After last week’s Tiny Race 2, I wanted to try to work out what difference my choosing the Canyon Grail + Enve wheels made to the outcome. Several weird things happened and I couldn’t determine whether it was the bike choice, the PD4 testing or my fairly light weight that caused the issues.
So I used a workout set to a constant 170 Watts on ERG mode to control the power. Then I rode the course Road to Sky with the Tron and then with the Grail + Enve. Start-point was passing the start pens. Finish point was the start of the Alpe KoM, where the timer starts. I checked the data to make sure both rides averaged 170W and they were both spot-on.
Obviously both were videoed. There was almost nobody else on the course, so there wouldn’t have been much if any influence from drafting other riders.
At 170W with a 67.1kg rider, the Tron bike took 8:48 and the Grail + Enve took 8:20, so the gravel bike was 28s (5.4%) faster from pens to KoM start. It’s possible that this gain might have been different under race conditions at higher power and with drafting. But it does seem to explain why I was able to breeze past a large number of Tron bikes (but also quite a few others) in the middle of the race though.
Focussing specifically on that part, comparing the time splits between the Jungle/Alpe sign at 2.2km and the archway/bridge at 3.5km…
The Tron took 2:52 and the Grail + Enve 2:32. So a 20s difference over just that little section where I flew in the race. This means that at least some of the outcome is explainable by the bike selection, if there’s that much difference over ~1km.
It also makes me think that if you are doing the whole Road to Sky route including the Alpe climb as a race, it’s probably worth approaching on a gravel bike and swapping to a climbing bike and wheelset just before the KoM. The 30s gain should be worth it. (Although, to be sure you’d need a test run with the climbing bike too 😂). Videos below as reference…