on the perils of an expensive skinsuit without a self-healing zip; and on course records

These days, everyone who is anyone is marching around in a semi-stooped posture, clad in a hyper-expensive skinsuit that clings tighter than a horn-struck jack russell frotting a stranger’s leg. Usually it’s made by Castelli and the thickness of the fabric can be measured in nanomillimetres. Marginal gains and all that. It contrasts sharply with the ImpSport jumpsuit I wore a couple of years ago which had all the narrowness of a cordura winter jersey.

The Spinkmeister has been nailing down some sharp times at Aust this year, helped my his second epidermis of castelli aerobongo. In the last run of this year he was chasing an improvement on his super-quick 10.45 of a few weeks previously. This is when things started to go a bit awry…

Zipping up a skinsuit is a battle of wills at the best of times
No-one offered to help; Spink was alone in his struggle; man vs zip

In the end, a compromise was sought. Spare pins, tested in the wind tunnel on a range of yaw angles, were used to alter the garment and retain some of the raw bongoness. Mary-Jane said there are self-healing zips made of nylon. This wasn’t one of them.

Job done

It didn’t slow him down too much; each lap was dusted off in 10.50, an average speed of 28.5mph. I took a different approach, mullering it on the first lap and then seeing how things were on the second. I had a feeling it might be quick, despite the breeze, so threw everything at it. The course record was 10.35; I scraped this at the beginning of April. After about a mile I felt it might be on again; it was a question of waiting for the turn to see if there was a strong headwind. It didn’t seem too bad so it became a simple question of seeing if i could hold the effort for the remaining two miles. At one point i thought a 30mph ride might even be on the cards – i think it needs a 10.20 – but it drifted away. Holding the power is hard, it’s a short and intense effort; kept in the big gear and forcing it through the slightly draggy sections. The timekeeper stopped the clock at 10.28, a new course record by 7 seconds. It’s also safe now for a whole year; we don’t use the course again until next April, the window has closed.

I rode the second lap a minute slower, the effort paid a price and I sat up for much of it. There were some other PBs on the night, several people rode quickly and grabbed time. Commiserations to Tom, who scored a new personal best, but then smashed an expensive carbon wheel to pieces in an enormous pothole on the way back.

Pothole wins

This weekend is quiet, with the exception of a bank holiday 10 which may or may not be very fast, depending on all of the variables of time trialling.

2 thoughts on “on the perils of an expensive skinsuit without a self-healing zip; and on course records

  1. matt May 1, 2014 / 9:05 pm

    Rich must have been eating too many pies😉

  2. Chris. May 2, 2014 / 10:27 am

    Great ride PJ, well done. Do you think astronauts have the same trouble with their clobber and have to resort to safety pins.

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