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Why it's *really* all about the engine

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Why it's *really* all about the engine

Old 07-17-07, 09:15 AM
  #1  
UT_Dude
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Why it's *really* all about the engine

I finally, really, truly, get it.

Really, I do.

Go look here:

http://cu.7springs.com/pages/gallery...6841&offset=20

I'm the bottom left (bib 171). That picture kind of sucks, because my head is up.

Anyways, I got bored at work and scrolled through the vast majority of the pictures on there. You can too, if you should feel so inclined. My aero position is pretty good (I won't argue it's the best or even near it, it's not), but it's probably in the top 25% or so. Same with the bike -- not the best, but it's better than most of them on there (note the guy with clipons -- he beat me by 3 minutes).

Point of that... I have learned this!

1) Equipment means next to nothing (which most of us already knew)

2) Aero helps a lot, but is still seriously trumped by wattage.

3) Spend your time training (which I did, but i've only been riding 1 year...whatever...256W (which was a bad ride for me) just can't compare when people are pushing 340+ W to clock 30:00), and save your money!

OK, done with my rant. I hate learning things the hard way. Trying to save everyone else the trouble!
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Old 07-17-07, 09:29 AM
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I would disagree. TTing is about both equally, aero vs not quite so aero vs poor position could take that same 256w and rider weight and have a couple minute gap between each. I'm sure you will stomp it next year with the knowledge you gainned this year though, I'm told it takes time and patience(I have neither).
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Old 07-17-07, 09:31 AM
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I'm not saying that aero doesn't matter -- it does, clearly.

It just seems that after witnessing how people can throw down a crazy fast time, while being less aero, that it seems more pertinent to concentrate on wattage for all kinds of riding, really.
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Old 07-17-07, 09:35 AM
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I heard DrWJO say that he regularly trumps some guy in his club who TT's at 50W more than him but is much less aero...
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Old 07-17-07, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by UT_Dude
I finally, really, truly, get it.

Really, I do.

Go look here:

http://cu.7springs.com/pages/gallery...6841&offset=20

I'm the bottom left (bib 171). That picture kind of sucks, because my head is up.

Anyways, I got bored at work and scrolled through the vast majority of the pictures on there. You can too, if you should feel so inclined. My aero position is pretty good (I won't argue it's the best or even near it, it's not), but it's probably in the top 25% or so. Same with the bike -- not the best, but it's better than most of them on there (note the guy with clipons -- he beat me by 3 minutes).

Point of that... I have learned this!

1) Equipment means next to nothing (which most of us already knew)

2) Aero helps a lot, but is still seriously trumped by wattage.

3) Spend your time training (which I did, but i've only been riding 1 year...whatever...256W (which was a bad ride for me) just can't compare when people are pushing 340+ W to clock 30:00), and save your money!

OK, done with my rant. I hate learning things the hard way. Trying to save everyone else the trouble!
I would disagree. You're pretty far at the bottom end of the speed/wattage curve. Equipment and position become much more important when you start putting out those bigger wattage numbers and have the commensurate increase in speed and wind resistance. Earlier this year I was 0.5 seconds a mile off 5th place in a stage race TT, and 0.9 from 4th against guys who I know for a fact put out bigger wattage numbers. Did a 6.5 mile climbing TT this weekend where a guy missed the podium by 2 seconds. That's the 100 grams people always ridicule. Equipment doesn't matter?

It ALL matters.

And good equipment, if you have a big wallet, is a lot easier than finding 10w if that's what you're getting beat by. Form comes and goes, but a light/aero bike doesn't change.

Last edited by Vinokurtov; 07-17-07 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 07-17-07, 10:01 AM
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^This is true.

At fitchburg, a guy beat me by 23 seconds in the 6mi TT. He had full TT gear, I did not. This past weekend, I used a TT bike at Owasco and I beat him in a 12mi TT by 1:18.
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Old 07-17-07, 10:09 AM
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Hmm. I guess i've never considered it from the angle that my wattage is just *that* bad (which it really is right now). Either way, in my case, the obvious answer is to keep working on increasing the wattage.

Thanks for the perspective!
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Old 07-17-07, 10:30 AM
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Everything matters in cycling. That is part of the appeal to me. Equipment, fitness, mental state, weight, etc. It's just that the faster you get the more important all these variables become.

What's your ftp in w/kg?
 
