Road or Tri bike for training?

There are times when riding a road bike can make more sense than being on your tri-specific ride. Andi Boecherer explains why he's on a road bike for his current training camp.

| March 16, 2018 | TRAINING

I am often asked why I ride a road bike at a training camp rather than my triathlon bike. I'll use today's #Triday tip as an opportunity to explain my reasons. 

There is one main reason: As soon as I am NOT in the aerodynamic position on the triathlon bike, but rather sitting up with my hands on the bars, my sitting position is very different from my competition position. Biomechanically, this is mainly due to the hip angle, which is significantly altered by the position of your hands. So, even though you are on an aero bike, because you're sitting up, the position is much more like a cruiser.

On a road bike you can adjust the position so that the hip angles remain almost the same as they would be in the aero position on your time trial bike. Picture that you're simply rotating your aero time trial position back, including the position of your saddle. On the road bike, the saddle sits further back, the handlebars are higher. But the angles remain largely the same as for your aero position. That means the training position is much more transferable.

Of course, it is absolutely essential to train on the time bike as well. But I prefer not to do that while at a spring training camp, because I'm often riding very easy, I'm training with others in groups and I'll typically have lots of climbing in the schedule. For riding both up and downhill a road bike is better and safer than a time trial bike.

The bottom line is that while I'm at a training camp like this one I'm doing in the mountains right now, I wouldn't spend a lot of time down in the aero position, so sitting up on my TT bike would change my position dramatically.

As an aside, I also find it easier to pack a road bike for travel and I don't have to worry about damaging my race bike during transport.