It’s no secret that aerodynamics play a significant role in reducing drag during a time trial. Investing in the appropriate equipment will pay large dividends in time savings.
Beyond equipment, managing the rest of your setup on the bike will have a big impact on your success. Todd Carver, Chief Fit and Education Officer at Retül, offers four suggestions for reducing drag and improving performance on a time trial bike.
Find a position that allows you to power and handle the bike properly
It is true that aerodynamic drag is reduced by shrinking the percentage of body surface area you present to the wind. This can tempt athletes to set positions too aggressively which can reduce power output and impair handling ability on corners and descents. Aim to balance an aggressive position with sustainability.
Shrug on the bike
You can reduce your surface area and gain significant time savings by narrowing your shoulders and letting your spine drop down between your shoulder blades. Avoid setting your position so aggressively that you will not be able to shrug. A bike fitter or positional coach can help you achieve this position.
Train in your position
Be realistic about how much time you are going to spend adapting to the TT position. If that time is less than 3-5 hours per week, go for a less aggressive position (closer to your road bike position) that allows you to get speed from power and handling.
Consider clothing options
Regardless of your position on the bike, a proper kit will offer a significant aerodynamic benefit. A basic rule of thumb: if you look normal standing around in your TT kit you are probably losing minutes on your performance. You should not be able to stand fully upright without stressing the kit’s fabric to its limits. For the most benefit, the kit should be a skin-tight fit.
Todd Carver offers fit services at Retül headquarters in Boulder, Colorado and teaches bike fit courses in the Retül University and Specialized Bicycle Components University programs. Retül is the official bike fit technology of British Cycling. For more information about Retül or to find a Certified Retül Fitter visit retul.com.