Thursday, February 20, 2020

Plan 2020 - Physical Goals

2014 New Britain, standing

Power makes the world go 'round. And on the track, power makes the wheels go 'round.

Peak Power

Like horsepower in a car, ultimate power doesn't necessarily make you the faster. You need to apply it efficiently, in an efficient position, and actually use the power available to you. The quick lessons I've gotten on power is that it certainly helps to have power but it doesn't necessarily make you fast.

Having said that, having power is not a bad thing.

Using the reliable SRMs, my absolute peak power has been in the 1700w range, with several repeated efforts in the 1500w range, and somewhat easily repeatable 1300-1400 watt efforts. By "easily" I mean I can go and do an effort and pretty much know I'll be able to hit 1300w, but it's not easy by any means - it's a 100% effort.

I can make such efforts with no weight lifting, no non-cycling training. With that thought in mind, I plan on using weight lifting and possibly plyometrics to improve my power.

500m Specifics

When approaching the short, standing start time trials (500m, 1000m), a huge change in the last 10 years has been the emphasis on the start. Before that, sustained power was the thing. You got going and then sustained some insane power to the end.

Problem was that once up to speed, it took a lot of power to go just a teeny tiny bit faster.

The easiest place to make improvements was at the beginning, when you were accelerating.

Because of that, now the emphasis is on getting through the opening phase as quickly as possible, then hanging on for dear life until the finish.

Therefore my goal will be to really work on the start, both in terms of pure power but also in terms of technique.

Best power - 1700w

Goal power - 2000w

Keep in mind - avoid injuries

Sustained Power

Based on the best times in the world, for M50-54, the 500m time trial should take about 35-38 seconds. Any longer than that and it's probably not worth showing up. Obviously those times are incredible times, very, very fast, and involve very powerful starts.

(And yet those times are relatively slow - on the way to a record 1000m time - go to 20:30 into the linked clip, one rider put down a 30.1 second 500m, and he was only halfway through his effort! The Elite guys are crazy fast.)

Now, for me, I rarely make 35 second efforts, so that's going to be the first challenge. And second, my best power numbers for 20-30 seconds usually involve pedaling toward a sprint and then sprinting, so a mid-upper power leading into peak power and quickly tapering off.

The 500m is a different creature, with peak power coming early in the 35 second effort, then as power drops the effort demands leg speed. This is a very tough effort because contraction fatigue (based on number of contractions) is more crippling than effort fatigue (based on pure muscular power). Contraction fatigue is why I shift during a sprint, to keep contraction count down. I can do a double or even triple peak sprint if I shift two or three times. But on the track it's one gear - I'm going to have to learn how to deal with contraction fatigue, meaning I have to be able to pedal hard really fast as I'm blowing up.

I'm still not sure how to train for this but I have a feeling it's going to hurt.

Best 35s power - 735w

Goal 35s power - 850w


One thing I really haven't tested is my top sustainable speed. It's one thing to accelerate to a speed, it's another to sit down and sustain it for 200-250 meters. Although I make short 30-32 mph efforts somewhat at will, sustaining 37-38 mph for any length of time will be hard. To sustain such a speed after accelerating from a standing start will be... challenging.

I'll be working on speed, both in terms of pedaling speed but also experimenting with gearing so I can optimize cadence and speed. In other words, if I'm really good at 125 rpm, I want to gear myself so that I'm at or maybe just over that when at top speed. I want to bisect top speed and cadence. Realistically I'll trade a bit of optimal rpm for quicker acceleration, so I may target a slightly higher sustained cadence. This way I use my "best" power/cadence for acceleration, then use a slightly less optimal cadence to hold on to the speed.

I'll practice by accelerating up to speed and holding it for a brief time - that will teach me the first half of the effort. The other thing I'll do is get a boost up to speed (MOSS or Maximum Optimal Spring Speed) and then work on sustaining the high speed for a certain period of time.

Goal: Not clear but first sustain 37 mph from a standing start. It may morph into "hit 40 mph from a standing start".

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Plan 2020 - Wheels

Track Wheels

Other than the rider's position (meaning the aero drag of the actual rider), the biggest aero improvements can be made on wheels.

