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Time to Time-Trial?

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Old 12-07-17, 09:58 AM
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The endurance racing events I've participated in are essentially extended time-trials. I started those in my late 40s and I'm still doing them today.

If there are any in your area, you might want to give one of those a try. Do it on a team, and you'll typically be out there time-trialing for about 1/2 hour at a time.

The only concession I've made to that kind of riding is to buy aerobars, and they do help a lot. I wonder how much more of a difference an aero bike would really make?
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Old 12-07-17, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
Thanks for the good word, Band. Yeah.., I'll probably end up in the Merckx class. I'm just going to go with a road bike frame that I have, a steel Moser that is a 56cm, so fits me better than my road bike, which is a 57cm. A point of contention is the seatpost, so I'll probably have to reverse a set-back seatpost or go with a zero set-back.., whichever gets me onto the proper spot of the Scott aero bars. I'm going to pop an aluminum fork on the bike, to keep the weight down, and maybe even put some 38mm rim-height wheels on it, but I'd have to swap rear hubs on a pre-built wheel, to get it into my 126mm dropouts. Maybe go with 7 speeds.
First time-trials of the series are only 11 miles, so I'll see if the guy in the animated cartoon is right: "It hurts more than you can imagine!"
I don't know why it took me so long to start training in the winter. Riding an exercise bike is not so bad.., but I did not know it was a fixed gear, so that was a surprise...(I coast a lot)...and the handlebar came off when I tried to adjust the height. I am pretty thrilled about all of this, though.
If you're a roadie and comfortable and fitted to your road bike there's no need to get a zero set back or forward seatpost. Instead just get a shorter handlebar stem.
The forward seatpost position on tri bikes happened by happy accident.Once triathletes put aero bars on they realized they couldn't comfortably ride in the aero position unless they scooted their butt forward. They didn't have the biomechanical sense to replace with a shorter stem. However it mimicked running and made the transition to running easier. Also it made better use of your quads and seemed to make them arguably faster than before.
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Old 12-07-17, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by texaspandj View Post
If you're a roadie and comfortable and fitted to your road bike there's no need to get a zero set back or forward seatpost. Instead just get a shorter handlebar stem.
The forward seatpost position on tri bikes happened by happy accident.Once triathletes put aero bars on they realized they couldn't comfortably ride in the aero position unless they scooted their butt forward. They didn't have the biomechanical sense to replace with a shorter stem. However it mimicked running and made the transition to running easier. Also it made better use of your quads and seemed to make them arguably faster than before.
Yes. I am going from a 110mm stem to a 90mm. Also, as I've mentioned, the Moser's top tube is 1cm shorter, so in all, this puts the bars 3cm closer to me. The stationary bikes at the health club have the aero bars, so I'll be able to translate the fit onto my bike. I haven't worked this hard since 2008-9, when I trained for my first (last?) marathon. I love it.
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Old 12-07-17, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
The endurance racing events I've participated in are essentially extended time-trials. I started those in my late 40s and I'm still doing them today.

If there are any in your area, you might want to give one of those a try. Do it on a team, and you'll typically be out there time-trialing for about 1/2 hour at a time.

The only concession I've made to that kind of riding is to buy aerobars, and they do help a lot. I wonder how much more of a difference an aero bike would really make?
I'm not sure what kind of a race you are talking about, Bik. (I've never raced a bike). Are these "endurance events" you speak of similar to long-distance relay races in running?
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Old 12-07-17, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
Time to thumb thru my stash of old "Sporting Cyclist" mags. See what Arthur Metcalfe is up to. And get the latest racing news from the Continent. "Dad, when I grow up I want to be a Coureur".

I ride alone too. Actually I ride bikes because I don't like being around people.
Precisely. Too much social contact and I begin feeling kind of queer.
There's nothing like a good, long solo jaunt to restore one's sense of balance.
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Old 12-07-17, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
I'm not sure what kind of a race you are talking about, Bik. (I've never raced a bike). Are these "endurance events" you speak of similar to long-distance relay races in running?
I think so. I've participated in these three:

The 508: https://www.the508.net/

The HooDoo 500: HooDoo 500 Ultramarathon Bicycle Race | St. George, Utah

The Race Across the West (RAW): Home

You can do them solo, with a team of two people or a team of 4. The 508 has set stages ... each rider has to complete their own stage, and the stages vary from about 20 miles to over 100. The HooDoo and the RAW, you swap with your partners on your own schedule ... typically every 1/2 hour or so.

I've never done a TT race. But these are essentially long distance time trials. They're a lot of fun!

It looks likely I'll be doing RAAM next year. I vowed I would never do that, but you know how that goes.
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Old 12-08-17, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
Wow! "Sub-categories for tandems, recumbents, fixed gear, and classic bikes."!

That's pretty awesome. How do you deal with sun over-exposure on that ride?

