The Dutchman dropped several places in the overall during last year’s 54-kilometre test from Bergerac to Périgueux but a move to Trek Factory Racing for 2015 sees the rider move onto Trek’s range of bikes for the first time and in December he and the team spent time at Valencia’s indoor track on the Trek Speed Concept time trial bike.
The machine has become a staple part of the team’s armory since its launch at the Worlds in 2013 and is used by the squad in the battles against the clock.
“Through Trek’s Precision Fit services, we’ve developed a comprehensive approach to optimizing a rider’s position for biomechanics and aerodynamics. Bauke went through this process during the Trek Factory Racing December training camp to establish his TT position on his new Speed Concept,” Trek’s Jordan Roessingh told Cyclingnews.
The hard work in improving Mollema’s time trialing position actually started in a hotel conference room in Benidorm, where the American squad was based during December. There, they set-up Mollema with a bike fit in order to establish a standard time trial position for him. They looked at his strength and flexibility on and off the bike, stretching him to his limits as they sought biomechanical harmony.
“The process started with a complete physical assessment for strength and flexibility. The test is used to understand a rider’s physical limitations, weaknesses and asymmetries, which we work to accommodate for during the bike fit. The assessment is also used as a measure of injury risk, and is repeated throughout the season to monitor each rider’s progress,” added Roessingh.
From there, Mollema was put on Trek’s Precision Fit bike to complete a biomechanical fitting. During the fit process, Trek conducted motion capture to measure critical body angles, and discuss posture as it relates to aerodynamics, so that the resultant fit from day one was already a position that balanced biomechanics and an initial crack at an aerodynamic posture.
The second day of Mollema’s time trial testing took place on the track in Valencia.
“We’ve found track testing to be the preferred venue for conducting TT position testing verus the wind tunnel, as the riders’ needs to pedal and steer their bikes gives us a better representation of the true comfort, efficiency, and sustainability of their positions,” said Roessingh.
“For Bauke, we ran through a range of positions focused on his “leading edge” – hands, head, shoulders, elbows. What we quickly discovered was that his initially established position was fast, and that his aerodynamics were very stable, meaning that small changes in position didn’t result in any significant changes to his drag values.
“Because of his relative stability, and overall low drag value, we actually concluded the testing in the same position as we started in. While that may initially seem like a unsuccessful result, we can use the concept of his aero “stability” to reinforce to Bauke that his aerodynamics are optimized and he doesn’t need to obsess as much on his position during TT’s – he just needs to pedal. This should help direct his focus during training and racing, and provide him confidence that there aren’t any big undiscovered gains to be had in his position.”
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