Login required to started new threads

Login required to post replies

Prev Next
Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike
Quote | Reply
Hey guys,

first of all: I am not native english speaker so please excuse any faults. Though I hope you'll understand me.

My current problem: I can descend on my road bike (most) hills without even think of braking - which gives me speeds of approx. 40 mp/h. But on my Cervelo P5 (often) loose confidence as soon as I get faster than 25 mp/h. So all the aero advantage gets lost when going downhill. What can I do to get confidence here as well?

How I descend:
  • grip the top tube with my knees
  • unweighting the seat by standing up a little bit on the pedals
  • hands on basebar, ellbows near the upper torso
  • moving weight to the back of the saddle
Those things gave me a lot of confidence - at least at the classic road bike but not on the TT machine.


I see 2 problems:
  • The Cervelo P5 has a lot of contact surface to the wind and as soon as it hits me ( even if it's just a little bit) I feel and fear the slight wobbles. I assume it will get stronger (don't know if that's true, it's just my imagination) and will skid me.
  • On my road bike I feel like "getting one with the bike" (oh yeah, sounds like Star Wars) when using the drops of the handlebar - I am missing this on my P5, the basebar just doesn't give me this kind of confidence

By the way, it's not "speed wobbles" which scares me!


Any hints for me?

P.S. This is not a April 1st joke!
Last edited by: CerveloP5-Fan: Apr 1, 19 3:21
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [CerveloP5-Fan] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I don't descend as quickly on my TT bike as my road bike. Possibly a couple of reasons for me.
1) my TT bikes have had fits with higher center of gravity,
2) tubing &/or race wheels have greater side facing surface area,
3) even crouching down with weight shifted to the back of the saddle, my face is still over the front wheel more on the TT bikes than it feels on my roadies, which freaks me out, particularly on the 650's which seemed to rotate faster and be more nerve wracking.

Due to the fright generated by a sideways gust of wind I experienced on a descent with my TT bike, I've discontinued complete deweighting of the saddle. I still deweight some, but my body is still in contact with it which makes me feel like the bike is more stable. I'm also squeezing the saddle with my thighs versus the top tube with my knees; this way, keeping my knees more neutral vs squeezing in, makes me feel a bit more stable in cross winds on the TT bike. When I've felt more relaxed, either b/c it's a low wind day &/or I'm familiar with the course, I don't move my hands to the brake hoods / pursuits, I leave them on the aero extensions with a strong grip.

When you typed base bars, I assume you mean the brake lever area, right? I assume you do not mean you are gripping the base bar near the arm cups or stem. <-- I wouldn't try that on either my TT or my road bike.

Anyway, for reference my top speed in the drops of my road bike has been 45 mph, and on my TT bike 37-40 mph. So I'm not setting any speed records and you may get some different input from people with a higher risk tolerance than I have. But I'll close with this - I think the second you can gain by descending fast is not worth as much as the minute you can get by slicing across the flats faster on a TT bike than a road bike. In other words, maybe don't worry about descending more slowly on a TT bike.

To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive.
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [CerveloP5-Fan] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I'm gonna say it's mostly because you believe the bike will become unstable. It's a mental thing. You have this belief, so as you get to and surpass 25 mph, your body tightens up which causes the bike to overreact to any stimulus, such as wind, and you also magnify any movement in your mind.

I ride a bike with more side surface area (Felt IA) and have descended at 52mph in the aero bars in a race. I exceed 40mph almost every time I ride it. But I used to often feel like you.

When it's really windy, yeah the p5 will get pushed around more but in most conditions, it will be just fine and you need to just believe that and relax when you're on the bike.

Edit: also I would recommend not un-weighting the saddle in most descent situations.

-------------
Ed O'Malley
www.VeloVetta.com
VeloVetta is developing AERO cycling shoes with CFD and wind tunnel testing.
InstagramFacebook
Last edited by: RowToTri: Apr 1, 19 5:57
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [RowToTri] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
RowToTri wrote:
but in most conditions, it will be just fine and you need to just believe that and relax when you're on the bike.

I guess that's the point. Tell me more about it... make me confident that nothing will happen. :) How can I relax, how can I deflect my attention?

I have never ever read anything about a bike crash because of "the guy was just rolling down the hill @ 40 mp/h". Nonetheless I'll have to convince myself that nothing has ever happened and nothing unusual will ever happen. Any hints?

In fact I live in a hilly region and it's fun to climb and descend. :)
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [CerveloP5-Fan] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
If having more weight over the front wheel freaks you out, take confidence from this guy ;-).


