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Old 09-13-11, 06:36 PM   #1
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TT bike: can it make a difference for an old fart?

I'm going on 64 and ride with a group of 30 somethings while they do their sometimes very difficult interval training sessions.

I find that I can do many of the intervals while drafting, and in parallel with the strong girls at about 21.5 mph but I have to draft the 30+ boys during their extended 23+ mph intervals.

They all ride tri bikes and I'm on a 18 lb carbon road bike. I get into the drops, but will a tri bike help me? I know that a tri bike will probably be more hefty, but can the layout make up the difference?
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Old 09-13-11, 07:19 PM   #2
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Bob,

This calculator may help to answer your question. Inserting the same watts for different positions shows significant increases in speed. I'm 188 lbs and my real speed/watts are close to the calculator's. On flat ground the bike weight is not much of a factor on speed, it's all about aero.

http://bikecalculator.com/veloUS.html
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Old 09-14-11, 08:26 AM   #3
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What is your goal? Are you wanting to be able to ride outside the paceline, or to do your share of pulling when it's fast? As A'Jet says, aero matters a whole lot at faster speeds, overwhelming all other bike factors. But most people would much rather ride a road bike than a TT/Tri bike. And, inside the paceline, the importance of aero is reduced. Unless you are getting dropped from the line on the harder intervals, why exactly do you want to change things? For many of us, riding in a fast line is a true joy.
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Old 09-14-11, 09:00 AM   #4
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I ain't riding in your pace line if any of you are on aero bars.
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Old 09-14-11, 10:18 AM   #5
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I ain't riding in your pace line if any of you are on aero bars.

My sentiments also. Aerobars are fine for time trials and triathalons, but they have no place in a paceline except the front.
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Old 09-14-11, 10:44 AM   #6
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Many groups ban aero bars, but as I've gotten faster and starting riding with faster groups, I've found that those groups are okay with them. I see quite a few of them in pacelines now, and don't have any issue with them. Just as "It's the motor", it's the skill of the rider that matters where safety is concerned. I'm more worried about me than I am about the guys I see with aero bars, who generally have far more experience than I do.
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Old 09-14-11, 11:13 AM   #7
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Many groups ban aero bars, but as I've gotten faster and starting riding with faster groups, I've found that those groups are okay with them. I see quite a few of them in pacelines now, and don't have any issue with them. Just as "It's the motor", it's the skill of the rider that matters where safety is concerned. I'm more worried about me than I am about the guys I see with aero bars, who generally have far more experience than I do.
Grasshopper, you are beginning to see clearly. I agree it's all about the guys you are riding with. The faster the pace the less the reaction time and the more you have to trust the guys in front of you. When I ride in 20-23 mph groups I usually sit off the wheel of the rider in front so I can see ahead. When the pace gets "turbo" and I have to get right behind the rider in front and can't see ahead is when the trust level is paramount.
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Old 09-14-11, 03:17 PM   #8
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When I purchased my TT bike, I added an HED third brake on the right aerobar for use in team time trials. It works really well. You can see it in this pic. It controls the front brake.



Generally, I do not ride my TT bike in groups but have on occasion ridden in a HIT session with a group of road bikes. One does need some skill in the aerobars to do that.

And we ride all the time in pace lines at the track in aerobars doing team pursuit. Here is my team pursuit at 28 mph on the aerobars in formation with no brakes and fixed gear at the US Masters Nationals this year.



Here is a video of the pros doing team pursuit at 35+ mph at Manchester. We looked that good just not as fast. But we are not "old farts" so I guess that made the difference.


I ride at the LA Velodrome frequently and in pace lines with others on aerobars. Generally, I ride in the drops. I do not have a problem keeping up. However, aerobars are faster. The bottom line is that if you are a slow "old fart" aerobars are not going to get you an upgrade from old fart to Cat x.
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Old 09-14-11, 04:38 PM   #9
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Seriously, what you have to decide is if you enjoy riding with this group. If you want to continue, I would get a TT bike. It will be more fun and you will fit in better. And why not take on a new challenge by learning to ride a TT bike. You may or may not be faster. A lot depends on how well you produce power in a more aero position. In the drops of a road bike, you will produce more power. My TT bike weighs around 16 pounds. So TT bikes are not necessarily heavier.

