I had my last event of the year yesterday, a short crit race. This wasn’t an A race, more a fun event with my brother-in-law. My last A event was actually a running event (the Fuji Marathon) in late November, so I’ve actually been taking it relatively easy, no taper etc. Anyway, I did better than expected, coming in 7th, at the head of the second main group, about 45 seconds behind the front group. After the race, I was talking with one of the riders, and he said “You’d be with the main group if you had a faster bike with proper wheels”.
Now, I live in central Tokyo. Riding outside here is generally a death wish. So over 90% of my riding is indoors. For 2018, I have almost exactly 300 hours of bike workouts done, of which less than 30 were outdoors. Should also mention, my FTP has gone from 150 to 240 in that time, while my weight has gone from 110kg to 83kg - TrainerRoad: it works, people!
My bike is a fairly generic low-end bike, the 2017 Giant Contend SL1 with the same wheels it comes with. It was a reasonable, all-around bike that I could have on the trainer and outdoors for comfortable riding. I certainly didn’t buy it for its speed - at the time I was planning on doing some outdoor rides - maybe Fondos etc - but had not given any real thought to racing.
So, my question is - is he right? Will getting a faster bike and faster wheels really make that big of difference?