Guest post: coach Cat Benger on the benefits of a wheel upgrade

Being asked why I upgraded and race on aero wheels I initially thought simple – makes me faster. That fact remains but in reflection there are many more reasons to why, cue my spider diagram / bullet points.

  • Speed (free speed!)
  • Aerodynamics
  • Look good, Feel good
  • Enjoyment (hours and kilometres of)
  • Gains
  • Efficiency – go faster for the same effort
  • Train hard race hard
  • Be competitive
  • Versatile – suitable for multiple occasions (TT’s, sportives, tri’s, road races, hill climbs)
  • Why the hell not!

Expanding on the above and in no particular order, but first touching on my 1st set of race wheels. I purchased a pair with the purchase of my 1st TT bike. For me the two went hand in hand. A fast bike deserved a fast set of wheels.

I was also starting to take my training more seriously so why should I not adopt the same attitude to my racing.  All the reviews you read detail and confirm you will be faster with a set of race wheels so why would I not want to take advantage of the free speed on offer!?  It is hard to deny the pairing of aero wheels just look right, they work, they go hand in hand just like other great combo’s: strawberries and cream, gin and tonic, coffee and cake – you with me?!

I am sure many will agree and be able to relate, the bike looks good, you feel good. The wheels give me confidence, it’s a bit like putting on my favourite pair of shoes where I would walk with confidence, have a spring in my step. Race wheels have the same effect as my red soled Christian Louboutins!

As an athlete racing at the pointy end of my age group I need and want to be competitive. Wheel choices and the correct choice of wheels for the conditions, profile of the course allows me to be competitive, be on a par with my fellow ladies.  The reality of racing today, most if not all I go head to head with were also tapping into the gains from race / aero wheels – thus you could say I am “limiting my losses”.

As a coach I get asked a lot if I believe a set of wheels are a sound purchase and am I fast enough! With regards to the 1st part of the question, my response will always include chat about budget as there is no denying they are an investment. If the budget is available to the athlete I think all the paragraph’s above give an indication to my answer. As a reminder, yes, I think they are a sound purchase and investment. For sure getting faster is a mix of many different elements and factors, a set of aero wheels is definitely an ingredient in the mix that will give you an edge. 

With regards to the 2nd part of the question, am I fast enough or good enough? The simple, honest and factually correct answer is YES and a resounding one. Upgrading your wheel set to a pair of aero/race wheels can be experienced, ridden and enjoyed by all, ALL abilities. The stats and data will support me here, anyone from novice to elite will benefit from an upgrade and the time savings on offer. Owning or the decision to own and / or upgrade to a set of faster wheels should have nothing to with gender, experience or ability. If you have the budget and want a pair – what are you waiting for???

Cat Benger (ABCpure coach)

All photos with courtesy of @photogiro

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