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Old 08-26-08, 07:02 AM   #1
Flash
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first time TT opportunity, what would you do?

I've been riding daily for six years, mostly on my commute, then rides on weekends. I use the commute (10 miles round trip) as a chance to ride a quick pace with extra weight on my back (my bag). I'm 43, 5' 9", 145 lbs.

My weekend rides have alternated between 20 mile hill-specific sessions and 12-15 mile "time trials" at moderate effort. I can keep a 21 mph pace for the TT course which is mostly flat, out and back, several turns. The bike I use is pictured below. 23 lbs of steel swiftness ;-)

I had planned to train for another year, get a budget TT bike, ride it for six months, then enter a 10K local TT in 2009 which is a straight shot, dead flat.

My question: is it a better idea to do the TT this year (on the bike pictured below -- I'd slap on some aero bars) to establish a baseline, then train for a year with the extra motivation to beat my baseline time; or is it better to simply train and have Sept. 2009 be my first race?

Thanks.

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Old 08-26-08, 07:09 AM   #2
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go ahead and race now.
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Old 08-26-08, 07:23 AM   #3
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Slap those aerobars on, lower the handlebars as far as they'll go and tilt them forward so the drops are parallel to the ground.

Race, and count the dollar value of the most expensive bike you'll beat and realize that you don't need all that crap when you're just starting out.
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Old 08-26-08, 07:44 AM   #4
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Ah, a variation of the am I ready to race question... The answer is almost always yes, try it. Even more so for a time trial. What have you got to lose? Who cares how you do?
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Old 08-26-08, 07:49 AM   #5
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Definitely go for it. As you indicated it will give a base mark to measure yourself against, and an idea of how much you'll need to improve to be competitive.

Great thing about TT's is that it's you against the clock, and ultimately you against yourself. So it doesn't take any particular bike handling skill or experience, and it really doesn't matter how slow or fast you are (unless you're fast enough to win.), just that you're giving it your all.


As for putting aero bars on your bike, I might skip it. Given that you plan to buy a TT bike in the near future, unless you can reuse the bars building up the TT bike, you'd be spending money on the bars for one race.

Also aero bars will not make you faster unless you train with them. If you have time to do 4-5 rides before the TT, they'll help. But if you slap them on the day before, you may actually be slower because you haven't dialed in the position and adapted to it.
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Old 08-26-08, 08:36 AM   #6
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thanks for the encouragement guys. I've been thinking about this for awhile, the TT seems the best fit for me as I am used to a decent level of suffering in the saddle and my mechanics are respectable.

so much for lying around this weekend. Looks like I have to drive out to the course and ride it in preparation. If I can juggle the family events with skill -- coaching, practices, etc -- I may be able to pull it off. Otherwise, I'll have to look for an event this fall.

merlin -- I will be able to get 4-5 rides in with the aerobars. I'm going to see if I can find an affordable, quality bar.

On the plus side, I really like how my admittedly-heavy bike rides and handles. The gearing is 40-52 up front and 13-23 in back, plus I just replaced the ancient tires with Michelin Erilliums which I think kicked up the overall bike weight a bit ;-). I've also recently switched back to the original (longer) stem for a more comfortable/racier position (the stem in the pic is the shorty).

cheers
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Old 08-26-08, 11:43 AM   #7
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Go for it. There is a lot to learn about TTing and every chance you get to race can help you down the road. First will be the importance of pacing.
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Old 08-26-08, 02:18 PM   #8
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I did my first TT in June 1995 on my then newish trek2100 road bike with campy Athena 7-speed group (DT shifters), tubular box section 32 spoke wheels and clipon Profile Stryke aerobars. I finished in 1:10. It took 5 years but i got it down to 58 min and change in 2000. By then the bike turned into a dedicated TT rig with D/A 8 speed, a full Syntace cockpit, bar-end shifters, Campy Chrono 54/44 crank, HED disk and Spinergy Rev X front wheel and a taped shut Specialzed Sub-6 helmet for aero and a skin suit and shoe covers. Truth be told i didnt do any TTs in 96, 97, 98 and 99. Just lots of racing. The 58 min TT just sorta happened as a result of years of work.

Point is, just go do it.
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Old 08-26-08, 02:26 PM   #9
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Race now.
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Old 08-26-08, 03:21 PM   #10
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My question: is it a better idea to do the TT this year ?
I am similar to you, thought I was in near-race shape. I put off that first race all summer,and finally raced, and found out that I had no clue of just how much I needed to improve, and more importantly what specific things needed work. My point is, I should have raced as soon as the snow melted, and I would encourage you to race as soon as possible so you don't spend the winter training without knowing exactly what you're training your body to do. I believe the first one is all education, be it TT or road race or whatever.
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Old 08-26-08, 06:13 PM   #11
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Race now.
Agreed.
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Old 08-26-08, 07:30 PM   #12
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Yep, race "the impaler" now.

Or you could turn the bars down a bit, then race.
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Old 08-26-08, 07:34 PM   #13
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Save the money you would have used to buy a TT bike and deep section race wheels and buy a cheap track bike instead. Track rocks! (If you have a velodrome or race series near you otherwise either ignore me or buy a cross bike and race that instead)
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Old 08-27-08, 12:31 AM   #14
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Ah, a variation of the am I ready to race question... The answer is almost always yes, try it. Even more so for a time trial. What have you got to lose? Who cares how you do?
+1000

This will ensure your personal best.

How will you know if you don't try?
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Old 08-27-08, 05:41 AM   #15
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Yep, race "the impaler" now.

Or you could turn the bars down a bit, then race.
yes, the bars on Vlad the Impaler will need to be turned down ;-) Good call.

Looks like my last minute heroics will have to wait until next spring: The TT is two Saturdays from now, the same day as our first soccer game. So I either coach or I abandon a bunch of electric first graders for the TT.

This is tough because the string of comments here really got me pumped. Oh well, I'll work hard throughout the winter so I'm ready for Spring.

cheers
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Old 08-27-08, 05:58 AM   #16
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go ahead and race now.
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What have you got to lose? Who cares how you do?
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Definitely go for it.
yes, yes, and yes.

the 'am i ready, should i train for a year' should only apply for mass start events, and even then, you don't need a years worth of training.

i'd like to say 'enjoy', but it's a TT.

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Old 08-27-08, 06:41 AM   #17
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the 'am i ready, should i train for a year' should only apply for mass start events, and even then, you don't need a years worth of training.
I would say for mass start events the most important thing is to get group riding experience so that you don't take everyone out because you freaked out that someone was only a few inches away... as far as the phyiscal conditioning, if you get dropped you get dropped...
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