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  1. #1
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    Best change for more speed

    I ordered new carbon wheels, hoping they will add to my speed. They're not here yet. But two race days ago I raised my seat and lowered the bars. Made an amazing difference. Meeting with a fitter on Wed to see how much further I can go. This past weekend at NE regional championships in New Hampshire there were lots of disc wheels, aero bars and pointy helmets. So, the question, at the level of the bozo class racer, what equipment changes will provide the best increase in speed/endurance on the track. Did I waste my money on new wheels?

  2. #2
    Wear One IvyCap's Avatar
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    train harder, hit the gym maybe. carbon wheels won't make a rider immediately better.

  3. #3
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    What wheels and also tires and tubes are you currently riding and what wheels have you bought?

    Which events do you focus on?
    http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au

  4. #4
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Outside of upgrading your engine, the best bang for the buck equipment:
    - Proper bike fit for power ($100)
    - Proper bike fit for power in aero position ($100)
    - Aero helmet ($100-150)
    - Skinsuit ($100-200)
    - Makeshift skinsuit of bib shorts and compression shirt ($100)
    - Aero front wheel ($300 used, and obviously much more from there. But, the gains diminish the more you spend for a wheel.)
    - Shoe booties ($25)
    - Practice ($0)

    As you can see, wind is your biggest enemy.

    Everything adds up (disc, aero frame, fancy aero bars, carbon, etc...) but those help when you are losing by 0.1". Changing the things above can gain you full seconds on just about any timed effort 500M and longer.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Shoe booties ($25)
    Though from 1 October, the UCI will prohibit the use of shoe covers during events on covered tracks.

    Carlton, I would also include in your list faster tires and tubes...
    http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au

  6. #6
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    Right now I ride on Crostini 1.2's, aluminum deep v clinchers, turbocomp 21 tires. Mostly I ride scratch, points, elimination races. Getting tubular carbon 56's, tufo s-3's I think.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    In the United States just about everything that isn't elite nationals does not follow UCI rules.
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

  8. #8
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    I keep forgetting that Kayce. Everything down under is covered by the UCI rules, even down to the size of the tissues we use to blow our nose at the track need to be measured and weighed before and after...

    The Crostini 1.2 is a 28mm deep rim. Going to a 56mm deep rim should see an aero advantage, through probably not as much as you would like. In regards to Tufo's - I have never read anything great about how they roll. Check out the following roller data http://www.biketechreview.com/tires_...sting_rev9.pdf - being aware some of the tubulars are now testing faster as he discovered better results with more glue.
    http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au

  9. #9
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    The rider accounts for 70-80% of the overall drag. So if you can make yourself more aero without compromising your ability to produce power good gains can be made. Position, then helmet, and clothing all contribute...
    http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au

  10. #10
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    I just noticed something about your post. You use speed/endurance.

    I assume by speed you mean aerodynamics, which leads more speed a certain power output. That works fine, we all say it that way.

    But much of the time fit and parts that make for more aerodynamic racing also makes it less comfortable. And that means that you will not be able to ride that way for as long.
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

  11. #11
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    Kayce, that last thought is interesting. I figured I'd just keep raising my rear end and lowering my grip until it felt uncomfortable, dial it back a touch and call it done. The thought of trading comfort for speed never entered my head. I guess that's an understandable view of an aged recreational racer. But it does allow for the idea of trying positions that don't feel great but that might help speed in the short run. Thanks.

  12. #12
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jengel View Post
    Kayce, that last thought is interesting. I figured I'd just keep raising my rear end and lowering my grip until it felt uncomfortable, dial it back a touch and call it done. The thought of trading comfort for speed never entered my head. I guess that's an understandable view of an aged recreational racer. But it does allow for the idea of trying positions that don't feel great but that might help speed in the short run. Thanks.
    Yeah, that's covered in my comment about proper bike fit.

    A full-on sprint position will be uncomfortable after about 5 minutes (or less). While it is *very* aerodynamic, it is simply too much weight on the arms. You'll find that, generally, as the races get longer, the more the riders like the weight back on the butt and off of the arms, and vice-versa. This is somewhat true for road racing, too. Crit bikes tend to be setup more aggressively than road race bikes.

  13. #13
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalai View Post
    Though from 1 October, the UCI will prohibit the use of shoe covers during events on covered tracks.

    Carlton, I would also include in your list faster tires and tubes...
    +1

    As Kayce mentions, only USA Cycling Nationals (Jr, Elite, Masters) are strict on UCI equipment rules. It's obviously a logistical nightmare. I am only asked to do bike checks at Nationals, not at local or regional events.