Last edited by: knighty76: Apr 1, 19 6:18
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [knighty76] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
He wouldn't do this on a TT bike either ;)
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [CerveloP5-Fan] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I don't think I can say something that will make you more confident because it's not about you not having enough information. I think you need to just tell yourself to relax your hands, arms and shoulders while descending and just start pushing that envelope little by little and your confidence will build through that experience.

-------------
Ed O'Malley
www.VeloVetta.com
VeloVetta is developing AERO cycling shoes with CFD and wind tunnel testing.
InstagramFacebook
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [CerveloP5-Fan] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I used to have confidence issues descending and I’m not in love with long straight descents, but I’m great at technical descents now.

My main tip that helped me was always peddle. I’m not sure it does anything scientifically except propel the bike, but it helps me feel in control. The bike just seems more stable for some reason. Because I’m constantly steering (and in control) the technical ones are easy for me.

Also, I’m always as aero as possible.

Dan Mayberry
Amateur a lot of things, professional a few things.
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [CerveloP5-Fan] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Why not? I've done that on my tt bike
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [knighty76] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
knighty76 wrote:
If having more weight over the front wheel freaks you out, take confidence from this guy ;-).


I was the one who typed the bit about being freaked out by my face over my front wheel, and my response is NFW.

To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive.
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [CerveloP5-Fan] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I'm going to agree with the others that the issue is mental. I hate fast descents, even on a road bike. (History of a massive high speed crash descending some years ago.) I'm also going to agree that the more tension you have about a descent, the more likely it is that something bad is going to happen. My home triathlon has a 12% descent starting less than a mile from the start of the bike segment -- so this is a big issue for me. Especially in the rain. The KEY is to relax. Everything works fine if you're relaxed. Physics is your friend.

My hint may come across kind of weird, but it works for me . . . I tell myself that my eyes are playing tricks on me. I tell myself that the road is level, but my eyes are somehow telling me something different.

I don't clamp my legs on the top tube. I don't sit back. I stay in the extensions and I don't do anything special -- except to lie to myself that my eyes are lying to me. (It works for me.)
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [imswimmer328] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
imswimmer328 wrote:
Why not? I've done that on my tt bike

As has Lars Christian Vold at Norseman (see below). For many people it is probably a fairly simple case of riding their road bike on hilly stuff way more often than their TT bike. I'm racing hilly this year and I'm going to switch to riding my TT bike almost exclusively in training and am hoping that confidence will grow with familiarity... it is all up and down where I live so I should get plenty practice.


Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [CerveloP5-Fan] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Is there any binding as you turn the handlebars on your P5?
Maybe from headset bearings or cables that are influencing the freeness of the steering.

Even if it's just a small amount, it can make you no longer feel "at one with the bike".

The above poster is a physiologist employed by PEARL iZUMi. However, statements are not made on behalf of nor reflective of PEARL iZUMI in any manner... unless they're good, then they count.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
instagram.com/robertpickels
twitter.com/RobertPickels
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [CerveloP5-Fan] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I think the only way to get used to it is to practice it more. Just stay in the aero bars - it's just as stable if not more so - and keep your butt in the seat (unless there are bumps). Try practicing on progressively steeper hills - start at maybe 30-35mph and go up from there. It will eventually feel fine. In races I actually pull my knees in and drop my head/shoulders to get extra aero on the downhills, staying in the aero bars. It's not scary unless the wind is gusting really hard.

As an example, here's my Strava file for the IMSC 70.3 bike leg: https://www.strava.com/activities/1830635094 This course doesn't have any particularly steep downhills, but I did manage 40+mph several times and maxed out around 49mph. At that point I would have been fully in the aero position and tucked in pretty well (not pedaling), with my butt on the seat and head down.
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [lanierb] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
lanierb wrote:
I think the only way to get used to it is to practice it more. Just stay in the aero bars - it's just as stable if not more so - and keep your butt in the seat (unless there are bumps). Try practicing on progressively steeper hills - start at maybe 30-35mph and go up from there. It will eventually feel fine. In races I actually pull my knees in and drop my head/shoulders to get extra aero on the downhills, staying in the aero bars. It's not scary unless the wind is gusting really hard.


^^^^^This.