I assume this group is comprised of triathletes. And depending on the event, they may be allowed to draft in competition so riding in a group on tri bikes makes sense. Good luck.
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Old 09-14-11, 05:43 PM   #10
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Threw a leg over a Cervelo P3 today. I'd like to have one, but would settle for a P2c
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Old 09-15-11, 11:17 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the replies and thoughts on the subject. I really enjoy riding with the group. With the guys in the lead on intervals I have to draft to stay on (24+). With the girls I can lead out and ride next to the leader (21-22.)

I can hang on most intervals, even up to 30 min, but Tuesday the boys did 30 second sprints at 120% LT with 30 second rest, 5 reps, 3 min recovery, 3 sets. No drafting. I lasted for 3 min. Then I hopped on the girls train doing 30/20/10 min intervals with 3 min rests at 21.5. I can handle that.

I realize I'll never match the boys, but just want to see about how a TT bike might affect my performance.
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Old 09-15-11, 11:57 AM   #12
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I can hang on most intervals, even up to 30 min, but Tuesday the boys did 30 second sprints at 120% LT with 30 second rest, 5 reps, 3 min recovery, 3 sets. No drafting. I lasted for 3 min. Then I hopped on the girls train doing 30/20/10 min intervals with 3 min rests at 21.5. I can handle that.
My coach calls those "30-30's", although she proscibes higher power than 120% LT, and 2 sets of 10, with 5 minutes in between. They are on tap for later today. Target is 470-510 watts, which is up in the anaerobic zone for me. If my power drops below the target range, then I'm to stop. It may very well do so.

I'm suprised at the relatively low output your group is using for 30s intervals, and am curious as to the reason. Maybe Hermes or Jet can enlighten this grasshopper!
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Old 09-15-11, 12:20 PM   #13
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My coach calls those "30-30's", although she proscibes higher power than 120% LT, and 2 sets of 10, with 5 minutes in between. They are on tap for later today. Target is 470-510 watts, which is up in the anaerobic zone for me. If my power drops below the target range, then I'm to stop. It may very well do so.

I'm suprised at the relatively low output your group is using for 30s intervals, and am curious as to the reason. Maybe Hermes or Jet can enlighten this grasshopper!
They are Tri guys and gals who are not training for crits or working to close gaps at speed which requires strength. The intervals may be their attempt of upping FTP. I believe one of their forums is called "slow twitch".
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Old 09-15-11, 12:42 PM   #14
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They are Tri guys and gals who are not training for crits or working to close gaps at speed which requires strength. The intervals may be their attempt of upping FTP. I believe one of their forums is called "slow twitch".
I see how the lower power would make sense for that, but only 30 seconds?

I guess you are telling me how to drop a tri guy.
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Old 09-15-11, 01:05 PM   #15
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They are Tri guys and gals who are not training for crits or working to close gaps at speed which requires strength. The intervals may be their attempt of upping FTP. I believe one of their forums is called "slow twitch".
I think Jet has nailed it here.

Most of them have very rigorous training routines (swim/bike/run) which is developed for them by a paid coach. On any given day there may be 3 or 4 different workouts to choose from. I know several are training for an upcoming Iron Man.

In any event, riding with them has made me much stronger with a lot more stamina. And the accept and respect me, even with my funny bike. Even if I am old enough to be there dad.
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Old 09-15-11, 01:27 PM   #16
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I guess you are telling me how to drop a tri guy.
Around here we call them "lead outs". After letting them set the pace on the flats...
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Old 09-15-11, 01:44 PM   #17
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In any event, riding with them has made me much stronger with a lot more stamina. And the accept and respect me, even with my funny bike. Even if I am old enough to be there dad.
My paid coach is an accomplished tri-chick. I respect the fact that the tri-folken are able to cover three disciplines as well as they do; the cycling alone is more than enough for me. I do hate riding with them, though, because my upper body looks so under-developed by comparison to the swimmers, and they like to show that off by wearing sleeveless jerseys. Fortunately, those are banned in most cycling events.
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Old 09-15-11, 01:48 PM   #18
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When I did 30/30s it was all out. I didn't need to watch any meter. Puking was usually a consequence, but not always. lol
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Old 09-15-11, 01:54 PM   #19
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When I purchased my TT bike, I added an HED third brake on the right aerobar for use in team time trials. It works really well. You can see it in this pic. It controls the front brake.



