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Colorado State TT C'ships(19 posts)

Colorado State TT C'shipsSherpa23
Aug 13, 2002 9:34 AM
Yes, people. It's here. I have never been on the course before so I have a few questions for those of you who have done this. I have seen the map but I would like to know what the terrain is like and what the wind is like. In regards to the hills, what is the smallest gear that you need, what gears did you use most often, and is the speed going to be relatively steady from the start to the finish? In regards to the wind, from what direction will it come, in years past have you felt it to be bothersome, and did you ever feel that it helped you? As you might infer from the questions, I am debating on whether or not to use my track bike (I will put a road fork on it) and I will need this information to determine the right gear if I do use it. Thanks in advance.
re: Colorado State TT C'shipsPack Meat
Aug 13, 2002 12:40 PM
There are some significant hills out there. A lot of long gradual power climbs and a lot of false flats. I don't think there is a section of flat road out there. The course has 600 ft of climbing according to Zed. I'm going out there tonight to see if I can push a 56x19 up the longest/steepest hill without blowing sky high. I'll update you tomorrow with the results.

Zed thinks that I won't be able to ride the 56 despite the pistons.
Aug 13, 2002 1:16 PM
I think you could grind out the 56x19, but keep in mind you'll be hitting the hardest hills after 40 minutes of TT effort. Not to mention if there's a headwind on a climb, you're screwed.
Course infoBipedZed
Aug 13, 2002 1:15 PM
The 40K course is fairly rolling with essentially a climb back from each turnaround. The final leg back on 96th contains the most noticeable hills. The course is surrounded by prairie so there is no cover from the wind. Count on at least some wind, it's tough to predict direction.

I'm using a 54 with an 11x21. There isn't enough sustained downhill for me to spin out a 54x11 and I'll be glad to have a 54x19 for the final uphill leg to the finish.
Gosh that 56 is big......Pack Meat
Aug 14, 2002 6:47 AM
I rode the course yesterday with a 56x11-21. It's totally doable with a 56.... on a nice, cool, windless evening. I did a warm up on the first leg and tried to hammer the second. The second leg is definitely hillier. On the first leg I was at about 70-80% MHR and averaged 23.4 mph. I did the second leg in about 25 minutes at full gas. There were two sections on the second leg where I used the 56-11 and was pushing 38 mph while my heart rate was dropping. I think the hardest part of the course is the last 2 miles. It's a gradual grade that gets steeper as you go. I could push a 56x19 up no problem. I probably spent most of my time in a 56x15-17. I think I might go with a 55 so I can get better use of the close gearing of the 13-17. 54 if it's windy that day. I hope this helps.
Fixed GearSherpa23
Aug 14, 2002 8:17 AM
I took a look at the course yesterday. I will have to put in a decent ride on it Friday morning but I think that a fixed gear might be a good idea. I am thinking either a 53x15 or a 54x15.
What's the advantage?Pack Meat
Aug 14, 2002 8:37 AM
I've seen other people use them but I fail to see the advantage.
What's the advantage?Sherpa23
Aug 14, 2002 8:59 AM
A fixed gear is much, much more efficient. This is why the hour record is done on the track bike. Some people never get a nice pedalling style on a fixed gear and can't use it but most people can. Almost every british TT record is set on a fixed gear on the road. I just found a good reason to not use my track bike on Sunday, though - none of my track disc wheels are here! I just looked in my basement and the only disc I have here is my road disc so I might have to use my road TT. Damn.
What's the advantage?bob_vanderhaus
Aug 14, 2002 9:49 AM
How can a fixed gear be much, much more efficient? The one hour record is done on a track bike on the track which makes sense. You only need 1 gear on the track. I don't see the advantage of a fixed gear on even a slightly rolling course. Am I missing something? Records are always going to be set on bikes with limited gearing, because records(hour, speed ect) are going to be set on flat courses. How can a fixed gear be more efficient than riding in 1 gear on the flats while still having extra gears for the ups and downs?
What's the advantage?Sherpa23
Aug 14, 2002 12:33 PM
Jeez, Bob, you sound skeptical. Anyways, the question of why a fixed gear is more efficient than riding one gear on a road bike is a legitimate question and I will do my best to answer it. The reason it is more efficient is because the rear hub is fixed, allowing the cyclist to maintain his speed with less effort because his forward monentum tranfers directly to the pedals, requiring less pedaling force to maintain one speed. You can maintain your speed for longer with less effort on a fixed gear.