Track wheels are different from road wheels

First, they have to be secured using a nut and bolt type system. They cannot use a quick release skewer.

The rear dropouts are horizontal, meaning you can move the hub fore and aft. Most road dropouts are vertical so no horizontal movement - you need much less force to hold a wheel in place in a vertical drop out versus a horizontal one. Because of that, although there are front wheel skewer adapters, in the rear it's generally best to have a very strong nut-bolt system, else the wheel will move under pressure, usually shifting sideways so that the tire rubs the frame. Alternatively some dropout screws, designed to limit axle movement within the dropout, will keep the wheel from moving. With such bolts a rider might opt to use a lighter nut-bolt system.

Second, track wheels have two threaded sections on the rear wheel, one for a single cog, with a reverse thread on top of that for a reverse thread lockring. The cog screws on normally, and when you pedal your pedaling action tightens the cog. Believe it or not, it's possible to unscrew that cog, if you backpedal hard, or skip and skid the rear wheel while backpedaling. Therefore the reverse thread locking is critical - it prevents back pressure from unscrewing the cog. It actually tightens if you manage to start unscrewing the cog. Also, for safety reasons, it's illegal to use a hub that doesn't have a reverse threaded lockring.

Although old fashioned road freewheel hubs are threaded the same as a track cog, the lack of a reverse lockring bit means you can't use a simple road freewheel hub on the track. Rear track hubs are unique.

Rear track wheels are also very narrow, 120mm from outside the locknut to outside the locknut. Rear road wheels are much wider, 135+mm. So you can't use a road rear wheel for track without a lot of work. You'd need to narrow it up and add that reverse lockring thread.

Front wheels are easy. They are the same width at the axle as a road hub, 100mm, and with a track adapter skewer, you can use pretty much any road front wheel on the track. There aren't any extraordinary forces on the front wheel so no issues using a skewer adapter system that clamps with a force similar to a quick release skewer.

Rolling resistance, comfort, and rigidity

Since trackies aren't worried about comfort, you can get away with quite narrow tires. Narrow tires are generally more aero, so I'll need to get a few 19mm and 21mm tires.

Also, since tracks are relatively smooth, and tire deflection is wasted energy, track riders tend to ride with a lot of air pressure in the tires. No need for big, cushy riding tires. They'd only absorb some sprint energy better utilized to driving the bike forward.

Likewise, because tracks tend to be sheltered a bit, control in crosswinds is less critical. U shaped rims aren't as critical, and in fact, for indoor tracks, many riders will use a disc front wheel, something completely unmanageable if riding out on the road.

Apparently, and I've yet to verify this, lateral stiffness is a thing, with significant G-forces acting on the rider on the banking. My early T-Town memories don't seem to reflect this but I was probably going too slow.

Wheel Aerodynamics

I did some extensive research on track racing wheel aerodynamics. This basically meant watching countless track videos on YouTube while riding the trainer. It also involved perusing some of the time trial forums to see exactly what people are using, what they've found to work.

I also wanted to work within the experiences I had, meaning riding in some wind (2020 Nationals is at an outdoors track), front disc wheels (I had a 24" front once), and my budget. I love cross-tailwinds with my tall wheels because I can fly. I figure the same applies for the track, but I'll get about 80 meters of flying on the longest of straights before I'm turning again. I know front disc wheels are hard to control. And my budget it limited.

Remember that the front wheel is responsible for about 2/3 of the aero drag of the wheels. It also has a massive effect on handling, since it acts as a lever to turn the bars. The rear wheel is less important, but it affects handling very little. On the road my approach has been to use the tallest rear wheel available (90mm for the Stingers) with the tallest front wheel I can handle in moderate wind (75mm for the Stingers). In really windy conditions I'll use a shorter front wheel to improve control, dropping to a 45mm front wheel or even a non-aero 26?mm wheel.

With that in mind this is what I've gathered, with a "Wanted" list for each section.

Disc Wheels

The fastest wheels are lenticular (lens shaped) disc wheels, meaning they're a bit wider at the hub than at the rim. Viewed from above they're sort of lens shaped, like a flatter contact lens. These sail best when in an indirect headwind and they sail really well in a cross-tailwind.

