Fixin’ to be timed

Yes, that’s me sprinting up to speed at the start of Sunday’s Peter L. Teeuwen Time Trial (named after the former owner of my house). Yes, I rode my first (and only) time trial this year. One has to be reminded on occasion why one doesn’t like TTs. It’s a lot like the old hammer saying – it feels good when you stop hitting yourself. And yes, I rocked my fixed gear.

I don’t own a time trial bike; I don’t own a time trial helmet; I had to borrow the clip-on bars from Tripower teammate Chad. I set up the Specialized with 54×16 gearing, figuring correctly I could spin it pretty well in what was supposed to be light wind conditions.

So much for supposed to. It wasn’t real windy, but the there was a stiff southwesterly breeze blowing across the fields of southern Chesapeake by the time I started at 10:21. I sprinted up to speed, got a good cadence going and rolled south. My goal was just to finish between 55 minutes and one hour, considering I do no time trial-specific training. I kept a steady cadence down Shillelagh and over Benefit to the Causeway, which hurt badly as it was a full-on headwind. I’d hoped for some relief on Ballahack, but it was more cross and after the turn onto Bunch Walnuts, there were too many trees for there to be a tailwind.

Still I wasn’t passed until the turn back onto Shillelagh, so I felt like that was a good sign. But I also hadn’t caught anyone. I had no data other than time on my wristwatch, so it was hard for me to tell how I was doing. Two more guys came by me in the wooded stretch of Shillelagh, but I just couldn’t up my cadence. When I finally broke out into the fields and felt a tailwind, I was able to push the cadence, but it was too little too late. I rolled across in 58 minutes flat.

Checking on Sheldon Brown’s gear calculator, spinning a 54×16 at 90 rpm works out to about 23.7mph, which is about what I averaged considering the course is 23 miles.

I’ll do a fixed gear time trial again someday. I’ll be sure the wind is lighter (I checked later and it was blowing a 10mph with 15 mph gusts) and possibly use an even bigger gear. And I’m still not about to go out and buy a TT bike.

Tripower did real well. Gilmer won the Cat 3s. JLaw won 50+. Father Time was 3rd in the 40+ with the best Tripower time of the day. The ladies took first, second and 4th. I’ll be lucky if I was in the top 15 of the Cat 4s. I finished about 7:15 behind JacobT from Richmond who has been tearing up TTs this year.

The photo above is from Pablo Custodio who shot the start/finish.

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3 responses to “Fixin’ to be timed

  1. Top 15 on a fixie – all those Alley Cats did pay off.

  2. 58 is a very solid performance considering the conditions, and equipment used…

  3. Way to rock the fixie- next time let’s see you do it sans aerobars!

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