Old 07-17-07, 10:32 AM
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~3.7 -- varies a little bit, but it's been creeping up since I started working with a coach and a PM. 10W or so gained in the last 3 months.
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Old 07-17-07, 11:03 AM
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Is it that hard to understand a little math and stop this black/white "_____ doesn't matter _____ does" silliness? The faster you're going, the more aerodynamics matter. It's a sliding scale, not an on/off switch.
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Old 07-17-07, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Vinokurtov
I would disagree. You're pretty far at the bottom end of the speed/wattage curve. Equipment and position become much more important when you start putting out those bigger wattage numbers and have the commensurate increase in speed and wind resistance. Earlier this year I was 0.5 seconds a mile off 5th place in a stage race TT, and 0.9 from 4th against guys who I know for a fact put out bigger wattage numbers. Did a 6.5 mile climbing TT this weekend where a guy missed the podium by 2 seconds. That's the 100 grams people always ridicule. Equipment doesn't matter?

It ALL matters.

And good equipment, if you have a big wallet, is a lot easier than finding 10w if that's what you're getting beat by. Form comes and goes, but a light/aero bike doesn't change.

I have to agree with this statement. I averaged 265w for 60 miles yesterday in my race, and I am absolutely sure that had I used an SRM instead of a PT, and used my friends 404s instead of my Ksyrium front and PT/Open Pro rear, I would have saved a LOT of energy both on the flats and in the hills. That's around a 2lb weight difference (a 1.24% change in weight) as well as a wheelset that, yes, makes me faster/more efficient by about 10w on the flats, depending on whose data you believe.

That being said, if you put out 256w for a TT, you get what's coming to you. No way around that.
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Old 07-17-07, 11:31 AM
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I'm very quickly feeling weaker and weaker .

Here's hoping you've all been riding for more than a year and are Cat 1's!

Although, 256 was an anomoly... Really bad day. 270W is my current/best benchmark over a similar length.
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Old 07-17-07, 11:50 AM
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Hey UT dude. Stop talking about how bad your TT was! You've been biking for a year? You can start complaining when your fitness flatlines which usually happens in 2-3 years.
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Old 07-17-07, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by TheKillerPenguin
^This is true.

At fitchburg, a guy beat me by 23 seconds in the 6mi TT. He had full TT gear, I did not. This past weekend, I used a TT bike at Owasco and I beat him in a 12mi TT by 1:18.
1.) Thank you.

2.) Duh.
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Old 07-17-07, 11:56 AM
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Oh yeah, I would be crushed if I had been cycling for a year and I went to the friggin NATIONALS.

Somebody shoot me.
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Old 07-17-07, 11:59 AM
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Sorry, didn't mean for that to be a complaint. I'm just frustrated right now. I have yet to have anything go remotely well in like...the last...uh... year?
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Old 07-17-07, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by bodaciousguy
Hey UT dude. Stop talking about how bad your TT was! You've been biking for a year? You can start complaining when your fitness flatlines which usually happens in 2-3 years.
Amen. Train right and diligently and those numbers will improve. It's been three years and I haven't flatlined yet, but the gains are getting smaller. Hang in there.

Hit 285w with good aero position and you'll be at or just under an hour in a 40k TT...
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Old 07-17-07, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by UT_Dude View Post
Sorry, didn't mean for that to be a complaint. I'm just frustrated right now. I have yet to have anything go remotely well in like...the last...uh... year?
I don't know, your last 8-mile TT was really strong, IMO. I rode that course for 6 years before I broke 20 minutes, and you're under 19 in your first year, and 8s ahead of my PR!

One of the most important virtues for a competitive cyclist is patience. It helps during races, it helps between races, it helps with goal setting, it helps with mechanics, and with teaching.

Sit back, look at what you've done, how far you've come, listen to your coach (I'm sure he's trying to instill patience -- especially given your recent feelings), and just have fun with where you are.

So... how'd it go tonight?
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Old 07-17-07, 09:40 PM
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Oh my God I look bad in my picture. Holy Christ, my left leg looks like the Pillsbury Doughboy's.
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Old 07-17-07, 11:01 PM
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ladies and gentlemen, you do NOT have to qualify for the Jr. Nationals TT. Just the road race and the crit. Even for those you just have to be a cat 3 or get your local USCF rep to get you a recommendation letter. thats the way it was last year; i don't know if it changed.

just layin it out there. not belittling anyone who went. in fact, congratulations on showing up. for some of you it was a LOOOONG drive
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Old 07-18-07, 03:08 AM
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Perspective. You need... perspective.

