Login Login with Facebook Register

TT Training & Road Bike Mod

Posted July 24, 2015 01:42PM by slacker in the Cycling Forum

slacker
slacker toboggan victorious
@komradepow   Load error 6151114
Location: Whistler
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 34

I did my first TT this month at the Squamish Triathlon and it was S I C K.

When I looked into doing the relay with my pals Team Giant Robot, I wasn't quite sure what I had gotten into. I had a few months out, and as usual with me, I got obsessive as I wanted to be competitive.

First up was the bike itself. I realised that some aero bars were in order. I scoured feedback and forums (including Steve Hogg's bike fitting site, where I now have a subscription) and settled on Profile Designs. They have by far the best price point going on for anatomically friendly and fully adjustable aerobars. Moreover they are quality and you can route the shifters through the bar ends if you want (I didn't bother, but would love to in the future).

Availability in Canada was a wash though. My local LBS had the alu T2+, which I tried, but the horizontal (aka "aggressive") bend only hurt my wrists. So those went back to the shop. Moreover there is NOTHING more aero about bending your wrists unnaturally. Watch the Tour; everyone grabs a pistol grip for a reason: control and comfort.

So I scoured Amazon US and got a sweet deal on some Profile T3+ Carbons. I could've saved some $$ and weight (!) by getting the alu equivalents, but in the end I wanted the carbons for bump and shock absorption. Also, the Carbons feature the new J22 pads which have a much easier adjustment system (it doesn't require removing the pad or parts to shift it around).



— beatz: http://djtobias.com
— tweetz: @komradepow





Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2015 02:59PM by slacker.

Attachments

profile-design.jpg 14.3 KB open | download

slacker
slacker toboggan victorious
@komradepow   Load error 6151114
Location: Whistler
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 34

Next up was some hydration. I wanted something I could get at without removing my hands. From the same Amazon US seller I got the Aqualite aero bottle with the handlebar mount.



Testing with this thing revealed that bumps resulted in sticky hydration explosions. It's fine on a flat and smooth course (as most TTs are) but the Squamish ride is rough, with two sets of railway tracks and broken pavement with uphill/downhill sections. I ended up creating an aluminium foil / duct tape plug for the "quick refill" lid.



I got used to the straw and stopped worrying about poking my eye out and/or looking lame. I still don't like the big ass straw and would prefer flexible surgical tubing, actually, that you could somehow clip on or something. It has me thinking for next time. But the good thing about hydration like this is that you don't have to take your hands off the bars and you can drink in the crouch. This is crucial for a TT. Most serious TTs don't even drink, but I found my super Hammer HEED and electrolyte brew totally energising. Also "pre-hydrate" too much and you'll be screwed with a full bladder.

— beatz: http://djtobias.com
— tweetz: @komradepow





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2015 03:00PM by slacker.

Attachments

profile-design-1.jpg 17.3 KB open | download
profile-design.jpg 7.2 KB open | download

slacker
slacker toboggan victorious
@komradepow   Load error 6151114
Location: Whistler
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 34

Next up was a new wheelset and tires. I had my Spesh Fulcrum Racing 4s, which are fine enough, but I wanted all aero. I can't afford Zipps and I wanted something with a ~24mm rim for 25mm tires, so that excluded also throwing down big money even for on-sale Shimano Dura-Ace C30/50s. So I went with an indy builder who are getting good reviews — Flo Cycling.

Flo use aluminum rims with carbon fairings, so you get good braking with aerodynamic design. They're not as light as the more-pricey alternatives (which are moreover 3x the price on average!), but in real world conditions, it's not that weight which is going to really matter. It's YOU. Plus some aero.

In order to even get the rims, I had to book and order to the minute when they become available. Their batches sell out in seconds.

I got the Flo 30 Front, which isn't all super aero but does have a toroidal shaped 24mm rim on a 24mm wide. Knowing Squamish, and the mad crosswinds, I wanted a front wheel that wasn't going to become an airplane wing.




For the rear, I got the Rear Flo 60s. I probably could've gone deeper. As I discovered on a few scary test rides up in Whistler with swirling crosswinds, it's the front wheel that is most affected by wind, for sure.



