I have committed myself to racing 2009 using a power meter on my bicycle. This will hopefully help me from overdoing it on the bike and blowing up during the run in Ironman Louisville. I’ve made a number of other changes to try and help my performance – including buying an aero helmet which, although you look very dorky, gives a surprisingly good benefit in terms of reduced aerodynamic drag.
Another beneficial weapon in the arsenal of reducing aerodynamic drag is to have a solid disc wheel at the rear of your bike. However, if you want to race with a powermeter you needed to have very deep pockets as the combination runs several thousand dollars. That is until I discovered www.wheelbuilder.com who, for less than $100, will send you a custom wheelcover for your existing wheel. The cover will even be custom cut to fit over the Powertap power meter that I use.
There are other ones available, but the wheelbulider.com reviews were excellent. I could not resist so I sent them the money expecting something very mediocre in return. I was pleasantly surprised. The box arrived promptly with the wheelcover. It fit perfectly over my Powertap and Mavic rim, held in by eight screws. It is not too heavy – an important consideration – but the plastic was surprisingly solid. The photo to the right shows the cover on my wheel.
I’ve set it up on my trainer for now so that I can see what problems will arise. One I’ve noticed is that the wheel cover rotated slightly, making it difficult to get at the valve. I’ll have to check carefully the tension on the screws. I’ll see how the wheel cover goes when I use it in anger on some training rides over the next few months, but for now I’m very impressed.