What The Pros Are Riding: Andreas Raelert
A regular on the Kona Podium, Raelert rides BMC’s TM01 Time Machine.
Bike introductions don’t get much better than that enjoyed by BMC’s radical TM01 Timemachine. Not only did Andreas Raelert use it for the fastest ever Ironman-distance time at Roth (including a 4:11 bike) it was also the time trial bike of 2011 Tour winner Cadel Evans.
The bike that has entered production is almost identical to the outstandingly successful prototypes. The unique Tri Angle segmented stem gives 30 different potential bar reach/height options. The leading edge fork that blends beautifully into the wheelhugger down tube also has the front brake seamlessly buried in its legs. The four-position 21-21 seatpost top design can be adjusted to relaxed road or far-forward tri angles.
There are subtle component differences between the £8,499 TM01 bike and Raelert’s machine though. While both use Shimano’s Dura Ace Di2 gears and brake levers, Raelert uses a previous generation Dura Ace crank with an SRM power meter. He also runs Shimano deep section wheels, rather than the Zipp 404s of the shop-floor bike, and his bars are Pro’s Missile units rather than the production Profile pieces.
Bag the bike
Having ridden the Shimano 105 equipped, conventionally forked, Timemachine we can confirm that its relaxed character and the obvious aero effect of the carefully sculpted tubes and Trip Wire surface turbulence generators make it a phenomenal speed-sustain bike even in its affordable base-level format (evanscycles.com).
Raelert may hold the world record for the fastest ever Ironman-distance race, but he insists there’s no magic formula to his training. “It’s no big secret. I am sure if someone trained with me they would be in really good physical shape. The key to Ironman is about being mentally strong, as well as fit. I have been working on both. On the physical side I have been working on power training. I am lucky to have one of the best training partners in the world, my brother Michael.”
His emphasis outside training is directed at avoiding stress and promoting recovery. Speaking about his preparation for the 2011 Hawaii Ironman he said: “I will go to Clermont, Florida for a couple of weeks up until a week before and then to Kona. This will minimise jet lag and stress. I am very focused on minimising stress especially in a high-volume, high-intensity training phase which will be three to four weeks out from Kona. When I train at this intensity it always feels as if I am on the edge.”
His attention to detail is just as apparent in his bike set-up, which he continually tweaks. Speaking before Ironman Hawaii 2011 he said: “It’s always just a matter of changing little things over time. I went to the wind tunnel earlier this year to fine tune the position and find the right combination of aerodynamics and comfort.”
He rides his bike in a ‘preying mantis’ position, first brought to attention by the Tour de France winner Floyd Landis (who was later stripped of his title due to a drug offence). His tri-bar extensions point up, so his hands are higher than his elbows. As Raelert explains: “This position helps you keep your head down between your shoulders. But at the end of the day, you have to be comfortable. If you can’t ride a radical position, then don’t do it. The run is key.”
Train Like Andreas Raelert
Whether you’re suffering from work stress or a heavy training load, the effects on your body are the same. One of your body’s responses is to secrete cortisol. This gives you a burst of energy for survival but it can be activated so often that the body can’t return to normal. To keep cortisol levels under control, the body’s relaxation response needs to be activated immediately after stress. For Raelert this means putting his feet up after a key session. For you, it may mean anything from simply getting out of the office for a walk, to making major lifestyle changes.
Tweak your position
It’s good to experiment with your riding position, but the key is to make small changes over time like Raelert does. This enables you to evaluate the effect it has on your comfort, aerodynamics and power, and means your body can adapt. You should avoid trying radical riding positions without some kind of objective measure of its success.
This article was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine. Save time and money by having every issue delivered to your door or digital device by subscribing to the print edition or buying digitally through Zinio or Apple Newsstand.
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