How can I get faster? This is a general topic for discussion whenever a group of cyclists get together, and this is true of any conversation held on our club rides out to the countryside. Various topics are discussed first, like circling the drain, with an inevitable ending point – how can I get faster?
“It doesn’t get easier…
…you just get faster” Greg LeMond once said. Now this might be the case, but surely there is a way to get faster whilst it being easier… no?
There are differing opinions in cycling circles, and even to a point within a group the size of ours. Lowell would probably say that sock-doping is the way forward (if you saw his collection you’d understand), others say nutrition, some say sleep, or even the time of day due to personal circadian rhythms. Some are more tenuous, if you look at my Box Hill PB on Strava, then the perfect prep is a day out at the Polo accompanied by a healthy share of 6 bottles of Pommery (I jest, but it’s true – Strava).
There is however one universally accepted improvement that you can make to any bike, which ‘proper’ blogs e.g. GCN say you can do to get faster with no extra effort… New wheels.
Yes, I know they’re not Cosmics, but neither are the ones above!
As you’re reading this article and not New Scientist I’ll skip the piece about rotational force and conversation of angular momentum etc, and summarise. Lighter kit takes less effort to move. Spin that kit and it’s an even bigger difference.
Careful what you Covet
The Mavic Cosmic SLS clinchers are my current weapon of choice, they’d been my weapon of choice for 19 months and 2 days before I actually owned a pair, coveting them like an item on a ‘bucket list’ – and they don’t disappoint. Not a hint of it. I distinctly remember throwing them on at about 11pm when I got home on D-Day (‘Delivery Day’), to take them for a spin around the block. Not one to ever miss out on telemetry and yearly KOM totals, my Garmin was on and doing its thing, and while putting down a little effort to see what they could do, I broke virtually every PB I had in the area, in jeans and a hoody.
Feels Like Christmas
I’m brought back to this moment every time I pull my Cosmics out of their covers each spring. As with the rest of the Baroudeurs, the Tour of Flanders = beginning of Summer, which means the leg warmers go away and the summer kit, wheels, bikes etc. come out. All those £1,000s of kit that have been cocooned in their protective sheathes throughout winter, come out of hibernation all across London are catapulted back into life; reinvigorating those who have put in the ‘hard yards’ on training bikes over the Winter. Today was that day. ‘Christmas’ day, Summer Wheels day…
Those 30kmh sections suddenly 35kmh, 40 becoming 45 and so on. Annual PBs tumble and a lightness that is reminiscent of sunnier, warmer times. Not to mention the hypnotic thrum when you’re out of the saddle. They look pretty decent too.
For all of you who have suffered through the wet, dirty, cold, snowy, sleety, windy winter days and nights, that the moment has arrived. Bare legs and warmed hearts, summer is just about upon us…
These are Cosmic. No we’re not sponsored, but Mavic, if you’re reading this…
The Final Word
And for those of you who think I’m just writing lyrical wax about my Cosmics, that’s partly true, but fellow Baroudeur, Ollie has just bought a pair of ‘deep dish’ aero wheels, so I’ll get him to leave a comment below to (hopefully) verify the benefits of upgrading to aero race wheels. Ollie…?