Oh, and I went with stealth red on black for the logo, which is just a sticker. FYI, my first front rim arrived damaged, but Jon & Chris at Flo took care of it with record time and shipped me out a new one with ultrafast air service. Kudos to them for being real and awesome.

Of course I also needed a new Shimano Ultegra cassette, which I got for ultracheap from our friends in the UK, Wiggle. And then tires. I got both Conti Grand Prix 4000s and Vittoria Rubino Pros. In the end I mounted the Contis as they're a bit more robust.

— beatz: http://djtobias.com
— tweetz: @komradepow





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2015 03:01PM by slacker.

Attachments

wheels_detail_flo_30_red_stealth.jpg 27.2 KB open | download
wheels_detail_rear_flo_60_red_stealth.jpg 26.5 KB open | download

slacker
slacker toboggan victorious
@komradepow   Load error 6151114
Location: Whistler
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 34

So I had already been training for the TT before I got my bike changed over with all the components. The first and most important thing I did was book in with triathlete and Ironman trainer Christine Suter at Meadow Park Gym to develop a stretching regime. Yes—body maintenance. I know I am strong but stretching is where my tight, office-bound writing-body is weak. Over 6 weeks Christine had me more limber and pain-free than I've ever been on a bike. Ever. The best investment of your coin is in your own body. Get fitted properly (I also brought my bike in to spin on her trainer as we checked my alignments) and get a stretching regime that works. I'll be going back to Christine for more program builds as I now prepare for the RBC GranFondo Whistler.

I also purchased and started a 4 week TT program on Training Peaks. To be honest, it was more of a motivator than anything. Many of the training programs simply were inapplicable, like "find a long stretch of flat road and [etc etc]". I live in Whistler. Moreover the course is in Squamish and includes a long 2km uphill at 4-7% gradient and an equivalent downhill, with two sharp downhill corners. So this was no normal TT.

In the end, for training I ended up adopting the TP program as needed. Riding around Whistler is awesome training to begin with. Unless you are riding through the Valley bottom housing 'burbs, there is no easy riding here: it's all hills, it's all technical descents, and you work for your miles.

Following TP, I tried to work most on developing my cardio by doing both interval and endurance training on allotted days. But most important, above all, was actually running the course. The first time I did it, I parked at Alice Lake and rode the course in 1h:10 moving time for its 37km. This isn't too bad, and keeping in mind I was benefiting from a heart rate reset when stopping at the Hwy 99 lights. On race day I wouldn't have any point of cardio relief.

The second time I road the course, I had my TT bars on, the water bottle, and the wheels. My bike felt entirely different. I had done a test ride the previous day in Whistler and it was freaky. I felt unsteady on the TT bars. I had already played around and adjusted them for reach. I also left my saddle alone; with all the climbing, there was no point in shifting it forward. My alignment, reach and most importantly my muscle groups are all developed for my current position. And I was treating this as a TT as a relay racer. I'm not running afterwards, thus requiring less pressure on certain muscle groups (calves), which is why triathletes shift their saddles forward or have aerobikes with frames designed to do the same.

So by now, you're probably wanting to see the bike (of note I removed the bottle cages, but kept the seat bag, as I wanted to finish if I got a flat):



So the bike felt very different. I was 10 days out and was just getting used to tribars. To be honest I wasn't sure if I could get confident enough. However.... to be honest it only took me two rides to feel comfortable hammering in the aero tuck at 58km/h on the downhill sections. I got used to keeping my left hand on the bars, in the tuck, and shifting with my right, my elbow at 90 degrees to keep it out of the wind. I got used to rapid movements with my hands for protective braking. That said... I am already a confident road rider used to technical descents and during the winter, a lifelong ski fiend who is very used to balance at very high speeds.

I wouldn't suggest such a steep learning curve for most people. The wind is what can really get you, and I had some very close calls with swirling winds in Whistler that sent me skidding around on the road. At one infamous hill north of Whistler on Hwy99, I had to slam on the brakes after almost getting blown directly into traffic. Once I felt wind, I got used to and used the technique used in the peloton, of lightly applying the brakes and biking into the pressure. Like keeping the gas tapped in a car on slippery roads, it keeps forward momentum in the frame while also using the brakes to clinch and help direct the front tire.

