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Thursday, 29 March 2012

Carl's SL4 Tarmac

This is Carl's new racing machine.
Its a Spez S-Works Tarmac with a Specialized Romin saddle, S-works carbon shallow reach bars (which I love) and also the S-Works crank - which is light and crazy stiff.
The frame also has Di2 and Zipp 404 wheels (though in the pic we used place-holder 303s)
6.6kgs for a 62cm frame is pretty impressive !

Monday, 26 March 2012

Zipp 303 Firecrest Clincher Ride report

This is from my riding buddy Dean who got a new set of these wheels last week:

Really enjoyed the ride on these. Fairly basic 70mile ride on the flats with some hills but nothing more than 3 to 4%.

Little in the way of cross winds so couldn't test how stable they were in winds. Had a hard ride for the previous day so prob a little tired but didn't really feel it so gave the 303s a good workout for 3.5 hours.

My only comparison are the Edges (which sucked in cross winds but were awesome in a stright line - you know I have always been a huge fan). These felt similar in speed once up and running and as the bearings wear in (the G3c feels like it will take a few longer rides to get bedded in) the 303s should get smoother and feel faster. Must say though that the Edges were probably a little easier to spin up and felt marginally easier to climb with from memory. Difference is really marginal and may be I have rose tinted specs for the Edges but the 303s show that the Edges were also great wheels.

I was also probably fitter when I rode the Edges and I think that makes a difference right now in getting them going properly.

Having said all of that I thoroughly recommend the 303s. The ride with them is really comfortable and I was really impressed by this - no banging the undercarriage and took rough roads really well - and they feel solid and I love the sound of them rolling along. The av speed from yesterday just shows how they can cruise and I could climb at least a gear up on normal wheels and once I get another 30w I can feel they will really roll on the flats in a bigger gear.

These are a fast man's wheels to get the best out of them and I am not quite there yet but when you want to go hard they go fast and they climb well on a steady wattage. I need slightly more power to test how they spin up as I am a bit sluggish still on stepping on the peddles hard.

Do not get the corks pads - they squeal and did not brake as well as the Swiss stop Grey - I will give them another couple of rides to see if they bed in but Swiss have good stopping power, don't grab at all (but I did not get them anything like hot) and feel easy to read on how they will decelerate you.

[Barry's note - I gave Dean both the Zipp cork pads and the new Zipp grey pads to see which ones he preferred]

I will give you another update when I next get out but thought I would share and I will prepare something more thorough for the blog next weekend.

Definitely worth getting a pair - I will take stability over a fraction more speed given the riding we do. They are still fast enough.

Warm down was really smooth and really noticed how well the wheels ride at lower speeds.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Peter's new Z5

This was a fun one, and is best described by Peter himself

"So I popped in to get a new crank on my Z4... and will end up with a new Z5, Firecrest 303s and a wireless Compact SRM. The invisible hand of Adam Smith!"

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Brad Vs Andy TT Position

An interesting picture has been doing the rounds comparing the positions of Brad Wiggins and Andy Schlek. Obviously these comparisons are entirely hypothetical; the picture of Brad is slightly from in front, both riders are traveling at 30 something mph, we’re assuming they’re the same distance from the camera and we have to make rough guesses at body landmarks. But to the naked eye, it’s obvious that Brad is cutting a lot smaller hole through the air compared to Andy.

To achieving a fast TT position is a fine balancing act between power and aerodynamics. Go too low and long: aerodynamic drag may be reduced but power production is also reduced and you have to work harder to maintain the position. Sit too high: Power production increases but is negated by increased aerodynamic drag. All of this while working within the UCI’s restrictive rules on position.

Both riders are quite tall (1.9m for Brad plays 1.86m for Andy) and are therefore both probably running on the maximum reach of 75cm in front of the bottom bracket. Brad does have longer legs, especially in the calf. But Brad’s upper arms are only slightly shorter than Andy’s, so how is he able to punch a significantly smaller hole in the air?

So what is Brad doing to achieve the more extreme position? Well, even though his hips (saddle) are higher because of his long legs, the more acute back angle drops his shoulder almost as low as Andy’s. His shoulder angle is a little more stretched out by holding the very ends of his shifters. Finally, he is retracting scapulars (pinching his shoulder blades together), which drops his head lower out of the airstream and narrowing the gap between the head and the arms.

So would Andy be quicker in Brad’s position? No, probably not. Brad has been riding in extreme aero positions from a very young age. When I rode with him as a junior, we would spend entire days training at Manchester track down in this position. Years of riding in this position develops the flexibility and muscle activation needed to produce power at extreme joint angles. Andy is first and foremost a road climbing specialist. He has spent his career developing the muscle activation in a lot more open position. Andy has been Retül fitted and he would probably go slower in a more extreme position and jeopardise his road riding by having to try to adapt his body to the TT bike too much.

So how does this relate to the average racer? To ride an aggressive TT position involves working on you flexibility and ability to activate muscles at extreme angles. This can be fast tracked off the bike with specific exercises to target restriction. To ride a fast TT, you need to train in your TT position. The more time you spend riding in the position, the more power you’ll be able to produce in this position. And the biggest take-saway of all – there is no such thing as a ‘PRO’ position. Every fit should be based around the rider in question, and take into account the numerous factors that will affect the position that is the ‘ideal’ mix of aero and power production.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Comparing TT positions

I came upon this photo on the Feb - its really interesting and shows how 'bad' Andy's TT position is against a real specialist. Its something he will need to improve upon as otherwise we will see a repeat of last yr.

Mark's Z2

Given all the waxed Z1s and the matte Z5SLs we have done, I have forgotten just how nice the gloss Parlee frames are. However that was put right by this beauty. Its Mark's Z2 with gloss finish, Ghost race decals and Ui2. Contact points are 3T LTD, and the wheels are the lovely Mavic SLRs. Just a really nice build!

I could look at that carbon weave all day. Sometimes I do!

Race decals in Ghost look great