Adapting to Aerobars

I’ve recently acquired some clip-on aerobars for my road bike, and am looking for some advice on the best way to adapt to using them.

I want to use them for my first Sprint Tri in December, and also to improve my time on 200+km brevets. However, the Sprint Tri is only a C event, while my A event is a mountainous Fondo in January (where I won’t be using them). Obviously I want to learn to use the bars to safely to control the bike, and while I am looking to minimize the gap between power in the aero position and upright, increasing my upright power between now and January is a higher priority.

At this stage my plan is to (starting with 1, and progressing over a number of weeks to 6):

  1. Do recovery intervals on the trainer in the aero position, while the effort intervals are upright.
  2. Do outside recovery rides aero.
  3. Using the aerobars for outside Z2 endurance rides.
  4. Do outside recovery intervals in aero, effort intervals upright.
  5. Once per week, do a full workout on the trainer aero, with the other effort sessions upright.
  6. Once per week, do a full workout outside aero, with the other effort sessions upright.

Please feel free to critique my plan, or offer alternative advice/suggestions.

Also, I am wondering how to deal with the issue of multiple “thresholds” - indoor v outdoor, aero v upright. Just testing all these different conditions would mean I spend more time testing than I spend doing structured training. Can I assume the same percentage drop in aero v upright as I move from indoors to outdoors. (I have just acquired an ANT+ dongle, so at least I can start using powermatch to eliminate the difference between my PM and the trainer).

I’ve been going through similar adaptations from road bike to TT bike for the past 15 months or so. At first it’s real tough but you just have to acknowledge you’re forcing your body to adapt to a different position and it takes time to be comfortable. I went a similar route - all my indoor sessions i do on my TT bike in the extensions as much as possible but when the intervals are really tough ill sit up right as it allows me to hit my numbers or go a little higher (for when my coach gives me max all out efforts not to a specific power number). For recovery/easy endurance rides, try setting yourself intervals for holding position say 2 minutes in position, 1 minute upright and repeat etc, until you can hold that position for the duration that your race is likely to go for.

With the whole varying thresholds issue - my coach and I have dealt with that by not having specific numbers for threshold efforts but rather a range - for me with an FTP of around 300, it’ll be between 290-310 watts for threshold efforts because I know that indoors on the TT bike I can probably hold 290 but not much more, but outside on my road bike i can hold 315 no problem. Don’t take any of this as gospel, just sharing what works for me.

Hope this helps!

Just my two cents - I recently did my first tri and got a set of aero bars for my standard road bike. I’d just mention that you likely will end up needing to change your saddle position, and possibly the saddle itself to make it all fit optimally to keep putting down your best tt-bike power. I know for me it would have been a pain to have to keep swapping it around.

Yeah, I’m considering getting the Redshift seat post for this very reason.

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I’ve been very happy with the RedShift seat post. I got a dedicated TT bike this year, but for 3 years before that I did a mix of road rides and triathlons on one bike with the RedShift kit. Very consistently over that time, and changing my fit when I changed cranklength and the like, getting the saddle right for one position meant I got it right for the other.

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