I've been spending some time time trailing again on my Planet X Exorcet 2. I purchased this bike on a bit of a whim. I bought it on Cycle to Work (obviously to cycle to work) to see how I liked time trailing. I can confirm I love it. Racing against the clock, its a pure form of racing where your own strength, positioning and style make all the benefits or errors.
With that in mind and after setting some competitive 10, 25 and 100 mile time trials, it was time to change the bike to try and get myself as aerodynamic as possible.
Initial changes were wheelset. I am currently riding on a set of Zipp 60s with an older Zipp disc wheel. I opted for the older disc wheel as it was firstly a good price, secondly can be converted to use on a track bike and lastly had an aluminium break surface. (ie. it stops in the rain, something that massively helped in the last 100 mile TT I did.)
The saddle was upgraded to a Fizik Tritone. A slightly older TT saddle that I have found, through trial and error to be incredibly comfortable. I also fitted a Verve Infocrank. Knowing your data numbers is key, especially for the longer distance TTs, but equally to go back and access the shorter distance races.
Next was aerodynamics...
Enter Stage Centre Ken Buckley, my coach and friend who holds the British Land Speed Record and is in the all time top 40 best 25 mile TT times. Ken is a master of aerodynamic positioning and wanted to help tweak and change the bike as much as possible. So we started stripping..(The bike I mean.)
The key, in Ken's eyes was to create a bullet shape to the front end of the human body and to flatten my back out. To do this you raise your hands up, lower your pads (so you rest on your elbows as opposed to your forearms. You then need to pull in the elbows as much as possible to create an aerodynamic front end (one object hitting the wind as opposed to multiple objects which creates drag.) The back if flattened by slightly lowering the saddle and pulling it back (brings in more power ironically for me). The key is making sure that all the contact points are correctly touching everything in the best possible way. This bullet shape, becomes much more aerodynamic to allow you to push air around the body. Below are the results:
Side by side you can see the before and after. We changed the front end completely with some new 3T Mistral bars and USE 40 degree extensions. The front end was lowered but the pads stayed at the same height. The elbows are another major difference between the two.
Side on you can see how the stem has been lowered and the elbow is firmly on the pad. One of the noticeable differences is my back. It is much flatter, thus causing more comfort when taking out some of the longer time trials. Its easy to see how this 'bullet' front end comes into play, by creating less of a point for the wind to have to travel around, becoming more aerodynamic.
I can't wait to see the results of this. If you would like help with getting more slippery on your TT bike, please contact Ken at http://buckleyperformancecoaching.co.uk/