Practice more and you will get used to it.
For me, I always felt like I wasn't as stable when in the aero position going faster. After all, my hands aren't 'on the brakes' and I'm steering with my forearms, so it's as stable but clearly feels different. I routinely ride my Zipp 808's on my cervelo P3 (*prior to that my P2) all year-especially in the spring when it's windy, to get used to crosswinds at speed. And every year on those first rides, my heart would pound and I thought that I'd lose control...but I didn't. I live in a hilly area and I routinely hit > 40 mph on EVERY ride now-with a peak of 50+ at IMLP before the roads were paved on the Keene descent (oh, it's so nice now comparatively).

Practice, practice and practice more.
Last edited by: dtoce: Apr 1, 19 16:21
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [dtoce] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
One of the challenges I have is that I'm way faster on the descents in races than when training. And this comes from the lack of trucks going past that cause the air pressure wave that starts the wobble.

20 years ago I had a really bad speed wobble on an old Giant TCR Aero at high speed. To this day I've no idea how I didn't come off, but that 45 seconds of being totally out of control and accelerating is still very vivid. Even learning to ride a motorbike and so being used to being at high speeds on 2 wheels hasn't helped much.

Doesn't matter if I'm on road or TT bike (even MTB), I lose a lot of time on the descents. However, what tends to make it worse is that I'm a strong rider and so make the distance back up on the climb / flat following. So whilst in a race situation then I lose perhaps a couple of minutes over the course on the descents, I'm still putting way more into the majority of the field.

What also doesn't help is that I've had a few mates come off at high speed. And it's not pretty. And I'm a huge wuss when it comes to blood, broken bones, organ damage and any other form of pain.
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [CerveloP5-Fan] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
you don't need to so all that stuff to ride down a hill. Just sit on the seat, come out of the aero position if needed and don't get all stiff and tight. Sometimes a crosswind will make the bike move around, but it won't get blown over or crash, it just feels a little unstable. Standing up on the pedals is not a good idea at all, just have a seat and enjoy the ride.

And if you can't get comfortable on that thing, just use the road bike. Maybe you'll win a smaller plaque.
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [Duncan74] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Duncan74 wrote:
One of the challenges I have is that I'm way faster on the descents in races than when training. And this comes from the lack of trucks going past that cause the air pressure wave that starts the wobble.

20 years ago I had a really bad speed wobble on an old Giant TCR Aero at high speed. To this day I've no idea how I didn't come off, but that 45 seconds of being totally out of control and accelerating is still very vivid. Even learning to ride a motorbike and so being used to being at high speeds on 2 wheels hasn't helped much.

Doesn't matter if I'm on road or TT bike (even MTB), I lose a lot of time on the descents. However, what tends to make it worse is that I'm a strong rider and so make the distance back up on the climb / flat following. So whilst in a race situation then I lose perhaps a couple of minutes over the course on the descents, I'm still putting way more into the majority of the field.

What also doesn't help is that I've had a few mates come off at high speed. And it's not pretty. And I'm a huge wuss when it comes to blood, broken bones, organ damage and any other form of pain.

I'm with this guy - not a avid bike racer but rather go faster going up!
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [CerveloP5-Fan] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Are you unconfident while in the bullhorns on your Cervelo? Or is it just in the aero position?

If it's the bullhorns, you just need more time on the bike.

If it's the aero position, more time def helps, but it may help to widen the aerobars for increased stability (with cost to aerodynamics.)
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [CerveloP5-Fan] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
CerveloP5-Fan wrote:
My current problem: I can descend on my road bike (most) hills without even think of braking - which gives me speeds of approx. 40 mp/h. But on my Cervelo P5 (often) loose confidence as soon as I get faster than 25 mp/h. So all the aero advantage gets lost when going downhill. What can I do to get confidence here as well?

I see 2 problems:

The Cervelo P5 has a lot of contact surface to the wind and as soon as it hits me ( even if it's just a little bit) I feel and fear the slight wobbles. I assume it will get stronger (don't know if that's true, it's just my imagination) and will skid me.


On my road bike I feel like "getting one with the bike" (oh yeah, sounds like Star Wars) when using the drops of the handlebar - I am missing this on my P5, the basebar just doesn't give me this kind of confidence.


This is a great question.

But there are at least two kinds of downhill descents to consider. There are mostly straight smooth pavement descents, and then there are winding technical descents with lots of sharp turns (and sometimes bad pavement).

With straight smooth descents, yes, in most cases, you can get used to using your aerobars going fast downhill. But you better hope that no person or animal or vehicle gets in your way. Because, while you are going very fast, an emergency stop will be very difficult to rapidly accomplish from your aerobars (you have to move to your base bars and then grab your brake levers as fast as possible). But if you are willing to accept the risk, then it is possible to fly down steep smooth hills on your aerobars (with lots of practice of course).