Generally, I do not ride my TT bike in groups but have on occasion ridden in a HIT session with a group of road bikes. One does need some skill in the aerobars to do that.

And we ride all the time in pace lines at the track in aerobars doing team pursuit. Here is my team pursuit at 28 mph on the aerobars in formation with no brakes and fixed gear at the US Masters Nationals this year.



Here is a video of the pros doing team pursuit at 35+ mph at Manchester. We looked that good just not as fast. But we are not "old farts" so I guess that made the difference.


I ride at the LA Velodrome frequently and in pace lines with others on aerobars. Generally, I ride in the drops. I do not have a problem keeping up. However, aerobars are faster. The bottom line is that if you are a slow "old fart" aerobars are not going to get you an upgrade from old fart to Cat x.
That looks like fun!!! Why do they start with 4 riders and one drops off and they finish with 3?
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Old 09-15-11, 01:59 PM   #20
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That looks like fun!!! Why do they start with 4 riders and one drops off and they finish with 3?
The team time is the 3rd rider to cross the line. Depending on the team the 4th rider may have given a one last huge pull or may be the weakest rider and would hurt the team by slowing the pace and allowing a gap in the line.
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Old 09-15-11, 02:09 PM   #21
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The team time is the 3rd rider to cross the line. Depending on the team the 4th rider may have given a one last huge pull or may be the weakest rider and would hurt the team by slowing the pace and allowing a gap in the line.
That is correct. Another approach is to have the starting racer ride three laps and pull off. This way the team is brought up to speed and adjusts to the pace. The exchanges do not start until the 3rd lap. Each exchange loses a bike length of distance so a racer doing three laps in succession shortens the race by 3 bike lengths.

Team pursuit is the best cycling event. It is the ultimate in team work requiring speed, power and perfect execution riding fixed gear with no brakes in the aerobars.

For my power buddies, that race took approximately 600 watts off the front and 450 sitting in at 120 rpm.
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Old 09-15-11, 02:13 PM   #22
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That is correct. Another approach is to have the starting racer ride three laps and pull off. This way the team is brought up to speed and adjusts to the pace. The exchanges do not start until the 3rd lap. Each exchange loses a bike length of distance so a racer doing three laps in succession shortens the race by 3 bike lengths.

Team pursuit is the best cycling event. It is the ultimate in team work requiring speed, power and perfect execution riding fixed gear with no brakes in the aerobars.

For my power buddies, that race took approximately 600 watts off the front and 450 sitting in at 120 rpm.
Wow! I have never seen this event or any raceing event in this venue. How and where should I look to at least be a fan of this sport?
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Old 09-15-11, 02:29 PM   #23
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For my power buddies, that race took approximately 600 watts off the front and 450 sitting in at 120 rpm.
Makes me want to cry for Mommie.
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Old 09-15-11, 03:21 PM   #24
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Wow! I have never seen this event or any raceing event in this venue. How and where should I look to at least be a fan of this sport?
Google is your friend. I Googled velodrome texas and found http://houstoncycling.org/. That is the closest velodrome to Beaumont. Another velodrome is near Dallas. Both of them are outdoor but hold races throughout the summer. Team pursuit is typically held at special races and championships. The only indoor 250 meter wooden track world class velodrome in North America is in Carson, CA.
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Old 09-15-11, 06:06 PM   #25
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I grew up near Encino velodrome and used to watch a lot of races when I was a kid. I really wanted to ride track but just didn't know where to start. It looks like a blast. I ended up in BMX and later downhill.
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