The problem with a front wheel is that it catches massive air, like massive. On a 24" disc wheel I got blown across about 10 feet of road, almost into oncoming traffic, and I was going only 25 mph. With a full size 700c disc wheel, I would image it's only really usable indoors, with zero wind. My online findings seem to confirm this. Therefore a front disc will be for a different year, when Nationals is indoors, or, if conditions are absolutely ideal, for 2020.

Basically I'll see if I can pick up a lenticular front disc for a steal. Otherwise I'll let it go.

For the rear wheel, again, lenticular discs are fastest, but the flat discs (Zipp) are very close. For me I think it'll be virtually indistinguishable. The biggest issue with Zipp rear discs is that the track axle is pretty much nonexistent, unavailable. It's like the unicorn of wheel parts. List price is almost $300 so it blows the budget out of the water.

This meant I was searching primarily for semi-affordable rear disc wheels, like Corima and Fast Forward. If I could pick up a Zipp track disc I'd do that, as long as it was substantially cheaper than a lenticular.

Wanted: Lenticular rear disc. If a cheap Zipp rear disc shows up, so be it. Less expensive lenticular disc front wheel (since it won't be used much, if at all, in 2020).

Budget: $1000 lenticular rear, $650 flat rear, $900 lenticular front. I'd want a second rear wheel, probably a bargain flat disc wheel, as a spare.

Three and Five Spoke Wheels

With front discs being virtually unusable except indoors, I need to have a low spoke count front wheel. The fastest front wheel on the road has been the HED3, previously known as the Specialized TriSpoke. Fortunately for me this wheelset was my secret weapon back before aero wheels were a thing, and I have both a tubular front TriSpoke and a clincher front TriSpoke.

(I have a TriSpoke rear freehub and a 105 freehub fixed gear adapter but I learned that the TriSpoke uses a Dura-Ace freehub so the adapter doesn't work. I'm waiting to use that fixed gear adapter though as it's a unicorn item.)

I looked into 5 spoke front wheels but found that although they were stiffer, they weren't necessarily faster. If it was all about speed, the TriSpoke should work.

The only drawback with the TriSpoke is that it's flexible. How that affects me on the track I'm not sure, but for now the most cost effective approach will be to use the TriSpokes I have now.

Wanted: nothing, but if TriSpoke is too flexible maybe a 5 spoke front wheel.

Budget: nothing

Spoked Front Wheels

The final wheel for my track racing quiver would be a spoked front wheel, like the wheels I use for the road. I have a couple of them so I figured if the TriSpoke wasn't rideable I could use my Stinger7 front wheel.

At the worst I might invest in a Stinger9, a 90mm front wheel. I don't know if it would get me that much extra speed - it probably wouldn't - so the 7 should be a good fallback wheel. It's be fine in a mass start track race since that's what I use in mass start crits.

Plus I can use a 7 in a crit. I'd really want a 7, with the TriSpoke or a front disc my preference on the track.

Front wheels can be secured using a bolt-nut combination that looks like a quick release skewer without the lever. I have one set already, may need to buy another couple fronts. This means I can buy a quick release hub front wheel without worrying about track legality.

Wanted: A second Stinger 7 or a Stinger 9.

Budget: $500

Trainer wheel

Believe it or not I don't have a clincher track rear wheel, meaning one with the fixed gear and the narrow spacing of a track bike. I have two rear track wheels right now, one so bad its hub consists of steel sheets pressed together; I won't use that one. The other is nice, a 32H Suntour Superbe Pro hub wheel. It's laced with a narrow tubular rim right now.

I'd like to get a 24H clincher rim, a cool looking one with stickers on the side (no braking surface), and lace it onto the hub. It'd be 16 spokes on the drive side, cross 2, and 8 spokes radially laced on the non-drive side. I've done this before when building 24H rear wheels for the road and it works great. I just have to work out the spoke lengths for such a build.

This wheel would be my warm up wheel, trainer wheel, and ultra emergency spare rear wheel.

