As the opportunity to race the 3K Pursuit on what’s recognized as possibly the fastest track in the world approached, I made sure to bring the fastest setup I could. I wanted to make sure that the only thing between myself and my fastest time was, well, myself!
The most noticeable change from my last race setup is I used a Cervelo T4 frameset. I’ve been asked by many people why I am not on the Felt TA FRD I had the pleasure to test in the spring. I would have loved to ride the TA FRD – it is the fastest bike I’ve ever tested. However, the price was simply restrictive for the couple track events I do a year and Felt understandably doesn’t offer loaners.
One important recent change to the Cervelo T4 is that a new setback seastpost now allows me to match my fastest UCI-legal position. With positioning no longer being a limiting factor on either frame, I meticulously aero tested the Cervelo T4 vs the Felt TK1 and I simply went with what tested fastest for me from two very good options.
The Cervelo T4 reduced my CdA by 0.004 units which is about 1 second across 3 kilometers. It isn’t quite as laterally stiff as my Felt TK1, but any concern I had about that was eleviated during my standing start.
Wheels & Tires
I was back on my Zipp 808-Super9 carbon clinchers with Conti Supersonic tires. I went back to this setup after tests against my Mavic Comete setup proved faster in the same velodrome testing session I tested the frames at linked above. There is a newer version of the Continental Supersonic 700×23 tires that is also very fast and reliable, yet it’s not quite as fast as the older version. I can’t even sell the older version to customers, yet I have a set or two in the secret stash that came out for this attempt. I used latex tubes as well of course.
I also made an aerobar change to the USE Tula Track aerobar. While my overall drag measured about the same on this bar compared to my existing Shimano Pro Missile Evo aerobar in that same testing session, when I picked apart the results further at the steadiest cruising speed laps I could see an aero edge to the USE bar. I may go back to my Shimano aerobar for the Team Pursuit and possibly the Individual Pursuit as I felt the USE aerobar flexed more during the standing start and the basebar grip pods were too far back giving me less out of the saddle leverage. I got the bike up to speed just fine during the record attempt.
I ran a 56×14 gear. This is the same gear I used in Manchester, England at Worlds and interestingly the same 4:1 ratio I used for my very first 3k I raced in 2014 when I ran a 52×13. Despite what you would intuitively think is a lighter and more aero gear in the 52×13 gear, the 56×14 proves to have lower drivetrain friction which makes it faster. I couldn’t tell you how much if any since I don’t have the equipment to test it myself. It’s interesting that I’ve gone higher and lower than this 4:1 ratio and here I am back where I started for the fastest tracks.
I used an optimized Ceramic Speed UFO 1/8” track chain for the attempt. Ceramic Speed tested KMC track chains against the often used Uzumi V 1/8” track chain I ran last year and claimed a 2 watt improvement. I shelved a plan to switch my 1/8” track bike chain over to a road bike 3/32” chain setup since CeramicSpeed said they tested both and there’s no measureable improvement in drivetrain efficiency with the road chain. This was part relief as I already had 1/8” SRM, chainrings, and cogs so I could continue to run what I knew. While you can optimize a chain yourself into its fastest sweet spot by removing and replacing the factory lube with a faster lubricant, and then running the chain for a few hundred miles to wear all the small imperfections out of the bearings, Ceramic Speed optimizes their chains at the factory so they’re ready to install and go. I prepared my chains well in the past, so while I didn’t expect to see speed gains from this – I at least had peace of mind that I’m not giving up speed here.
Clothing, Helmet and Bottom Bracket
The rest of my equipment choices were the same as last year – Speedplay Zero Aero pedals, Castelli Body Paint 3.0 speedsuit, Bell Javelin helmet, and Rotor 3D Track SRM with C-Bear ceramic bearing bottom bracket.