I got my perspective the hard way. I couldn't ride at ALL for five years due to severe chronic low back pain that resulted in endless trips to doctors, physical therapists, and pointless minor and MAJOR back surgery, culminating by the ultimate throw your hands up medical option: three years on oxycontin. I was the one who decided all that wasn't working and I may as well kick the drugs and start cycling again, like what did I have to lose? And while my back still hurts, I am so grateful to be on a bicycle again that I'll never look at this the same way - ever. I got my life back. Endorphins have displaced opiates much of the time. I've discovered a way to live with the pain. I couldn't be happier. But I will never take cycing or any of this for granted again. I'll never forget my first group ride back after a couple of weeks riding my MTB on the bike trail. I'm on my road bike on the 'B' ride with the local bike club. We get to the first 3/4 mile climb. I got dropped by EVERYBODY: fat freds, middle aged women, EVERYBODY. I didn't care. I was riding my bike. Now I'm riding with racers and even racing myself again. 13K+ road miles last year, probably about the same this year. Rain, cold, etc will never phase me again. After 2.5 years of riding I am as grateful as ever. That my friend is the gift of perspective, one of the greatest gifts, but sadly you only get it through adversity. That's the real reason why Lance won 7 TdF's but most of the world will ever understand it. Trust me.

Unless you're George Hincapie or some potential pro cyclist, we all do this for FUN and FITNESS. That's the same if you're a top Cat 2 racer or a helmet mirrored fuzzy legged Fred. You can get frustrated because you're not as talented as you WANT to be, but at the end of the day the only weenie you're racing is YOU. So I'll go out and spend thousands of $ on a TT bike and helmet and Power Meter yada yada, all @ 49 years old. Why? Because Pcad is going to the friggin nationals? Because I'm going to win the next local TT because I'm so great at this?

No. I do it because it makes me faster than I'd be if I didn't do it. It's hard. It's challenging. And if I get faster than I was before, it's fun. Even if I don't it's fun trying. I LIKE the fact that it's an arcane sport that only the weenies here understand. That's one of the coolest aspects of the whole thing. It gives me a focus for all this riding I do. I LOVE to ride my bicycle. My idea of a fun Saturday is 110 miles before lunch. I'd rather be a skinny super-fit 50 year old than a fat guy lying on the couch watching NASCAR waiting for the inevitable heart attack.

Look at it that way UT Dude. That's the ONLY way to look at it. Because here's the reality: if you don't show up at the Jr. Nationals and place in the top 5 on your first outing, are you going to ever be a pro? Probably not. On the other hand if you aren't DFL in a USCF TT you are probably faster than 99% of fitness cyclists in the USA. If you think of it in those terms you won't feel so slow.

And you LOOK fast in the photos. Always remember Pcad's #1 Rule of Cycling: It is better to look like a pro than to ride like a pro. Keep hammering. And if you do kill yourself I want the skin suit and the helmet.

I have violated my own brevity standards.


Last edited by patentcad; 07-18-07 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 07-18-07, 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by botto View Post
all in good time youngling, all in good time.
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Old 07-18-07, 03:33 AM
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i'm not that short, nor am i that wise.
You are however an animatronic puppet posing as a real character.
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Old 07-18-07, 03:46 AM
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Can't we all just get along? Well of course not!

When you are starting, improvements to the engine are most apparent. After you are approaching the limit of your improvement, you can get some gains from the equipment.

However, nice equipment is nicer to ride and might keep you riding until you are better. Then again, when you get toasted by a Fred riding a Walmart special you might be so discouraged that you stop riding...

There is something called the 80/20 rule. You can achieve 80 percent of the results for 20 percent of the money. A 10 thousand dollar bike would be nice, but a 2 thousand dollar bike will get you most of the way - until you into the elite ranges.
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Old 07-18-07, 04:15 AM
  #25  
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Hey ctree, a grood friend of mine is a successful small real estate developer who has refocused from NY State to Costa Rica. He has three projects in the works (he's there as we speak). Let me know if you want a nice ocean view villa!

I may visit CR this winter. Could we hook up for some mountain road cycling? I would imagine the road cycling there can be fairly awesome, eh?
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