However, on technical descents and/or those on poor pavement, it is another matter altogether.

If the descending road has lots of sharp turns, you need to be on your base bars so you can be on your brakes to modulate your speed as you enter and exit each turn. However, if the road is fairly steep, your bike will be angled down (which will angle your base bars down) and you will have to grip the bars very securely to not slip off the front of the base bar, especially as you add the deceleration forces that try to throw you off the front of your bike with each braking effort.

However, with nearly all TT/tri type flat base bars, when you open your fingers to grab the brake levers, you then lose your grip on the handlebar itself. And if you add bad pavement to the mix, the intense handlebar vibration at speed from the pavement bumps makes it even MORE difficult to hold on to your bike. So if you try to combine a steep downhill, lots of turns, and some bad pavement, if is very very difficult to ride down a steep technical descent at high speed on a tri bike (with a triathlon cockpit). So the compromise is unfortunately to go slow, which reduces the forces that try to throw you off the bars.

So why is it easy to do this kind of steep descent on a bike with drop bars?

The main reason is the shape of the bars. The lower 'hooks' on the handlebars allow you to hold the bar and easily anchor yourself against the downhill slant of the road and the deceleration forces from braking. But, further, the handlebar shape allows you to do this withOUT having to have a death grip on the bars. Actually, you can easily descend and brake with a fairly loose grip on bars and still have your fingers open and wrapped lightly around your brake levers no matter what the forward forces are. Because it is the shape of the bar that holds you, not your grip on the bar. This is what inspires total confidence on high speed technical descents with a bike with drop bars. (It also helps a little that the drops are typically lower than the base bars on most triathlon set ups, so when you grip the drops, you lower your body more than on a tri set-up, which lowers your CG and makes for better bicycle control, especially when cornering.)

Unfortunately, super nice and aero triathlon/TT cockpits are just poorly designed for descending on most real-world roads ...

Advanced TopTube Bento Speedpacks for Road, Gravel, & Triathlon.. .Direct-mount & ZeroSlip-mount, made in the USA.. .DarkSpeedWorks.com. .Reviews. .Instagram. .Facebook
"Why would you want to be the last man alive on a sinking ship?" -- on why Tesla shares its patents.
Last edited by: DarkSpeedWorks: Apr 2, 19 9:22
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [dtoce] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
dtoce wrote:
lanierb wrote:
I think the only way to get used to it is to practice it more. Just stay in the aero bars - it's just as stable if not more so - and keep your butt in the seat (unless there are bumps). Try practicing on progressively steeper hills - start at maybe 30-35mph and go up from there. It will eventually feel fine. In races I actually pull my knees in and drop my head/shoulders to get extra aero on the downhills, staying in the aero bars. It's not scary unless the wind is gusting really hard.


^^^^^This.

Practice more and you will get used to it.
For me, I always felt like I wasn't as stable when in the aero position going faster. After all, my hands aren't 'on the brakes' and I'm steering with my forearms, so it's as stable but clearly feels different. I routinely ride my Zipp 808's on my cervelo P3 (*prior to that my P2) all year-especially in the spring when it's windy, to get used to crosswinds at speed. And every year on those first rides, my heart would pound and I thought that I'd lose control...but I didn't. I live in a hilly area and I routinely hit > 40 mph on EVERY ride now-with a peak of 50+ at IMLP before the roads were paved on the Keene descent (oh, it's so nice now comparatively).

Practice, practice and practice more.

I suffer from same problem as OP. I'll descend like a banshee on my roadie, but get very uncomfortable over ~25 mph on the TT bike and find myself doing all descending on bullhorns. One thing I've found is helping me build my confidence is training on a shallower (Zipp 303) front wheel, with the hopes I eventually be able to transfer that confidence to a 404 and 808 as I get closer to my key races this summer.

But Dale, do you suggest we instead just start with 808s (as deep a wheel as possible) and just "dive into the deep end" to build confidence, or do you think a more progressive approach makes more sense. I.e., start with shallow wheels to take the wheel out of the equation, and then gradually work wheel depth back in?
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
wintershade wrote:
dtoce wrote:
lanierb wrote:
I think the only way to get used to it is to practice it more. Just stay in the aero bars - it's just as stable if not more so - and keep your butt in the seat (unless there are bumps). Try practicing on progressively steeper hills - start at maybe 30-35mph and go up from there. It will eventually feel fine. In races I actually pull my knees in and drop my head/shoulders to get extra aero on the downhills, staying in the aero bars. It's not scary unless the wind is gusting really hard.


