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Cat 5 TT's--do I need to pimp my ride?

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Cat 5 TT's--do I need to pimp my ride?

Old 05-17-06, 06:46 AM
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Cat 5 TT's--do I need to pimp my ride?

Now that I have my shiny new cat 5 license I've been checking the race schedules and came across a TT for Cat 5. Having never been to one, do Cat 5 racers ride dedicated TT bikes, or even clip on aero bars? I was kinda curious--it seems that the aero advantages at the Cat 5 level wouldn't make much difference.

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Old 05-17-06, 06:53 AM
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Do you need a TT bike? No. Will a TT bike help? Yes and no. TT bikes are faster than a regular bike under most situations. However until you get your position set and you adapt to riding one I'd recommend just using your road bike with some clip on's. My last cat 5 race was a stage race and everyone in the top 15 was on a TT bike. Earlier in the year I did a cat 4/5 stage race and again just about everyone in the top 20 was on a TT bike, I wasn't and I was 20th out of 75 riders. I am definately faster on my TT bike than my road bike but I've worked hard to get used to it and dial in my position. At first I was actually slower on it.
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Old 05-17-06, 06:56 AM
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Hi Doc.

As a Cat 5, I use clip-on bars, but I used to race several years ago and thus had them available. No other special equipment. On my last TT, I placed 6th out of 20+, a little over a minute behind the winner. No amount of technology (e.g., disc wheel) would have made up the minute difference.

The last TT I did, I saw a wide range of Cat 5 set-ups...some guys were out there just to see what they could do, and didn't have any aero equipment such as clip-ons, disc wheels, etc. Just riding regular frames, regular bars, 32 count spoke wheels, etc. However, I also saw some extremely nice, dedicated TT machines with horn bars, one large chainring up front, disc wheels, etc. Some of these guys were poseurs, some could fly...I really wouldn't worry about it all that much at Cat 5 level. Genetics, fitness, etc., will make more of a difference in whether you place in top 5 or bottom 5 compared to technology advantages.

I like to think of TT is terms of managing expectations. If I show up in a $3,000 dedicated TT bike, and don't win, I'd feel like a fraud (and others would think the same). If I just slap on some clip-ons, and fly by that guy with hairy legs on Lance's TT-edition Trek, then I get a nice little chuckle even knowing I won't win... Schadenfraude...

Mark
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Old 05-17-06, 07:53 AM
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assuming its a flat TT, I'd definitely at least use clip on aero bars. You do need to train with them before hand. Otherwise the loss of power from the new position, and the discomfort can negate the aero benefit. It's amazing the number of Cat 5 racers with full on TT set ups. You don't need one, but if you've got a full on TT bike, it definitely wouldn't be out of place.

As far as being cost effective, aero bars are relatively inexpensive, and the biggest bang for the buck. A strong motor, with a regular road bike, and clip ons can still win in Cat 5, but you'd have to be strong enough to offset the equipment advantage some of your competitors will have.
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Old 05-17-06, 08:18 AM
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I raced all but one of my cat 5 TTs with standard road bike, Merckx style. No clip ons, no pointy helmets, no special wheels. I was quite envious of all of the bling bikes everywhere and I placed middle of the road (except for the one 4/5 TT I did that was mandatory Merckx style...it evened out the field for me and got me to a third place finish). My last TT as a 5 I finally purchased clip ons and easily took first. Bottom line, if nothing else, get some clip ons, get used to the position (particularly handling) and go sow people (and yourself) what you can do. Then when you start doing well, add in the nice pretty bike and take first in every TT (I have taken 2nd once and you are right. Having a tricked out bike and then not taking first IS embarrassing).
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Old 05-17-06, 11:44 AM
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It's amazing the number of Cat 5 racers with full on TT set ups.
Alot of those Cat 5s on TT machines are one day license buying Triathletes. Some are actually good too.
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Old 05-17-06, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by FatguyRacer
Alot of those Cat 5s on TT machines are one day license buying Triathletes. Some are actually good too.

I ride with one of those guys on our saturday morning training ride. He's competitive for his age group at a national level in Triathlon. Buys a license and races Cat5 for the occassional TT, and very occassional RR. Not a problem in road races because he has only one gear. But in a TT that one gear is very fast.
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Old 05-24-06, 12:18 PM
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Err... dumb question, but what is the "Merckx style" TT bike?

Sorry for the newbie question.
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Old 05-24-06, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by teetopkram

I like to think of TT is terms of managing expectations. If I show up in a $3,000 dedicated TT bike, and don't win, I'd feel like a fraud (and others would think the same). If I just slap on some clip-ons, and fly by that guy with hairy legs on Lance's TT-edition Trek, then I get a nice little chuckle even knowing I won't win... Schadenfraude...

Mark
I turned down a deal on a P3 carbon for this reason. I also hate the idea of riding a bike I don't train on, and I can't see myself training on a full-out TT bike. At the last Ontario TTs, a guy after the race, late 40s, was asked how he did, he said he finished near last, but it didn't matter because it was a good TT for him - I think that's the right attitude.
 
