Sometimes I find myself thinking…
“…a set of full carbon wheels would make me so much faster!”
“…this old alloy frame is holding me back!”
“…on a light carbon bike I’d totally smash this climb!”
In the world of road cycling and with the ease on an internet search it’s all too easy to get drawn into the belief that throwing money at your ride will result in speed gains. Sure a stiff, lightweight bike will climb better and a set of deep section aero wheels will save you some watts, but the differences here are marginal – and by marginal I’m talking seconds in an actual race situation.
Remember … It’s the monkey not the machine!
One Sunday morning when being slowly shelled out the back of the paceline I found myself thinking that maybe on a lighter or more aero bike I’d be able to stick with these guys. Then I looked to the rider in front slowly pulling away; on a heavy alloy frame, low end Tiagra, stock wheels and full length mudguards! Splashing cash on upgrades wouldn’t save me now. You need to work on those legs, boy!
Rules 72: Legs speak louder than words.
I don’t throw out a lot of watts, I just have the dubious honour of being an aerodynamic featherweight. Yes there would be some benefit from a lightweight carbon frame or some expensive aero goodies, but there’d be a much greater benefit from an extra 30 watts in the legs! My bank balance would benefit from saving the cash too.
Work on those legs and lungs. That’s where the real gains are made.
Footnote: Of course money can buy a dubious doctor and a supply of EPO (or tainted steaks if you’re cynical) which will give you fast legs, but lets not go there…