pulse was pretty high from very early on but I was determined not to get caught by Carl. I held off my Minute man till around mile 4 and got out to the turn about 1m10s off my Wabi best.  The return leg did feel like a headwind but it is mainly down hill so I was flying. I saw over 30MPH several times and returned within 43 seconds of my Wabi best which is encouraging.  I also managed not to get caught by Carl which made my day.
I felt absolutely terrible after the finish and it took me a good half an hour to come round but I achieved my goals so I was very happy. I do not think I could have gone any faster today and put in a really hard effort. I was 1m53s slower than my Wabi personal best
  • Strava Segment
  • Position 6th
  • Time 30m29s (winners time 26m35s)
  • Max Speed : 31.1 MPH
  • Max Cadence : 130 RPM
  • Average Pulse : 171



Picture Thanks to Katie


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