I can tell that you still don't believe me so I will pose a question for you. 1)If riding a fixed gear was not more efficient than riding a road bike with one gear then why do all the road pro's who do the hour record use track bikes? You can easily ride a road bike on the pole line of any track. This would be much easier for the average road pro as they have to ride their TT bikes throughout the year. Instead, they have to have a new bike built, learn to ride it, learn to ride the fixed gear. What a pain. If there were no advantage to using the fixed gear, no one would do this. Tony Rominger had never ridden a track bike before he did his hour record tests and he had to learn a whole new way to ride. He said it was one of the scariest things he ever did. Why would he not use his road TT bike if there were no advantage? He was pretty fast on that bike and it certainly would have been a lot easier plus he would be able to use bigger gears as he got tired.

Still not convinced? Okay, I know that others plainly state this theory, too. One of my training partners (rider a) was doing some tests for the US hour record but he didn't have a track bike built at the time so he did the tests on his road tt bike. He was consistently slower than his track bike riding test partner (rider b), who rider a normally spanks in TTs. They finished the testing and rider a was really discouraged but rider b and the coaches said, "don't worry, using the fixed gear adds a good 1.5km-2km to the ride for the test time. When you get on your track bike you will see how much faster a speed you can maintain."

Need more evidence? Well, this one is mine but I don't know any other good stories that will illustrate the advantage. I do most of my track training on the road and last year, I trained a lot with a couple junior and U-23 US national team members. They used to do my track sprint workouts with me. I would have a 52x16 on my track bike and they would have a 53x11 or 12 on their road bikes. We would get rolling down this long hill until we hit 45 kph, then we would sprint all out for 300m. I didn't win every time but 7 out of 8 isn't too bad considering that we were hitting 70-74 kph by the end (70-71 on the last sprints). Why could I beat them? It's not the difference in ability, for sure, as these guys were top racers. It's because of the huge advantage of the fixed gear.

If you are still "missing something" I can't really help that because I have tried to explain this as best I can. But maybe you can demonstrate the advantage yourself: If you ever get a chance to race on a track bike and get pretty comfortable on one as far as the pedalling, do a 2000m effort on the road for a time and then and try the same effort on the same road with your road bike. Feel free to use any gears you want and change them as often as you would like. If you are a good rider on the track bike your times will not even be close. The track bike time will be tons faster, depending on your ability there will be at least an 8 second difference but probably 10. That's only for 2km, too.

Anyways, it's a legitimate question and I hope this helps to shed some light on the reasons a fixed gear is (dare I say it?) much, much more efficient.
One more pointSherpa23
Aug 14, 2002 12:43 PM
I would like to also point out that track bikes were not made for tracks but that tracks were made for track bikes. Why? Because the spectating public wanted to see the fastest bike racing possible and you just can't have that with a bike that coasts and so the only option was to build a special "road" that would allow riders on track bikes to reach their potential. BTW, this bit of information is not from a book of history but rather it was told to me by an old, old track racer who raced 6 days in the 1930's.
6 days?TomS
Aug 15, 2002 10:30 AM
Dumb question - is that a typo, did you maybe mean he raced for 6 years; or is that some kind of 6-day track stage race? Or did he actually only race 6 days...? (seriously, I don't know anything about track racing, especially in the 1930's!)
6 days?Sherpa23
Aug 15, 2002 11:38 AM
Not a dumb question. I meant that he raced 6 day track races, which are track cycling's version of stage races and the pinnacle of the sport for endurance track racers. They are referred to as sixes or 6 days, mostly.
6 days?BrokenSpoke
Aug 15, 2002 7:57 PM
Just to through out a little more trivia concerning 6 day races, Madison Square Garden was originally built for Velodrome racing and the 6's drew sellout crowds.
ObviouslyPack Meat
Aug 16, 2002 9:10 AM
racing in at MS gardens led to the Madison race and a little less known fact the dance the Madison was based on how the riders threw each other into the race.
learn something new every day... thanks! (nm)TomS
Aug 16, 2002 7:48 AM
more questions on efficiencyDougSloan
Aug 16, 2002 12:13 PM
Is the track bike more efficient solely because the cog is fixed, no freewheeling, or is it because the chain line is straight and there is no drag from a derailleur (or both)?

If it's mostly due to the fixed nature, wouldn't a heavy wheel, a flywheel, accomplish the same thing? Or is it because the pedals are "driven" around by the rear wheel, pushing through the weak spots in the crank circle?

Fixed? Erm...tihipscrew
Aug 14, 2002 11:30 AM
Last year, conditions degraded incredibly as the day wore on and your category P12 hit the course. As I drove away, winds from the west were probably hitting 35-40mph from the wnw. An hour and a half earlier it was light, probably gusts of 12-15mph. With the variability of the wind and road pitch, I would bag going fixed here.
Bonus: Really fast course. Why? Last year the course was short at 38.4km. For a minute, I thought I'd had a good ride...
Fixed? Erm...Sherpa23
Aug 14, 2002 12:34 PM
Ooh, good point. Okay, I will probably use the road TT bike for sure. Thanks. I owe you one.