^^^^^This.

Practice more and you will get used to it.
For me, I always felt like I wasn't as stable when in the aero position going faster. After all, my hands aren't 'on the brakes' and I'm steering with my forearms, so it's as stable but clearly feels different. I routinely ride my Zipp 808's on my cervelo P3 (*prior to that my P2) all year-especially in the spring when it's windy, to get used to crosswinds at speed. And every year on those first rides, my heart would pound and I thought that I'd lose control...but I didn't. I live in a hilly area and I routinely hit > 40 mph on EVERY ride now-with a peak of 50+ at IMLP before the roads were paved on the Keene descent (oh, it's so nice now comparatively).

Practice, practice and practice more.

I suffer from same problem as OP. I'll descend like a banshee on my roadie, but get very uncomfortable over ~25 mph on the TT bike and find myself doing all descending on bullhorns. One thing I've found is helping me build my confidence is training on a shallower (Zipp 303) front wheel, with the hopes I eventually be able to transfer that confidence to a 404 and 808 as I get closer to my key races this summer.

But Dale, do you suggest we instead just start with 808s (as deep a wheel as possible) and just "dive into the deep end" to build confidence, or do you think a more progressive approach makes more sense. I.e., start with shallow wheels to take the wheel out of the equation, and then gradually work wheel depth back in?

So, for me as I am now-I throw my 808’s on and get ready for the adrenaline rush of those windy April rides. I’ve built up my confidence so I feel less frightened, compared to those early days.

I would not suggest this now for people struggling with comfort at speed, especially in the aerobars. Road surface and weather conditions excluded, it’s best to use nonaero front wheels to take that out if the equation as one eases into getting used to descending. I used to practice on a straight road but it had cars and one little sloping turn at the end.

When I did this loop to practice downhill speed, I picked a time with fewer cars, less wind and had my training wheels or 404’s on the front. I pedaled into the descent and got into aero and tried to stay low and tucked the whole way -with my legs clamped on the frame. You must know that if you lift up out of aero from the aero bars, the wind will push you back so if you bail and need to get up slowly, and keep your head/body down until you are wide and stable on the horns. Then you can get up, get further back on the seat etc. to help regain control when you go too fast for comfort.

It is assumed that one who isn’t practiced at fast descents will not be in aero position on any technical sections with downhills on any roads-races or not.
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [CerveloP5-Fan] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
what size road bike are you on, and what size tri-bike?

For me, I typically ride a 54cm or thereabouts road bike. I used to have a 51cm TT bike (Cervelo p2-sl) and although it was great on the flats, it was really hairy on descents. Last year I "upgraded" to a 54cm P2K, i.e. virtually the same bike just one size bigger, and the difference is like night and day, because the weight distribution is much better with less weight on the front wheel. It descends nearly as well as my road bike now.

Swimming Workout of the Day: http://forum.slowtwitch.com/...ost=5784860#5784860;
Favourite Swim Sets: http://forum.slowtwitch.com/...m.cgi?;post=5004659;
Unattainable goals for 2019/2020 season. https://forum.slowtwitch.com/...ost=6944848#p6944848
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
In that same vein, not only will weight distribution be more forward than normal ‘if you are on a slightly too small bike’ But also, if you are a ‘long and low’ aero position.
Quote Reply
Re: Regain faith on fast descends with tri bike [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Thank you very much for all your input. I appreciate it! :)

JasoninHalifax wrote:
what size road bike are you on, and what size tri-bike?
For me, I typically ride a 54cm or thereabouts road bike. I used to have a 51cm TT bike (Cervelo p2-sl) and although it was great on the flats, it was really hairy on descents. Last year I "upgraded" to a 54cm P2K, i.e. virtually the same bike just one size bigger, and the difference is like night and day, because the weight distribution is much better with less weight on the front wheel. It descends nearly as well as my road bike now.

This! That's one of my thoughts currently... As I already told you: I am very confident on my road bike. But I wasn't in the beginning and then i started with some adjustments like seat height and stem lenght. I am 5'10" tall (or small :D) and my road bike is a Cervelo R3 in frame size 56 and stem length is currently 110mm.

My Cervelo P5 is size 54. I already moved the saddle a little bit backwards but I think i am still riding with the saddle too high. Maybe the key to a good and stable descending position is "not sitting above the bottom bracket but some cm/inches to the back". But in the end it's just a compromise between having a stable position for descending and having a superior aero position.

What do you think?
Quote Reply

Prev Next