Good luck on that RAAM! Let us know how your training goes.
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Old 12-08-17, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by texaspandj View Post
If you're a roadie and comfortable and fitted to your road bike there's no need to get a zero set back or forward seatpost. Instead just get a shorter handlebar stem.
The forward seatpost position on tri bikes happened by happy accident.Once triathletes put aero bars on they realized they couldn't comfortably ride in the aero position unless they scooted their butt forward. They didn't have the biomechanical sense to replace with a shorter stem. However it mimicked running and made the transition to running easier. Also it made better use of your quads and seemed to make them arguably faster than before.
That stem length thing makes no sense at all. TTing is all and pretty much only, about making power in the aero position. Aero means a horizontal back. Roadies sitting in their normal position on the saddle and having a horizontal back will experience difficulty breathing because of the closed hip angle.

The solution is to move the saddle forward as far as possible, including having a steeper seat tube angle which we see on TT and tri bikes. If you're racing under UCI rules, the nose of your saddle can't be forward of 5 cm behind the bottom bracket. But if you're not, move it as far forward as you can. Then your stem length just needs to be what it needs to be, very likely longer than your usual stem depending on the bike. With your back horizontal, your upper arms should be vertical.

You'll notice photos of pro roadies sitting on the very nose of their saddle when trying to go fast on the flat. Called riding the rivet, from the bad old leather saddle days. That's just opening the hip angle to improve breathing. Setting up a bike for TT can be complicated due to a compromise between aero and being able to get enough air to make power. Then there's also training in that position, which is really important.
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Old 12-08-17, 11:27 AM
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Before getting all wrapped up in 41-style hardware fetishism over the aero-doo-dads for novice racers here's a factoid:

I log my times for a ~4 mile section used for TT intervals.
The 2nd fastest time this year was done on my anti-aero "winter/wet" bike replete w/ full mudguards, 32 hole box section wheels, a 50T "big" ring and a cheerful brass bell.
Fitness, adaptation to the machine and the will to put down a good effort are what are essential for a fast time.

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Old 12-08-17, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
If you're racing under UCI rules, the nose of your saddle can't be forward of 5 cm behind the bottom bracket.
Now it can be even with the bottom bracket (as long as the aero bar extensions aren't too long).
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Old 12-08-17, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Now it can be even with the bottom bracket (as long as the aero bar extensions aren't too long).
Thanks. Wow! UCI changing rules to make more sense? Lot of women should be happy about that. Aero bar extensions? Not familiar with that.
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Old 12-08-17, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Thanks. Wow! UCI changing rules to make more sense? Lot of women should be happy about that. Aero bar extensions? Not familiar with that.
The rules really haven't changed, just the interpretation. The rules say the nose of the saddle must be at least 5 cm behind BB with a morphological exemption allowing up to 0 setback. At the other end, aero extensions can be no more than 75 cm ahead of the BB with a morphological exemption allowing up to 80 cm. A rider no longer needs to justify taking an exemption based on body dimensions. They can claim one or the other, but not both, just by asking.
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Old 12-08-17, 01:55 PM
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If you're not having any issues (injuries) why would you want to move your saddle forward and invite them?
Sure having a flat back helps, however the aero bars bring your elbows together creating a wedge and that's where the benefit lies.
When the aero bars were invented a flat back via bull horn bars and funny bike were already being used. But as soon as triathlete started using aero bars the bull horns became irrelevant. The results spoke for themselves and Greg Lemond used them two years later.
More to the point; the inventor of the original scott aero bars came from a down hill skiing background where the flat back was already employed. With the evolution of speed, they found putting their hands in front of their face and creating a wedge increased speed. That's where the concept of aero bars originated.
Ultimately no matter how fit/fast you are, using aero bars correctly will make you faster. "Correctly" is defined as what is comfortable for you.

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Old 12-08-17, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
Wow! "Sub-categories for tandems, recumbents, fixed gear, and classic bikes."!

That's pretty awesome. How do you deal with sun over-exposure on that ride?

Good luck on that RAAM! Let us know how your training goes.
Yea, you should do it! And the HooDoo has a 300 mile stage race as well as an endurance ride, and awesome scenery (see below).

I'm lucky enough to have olive skin, so I'm not very sun sensitive. On top of that, I wear mineral based sunscreens (Zn). They make me look white in flash pix, but who cares? They tend to stay on, need less reapplication, and I can pronounce the ingredients. lol

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Old 12-09-17, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
I turned 60, so I thought I'd take up time-trialing. I figure I could put it off until I'm 80, but why wait?
Are there any of you "gentleman riders" who began time-trialing after fifty years of age?
Frankly, I'm up-in-the-air about this, cause it's going to cost me some cake to put a T.T. bike together ('83 Moser) but it seems I'm sallying forth, because I joined a health club with a plethora of different cycling classes (if I can hack listening to disco and "country"), and yoga and weights, so I'm already feeling some improvement in my cycling (I ride to and from the health club).
One of the trainers there is a time trialer himself, at age 65.
Anybody else do the T.T. thing?
Not me, but a fellow I rode with a time or two:

Davis Bicycles!: Foxy?s Fall Century memorializes senior rider Ed Delano

Remembering ?Foxy Grandpa?
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Old 12-09-17, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by texaspandj View Post
Sure having a flat back helps, however the aero bars bring your elbows together creating a wedge and that's where the benefit lies.
Thanks for all this good information and perspective. When considering my position on the saddle during time-trial training, I wonder "what is the role of the saddle in time-trialing?" Is it just a guide to prevent the rider from falling off the side of the bicycle? Or is it optimal to push off of it at the saddle's rear point, like in road racing?
Headset arrives today and the rest of my steering tree in about 1-2 weeks, so I'll know more then.
By my current measurements, I'll be about 2.5" short of reaching the top of the Scott aerobars, unless my arms periodically describe a less-acute angle than 90 degrees.