    But, yeah, the shoe covers could be an easy rule to enforce...but there is only 1 covered track in the US

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    Thanks for all the info Carleton. With the small adjustment I've made recently in position, I feel no discomfort on my arms, leading me to think I could still arrange a more aggressive position even for the longer events. Like I said above, I'm meeting with a fitter tomorrow. Will post about the suggested changes.

  15. #15
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post

    Everything adds up (disc, aero frame, fancy aero bars, carbon, etc...) but those help when you are losing by 0.1". Changing the things above can gain you full seconds on just about any timed effort 500M and longer.
    I think that is a good point about gaining that 0.1, which begs the question, how much time are you breaking wind going over 30mph?

    If you are doing time trials, Aero is important (and you can tell by the equipment). If you are doing a mass start race, a bit less so (unless you like to be out front much of the time). For mass start races, dialing in the gearing, having a very stiff frame, and light wheels/tires helps a lot in being able to jump and accelerate effectively. Of course the motor and experience make a huge difference in tactics.

  16. #16
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    how much time are you breaking wind going over 30mph?
    It probably depends on what he's eating...
    (sorry, couldn't pass that up)

    If you are doing time trials, Aero is important (and you can tell by the equipment). If you are doing a mass start race, a bit less so (unless you like to be out front much of the time). For mass start races, dialing in the gearing, having a very stiff frame, and light wheels/tires helps a lot in being able to jump and accelerate effectively. Of course the motor and experience make a huge difference in tactics.
    Not just being out front, but it aero equipment can be the difference between getting a lap (or not), or having enough gas left to hang on during the counterattack after gaining a lap. Or how much energy it takes to bridge a gap to a break. At lower levels of racing it will make less difference, but the power difference between aero wheels and box rims with spokes is significant when you're trying to get a solo lap.
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  17. #17
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IvyCap View Post
    carbon wheels won't make a rider immediately better.
    If by "better" you mean "faster", than of course they will, all else being equal.
    "Your beauty is an aeroplane;
    so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste

  18. #18
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Exactly, the aero advantage depends on how much time you are out front breaking wind, rather than drafting and maneuvering in a pack.

    Obviously you can spend a lot of time out front on a mass start race too. If you are doing solo laps on a mass start race, your races are a lot less competitive than what I usually do. And as far as closing gaps, I certainly try to avoid doing this all by myself, and doing it for more than half a lap. Like I said, strategy and experience can be more important than equipment. It’s not that hard to beat stronger riders who do not have much track experience.

  19. #19
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    The bike fitter raised my seat about 3/4 inch and bars about 1/2". Moved seat forward just a tad. A funny feeling at first but it certainly felt like I had more power. He also noticed that my arms were pretty stiff. So I'm trying to concentrate on bending the elbows and bringing my arms closer to my sides. Moved up to 88 chain inches and with the new position it feels about the same as 86, though it could all be psychological. Still waiting for the new wheels.

  20. #20
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    If you are doing solo laps on a mass start race, your races are a lot less competitive than what I usually do.
    My first ever solo lap in a 1/2 field was at elite nats...

    Gap bridging is a particular skill-- when I was racing well, I had good acceleration but without a long sustained high end. I'd sometimes wait for a break that I knew would stick and then jump across, knowing that few people could match the acceleration, even if they were faster overall.
    Track - the other off-road
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  21. #21
    VeloSIRraptor
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Exactly, the aero advantage depends on how much time you are out front breaking wind, rather than drafting and maneuvering in a pack.
    Errr, sorry but no. The aerodynamic advantage of deep wheels is always there. The wheels don't get shallower/deeper depending on your being in/out of the pack.
    The physical properties of the wheels (and the ensuing aero advantage) is always there, even if it is less noticeable because of drafting.
    Last edited by Hida Yanra; 09-01-12 at 11:53 PM. Reason: edited for/after clarity
    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    If it comes down to a field sprint, you probably won't win, so don't let it.

  22. #22
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitingduck View Post
    My first ever solo lap in a 1/2 field was at elite nats...

    Gap bridging is a particular skill-- when I was racing well, I had good acceleration but without a long sustained high end. I'd sometimes wait for a break that I knew would stick and then jump across, knowing that few people could match the acceleration, even if they were faster overall.
    That's impressive. In the few Elite National races I've seen, it's really, really hard to get away. Even more, I've seen guys get away just to get dropped by the small group breaking away. If I remember correctly, 2x Olympian Lea tried and failed to get a lap in the last 2 Nationals points races. Nothing against him, it's just that it's really tough to do.

