By Bec “Wombat” Werner
If Lance rode a ‘Target Special’, or an old steel clunker, to any one of his seven Tour de France victories, his claim that “it’s not about the bike” might have more bite. Like it or not, cycling is a sport that relies upon more than just pure physical ability. A machine to match the motor is needed to be competitive at the top level. Look at any weekend club ride and you’ll realize it’s not necessarily needed to be competitive, but it’s definitely ‘needed’ to fit into the carbon and kilo counting culture that is modern cycling.
The racing gets underway at Redlands on Thursday, with a 3.1 mile uphill time trial. Starting out fairly flat, there’s a short kicker before descending for a few hundred metres to the long, shallow drag out to the bottom of the main climb. Things then start to get steeper, before pitching close to 15% near the finish, just as your legs are begging you to stop, and your lungs want to burst.
Amongst the many beautiful bikes on display will be the Specialized Shiv and Amira. It’s always a hard decision with a predominantly uphill TT wether to go all out aero with the TT bike or for the comfort of climbing on your roadie. As TIBCO team mechanic Chris Kreidl explains, it’s completely up to personal choice; ‘We provide the riders with two good options in the Shiv and Amira, and they choose which they prefer.’
With the Shiv, Specialized believe they’ve made the choice a lot easier. The carbon frame ‘features a fully integrated cockpit and radical tube shaping for the ultimate optimization of aerodynamics, stiffness, and weight’. Any quick search reveals it to be ‘fast with great handling’, something Specialized prioritised with its design. TIBCOs bikes are made even faster with the addition of Reynolds RZR wheels. Either in the deeper 92s, which are the ‘the first non-disc wheel designed and built for the precise demands of time trialling’ and weigh in at a mere 1,470g a set, or the shallower RZR 46, where it’s all about being lightweight at a ridiculous 968 grams.
Speaking with San Dimas Young Rider jersey winner, TIBCO’s Lindsay Myer it appeared she was going to buck the trend and run with the more familiar, stiff and light Amira. ‘The last mile makes the Amira an attractive option – being able to climb more comfortably and shift out of the saddle. The climb is my strong point and where I believe I can get the most advantage.’ What she failed to mention was that she had not yet ridden the Shiv. Ten minutes later, after taking it for a few short tests she came back beaming. ‘Wow! I’m going with this one. I felt fine out of the saddle, and it’s fast!’
Current Canadian road champion, and TIBCO’s climbing queen, Veronique Fortin is backing up Lindsay’s choice, also going with the Shiv. ‘Because of the first two thirds, where I need to be aero and fast. Also the course is not so technical. I felt comfortable on the Shiv after our short ride of the course.’
Whatever they chose, these girls are fast. If you’re in Redlands, pick your spot on the hill and try not to blink, or you might just miss them.
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