Part of the wind issue is structural. I am using a Spesh Roubaix which has some slack front forks compared to a race or TT bike. Also, I use a short 90mm stem because of my cramped shoulders. As I get more flexible I will be moving to a 100m stem, so this should help in getting more weight over that front wheel.

— beatz: http://djtobias.com
— tweetz: @komradepow





Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2015 03:02PM by slacker.

Attachments

Tri Setup 01.jpg 61.3 KB open | download

slacker
slacker toboggan victorious
@komradepow   Load error 6151114
Location: Whistler
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 34

So, my second run on the course was 1h:05. This isn't bad. It's getting more competitive when you look at past course histories. I still wasn't sure how I would go on race day.

Before race day, we had huge fires everywhere in BC. Whistler became choked with smoke. The carefully crafted taper from Training Peaks was blown to shit. I was walking around like it was the apocalypse.



When the smoke finally cleared, I rode both days before the race. This usually isn't recommended. But I wanted to get out on the aero-bike and feel warmed up. Sitting for three days cramps me right up.

My final aero considerations, btw, was helmet and clothing. I have a Castelli Aero jersey that I got on close-out from a Quebecois online shop (La Cordee, thank you). I got my newest and tightest Rossa Corsa kit. And I splurged and got the Specialised Evade aero helmet, which I also tested out for heat/sweat (it does amazingly well; and as I sweat like buckets, this is saying something).



— beatz: http://djtobias.com
— tweetz: @komradepow





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2015 03:03PM by slacker.

Attachments

specialized-s-works-evade-aero-helmet.jpg 26.1 KB open | download
Whistler Air 03.jpg 31.6 KB open | download

slacker
slacker toboggan victorious
@komradepow   Load error 6151114
Location: Whistler
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 34

Race day.

Had everything ready to go the night before. Nothing left to chance. Had bananas and smoothie. All calm.

I got there early and on time. Got body marked. Then bit my nails waiting for Team Giant Robot to show up from the city. They did and we all got sorted. My partner was there, which was most awesome, as I could keep warm with extra jacket and things and then hand it to her when it was my time to go.



For warm-up I rode from the T2/Finish to T1 at Alice Lake, doing three interval spurts to 90% max HR and otherwise spinning high-cadence like a monkey. Racked my bike. Then I watched the swimmers go. Brr!!



From my practice runs I knew the following: 4 laps up the 2km hill could be done in the big ring at lowest/second lowest gear, with cadence not dropping below 80 and HR peaking at 175. I knew that dropping into the lower ring popped up my HR so big ring at lower cadence was more efficient. So I had the climb down to a science. I also knew that I should be hitting the first climb at 75% effort, and then 100%+ effort the last three times. In theory. I also knew my max downhill speeds on the course (about 58km/h) though that's from trial runs with traffic concerns.



Race time. I watched our swimmer hammer it, only to get smacked somewhere out in the lake with a foot in the face. This set her time back 10 mins. This meant I was coming out of the T1 behind all other relay racers, which is already behind the men's and women's pack. This meant, as I know I'm pretty fast, that I was going to have to fight through the pack.

This I did. Coming out of Alice Lake, I was given screams and arm-wavings of concern from the course volleys as I hit the hairpin corner (where folks crash every year) at speed. However I knew exactly how fast I could hit it, and moreover I have technique. As I approached Hwy99, it was a pleasure hearing the course officials yelling "COURSE!!!" with mad urgency as I crossed the highway topping 60km/h. That was fucking sick.

The dump truck run on the course to Government Road is a fast and rolling descent. By now I was passing people. Christine had warned me about the Triathlon. "Yell at people", she said, "be vocal". This I did. I had to aggressively pass folks who were simply not moving over and technically blocking (which is against ze rules). Most folks didn't seem to know that this course, as it ran on the LEFT side of the (closed) road, required keeping to the left. It was insane. As I headed down Government Road, things got seriously mad with cyclist traffic. I had to call one guy out for blocking right as I was zooming past the T2. People were noticing and yelling at cyclists to make way for me. I was passing at over 60km/h riders doing half the speed, in full aero tuck, dodging and swerving. In the end, for safety's sake, I had to pass on the inside as some folks seemed completely thick as to the scenario. I wasn't going to slow down for them. This is a RACE.