Although I'm not sure why I'd need a spoked clincher front wheel, I have a Eurus front wheel with a new rim, sitting in my inventory for literally 10-12 years. I'll lace over the new rim - it should work as a wheel for rollers, maybe for warm ups, or out-on-the-road experiments.

Wanted: 24H disc brake clincher rim

Budget: $100


I have some wheel shopping to do.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Plan 2020 - Dolan DF4 Frame

The first step in the whole process was to get a frame. Track frames are different from road frames, and I'd want the frame to be UCI compliant as well, something my beloved Tsunamis are not.

Here's the big thing with track frames: the bars are really narrow.

Wait. Bars? You were talking about frames. Why the bar comment?

It all comes down to that. Nowadays a regular track bar is 33-35 cm wide. In contrast, on the road it's normal to see 40-42 cm, although that's coming down a bit. I'm running 41 cm bars on my Tsunamis, and they look narrow under me.

The ultra narrow track bars cause a problem though. The reach to the bar is shorter, due to the reduced width. If you're reaching 3 cm to each side that's 3 cm of length. If your bars are 3 cm narrower on each side, you have 3 cm more arm "left over".

You need a longer frame.

Therein lies the problem for me. I'm already pushing it with my odd proportions, short legs, long torso. My frame is basically a 50 cm (high) frame, a size which normally comes with a 52-53 cm long top tube. However my frame has a 56.5 cm top tube, and, additionally, has a steeper seat tube angle. That pushes the top tube forward, effectively making it about a 57-57.5 cm top tube. And my head tube, at 12 cm total height, requires a 3 cm drop stem.

I can't commission another Tsunami because they're not UCI compliant.

So I Googled all the track frames I could find. I looked at their frame geometry charts. I needed to find a UCI compliant 50 cm seat tube frame with a 74.5-75 deg seat tube angle, a 57 cm top tube, and a 12 cm head tube. It had to be aero. It had to be a real track frame, not a fixie bike.

And I needed to get it done for less than $2000 shipped.

Dolan DF4

The only frame I could find was the Dolan DF4. A world class frame, no less, raced professionally. Aero design. 50 cm seat tube. 57 cm top tube. 74.5 deg seat tube angle. 12 cm head tube.

It was exactly what I needed.

And with a pre-season discount, it fell way below my $2000 budget, shipped.

Dolan DF4 - size 57 (!!)
It's their second largest size frame.

First, the frame is UCI certified. That means I can do official events, like Worlds. At the very least I know that the frame is okay for Nationals, which is my focus.

The second most important feature of the frame is the geometry - it almost mirrors the Tsunamis. Very long top tube (0.5 cm longer), steep seat tube (1 deg shallower), and short head tube (same height as Tsunami). Although I'll have to move my saddle up within the seat post clamp, I'm at the UCI limit on the Tsunami for a sprint bike (zero setback to nose of saddle) so I should be fine on the Dolan.

The third most important feature, because without it I'd have eliminated it from consideration, is that it is aero. No vintage round tube stuff - this frame is meant to go fast.

After that it's all gravy.

Aero tubing, aero seat post

The aero isn't obvious until you turn the frame. The frame gets real thin real quick.

Cut out for rear tire, but tire will not be as close as on the Tsunami

In my research I've found evidence that a cut out will save a fraction of time, and help a less than optimal rear wheel. In less scientific findings, I think it looks cool. Either way, this frame has a rear wheel cut out.

Rear dropouts.
I need to order spares.

Carbon fiber isn't very strong - it's just a plastic reinforced by carbon fibers. So contact points under pressure tend to be constructed of metal inserts. The rear dropouts on a track frame see a lot of abuse, so those are metal. I forgot to order spares. I'll want to get some dropout screws while I'm at it.

Potential Weak Points

I saw two potential weak points in the frame when researching online. The first was that the rear dropouts are pretty short. This helps handle a problem the longer dropouts had, where the weight of the rider bend the top part of the dropout up. This caused the opening to widen, making it difficult to secure the wheel. If you look at the geometry picture in the Dolan site, you can see the older DF3, with the super long dropouts.

