Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Preparations continue

Next weekend is my first "real" bike race, the Mutual of Enumclaw stage race. I've done a few Thursday night criteriums at Seward park, but this weekend's activities include three road racing disciplines, not just crit racing.

So, I spent this weekend getting my time trial setup worked out. Having never ridden with aero bars it seemed like a good idea to spend some time on them. Getting the bike setup right took a while. It isn't as simple as bolting on the bars and riding off. Your seat position changes radically (moves very far forward) and if you want to be even more "aero" you'll probably want to lower your handlebars a bit.

Once I got a setup I was reasonably happy with I went off for a spin around Lake Sammamish. The first time I used the aero bars was a bit scary. Everything people said was true. Controlling the bike becomes much more difficult and you have a lot of weight on your front wheel. However, as time went on I got comfortable in them and was able to maneuver the bike just fine. I have to say, they are blast to ride. When you get into that tuck position and your speed starts to pick up it feels like flying.

So do they make a difference? Hell yes! I took a different route around the lake than usual, but at various time checks I was much farther along than normal rides. I'm guessing the bars shaved 10+ minutes off the ride. Now I just need to find a skinsuit to eliminate the remaining flapping on my already too tight riding outfit.

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