First time I hit the uphill I was so stoked and high that I hammered it in record time, even as I tried to slow down a bit, thus completely destroying the 75% effort philosophy. Fuck it. It was all out. As I crested the hill and prepared to turn left around the dump truck run again, I stood up and belted it, earning cheers from the corner crowd. It was also part of my strategy, as I knew that folks would be slow at the crest before the downhill, and this was a good passing tactic that allowed me to get even more speed on the long down. I had practiced reserving enough HR to be able to crest in a standing sprint.

I did this three more times. I passed loads of people on the uphill. I watched some folks explode. Others had flats. I passed some very competitive *looking* riders with the big tail helmets and ultra-aero bikes, always enough to put a grin on your face. I only got passed once, by a solid rider whom I had passed the previous lap. On the third uphill I ate two ShockBlocs in aerotuck. This made me giddy with energy. My HEED was probably enough, to be honest, and eating reduced my O2 intake. No eats next time on a 37km TT. It's not necessary.

On the 4th uphill, I hammered it with everything I had. At the top, I was still standing up for the corner but I felt dizzy and on the verge of vomiting. This is good. It means I had hit the limit but not the wall. I still had energy to pedal through the downhill at max speed.

I came into the T2 fast and skidded to a halt on the dismount line, shouldering the bike in cylocross style and running into the transition to seat the bike and tag my runner. I had passed most of the relay riders and many triathletes who started out some ~20 minutes ahead.

The only good photo of me on course is as I come in to a screeching stop at the T2. Sorry.



Final time — 1h:01:44s. I was 4th overall in the relay riders, and 1st in my age cat. Of the three riders ahead of me, two were ahead only by 15–45 seconds. The top rider hit 55 minutes which is close to a course record. Our team did awesome, with a middle of the pack finish. Not bad for our first relay triathlon. And Squamish is a decently competitive and nonstandard course with some very fit athletic folks (as well as actual Olympians!).

I definitely want to do more of these.

— beatz: http://djtobias.com
— tweetz: @komradepow





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2015 03:06PM by slacker.

Attachments

Squamish Triathlon 10.jpg 68.7 KB open | download
Squamish Triathlon 14.jpg 73.4 KB open | download
Squamish Triathlon 06.jpg 81.7 KB open | download
Squamish Triathlon 08.jpg 48.4 KB open | download

Skye
Skye Skye Nott
@TheStaminist   Skye Nott Staminist.com
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 505

Great writeup! And great time, you really smashed it. I knew you would prepare really well and thanks for detailing everything.

I read the part about going 75% on the first lap and "letting the effort come to you" and thought, yeah that's a good idea! Then you get in the race situation that goes out the window. Classic. Glad the smoke cleared before the race, that was really awful.

Any issues mounting the aero bars? Are all aero bars than aren't integrated/one-piece considered clip-ons? From the photo it looks like there's a bar section between, but maybe that's just for the product shot. Do they mount on the thick 31.8mm center section of bar or the smaller diameter after it steps down? Did you have to adjust the bar tape? I guess some handlebars would work with clip-ons and some wouldn't, I have a few bars that taper immediately on either side of the stem clamp. I really want to try aero bars some time, I'll have to keep an eye out for second hand Profiles.

How long were you waiting between your warm-up and going out? Do you think warming up on the road or on a stationary would be better? Fighting through traffic is a pain but on the other hand I love the little rush you get from chasing and passing. I hope to do more passing in the future...

Interesting about the hydration and food. Did you use any caffeine? How much liquid did you take in over the TT? Did you measure your weight before & after the test rides to gauge your hydration needs? I suppose this would all be pretty personal and also depend on ambient temp and effort. I don't think I'd like to go without a drink for an hour, it's so refreshing. I'll have to figure that out when I try CX because they don't seem to use bottles either, gets in the way.