Old 05-24-06, 12:55 PM
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I look at it the opposite way. I want to do the best I can so I ride this:

(with a disc when I'm racing). While I'm not going to win, I want to be as fast as I can be, so I bought the best TT bike I could reasonably afford. (didn't hurt that I got the frame for$695). Bottom line, we're all racing for our own satisfaction. No one actually cares about your results other than yourself. Consequently, I don't care if people think I have too much bike for my ability.

The point about riding what you train on is well taken. So I try to ride the tt bike once a week (which doesn't always happen, and I'll ride it most of my rides for the next 4 weeks before the State TT championship.
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Old 05-24-06, 01:57 PM
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you're a cat 5 - for now aero bars will suffice
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Old 05-24-06, 03:54 PM
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Everything depends on each situation I'd say. TT bikes technically will make you faster based on aerodynamics. But if you're motor is slow you won't notice much between the two. I'm a middle of the road Cat 5 TT rider with a TT bike. Nothing super fancy, but still a dedicated bike, that I got a good price. If having a bling type bike makes you get out and ride more, that will help with your engine, and it will be worth it eventually in my mind.
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Old 05-24-06, 04:05 PM
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A tt bike will help of course.. Since you are new just jump in and get your feet wet.. Many other cat 5 riders will also be out there with stock road bikes so don't worry about looking good.. Just ride fast..
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Old 05-24-06, 04:47 PM
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TTs don't even count for upgrade points until you're a CAT-3 going for 2.

Why bother? Unless the money is burning a hole in your pocket, and you've already got a nice RR and Crit bike.
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Old 05-24-06, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by alreadyblue
Err... dumb question, but what is the "Merckx style" TT bike?

Sorry for the newbie question.




merckx style means ride your road bike.
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Old 05-24-06, 07:05 PM
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Where's the Cat5 TT? From my performance today, you can tell I enjoy painful experiences.
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Old 05-24-06, 07:06 PM
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I might just get clip-on bars and some Zipp 404 - not as big an investment.
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Old 05-24-06, 09:46 PM
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404's seem like a big investment
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Old 05-25-06, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by SpongeDad
I might just get clip-on bars and some Zipp 404 - not as big an investment.
If you actually want to get wheels for TT without a big investment, get a rear disc (either HED or Renn) and a HED trispoke. Much faster for TT, and about $1000 total, compared to$1500 for the Zipps. Of course the 404's can be used as all around wheels,andare legal for mass start races, wheras my sugestion would b soley for TT's
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Old 05-25-06, 07:25 AM
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The only time I've seen TT's divided into cats around here are the State TT's. Any other one I do is all in, sometimes divided into age groups. So I have a TT bike because I am racing against all cats. I am a triathlete too though, so it is mainly for them.
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Old 05-25-06, 07:32 AM
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My club does TT's every other week. I'm not sure I want to do crit racing, as every event seems to have some god awful crashes and that's not my idea of fun at all. I'm ordering a TT frame setup next week to train on and then I plan on doing some TT races later in the summer. For now my regular road bike is fine. I don't even use aero bars. I don't need the TT bike, but I've got the extra money for the frame package right now and would like to do more TT rides/races in the future. But just starting out...I agree the fitness is more important than the bike.
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Old 05-25-06, 08:45 AM
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Yes you should! At the very list you should have chromed spokes and oversized fuzy dice!
Anyway before spending nice chunk of your money on dedicated TT machine try with clipless. You might find out that TT's are not your thing.
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Old 05-25-06, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by UmneyDurak
Yes you should! At the very list you should have chromed spokes and oversized fuzy dice!
Yeah, the problem is that I can't use clip-ons because the 2,000 watt stereo is clipped on to the bar there because the hydraulics I use to make my bike bounce up and down take up the whole front triangle.

Oh well, pimpin' ain't easy...

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Old 05-25-06, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus
TTs don't even count for upgrade points until you're a CAT-3 going for 2.
And not even then. Upgrade points for stage race GC start at the 3->2 level, but points are never given for time trials. See the USAC (not USCF) rulebook for a full description of the upgrade guidelines.
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Old 05-25-06, 10:29 PM
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Start with the clip on bars. Get a decent pair in case they end up on a TT frame in the future.

I like buying gear but I think jumping into a $1500 wheelset or even a $500 disc (only for TTs) is a bit over the top and maybe not useful.

You might be able to get a deal on some aero gear or wheels off ebay. People don't use them as much as they plan on and then end up selling them in good shape for cheap. If the money is burning a hole in your pocket, drop the cash but realize that it might not be the best investment, esp. this early in your racing career.

Added on:

Just thinking that getting a coach (if you don't have one) would probably prove to be a better tool than a TT bike or Zipp 404's. If you'd rather go it alone, a powermeter...
Actually, I'm just jealous, I want some new wheels.

Last edited by Tommyp; 05-25-06 at 11:23 PM.
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