Road an FFC race last week... bit higher level than I usually race. A lot raced in skinsuits, aero helmets are now pretty common, quite a few aero bikes, of course everyone is on 50mm or higher rims.
Cervelo say 30w saving running an S5 over standard roundish tubes... ok big part marketing, but if you add up slippery wheels, frame, helmet, skinsuit, position etc ... how much at a minimum do you think is gain-able?. After all a 30w improvement is huge and for someone like me, unachievable ( I would think ) with even the best training.
Be nice to add 30 watts on top of the best training program of course .
PS... I know my biggest slippyness gains would come from a thinner profile .
This is my current strategy. I live on fruit smoothies, steamed veges and salads...and loving it. The other aero improvements are for the 0.1% of the riders where it will make a meaningful difference.
If we say 30w saving for an example... for me personally that is 9% of my ftp, ok it is isn't linear especially when riding in a bunch, but for me personally doing 2-3 hour races it seems like a lot of energy to saved for when it matters.My thinking was it would make a pretty meaningful difference to everyone.
That's only if the 30W saving actually exists. I don't know the protocol they demonstrated this with, but it probably wasn't done by putting a rider on it in the middle of a bunch. I'm not going to accuse them of lying, but I wouldn't mind betting that this was the best result achieved in a controlled environment, and that the real world result would be much smaller. If the 30W was only measured on a riderless bike, then the turbulence from a rider is likely to reduce that effect. If it was only produced from a particular wind angle, then the effect would be reduced in variable conditions. If it was only attainable at speeds above 60km/h bearing in mind that resistance is a function of velocity squared (or cubed?), so the effect at 40km/h would be less again. You get the picture. It might be that the real world reduction is less than 1%.
A 1% saving is not worth additional expense to me and I would only consider it when replacing something that has broken. For you that won't be too far away anyway...
But hey spending money to improve performance has instant results.
I would expect that the lantern rouge from the tour would ride away from you on my dad's 1983 Colnago, and probably away from me on my sister's 1973 BSA shopper.
Yeah I know Cervelo's 30w is marketing talk... I actually meant 30w if you put all the main things together, say a aero'ish bike set up, helmet and skinsuit. Me at the moment I just ride a very un aero bike, run of the mill helmet and normal knicks / top. I don't need to beat pro's ( luckily! ) ... just the 80 or so others in my grade .
Think of it this way... last year I spent nearly 600 hours in the saddle, so paying a little bit for bolt on gains seems reasonable .
I have a wilier Cento Uno with fulcrum racing 1 wheels and a S5 with Zipp 404. I notice that I seem to freewheel a lot more when I am following someone on the S5. Hardly a scientific analysis but I reckon there is definitely an advantage.
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Assuming you can get that 30w, unless you're off the front or doing a lot of work for team mates I'm not convinced it's going to help you all that much when sitting in a bunch. There's so much more going on in a road race that I reckon the aero benefits aren't all that beneficial. Though I have started to see more onesies being worn even in club races! Also, related
Those figures aren't useful for this discussion, as has been said, riding a road race in a bunch is very different to TTing on a track.
by the way this is what The Secret Pro had to say back in April about aero helmets (not that one rider in the peleton thought's is much to go by, but it's at least an interesting commentary):
Even in a bunch I catch a hell of a lot of wind .
My season is nearly over... But next year I will order a couple of skin suits and give it a go. Can only order team kit once a year... Pretty strict regs on what you can wear even in club races. If you turn up in pro kit, knicks for example can get you dq'ed. Plus Skin suits are standard kit for CX here when the weather allows it .
Come to think of it an aero helmet might work better for you than most. I expect your head is receiving undisturbed air even in the middle of the bunch.
TLL, IMO you are better off getting the aero helmet and the skinsuit and the spunky wheels etc because while it IS marginal, and worth nothing in the bunch or even the paceline, that's not where the advantage matters, is it? What is the hardest moment in riding? Trying to hold and then overtake a fast wheel when you are running out of juice. It's harder than climbing, harder than TT work, harder than everything because you don't dictate the pace or the response. You can only punch out what you can punch out.
That said - anything to improve your power is worthwhile considering. Your legs aren't an issue for 300W FTP. It's the 310W that the guy in front is putting out that is the problem. If you can buy 5-10W from fancy gear, then you are now as fast as he is.
The key issue to me is that you have to get into the wind eventually, and you'll be in the wind at 40-50-60-70kmh where the aero penalty is quite high, rather than grinding out a casual 20-30. That moment is where your aero gains are worthwhile, and given that you're a big dude you want to make sure that you aren't holding yourself back. You wouldn't put a compact on the bike to intentionally restrict your top speed; why would you knowingly choose less aero clothing or wheels?
I doubt you've lost a lot of races in a sprint finish that you didn't bother using a higher gear on the cassette? If aero gear is the difference between you pushing a 12 and an 11 at the end of the race, I think you know the answer. IMO, that's the real difference. You will have another 10rpm or another gear you can push if you add up all the wattage savings over the race. That's more top speed when it matters, and if your strategy is good, you'll be able to get that extra 2 metres you lacked at the very end.
TLL, if you can train the legs (you arent at your genetic potential) and you can loose weight do that first. Save those gains for the A race (which I dont think you even have one atm). I was the only one at the club race last week with the saddle bag still on, I was shocked at the number of people gearing up for a club race (even if it is TOA). As you know legs are all that really matters, if you have them you will win.
Saying that I am planning on gearing up for a few races in the next couple of months, and from my experiences so far (getting a new track bike with 50mm carbon tubulars) there certainly is a difference even in a bunch. Its different if its a big race that matters to you but for week in week out club races or training races I cant see why you would bother. Ofcourse there is always the prestigious strava sections to KOM..........
