Friday, September 21, 2012

Pre-Race Bike Diet

The 2012 Ironman Augusta 70.3 is just over a week away and it's time for me to think about losing some weight.  I did similar pre-race tweaking before the Peachtree City Sprint Triathlon in August and it seemed to work well for me.  I placed!  Building upon Peachtree City's success, I decided to take another look at my tri-bike setup and see where I could shave off a few ounces and still have a comfortable ride that maintained my bike handling.

So, here's what I did with a little history.  When I bought my QR the aerobars were 2" apart.  It wasn't comfortable to ride and I felt like I didn't have control of my bike.
Aerobars as purchased
I moved the aerobars out about 5/8" to 2 5/8" and have been riding like that for the past year.  It was comfortable but seemed to create a void in my chest area which significantly reduced my aerodynamics.
Aerobars after a slight widening
This week I moved my aerobars back in about 3/8" to 2 1/4".  I've only ridden with this configuration once but I already feel the difference in my aerodynamics, yet I still feel comfortable and in control.  A happy medium!
Aerobars in their current configuration
I weighed my options, literally, and I've decided to go with the bottle cage tie-wrapped to the aerobars for a third water bottle.  I did this for two reasons.  One, it's far lighter than the other options I've had and, two, it allows me the option of discarding a water bottle on the course thereby further lightening my load.
Bontrager RL Composite Bottle Cage
The composite Bontrager RL bottle cage is advertised as weighing 38 grams.  The six 8" trimmed tie wraps add an additional 4 grams for a total of 42 grams (1.48 oz.).  I chose the RL cage because it works well, was cheap as compared to the carbon equivalent, and seems to have the right design to allow the tie wraps to fasten it securely to the aerobars.  I'll use a reusable/disposable Gatorade bottle with mouth piece instead of a regular water bottle too.
Bontrager RL Composite Bottle Cage
I have previously used an X-Lab Torpedo Mount with two different bottle cages.  While this was good for long group rides the Zefal right side water bottle cage was a bottle ejector.
X-Lab Torpedo Mount with Zefal right side Bottle Cage 
I replaced the Zefal with the Composite Bontrager cage on the torpedo mount.  It worked well and weighs only 94 grams (3.3 oz.), I knew I could do better.
X-Lab Torpedo Mount with Bontrager RL Bottle Cage
I have also tried various Bontrager Aero Pack configurations.  But these were all too heavy.  The aero pack was one of the reasons why I widened my aerobars in the first place. It wouldn't fit between the bars when they were only 2" apart.
Bontrager Aero Race Pack with Insulated Cover, Bite Valve and Watch Mount
The full aero pack weights 276 grams (9.73 oz.).  That's minus the Camelbak bite valve I installed to eliminate the back spray from the feed tube.
Bontrager Aero Race Pack with Insulated Cover
 Even without the insulated cover the aero pack is still quite heavy at 174 grams (6.1 oz.)
Bontrager Aero Race Pack without Insulated Cover 
I also decided to remove the Flash Point stickers from my aero wheels as a savings of 13 grams (.46 oz.)
Flash Point FP60's with Stickers
Flash Point FP60's without Stickers
13 grams of Wheel Stickers
So, there it is.  I've lost 13 grams in stickers and gained only 42 grams to mount a battle cage to mount aerobars.  I have capacity for three water bottles.  I plan to properly dispose of each one of them as it becomes empty.

These minor changes probably won't make a huge difference in my overall ride performance but, hopefully, they'll allow me the energy to focus on the run.  As each race progresses my mind always turns to the run segment because that's where I can put the hammer down!!

I can't wait for the race and, of course, good luck to everyone else that is competing.

Thanks for reading.