It's been about 4 months now since I had the operation, and I have finally been able to get on my TT bike on the road!
For the people who aren't as familiar with carbon TT bikes, I will explain why it has taken me so long to get on the road. It is common sense that a steel bike is much heavier than a carbon bike, hence why competitive cyclists or triathletes go for the carbon bike - the heavier the bike, the more weight you are having to push around, the more energy you are using up. so the slower you move.
That, of course, will be very handy in my races as I am cycling 40 kilometres in between a swim and a run.
I have been told many times that a TT bike makes a lot of difference compared to a carbon bike, but I don't think anyone can explain this properly, I think its something that you have to experience yourself. I have also been told that it is a lot more reactive. By this, I mean that one slight twitch of the handlebars and you could be going in a different direction (that is something that no one can prepare you for until you experience it yourself and that is not an exaggeration!). That is why I have made sure my shoulder is definitely ready to support me on this new bike - I wouldn't want to go and crash it on my first ride because I wasn't strong enough to control it!
However even though I was expecting some change once I started riding my TT, I did not think it possible to feel that much faster - and immediately - than when I was on my carbon bike.
The Trek is SO much lighter than my carbon bike, so much so that I feel like I am flying when I have a straight, open road to cycle. I could feel myself going faster and faster and I wasn't even pushing it that much. I could feel the grin on my face and even though my dad came with me to film beside me for a few snaps, I gradually left him behind so he only managed to get a couple of shots.
The aerodynamics make a massive difference and it is so smooth. Yes, it is very reactive, but that is just something I have to get used to and not be such a clumsy rider as I have been for the past few years, because the positives far outweigh the negatives with this bike.
It was also very comfortable, making the 2.5 hour ride feel a lot shorter (normally my arm positioning and butt starts hurting halfway through the ride - not this time!). I think the positioning on TT bikes ie leaning further forward over the front wheel and further forward on the seat means that your quads are stretched out more and therefore less chance of getting leg cramps before or during the next section of the race, the run. I didn't realise what a difference this would make and when I got off the bike after several miles of constant riding I had loads of life left in my legs, with no cramping.
Changing the gears is so smooth that you hardly even realise that it has happened, its like gliding a knife through butter. Leaning on the TT bars is so comfortable that I feel like I could stay there all day and that's a real positive statement to make after having a shoulder operation, and don't even get me started on the beautiful sound the wheels make when they are spinning (thankyou Ros 4 Jon) (Fellow cyclists will know what I mean on that one!)
All in all even though this was my first proper ride on a TT bike and my first ever Trek, I am very impressed and would have no hesitation in recommending anyone to try a Trek TT, but in particular a Speed Concept. For someone who has purposely used road bike for all triathlons and road races in the past, I was a little worried about not having the brakes near the gears incase I needed to get to them quickly and I never liked the position of them before (I always though how awkward I looked on them!) However a proper bike set up made a huge difference as well as a properly measured frame, flight deck and seating and I am surprised how quickly I have adapted to it.
Of course, I wouldn't even be writing this blog about this gorgeous machine if it wasn't for Richardsons Cycles, the amazing people who gave me this bike at the beginning of the year! I'm sorry it has taken so long to get on the bike, but it was definitely worth the wait. I love it even more now I've ridden it properly!!
Now for my first race on it.... this weekend, actually! My first Duathlon in over 2 years, and my first race back this season - no biggy!