Last month, Alain Hinzen wrote to us sharing his experience racing the V20 in a velodrome in Cologne, Germany against some of the top riders of the recumbent world. He wrote, "Yesterday, I rode my first race on the V20. It was a recumbent only race on the velodrome in Cologne where several of the top riders of the recumbent world championship took part. I won the 1000 m sprint and the 1 hour race in the unfaired category, although I had only ridden about 400 km on my Cruzbike up to now (and it is my first MBB). Promising start for upcoming seasons..." We agree, Alain! Enjoy Alain's full report below.
The decision which bike I would use to compete at the 2019 Cologne recumbent track event was easy: the V20. It is my newest bike, my first moving bottom bracket (MBB) and I had less than 400 km riding experience on it, but in this short time it became my favorite bike due to its very responsive feeling compared to my other recumbents and even compared with my upright race bikes.
The Cologne event consists of a 1000 m sprint with standing start and a one-hour race on an exciting to ride wooden 250 m velodrome with 43° banked curves. My wish was to qualify for the A-run with the faster riders at the sprint and to win the hour competition in the unfaired category, but since I'm quite unexperienced on my Cruzbike and I had nearly no training this year, this was not a realistic target. The 1000 meter event is all about accelerating fast and not slowing down in the last lap.
I was a bit nervous about the start, for me the most difficult part of handling the bike. But it worked well, just a bit of wheel spin at the first pedal strokes and it felt really fast with a cruising speed of about 60 kph. The result was a 1:08, 716 min, which was the fastest time of unfaired bikes. Not too bad, but it's easier to hide insufficient training at short distances, so I was curious about what's possible for the one-hour race, which is usually my stronger discipline.
With my time from the sprint, I qualified for the A-run of the hour race. I decided to start at the upper fence, so I could use the banking to get a quick start. My plan was to gain a lap at the beginning and then to control the race. The start was fast – too fast. After five minutes I just gained a half lap above my chaser Bernhard on his tail faired low racer. I was dying and had to give up my attack. Bernhard caught me. I could keep his pace for some time, but lapping slower riders was always a big effort. Going up and down, riding at the upper part of the banking and taking a longer way cost me too much energy. And Bernhard's tail faired low racer spent nearly no slipstream. When I lapped my unfaired competitors at about the half of the race time, I decided to let Bernhard go. It was much easier to “relax” in the slipstream of other high racers. Fortunately, at my laps with Bernhard I could lap the second rider of my category twice, which put me in a very comfortable situation. I kept this situation till the end of the race and so I also won the one-hour race.
That was a very promising start which I didn't expect. I'm really excited imagining what is possible on the V20 with a bit more training, especially on hilly courses, where I believe the Cruzbike has much more potential than on a velodrome.
- Alain Hinzen