Are time-trial bikes THAT much faster??? :-/

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Babelfish, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. Babelfish

    Babelfish New Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm new here and I'm sure this will be the first of many questions. I've been cycling for about 2 years (about 50 miles/week) but am recently starting to get serious about it. I just upped my distance to 25+miles (about 80-90 miles/week) and hope to be up to at least a 50 mile ride by the end of the summer. I ride a Trek Lexa WSD which has been a really wonderful bike (but I'm hoping to upgrade soon). My brother is my main riding buddy, and he rides a Trek Hilo 2000 (he's been riding about the same amount of time as I have). We live in middle Tennessee, which is quite hilly. My main issue is this: no matter how hard I try or how great I'm feeling, he completely leaves me in the dust! Our last ride together was an hour and 20 minutes and I went 21.6 miles and he went over 26 miles! I'm about 45 pounds overweight while he is small and mostly muscle, so I know this puts me at a disadvantage on hills, but is there THAT much difference between our bikes, or am I just slow? It gets discouraging to ALWAYS be behind, so I'd like to know if my extra weight is slowing me down that much or whether the fact that he rides a time-trial is the main factor in his rides being so much faster than mine. Thanks for any input!

    -Lauren
     
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  2. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Looking at this from a surficial view, I am pretty sure it is not the bikes that are making the difference in this case. To be bluntly honest and you pointed it out that your body weight is a big factor (watts/kg) especially on rolling terrain as you described. Happens to me too and I am a bit more advanced. I am a bit heavier (muscular build) compared to my lighter cycling buddies. I have to generate a lot more power output than they do and that is short lived, but on the flatter terrain I have a bit better chance of keeping up and sometimes I can return the pain. Key for me is working on sustainable power output near my functional threshold.

    Just keep riding and progressing. No matter where a cyclists is in performance level there will always be frustrating times. I have a friend that races Cat 3 and wanted to advance to Cat 2. I saw him frustrated with training and racing more than once.

    How you stick with it and be consistent week to week on training can dictate the rate of performance improvement (excluding genetics from the equation). I try to compare me to me rather than comparing me to friends. Helps keep me from punching myself in the head. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  3. Babelfish

    Babelfish New Member

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    Yeah, I was kind of afraid that it was mainly the extra weight slowing me down. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/hissyfit.gif I've tried all sorts of crazy things and even lots of things that make sense to lose the extra pounds but they are insufferably stubborn. I keep expecting to eventually lose at least most of it as I keep training, so I'm just focusing on increasing my distance and hill speed. I do use a GPS program on my phone to track my rides, so I'll just try and ignore his lightning pace and compare me to me, like you suggest. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  4. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    +1 on Felt's reply, but yes assuming you had equivalent fitness to your brother in terms of sustainable watts per kilogram of body weight on reasonably flat terrain an aero position on a tri bike is a lot faster. So basically you're getting the double whammy, he's likely been riding longer and has more cycling fitness (regardless of his weight) it sounds like you might be a bit heavier than you'd like to be AND he's presumably riding in a lot more aero position which helps a lot on faster flat sections and into headwinds.

    Focus on the fitness aspects, ride more, ride with some focused intensity when you feel good, not gut busting minute long efforts but roll some extended fifteen to twenty minute sections with focus and a pace that gets you breathing deeply and steadily but doesn't wipe you out and your speeds will increase. Give it time as this stuff doesn't happen overnight but stick with it and you'll see improvement. But I wouldn't run out and buy a time trial bike just to chase your brother, road bikes are a lot more versatile and unless you're doing timed events against the clock road bikes make a lot more sense for most folks.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  5. el gato

    el gato New Member

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    I'm 5'11", 142 lbs and the two guys that I ride with are around 180 lbs and in good shape. One guy runs marathons. We're fairly even on the flats but when the climbs come, I'm gone and have to wait for them at the top otherwise I won't see them for the rest of the ride. The extra weight they carry on the upper body can be like dragging a boat anchor while bike riding. I suggest dropping some of that weight if possible and upping your mileage and or days per week of riding. With work, you will get faster.
     
  6. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't call what you an your brother are doing "riding together". It sounds as if you spend most of your ride chasing, which can be draining. Set some ground rules and expectations for the ride.

    Riding together, you both should be able to go farther and faster than if you are riding alone. If you are not already practicing drafting and paceline skills, you should be. Learn to conserve your energy for the climbs.
     
  7. Babelfish

    Babelfish New Member

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    Yeah, we mostly just ride at the same time rather than actually riding together, though he does occasionally slow down and keep pace with me for the 2nd half of our ride. After reading all of the advice, I'm going to quit chasing him and just work on increasing my distance. I did my first 30 mile ride this past Saturday (and that was after going 20 miles Friday night!) so I can tell I'm making progress. I just have to squish down the competitive side of me that wants to be able to beat him for once, lol.
     
  8. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    I'm about 45 pounds overweight while he is small and mostly muscle, so I know this puts me at a disadvantage on hills,

    I think I found your problem...

    Go buy four or five 10-pound bags of sugar. Use duct tape to securely fasten them to the back and sides of your jersey. Then go for a 25-mile training ride thru your hills. You'll find out EXACTLY what 45 pounds of mass that does nothing to make you 'go' feels like.

    Keep riding and try some longer rides as the guys above suggested. You will lose that weight and you will be climbing faster! Good luck!
     
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