Material changes

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I made some and they have made a huge difference.

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Last Saturday was finally the day for my bike fitting. My friend Felix owns a bike shop and we were going to make some adjustments to my time trial bike (the red and black one on the left side of the picture) but with me moving to Nuremberg and the weather turning to nasty, cold and dark (winter…) this fitting was delayed until last Saturday.

It’s not the best idea to do it at the start of the race season but there’s never the perfect time so we just made it happen.

What this involved was basically us riding for 14km in one direction to get gelato and then turning around and going back home.

 

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During that ride I got constant lessons on my posture, how to hold my neck, where to add more positive tension, how to pedal more efficiently, how far ahead I should look etc.

It was like learning to ride a bike all over again. Really fast, with someone pressing on my helmet or poking a finger between my shoulders to get his point across.

And it was super helpful. We made some adjustments to my bike on the way to the gelato place and once there we changed the cleats under my shoes that clip into the pedals.

 

Once back at the bike shop I had to ride on the wind trainer for final adjustments.

All up we:

  • lowered the handle bars by a few inches
  • moved the aero bars forward
  • moved the cleats on my shoes as far back as possible
  • slightly lowered my saddle and moved it forward

 

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Can you see my speed improving after the half-way mark? It’s the gelato effect…

 

The bike feels completely different now and simply with these material changes and with no extra effort from my legs whatsoever, I can ride about 3kph faster (compared to my typical average speed) over a given distance on the flat. That is quite significant and feels incredible. I can now achieve speeds that previously were only possible in group rides and I feel that my race goals aren’t so unrealistic anymore.

 

Racing

Speaking of races: My original plan was to do a bunch of duathlons this season. Why not triathlons? Mainly because I simply don’t have enough time to train for the swimming, especially if I want to get faster.

Unfortunately my targeted April duathlon was cancelled and after Saturday I have actually become positively obsessed with cycling and with the thought of wanting to find out how good I can be if I just focus on cycling.

So with no planned duathlon, as well as the choice of three race-ready bikes for all occasions (time trial for non-draft races, road bike for draft legal races and a cross bike, the orange black one in the first picture, for offroad adventures) I decided that 2018 is the year of the bike for me.

My A race is Challenge Roth, a long-distance triathlon which I will do as a relay with two other people. I need to ride 180km (111miles) as fast as possible with a targeted time of under 6 hours. That is ambitious but I am super excited about the race. I did it two years ago in 6:22, and I know I’ve got a lot left in me.

Another race I will be doing is the Prudential 100 ride from London to Surrey which is 100 miles of cycling and is happening exactly 4 weeks after Challenge Roth. 100 miles by then should feel easy haha.

 

Miles ahead

So what now? It’s all about collecting miles and kilometres and a few meters of altitude on the bike as often as possible and for as long as possible.

My job and travel commitments as well as finishing our book by June 1st mean that I need to train smart and be flexible.

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Today that involved commuting by bike, racing to the bike shop at lunchtime to pick up new bike shoes, commuting home by bike, scoffing down some food and then heading out for a 31km (19mi) ride before enjoying a second dinner.

 

 

 

I have to admit I do enjoy the eating part of this training. Eating a lot and often is exactly what I like to do. And it makes me feel like a badass professional athlete even though I’ll never be one :-).

 

On that note, time for some stretches and a massage and some sleep.

 

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