September 25, 2011/ Jim Parker
If you’ve followed any of the debate about Cruzbike and how well our bikes climb, then you’ll want to take note of the results of the 2011 Texas Time Trials, one of the biggest ultracycling events in the country. Even though Maria and I live and train in the flatlands of eastern NC, we decided to make the 1200 mile trip to Glen Rose, Texas to try our luck on the 26.5 mile course that has approximately 1200-1300 feet of climbing per lap. Results speak louder than words:
The existing recumbent record for the 6-hour race was 79.5 miles set by Paul Brown in 2009. I did 106 miles in 5 hours 44 minutes.
My Garmin data from the 6-hour event can be viewed here: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/117018873
Note the 5300 feet of climbing. The steepest grade I encountered was 11%. This was a tough course, with rough roads. Some of the downhill runs were spoiled by an intersection or a dangerous “bridge bump” that forced everyone (with sense) to shed speed a few times each lap. Nevertheless, my first lap average speed was 22.2 mph. The current “1-lap” recumbent course record was set in 2010 by Greg Gross, with a time of 1:13:40 for an average speed of 21.6 mph. My first-lap time of 1:11:34 will not replace this record because I didn’t enter the 1-lap event, but lap times are recorded and available for comparison.
My Garmin Edge also records the temperature, and you can see it reached a brain-frying, leg-cramping 107F in the afternoon. Without that incredible heat, I think afternoon speeds would have been much faster. I really have to give a lot of credit to our crew who not only got our equipment in place and ready to use, but kept us cool and hydrated as much as possible. Thanks to Doug Burton, Rob Redfearn, and Will Parker.
Maria competed in the 12-hour event. A woman on a recumbent hasn’t competed in this event since the course was moved to Glen Rose in 2009. But for comparison, the men’s recumbent record was 171.9 miles and the men’s DF (regular racing “diamond frame” bike) record was 204.1 miles. Maria did an astonishing 212 miles. This distance was matched yesterday only by Kurt Searvogel, one of the strongest male DF ultracyclists in the world.
My nephew, 27 year-old Kent Parker, is new to riding a Cruzbike and had never raced a bike before. He competed in the 1-lap event despite having a bad cold, and only two DF riders came in ahead of him. No other recumbents competed in this event.
What all three of us noticed was not only did we pass all the other recumbents very quickly on the climbs, but we also passed most of the DF riders on the climbs. The Vendetta is a great climber. I am writing this blog the day after the event. Yes, my leg muscles are a bit sore, but so are my abdominals, intercostals, and arms. The climbing gives my abs and upper body a workout that I’m not used to since I train in the flats. I wonder what we could have done with more hill-training on the Vendetta before this event. The ability to use the upper body to assist in climbing is a huge advantage of DF bikes… and now with the Cruzbike Vendetta a very fast and light recumbent now has this advantage, too. With these climbing results confirmed, there is more reason than ever to join the fun and get on a Cruzbike.