“History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future.”Robert Penn Warren
To accomplish Ironman 70.3 as a healthy human is tough, to accomplish this test of endurance with a chronic heart condition like Hyper-obstructive Cardiomyopathy even to the mild standards I have set myself –
Finish the event
- In the allocated time
- With a smile on my face
requires every advantage that can be gained. Taking heed from the quote above I decided to look at this past season – four sprint triathlons starting with the PruHealth World Triathlon London 2014 for ways to gain advantage
I agree that the original statement stands true (and in the case of many an infamous athlete more so than ever ;0)). There is no substitute for quality training and time in the saddle yet when I think back to my bike leg…I can still clearly picture the scene now pumping away at the peddles and feeling like I was going backwards in a river of treacle as everybody (when I say everybody I mean I came last in the bike leg lol) whizzed by me…. I firmly believe that the bike makes a massive difference. So putting aside the training and time in the saddle – which I fully admit I could have done far more of here’s why its A lot about the Bike
- Weight – A mountain bike like the one I rode weighs approximately 14kg’s, a mid level road bike weighs 5kg’s – now I’m no mathematician but I recon the extra energy and output required to move the extra 5 kg’s over prolonged distance is not advantageous.
- Tire – Past experience taught me that slicks are far more advantageous on the road than off road treads. My slicks were 32mm, an average road bike’s is 25mm. Again not being an engineer I still recon that this extra size must have an impact on drag, resistance and effort. In fact I did a very rudimentary search whilst writing this and came across a very interesting blog called Off The Beaten Path which covered this exact topic – check it out
Tire width: How much difference do a few millimeters make? Posted May 23 2013
- Pedals – I thought riding with my running shoes would be okay (meant I didn’t have to waste time in transition changing shoes) and it was. I just didn’t realise the disadvantage I had by not using cleats until I tried cleats. Let me simply stress that riding in a triathlon without cleats is childish and irresponsible! Again no hard science from me just simple reflections. With standard peddles I only really have power output on the push which I think makes up about 1/3 of the peddle stroke. A cleat allows you to push and pull through the entire 360 degrees = less energy for more performance
There are probably far more things that make it A lot about the bike – I have a sneaky suspicion that the the bike leg distance and the ability to cover this quicker makes a big difference as well but as this all goes way beyond my level of understanding I will close it here.
Okay, its a lot about the bike! So what?!
As a result of these early experiences I went and bought a road bike. My buying decision was determined by getting the best quality at a budget of no more than £1400.00. I did all my research using sites like bikeradar, tri220 and triradar and eventually through review and comparison settled on this little beauty. The difference in materials and components is far to complex for this site so I will summarise with this sentence This bike is a beautiful ride. Fast, Responsive and very sexy…
What impact did the bike have on my race aims and times? Lets take a look
If we focus only on the concord and Crawley late summer (no additional training rides between the 2 events, coming to the end of a long season and no cycling coaching) the change in bike alone equals an improvement of >7km/hr and a decrease of >1min/km over as longer distance
Enough said, now its off to look at how peddle technique can give me even more of an advantage