  23. #23
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    That's impressive. In the few Elite National races I've seen, it's really, really hard to get away. Even more, I've seen guys get away just to get dropped by the small group breaking away. If I remember correctly, 2x Olympian Lea tried and failed to get a lap in the last 2 Nationals points races. Nothing against him, it's just that it's really tough to do.
    Mine was in a scratch heat, and there were people I recognized, but not a lot of big names, so when the gun went off, everybody kept rolling at the top looking at each other. I thought "Well, this is pretty wrong," so I attacked through the first turn and rolled away. Eventually made it around (one other guy made it around solo while I was getting my eyes uncrossed) and when I finally recovered it was getting hairy with 22 guys setting up to sprint, so I went to the front for about 4 laps til we were inside the mishap limit and then took it easy. In the final, nobody managed to get a lap. Carney and I think two other guys were off the front when there was a major crash that I missed by about 4 mm. After waiting about half an hour for track repairs, we started up again, brought the break back in, and Dave McCook won, with Cody Oreilly 2nd. I had intended to sit on Dan Vogt (a guy I train with, former points race champion) and follow him through, but at about 4 to go it was pretty hairy at the front and I decided to just roll through with the pack (I'm old and have a day job). Dan got 4th.

    We practice taking laps at speed *a lot*. If we hadn't been doing it I would never have tried it, and I'm really not a solo lap guy. But the opening was there, and I made it. Another guy I ride with and took some laps from at states told me later he'd started calling me "butter" because I tended to just slide away and get a lap without anybody noticing til it was too late.

    Whether you get a lap or not depends on a lot of things, mostly related to how everybody is planning to race, and whether they think you're a threat (i.e. Bobby is pretty well marked. I've fought people for his wheel). When Mike Creed and Mike Friedman were on the same team, I once watched Creed go to the front and string the pack out while Friedman took a lap in about 3 laps. They were going too fast for anybody to try to bridge, and it was so strung out that Friedman really only had to go 2/3 of a lap to catch the back of the field. I've seen a few other interesting ones at nats, too.
    Last edited by bitingduck; 09-01-12 at 10:25 PM.
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  24. #24
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitingduck View Post
    Mine was in a scratch heat, and there were people I recognized, but not a lot of big names, so when the gun went off, everybody kept rolling at the top looking at each other. I thought "Well, this is pretty wrong," so I attacked through the first turn and rolled away. Eventually made it around (one other guy made it around solo while I was getting my eyes uncrossed) and when I finally recovered it was getting hairy with 22 guys setting up to sprint, so I went to the front for about 4 laps til we were inside the mishap limit and then took it easy. In the final, nobody managed to get a lap. Carney and I think two other guys were off the front when there was a major crash that I missed by about 4 mm. After waiting about half an hour for track repairs, we started up again, brought the break back in, and Dave McCook won, with Cody Oreilly 2nd. I had intended to sit on Dan Vogt (a guy I train with, former points race champion) and follow him through, but at about 4 to go it was pretty hairy at the front and I decided to just roll through with the pack (I'm old and have a day job). Dan got 4th.

    We practice taking laps at speed *a lot*. If we hadn't been doing it I would never have tried it, and I'm really not a solo lap guy. But the opening was there, and I made it. Another guy I ride with and took some laps from at states told me later he'd started calling me "butter" because I tended to just slide away and get a lap without anybody noticing til it was too late.

    Whether you get a lap or not depends on a lot of things, mostly related to how everybody is planning to race, and whether they think you're a threat (i.e. Bobby is pretty well marked. I've fought people for his wheel). When Mike Creed and Mike Friedman were on the same team, I once watched Creed go to the front and string the pack out while Friedman took a lap in about 3 laps. They were going too fast for anybody to try to bridge, and it was so strung out that Friedman really only had to go 2/3 of a lap to catch the back of the field. I've seen a few other interesting ones at nats, too.
    Nice! Slipping away is an art unto itself.

    Stringing the field out is a pretty cool strategy. I've never seen it done like that. I've been in fields that got strung out, but I think it was done to burn off guys like me.

  25. #25
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Stringing the field out is a pretty cool strategy. I've never seen it done like that. I've been in fields that got strung out, but I think it was done to burn off guys like me.
    It's normally done to get rid of guys like you. I once watched a bunch of guys in a 1/2 field that included Jimmy Watkins *not* do that, with the obvious result. It's part of what motivated me to attack right after the gun to get my lap at nats-- either I was going to get away, or at least get the speed up so we wouldn't noodle around until the guys like you decided to accelerate. What Creed and Friedman did was pretty impressive-- Creed was really flying to string it out, and Friedman then had to be going even faster to take the lap.
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