With respect to gearing in the sprint finishes, I hardly see a finish over 60km/h (even in A grade) for that all you need is a 53-13,14 (120RPM gets you around 60km/h) so most people will not be limited with their gearing in a sprint finish. A 50-11 (AT) 120RPM which is far from a massive cadence, will get you over 70km/h which will get you winning TdF sprints.
Vander, in fairness, while the legs are everything (of course they are) if you can get yourself an extra 5 seconds of all out power at the end, wouldn't that be worthwhile? We aren't talking about training, it's racing. The result is part of the enjoyment. Does it feel better to podium than finish top 10? What if the race doesn't go to your strengths? Do you give up before you start?
I'm an advocate of marginal gains if you're putting in 100% already. Cycling tends to demand 100% effort, so even if you're protecting yourself better while you are bludging, that's worthwhile. Isn't that the entire concept of the leadout? To sit out of the wind for an hour or two, then sprint 500m for the win? I struggle to find situations where you shouldn't just take the extra speed.
You havent raced a whole lot have you?
Tactics positioning will mean 100x as much as these marginal gains. You seem to think the strongest rider will win, no questions asked, that is not the case, there is so much more to it. As I said for A races its worthwhile, for races that are real priorities yes. For week in week out stuff come on, you arent racing for sheep stations.
I finished the race in the front group last race, was as much of a win for me as winning a race. No racing isnt all about results otherwise everyone would be burgling down in C or D grade. Races rarely go as you plan, or to your strengths it doesnt mean much. Yes I have given up on races before they start, I turn the alarm off and dont get up (only a few times but its happened), I didnt give up for any of the reasons your insinuating but again just a club race not worth it sometimes.
I dont know where this extra 5sec of all out power at the end is coming from but its not due to an aero helmet or skin suit and these 500m sprints now that would be strong. Get racing and you will learn a lot more about racing. If you have unlimited money go for it, but for me it would be better to spend the money going to an open race somewhere than to spend it on a set of wheels. You can get that 'extra speed boost' down the track where it may be more important to you, like I'll mention it again, for your 'A' race. Each to their own.
Alex may know... but it would be nice if there was some independent data out there showing the savings made in a peloton.
Anyway really just wondering aloud if it is really marginal or a little bit more than that at the end of the day... I spend 2 to 3 hours solid on the drops in a race just to get out of the wind, all the whippets in the world offer very little slipstream .
Here you go Vander, in Oz it's your standard 1 hour crit... here your bulk standard A grade race in my area http://app.strava.com/segments/5138022 , my race averaged 40,5 for 60km. The race after mine ( CAT 1,2,3 and Junior combined ) averaged 44,5 kmph for 130 kms. Basically an NRS level race every weekend, too many big amateur teams in the area, plus the UCI world cycling center juniors are based very close ... theres tactics for sure, but boy you have to be strong to use them!.
My point was simply that it's easy to chew yourself up on the bike working hard at various times, and if you're interested in a result, then your personal limiters might be an issue that could be mitigated by 5-10W of effort savings from the aero gear. My point is what TLL mentioned. Tactics are useless unless you have the ability to make it happen. TLL is riding his butt into the ground. I was simply stating the basic reality that in a competitive situation on the bike, you've only X amount of juice before getting hit by the Man With The Hammer. If you can extend the amount of time you can ride at 100% effort by even 10 seconds over the whole race, that could be the difference between winning and losing. It won't be anything if the tactics are crap and you stayed up drinking beers all night, but riding is simple stuff. Energy in, go faster. Using your brain is assumed, but if it was all tactics then the pros wouldn't have FTPs 30% higher than mine.
Yea I think a problem with all the one hour crits is just being in Sydney hard to get the roads to race on. There is some more better quality races popping up. A grade is Sydney is usually >40km/h for an hour (or longer if the race length allows it) although shorter isnt far off par with your races, most opens I would say the top level would be not far off your Cat 1,2,3 race, with NRS being on par as you say. You finish with the point I was making, you have to be strong to use them, work on the strength first dont just go out and buy all the equipment cause in the end you will get to a race and realise you still cant keep up. So yes there is a marginal gain but save it for the big races, work on getting stronger first.
@Xplora: You havent raced enough if you think using your brain is assumed, there is a lot of stupid races out there. I am not arguing that it might not have a small benefit but just saying its not worth it till you get to a higher level/more important races. In a bunch the aero gear @30km/h is going to have a completely different effect to @45+km/h.
Howso? (genuinely interested).
I'm usually the turkey who shreds himself early for little reason, and I like to learn as much as I can!
zozza... hush you!
You mean me using double side tape for my race number in a TT is all pointless .
Anyway I have the wheels.
Federation rules say I must wear team kit for races, top and bottom. Club rules say I must wear the latest gear ( to keep sponsors happy ) ... so buying a couple of skin suits for next season is no skin off my nose.
A helmet ... well it won't break the bank.
Aero frame ... I haven't brought a new road bike since 2007 ( thanks Cannondale ) ... which also means I am still running 7800 DA , so maybe time for an upgrade.
Flexibility ... yeah well .
Anyway I only have a couple of races left before the season is over ... plenty of time to plan and scheme till last weekend of March 2014 !.
To be honest TLL, I think having your running gear running as smooth as you can and then having the best and quickest rubber you can afford would be the better way to go for you. If it was long TTs that you were targeting, then yeah it would be an idea and then only if you were chasing a Title of some significance.
I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
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