Working on improving my position on the TT bike
Ever since my time trial bike fitting I’ve really started focusing on my position when I’m riding. Air resistance is the number one thing that slows a cyclist down, and while equipment and a good bike fitting will help reduce drag, it’s up to each cyclist to hone his or her riding position.
I’ve got a couple of bad habits that I’m trying to break…
The first is that I tend to hunch up my shoulders, especially when I’m laying down the power. While this practice is not necessarily hurting me too much from an aerodynamic perspective, it’s definitely wasting energy. Relaxed is smooth. Smooth is fast. I’m getting better, but it’s still something I catch myself doing nearly every ride.
Something else I tend to do is “Chris Froome” my stem (look down at my stem/computer a lot). With a time trial helmet like my Giro Selector, when I look down the tail of the helmet pops up into the wind. Most say that the most aerodynamically efficient position is to hold the head straight ahead and still, and to use the eyes to look down at the computer. That said, check out this quote from Joe Friel (his full article is here):
“But Martin did something else, mostly early in the race, that I believe reduces drag even more. He further lowered his head and looked straight down at the ground briefly 10 or more times a minute. This further reduces the drag created by the head as it is then completely below the back. The small helmet tail sticking up creates insignificant drag compared with the much larger head in the lowered position reducing drag significantly.”
I’ve watched Tony do a lot of TT races, and I can’t say I’ve noticed him putting his head down like that too often. Maybe my memory is wrong. I’m going to hit up Youtube tonight and review some of his races.
While I don’t have access to a wind tunnel, I do have a power meter and the ability to record video. Not ideal, but those tools should allow me to further refine my position and get more bang for my watt.