Three minutes and two seconds. That is an eternity when it comes to competition or any type of racing. That just happens to be the difference between my best time this season at our local cycling time trial, the Charlie Baker Time Trial that our club puts on in Concord, MA, and the time that I set last night.
The difference is that my best of the season was done on a full carbon fiber time trial bike outfitted with full aero fittings like a carbon fiber deep dish front wheel and matching full disc rear wheel and 23c tubular tires at 130psi. I was also wearing a skinsuit and an aero helmet. Last night, however, I was riding my full suspension (not locked out), carbon fiber 29er race MTB with traditional alloy spoked wheels and my 1.95" racing knobbies at 65psi. It is decidedly not aero. I was wearing a normal jersey and bibs and a normal helmet.
Oh yea, and I also got run off the road by a boat. Some douche pulling a boat got his truck past me, but couldn't get by Cathy when a car came the other way. He then decided to come back over into me while I was still beside the boat. I slammed the brakes on and went into a pavement cutout (had the right bike for that for sure), narrowly missing the big traffic barrel they had setup. He then wouldn't pass Cathy so I came back up along side of him on the right, pulled out in front of him, behind Cathy and passed her, then moving back to the curb. The dude wasn't impressed but WTF!? You can't just run my ass off the road with your crappy boat and then expect me to wait because you don't have the skill to drive the thing.
27.03mph avg on the TT bike compared to 23.7mph avg on the MTB. Yes, that is more than three mph difference but logic would seem to suggest the difference should be bigger, right? I would certainly expect it to be as this is about as extreme a disparity as one could muster this side of riding a tricycle as a comparison. If I look at the comparisons for others, lets take Cathy for instance, who is a much, much better TT-er than I am, the disparity is much more pronounced with a near five minute and near 5mph difference week over week, TT to MTB. That, to me, seems like a more reasonable number.
I realize that the MTB is my best discipline by a long shot and I am certainly the most comfortable on the MTB. Clearly this is translating to riding the MTB in general, in any circumstance. Maybe I should just slap some slicks and aero bars on it and see what happens. regardless, these leaves me pondering just exactly what the F I'm doing wrong on the TT bike. Is there some unlocked potential gain, hidden there in the god forsaken discomfort of that torturous TT bike?
I really hope so because I haven't made any gain in years. May be time to break down and go see Armand. We have been thinking about it for Cathy anyhow, who is looking for 21 seconds in order to knock none other than Karen Smyers out of the top 3 record times at the CBTT. Yes, Cathy is legit and deadly on a TT bike, as many unhappy men who get 'chicked' by her weekly can attest to. I on the other hand ...