Since my training partner Kristie and I are doing the men’s team time trail next month, I decided to call Tony Manzella to find out the best way to prepare.
“You?” he said, fairly incredulously.
“Yeah,” I said.
He paused because he is a nice guy and a time trail champion and a problem solver and he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. “Well, as long as you have enough time to prepare, it should go okay.”
“How much time do you think I need?”
“Five or six years, maybe?” I could hear the note of faint optimism, and seized it.
My main question though was about equipment. I’m very cheap and don’t like spending money on anything, especially bicycle things. Tony was helpful there, too. “Don’t buy a TT bike. Get a power meter if you can. A helmet and a power meter and you’re good to go.”
I went online and stopped looking at power meters after twenty or thirty seconds, which was how long it took me to understand that they cost more than $15. Next I went to my bike parts drawer, located above the underwear and below the socks, and rummaged around. I was pretty sure I had an old Timex power meter in there somewhere. Sure enough, I found it.
Unfortunately, the battery was dead. It was complicated replacing it, especially pulling out the little watchband springy thingies, which shot across the room and landed on the beige carpet, invisible. I had to replace the blue strap because it was covered in a strange brown rusty fungus that smelled like the underside of a toenail.
Lots of people think you can’t really monitor your efforts unless you have a modern power meter that costs more than $15. But the Timex power meter has in the past been used in bicycle racing with modest success.
The Timex power meter has several cutting edge functions that are quite useful and relevant today. First, it measures time. This tells you how long you have been pedaling. If you are pedaling over a set course, such as the state team time trail course, then you also will know the distance.
By combining the Timex time output with the distance, the Timex power meter lets you calculate something known as “speed.” With the time output, the distance, and the speed, it is then possible to predict whether you should pedal more, pedal less, or go home.
I have high expectations of this performance device and will provide a DC Rainmaker appraisal of it in much greater detail after the race. For now, here is a basic review of the Timex power meter:
- Aero fit on wrist.
- Easy to read display.
- See-in-the-dark dial for when you’re deep in the pain cave.
- Convenient date display so you know you are there on the correct day.
- Retails for $38, roughly 100 times cheaper than the SRM power meter.
- Compatible with all bottom brackets.
- Compatible with Campy/SRAM/Shimano.
- Accurate to within +/- 5 seconds per year.
- Installs in seconds.
- Removes easily for quick cleaning.
- Looks good with a suit and tie.
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