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time trial on fixed gear(14 posts)

time trial on fixed gearDougSloan
May 20, 2003 9:55 AM
The race team is doing a time trial Thursday night on a course that is 90% flat, some humps, but guaranteed to have a tail wind the first 3 miles and headwind the last 3 (a loop in between). I've done the 10 miles at just over 25 mph before, but could likely do it around 23 right now on a time trial bike. Normally, with wind situation on this course, I'd be going 28-30 at the start and about 20 on the return into the headwind.

I'm going to give it a go on the Pista, just for grins. Question is, do I gear it to spin my ass off in the tailwind (and lose some speed) and be about right in the headwind at the end, or have it geared to be about right at the start but then slog it out at the end? Any suggestions from anyone having done time trials on fixed gear bikes? Thanks.

re: time trial on fixed geareddie m
May 20, 2003 10:20 AM
Go with the lower gear. you will spend more time in the headwind than in the tailwind, and the higher gear will hurt you more in the head wind than help you in the tailwind.
Look at the ratio of your top speed to your low speed.dzrider
May 20, 2003 10:21 AM
If it's really 30/20, or 1.5 to 1, you may be able to find a gear that lets you spin at 70 rpm to go 20 mph and 105 rpm to 30 mph.
re: time trial on fixed geardesmo
May 20, 2003 10:42 AM
we have 3 local TT's in early spring that I was planning to do on my fixie. somehow I missed all 3, but will make them next year for sure. I think a 48x17 or 16 would be about perfect. I'd error to the spin side as pushing too big a gear could kill your legs and any hope of speed at the end. I've read that in the good old days early spring TT's were done at about 70", which would really be spinning your legs off. good luck, you get big style points even if your time is a little off.
thanks all; good points; 48x16 it is. nmDougSloan
May 20, 2003 1:23 PM
link to fg tt page...ukiahb
May 20, 2003 2:18 PM
there is a lot of good info at
thanks nmDougSloan
May 20, 2003 2:24 PM
Front Braketriangleforge
May 21, 2003 12:47 PM
If this is a USCF TT (though it sounds like it's not), you'll need at least a front brake. The rules allow a fixed gear w/front brake for TTs, though not for mass-start events.

I only know because I checked on the rules before our district TT championship a few years back, contested on a pancake-flat course (unless you count the two or three bridges that climb MAYBE four feet each) on Maryland's eastern shore. Because of the likelihood of wind, I opted to leave the shifters on the TT bike.

However, I recall that Danny Pate won his U-23 TT world championship in Portugal on a fixed Cervelo, FWIW.

May 21, 2003 2:30 PM
This is just a club informal event; no sanctioning; do have a front brake, though, to comply with California law.

Good point.

follow up -- argh!DougSloan
May 23, 2003 9:16 AM
While I certainly am out of shape, doing the 10 mile time trial on the fixed was really, really, tough.

Had a tailwind the first 3 miles -- cruising at 29 mph and heartrate of 173 (165 LT/187 max). Spinning at 122 rpms. Not too bad, but out of ideal efficiency range.

Short hills, no problem. One left and 5 right hand turns, had to be careful. Luckily, using the mirror so I can see behind and swing out really wide. Full speed around corners.

Last 4 miles straight into the wind. Oh, man, I'm dying. Down to about 17-19 mph, 70-80 rpms. Again, way outside ideal for me. HR still over 170, and ready to puke, throat burning (98 degrees outside), and got passed by my chasing 1 and 2 minute men (passed 4 ahead, but they weren't racers).

Finished at 21 mph average. Worst ever. Quite a workout, though. At least I have the fixed gear course record (only one).

A year ago I averaged 20 mph for a 200 mile solo ride (flat, some wind). Amazing how fast you lose it, and how much 1 or 2 mph faster can make in suffering. Lately, even with stoplights, I average around 20 mph on my 25-30 mile noon rides on the fixed gear; that additional 1 mph increase raises my HR a full 20 beats. Amazing.

Thanks for suggestions. If I had geared any higher, the suffering the last 4 miles would have been much greater.

follow up -- argh!eddie m
May 23, 2003 11:23 AM
Did you follow my advice and choose a low gear?
yes: 48x16DougSloan
May 23, 2003 11:44 AM
Low enough it had me spinning 122 rpms at the beginning. In hindsight, with the headwind, a 48x17 might have been better over all. Thanks.

follow up -- argh!desmo
May 24, 2003 9:05 AM
You do have the course record for fixed, so you got that going for you. I still think it was worth doing for that reason and just to be different. You could have gone out on a TT or road bike and had a much better time but still gotten shellaced by the fast guys in form and nobody would have even noticed. This way yer that "screwball that did pretty good on that one speed". Impress me more and tell me you did it in the drops with no clip-ons. Follow-up next spring from me.
of course, drops/ no clips -- Merckx style (sorta) nmDougSloan
May 26, 2003 7:38 PM