So after Kazuko managed to haggle Steve at Elite Racing Cycles to get an exceptionally good deal on her mountain bike, the idea got into my head that it’s also possible to get a lower-end time trial bike for a pretty reasonable price these days. Note for non-cycling readers: when I say reasonable, it is in comparison to outrageously-priced top of the line carbon bikes. You would probably still be shocked if I told you the price, although not as shocked as I am at how much people are prepared to pay for a pile of metal wrapped around a motor that spends most of its time blocking traffic.
Sorry, did I just have a quick rant? In any case, I wandered into the bike shop and asked an innocent enough question about whether Bianchi were still making their aluminium time trial bikes and before I knew it, I had been offered a price I couldn’t refuse on a TT bike which had been in the shop for a little while. It came with a better groupset than my road bike so we also made plans to swap these over. I got a TT bike and an upgrade on my Mono-Q in one happy package. I managed to get Kazuko’s approval on this and the wheels, so to speak, were set in motion.
Then, to complicate matters, Mike decided he needed to sell his deep-rim Zipp wheels for a price that I knew I would never see again. I was certainly going to be getting some deep-rim wheels eventually so I had no option but to buy them despite the unfortunate timing. This may have been one purchase too far for Kazuko, who refused to like them on facebook.
Alas, I had to wait to ride the new acquisition as I picked it up on Tuesday and promptly caught a cold and had to spend the next day in bed. Finally, on Saturday I was able to take it to Kings Park for a test run.
The steering takes a bit of getting used to and it took me four downhill runs before I worked up the courage to go flat out while in the aero tuck position. Then it was back home to calculate how much I was going to beat my personal best by at the time trial on Sunday.
We had to get up early to ride out to Champion Lakes and it was a cold morning. My fingers were quite frozen by the time we got there and it was actually painful as they warmed up. Kazuko opted to do just a 10km TT as she is still a bit tender after her mountain bike fall. I wished her luck and then stood around getting cold again waiting for my start. I started pretty cautiously because I was nervous about doing some of the corners on the aero bars and also managed to get caught behind a guy on a TT bike wobbling about all over the path but not going particularly quickly. I finally got past him before the long straight section of the course but found I didn’t have the speed I would expect for the effort I was putting in. My position on the bike felt really good but somehow the pace wasn’t there. By the second lap I’d convinced my self that something was almost certainly rubbing on the bike but I still hoped I might do better than 40kph. The new bike feels really good to ride and I got more and more used to the position but my time was still much less than I had hoped for. I’d expected to beat my previous best by a minute, not finish a minute slower than it. When I finished, I had a play with the back wheel and there was a bit of movement in the hub so I can only guess that was causing the back wheel to rub against the brakes. My time was so far off what I would usually expect that I can only assume there was a technical problem. On the other hand, looking at today’s results there weren’t many personal bests so maybe the air was just particularly heavy and this was compounded by the cold I’d had earlier in the week.
In any case, the new bike is great and I’m already very fond of it. The lap times can only get better.