Really smart to run the course and know your gears and the corners. So hard to pace yourself when you don't know what's coming, and futzing around with gears kills your momentum fast. Huge gains to be made from carrying speed through corners. That was really smart to gain on the crest, that's something I'm always working on - learning not to drop the anchor when it levels off.

Good to hear Flo made things right with the damaged wheel. Customer service like that is worth paying for - especially when you have a race day coming up! Your Spesh looks sick in TT trim.

Webmaster - Staminist.com


slacker
slacker toboggan victorious
@komradepow   Load error 6151114
Location: Whistler
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 34

Quote
Skye
Any issues mounting the aero bars? Are all aero bars than aren't integrated/one-piece considered clip-ons? From the photo it looks like there's a bar section between, but maybe that's just for the product shot. Do they mount on the thick 31.8mm center section of bar or the smaller diameter after it steps down? Did you have to adjust the bar tape?

No issues mounting, nor did I have to remove bar tape (just stretch it out of the way a little). The Aerolite drink mount is in-between the aerobars; it mounts to the handlebars and not the aerobars themselves (which is much sturdier). The aerobars have no adjoining section (that's just the plastic pipe they come mounted on). They are also both adaptable to now standard 31.6mm and smaller diameter handlebars. After reading Steve Hogg and trying some systems I would never get integrated bars that are not adjustable. Most of the integrated systems are built to look cool but have terrible body ergonomics. That's the tri/Ironman crowd for you.

Quote

How long were you waiting between your warm-up and going out? Do you think warming up on the road or on a stationary would be better? Fighting through traffic is a pain but on the other hand I love the little rush you get from chasing and passing.

I dunno, I think I got to T1 by 9am and then was waiting around until 10:35am or so. Sure, I guess if you wanted you could've had a trainer, but race rules prohibited cyclists being on trainers after 9am, so it made no sense. The warmup was enough and I'd definitely warm up on the road over a trainer any day.

As for traffic, it's all fun and games until you risk hitting tarmac at 60 km/h because of some idiot blocking (I also passed one athlete wearing headphones which is strictly prohibited). Then it's a safety hazard and it's dangerous and any idiot on course not following the rules should be removed.

Quote

Interesting about the hydration and food. Did you use any caffeine? How much liquid did you take in over the TT? Did you measure your weight before & after the test rides to gauge your hydration needs?

I can't wake up without caffeine. So besides my usual double latté, HEED has caffeine in it, as do ShockBlocs.

I drank 70% of my Aerolite, which is the small, about the size of a standard bottle.

And no I didn't bring a scale to weigh myself. Good god.

Quote

Your Spesh looks sick in TT trim.

Total stealth. I just want a black and red GIANT ROBOT team kit to match. Working on designs. ;)

Probably going to order from Jakroo — they do GCN jerseys, the Whistler Fondo, lots of teams basically. Quality is good with their middle-of-the-line Tour (the Whistler Fondo jersey) but I'd go for the high end Nova for racing.

— beatz: http://djtobias.com
— tweetz: @komradepow


slee Paul Sly
  Load error 5927557
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 14

I am pretty happy with how Team Giant Robot did at the Squamish Triathlon as well. I would love to do that course again in the future, knowing what type of run to train for. I think I would focus more on hills and less on track/speed work. I just wish there were more events of a similar nature that we could sign up for.

slacker
slacker toboggan victorious
@komradepow   Load error 6151114
Location: Whistler
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 34

The Squamish one is by far the nicest, with its outdoor swim and forest trail track. I've been checking out the other ones (UBC, Langley, etc) and most use indoor pools or road runs.

The other best nicest one is the Kelowna Apple Triathlon, which would make a sweet weekend getaway. It's August 21st–23rd. The Olympic distance is on the Sunday, so it would mean taking the Monday off.

— beatz: http://djtobias.com
— tweetz: @komradepow


Skye
Skye Skye Nott
@TheStaminist   Skye Nott Staminist.com
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 3 years ago   Posts: 505

Hope you're healing up well T, looks like some serious snow is headed your way! See you for some rides in the Spring.

Skye

Webmaster - Staminist.com
Post a reply, start a new topic, join the conversation!

Create Account

Login   or   Login with Facebook