The problem with a short dropout is that you can't move the wheel very much to take up chain slack. This means getting multiple chains for various gear combinations.

Since I prefer a very, very short chain stay, I'd probably want to keep the rear wheel as forward as possible anyway, so this "weakness" becomes a non-issue for me.

The second weak point is the seat post clamp. It's a wedge clamp with a very small bolt, with a very high torque rating. There are reports that it's virtually impossible to tighten enough to deal with jolts, like when you hit a seam on the track.

The workaround is pretty easy - you put a piece of pipe in the seat tube. Cut to the right length, the seat post will just sit on it. I have ideas for that "pipe" as well, so that critical cutting shouldn't be an issue.

So that's the frame. Next up, the wheels.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Plan 2020 - New Project for 2020

Plan 2020 - The Track

I was about to post some random stuff on a bike forum when I realized that this is the kind of stuff I'd post on my blog, so I'm putting it here instead.

My big thing for this year, 2020, is to give track racing a shot.


I gave it a shot in 2009 pretty seriously, making the hike up to the New Hampshire track as much as possible to get some racing in my legs. In the scheme of things, though, I gave it a pretty low key approach. I used a bike that I got back in the 80s, a bike so bad the rep was selling the frame and fork, with nice $40 headset, for $100. I got a rear wheel from one of the guys (I think it was free?), and then... well, I forgot about it. I used it twice in the early 90s, at T-Town, but that was it.

In 2009 I was so low key about track that I stopped at the bike shop on the way to the first race to get a crankset for it. The arms worked loose (incompatible bottom bracket axle and crank arms) but the set up worked for a couple trips.

Eventually I got some better cranks, figured out a better handlebar, and used my old TriSpoke front wheel. Then life intruded - I haven't been on a track since August 2009.

The Riggio, version 1.0 I think, with left over cranks.

This time... this time I'm going to be a bit more serious.

It all started sometime in the middle of 2019 when I started looking into the 500m times for the M50-54 age group. See, in 2009, when I went to the track, I felt pretty unconfident in myself as far as bike racing went. I was struggling on the road, and when I went to the track I felt like I'd just stepped into a world full of riders like me, but better - good jumps, good sprints, but better.

Too good for me.

At least that was my attitude. Definitely a down type attitude, but learning quickly.

"He's Not The Only One"

I remember distinctly watching one race at the track. I was in a, "Wow, everyone is so fast here" kind of mood, watching a blazing fast A race, the racers slicing and dicing, huge attacks, huge counters... just so impressive.

I'd just commented to myself, out loud, that the rider "that didn't even win the A race" had such powerful legs. I must have said it in a half-intimidated, half-in-awe way.

The rider next to me hear what I said. An A rider himself, he leaned over to me.

"He's not the only one with big legs you know," he commented, pointedly looking down at my legs.


I filed that comment away.

Before the season was up I'd won at least one Keirin race. I'd won a scratch race. I'd really done terrible at a pursuit. I tried a Madison. I even got my front wheel to touch the roller on the back of the motorcycle. I started feeling like maybe I could do this.

Then the season ended and, as I said before, life intruded. Track racing, for me, came to a full stop.

Fast forward 10 years to mid-2019.

Zwift and The Long Sprint

By 2019 it's been 4 years since I've been on Zwift, and I've pretty much done all my hard training on Zwift, except for actual races. Zwift has pushed me to go really, really hard on the trainer, sprinting for 20-30 seconds, uncomfortably long sprints for me. I prefer a 10-15 second sprint, so to jump 4 seconds before a 22 second sprint... I mentally cursed Zwift co-founder Eric Min (the guy I could never beat at SUNY Tuesday Night Sprints) a few times after one of my first attempts doing a long sprint in the Zwift world (Watopia green, for those that Zwift).

This was in 2015 - I'd stopped training in mid-June, so by July I was suffering on the bike.

Slowly, though, I started figuring out the longer sprints. I learned to sprint a bit longer. I managed to hold out just another few seconds. I got comfortable expecting a 25 second effort, as unpleasant as it might have been just a year before. I started to expect more from myself in those long sprints.