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Old 12-09-17, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
I wear mineral based sunscreens (Zn).
What kind of sunscreen doesn't make your pores feel all gunked-up? I've heard Badger is good.
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Old 12-09-17, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Wow! Delano was a hard-core cyclist! I would have loved to have been there when he
explained to his colleagues at the reunion that he had just ridden from California!
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Old 12-11-17, 12:53 PM
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I've done some long-distance races which are actually "time trials", although maybe not what you're thinking of. But, they generally don't include drafting, so they're fundamentally different from regular road racing or crits. Distances range from 25 miles +/- to several hundred or thousand miles. My experience is that you'll have some really good riders in there, but some regular-joes, too, so it's not like you show up and everyone else is a pro or something. Google up the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association (or whatever the new name is).


I've done enough of this kind of thing to know that I'm faster than some people, slower than some people, and how well I do just depends on who shows up. So I might come in first or last, just depending on who feels like entering that particular day. (Coming in first has usually meant I was the only entrant in my category.)


We have had a 7-mile time trial in the local club a few times, half-dozen guys riding. I did manage to win that once (rented a tri-bike, and the one guy that was faster than me was organizing it so he didn't race in it.)


I'd like to do the tandem time trial next year if I could, and then there's a hill-climbing time trial next fall that sounds like fun.


If it's any kind of regular competitive event and you've never been to it before, go and watch one first, that can be informative. I know, for example, at some of the local crits, they pull you out of the race if you get about a half-lap behind, so they're not quite as beginner-friendly in that regard. So some events, you can enter and do poorly and that's okay, at others, you'll feel pretty stupid if you're not competitive. One reason triathlons are as popular as they are, is that they do try to be supportive of everyone, regardless of how slow they might be, so it encourages new people to get involved.
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Old 12-11-17, 01:47 PM
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Also, look for local "hill climb" races. Those are essentially time trials. They may have a mass start, but things will separate pretty quickly, and soon you'll just be competing against yourself. Also, you can just do this with your standard road bike.
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Old 12-13-17, 06:50 AM
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Hey, itís good to see you bit by the TT bug. Thatís totally cool and Iím going enjoy watching you progress. You know this is my my style of riding so you have my attention. Youíd love a ride on my Cdale Crit just for the fun of it. I wish you the best!
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Old 12-13-17, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Also, look for local "hill climb" races. Those are essentially time trials. They may have a mass start, but things will separate pretty quickly, and soon you'll just be competing against yourself. Also, you can just do this with your standard road bike.
This is what I do (for the last 6 seasons), except that I dont have the opportunity to officially race because of the time and travel factor. Strava has helped inspire some of it.
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Old 12-17-17, 12:55 PM
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I don't TT in any formal way. But, I have both 6.5 and 13 mi. TT routes that I try to ride 2-3 times a month. These are my HIT workouts. On my 6.5 mi. course I'm knocking on the door of 19 mph at age 71. The best part is that I feel really good with this kind of cycling. Which, after all, is why I ride.
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Old 12-17-17, 03:53 PM
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I was not going to respond to this thread since I do not fit the description of a gentlemen.

I started racing in 2008 at age 58. Today, at age 68, I am still at it. I do road time trials and track timed and team events. I do not race mass start races.

I started out racing road time trials. I joined a racing club and there was a female masters member who was an elite world time trial champion. She wrote an article for the club's website that I find to be true to this day.

Time trials are 5% equipment, 10% brain and 85% legs, lungs and heart. So 95% of the time trial is about the human anatomy and physiology. Also, if one wants to be a time trailist, one has to practice time trials in the time trial position.

Of course, many focus on the equipment and that is not a bad idea per se but it is a small part of being a good time trialist. Although, poor equipment, position or fit can cause one to lose seconds in a race.

The key to time trials is using all the energy available to one over the length of the event. Such that at the finish, one could not do one more pedal stroke. And during the event, one has to make every pedal stroke count.

Hence, this is a tough discipline and requires a lot of concentration and the ability to manage pain and measure out force which is why one has to train ones brain.

I find time trials and hill climbs very rewarding after completion. No matter how I have placed, if I execute well, I feel good about my performance. And I can compare efforts from years past to see if I have improved. YMMV
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Old 12-18-17, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post

I find time trials and hill climbs very rewarding after completion. No matter how I have placed, if I execute well, I feel good about my performance. And I can compare efforts from years past to see if I have improved. YMMV
Same here.
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