Buying Some Time
As you may know from a previous post, I’ve been doing a weekly time trial on my bike as a way of improving my bike splits and testing my performance. I was due to do the time trial again today and wanted to try out my new aero helmet as well to see if it would make a difference.
The time trial goes around the Borth Loop in a clockwise direction, starting and finishing at Talybont. I use the first half of the first lap from Ynyslas to Talybont as a warm up, go flat out around the entire lap and then the second half of the second lap as a cool down to get home.
The first time I did it two weeks ago the conditions were perfect. Dry, sunny with no wind but not too hot. On that occasion I set a time of 35:50.
This time last week, a week after setting the first benchmark I did it again. Once again the conditions were good and I managed to knock 4 seconds off my time with a new course record for me of 35:46.
Both attempts were pretty close time-wise, so it looked as though my time for the course should be around 35:45 – 35:50. Today I had my first chance to try it with my new aero helmet. Now, it would be nice to be able to compare it like for like with my other helmet, but when riding in the real world this just isn’t possible. There are so many variables that you just can’t control, so all I can do is ride the same course and compare times. Unfortunately the conditions weren’t quite so good today. There was a little bit of a breeze, the roads were wet and it was raining. On top of that I got held up for a few seconds at the Rhydypennau junction by traffic and had to get out of the tuck position on a few corners in order to touch the brakes – which weren’t working too well due to the wet. Normally I’d take these corners on my aero bars, but the wet roads didn’t exactly inspire confidence so it was safer to get out of the aero position and slow down for the corners.
Despite all of this I managed to do the loop in 34:35, an amazing 1 minute 11 seconds faster than last week. Pretty impressive really. Who knows if it was down to the new helmet? Maybe I was just faster today? Maybe the conditions actually helped? Maybe the rain kept me cooler? Maybe the wind was actually a help rather than a hindrance? It was after all behind me along the exposed stretch through the Golf course and into my face on the hillier section around the back of the loop.
It’s impossible to say without doing the same things lots of times with both helmets, but as my only way of testing is to do the same route and see which is fastest so far I can only conclude that it is one fast hat!