In early 2015 I won a race by following a move 30 seconds from the finish. Although I suffered like mad, although I didn't actually sprint, I won the race by a huge margin, the biggest since, well, since a one off race about 20 years prior.

The Zwift Win race

What's that got to do with Plan 2020?

Let me explain.

In the last 10 years three local racers, all Masters women that did Bethel and raced in the area, have gone on to do some incredible things on the track, winning National titles, even multiple World titles. The latest was this year, when CK won three Golds (and more) at Worlds plus a whole slew of medals at Nationals. With everything getting uploaded to YouTube and the internet I could watch some of the events, see pictures, and check times. Since I was on Zwift all the time, I would put YouTube on a different screen and watch bike racing while I Zwifted.

Specifically, I watched track racing.

So I watched clips of a lot of women doing the 500m TT (Elite Women do the 500m, Elite Men do the 1000m aka "The Kilo".. importantly Masters Men over 50 do the 500m). I looked at their bar set up, if they did drop bars or aero bars. Drop bars meant you could have lower drops and a further forward saddle. Aero bars meant bars had to clear the tire and the saddle had to be 5 cm further back. With such a short event it seems that most riders use drop bars, although technically aero bars, if you can put down big power on them, should be faster.

I watched the Elite men also, but mainly to watch their starts (it's a very unique part of track racing, unlike a normal acceleration on a road bike) and to see what sort of insane 500m times they'd set. Due to the length of the Kilo they all use aero bars so no questions there on set up.

Of course, if I looked hard enough, the M50-54 stuff was up there also, like their 500m TTs. See, once men hit 50 years old, they do "only" a 500m TT, not the infamous Kilo. For me the Kilo seemed a bit much, sprint until you blow up and then sprint for another 30 seconds... No.

The 500m though, that seemed more realistic. It seems a really good time for the 500m is about 35 seconds, which, coincidentally, is just a bit longer than the effort needed to do a 21-22 second time in Zwift's Watopia sprint. A proper sprint in Zwift involves about a 7-8 second acceleration before the line, then a 20-22 second effort to get to the finish, although I generally explode just short of the banner.

That all seemed great but with Nationals historically held in California or somewhere in the MidWest, it was unrealistic for me to contemplate doing Nationals.

I shelved thoughts of track Nationals.

2020 Masters National Track Championships

Then the kicker. In October 2019 USA Cycling announced that the 2020 Masters National Track Championships would be held in Pennsylvania, at T-Town, at the track I raced on in 1992. Compared to the far reaches of the West Coast, PA is literally a 4.5 hour drive away. It was doable.

I started thinking about it a lot.

I had to be realistic though. I headed over to Analytical Cycling, a site that calculates bike racing things like speed or elapsed time based on your power output.

And wouldn't you know it, they have a 500m TT page.

I plugged in some regular race numbers that I've put down, and came up with about a 37 second time. I put in some higher numbers, like half way between race peak and training peak (the latter being 500w higher at times).

36 seconds.

I bumped the 35 second average power up 100w, about 80w higher than my PR.

34.9 seconds.


Now, I'm pretty skeptical of the Analytical Cycling page as it were, because another one of their pages doesn't accurately chart what I experience with wheel weight differences, at least not in the magnitude that I experience wheel weight differences. It's a long story, has some explanation back there, but that's for a different day.

Anyway, theoretical is always theoretical until it's actual.

So I posed the question to more knowledgeable and experienced track racers. Their verdict was that the Analytical Cycling page numbers were pretty good rough estimations of real world stuff. Obviously things change in real life, wind, sloppy riding, etc, but one rider even showed a chart of his actual time in a 500m vs AC's model, and the two were virtually identical.


I started thinking that this could be possible, and there were two contributing factors.

One contributing factor - I haven't lifted seriously, for bike racing, since I was in high school, and I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, back then I succeeded only in injuring myself and basically turning myself off of weight lifting for forever.

(I lifted a bit in 2008 or so, and got a bit stronger, but realize now I was doing it all wrong - wrong muscles, wrong emphasis - it was more vanity than purposeful lifting.)

Recently an Australian cycling website put up some track training stuff. I know the site because many years ago that same site asked permission to publish a letter I wrote CyclingNews about sprinting. I read they Up Up UP stuff over and over and I feel like I understand more of what I need to do to get fit for efforts like the 500m or the flying 200m. It's nothing like what I've done before.

Over the summer I started doing body weight squats (just body weight, meaning no additional weight). My legs were screaming after 15 or 20 of them, although in short order I was doing 40 or 50 at a time. World class sprinters are expected to be doing about twice their body weight in squats, and here I was with zero pounds struggling.

I had a lot of room for improvement.

Another contributing factor - for my power I am relatively small aerodynamically. I don't need to put down the same kind of power as a taller rider. One recurring theme that pops up when I post a picture of me in the field goes along the lines of, "That's not fair, you're too low!"


There are the obstacles of course.

The first is most obvious - I have very little experience on the track, with literally zero experience doing a standing start, zero experience in the 500m, and two ever flying 200m events (with predictably terrible results). I have to do as many track days as possible to make up for this, and practice starts on a heavy flywheel stationary bike (which I have, actually) or on a track bike on the trainer.

The next is the lack of absolute power. Depending on who you ask, I'm down 500-800w peak power, and I'm basing my competitiveness on a 35 second average power that I've never hit. This is with no weight lifting but still, it's a huge margin. I have to develop ultimate strength over the next few months, and get some explosiveness in there as well.

The third is lack of "speed power". My trademark sprint technique is to shift into a higher gear as I sprint. I like keeping my rpm within about 8-10 rpm during my entire sprint. Track sprinting is different - the numbers I see are things like "peak rpm 145" and "if you drop below 130 rpm you'll lose a lot of time in the last 50m". This will take some hard efforts, but I'm trusting in the UpUpUp observation that "speed power" can be developed in the final 6-8 weeks of training.

The fourth is my lack of scientific training. As my former leadout man, teammate, best man, winter training camp host, etc, pointed out, "You're the most unscientific training person there is". And he meant that in a nice way! I don't "train", I just ride. What's interesting is that most of my training rides are exactly what are described in UpUpUp, super easy with some very short, sharp efforts. I'll have to increase the number of short, sharp efforts, but I can deal with those. It's the aerobic stuff that kills me, anything over a minute or two.

Need Clearance to Pursue Goal

I spoke with the Missus about this because going to the track for giggles and committing to traveling to Nationals were two different things. I've literally never done a Nationals, ever, and I won't be going there just to say I participated. I'm going because I want to compete.

To do this I'd have to invest in a proper bike, start lifting seriously, and make time to race on the track.

Money is a big thing. I figured $2k max on a frame, $1.5k on wheels, $100 saddle, $300 bars, $1000? on my last remaining SRM (upgrade or at least servicing it), some more here and there. A stem. Narrow tires. Strap system for the pedals. Possibly size 40.5 shoes (my 41s seem a bit long).

We're talking $5k here, for an incomplete bike, without travel, without time factored in. I have never spent that much money in a year on my bike.


Even my SRM equipped Campy Record Cannondale bike cost less than that, and that was a complete bike where I recovered $1200 selling off unnecessary parts. Before that? I don't think I spent more than $2500 at a time except maybe for the tandem.

This is literally the largest investment in my racing that I've ever made.

To be fair, my track set up would be usable for many, many years. It will be a world class frame, aero enough to hold its own, with a good SRM crank, rear disc wheel, front TriSpoke (that I own), possible front disc wheel (if doing an indoors Nationals), all proven equipment. I could race track for a while on my planned set up. But it would be useless anywhere else - I wouldn't be able to use the frame, rear wheel, bars, etc, anywhere except on the track.

Plan 2020 is a Go

After a short discussion, the Missus said yes. She was literally nodding yes before I got done with my presentation.

I mean, okay, she's always been supportive, but this was a big ask, financially and time-wise, so it's a big deal to me. It was obvious I'd thought about it at length (many months), I'd considered what I need to do, how much time I had to do it, and what I could accomplish realistically. Still, though, it is a big deal to even think about attempting this.

Now I have to get going on it.