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  1. #1
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Before you start another Time Trial thread...

    To keep from duplicating threads between the 50+ and "33" racing forums, we're making this a sticky and directing people HERE for advice on Time Trialing.

    Specific questions not covered in the linked thread? Feel free to post them in the 50+ racing sub forum.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    OK, here's a real idiot-boy question.

    For a TT newbie, what would you suggest for an initial training regime? 20-minute threshold intervals were mentioned in the linked thread, which sounds intuitively right, to me; but intuition isn't always the best guide.

    And would you think it possible to train both to improve one's performance in crits and TTs at the same time? Obviously, bumping up the threshold power would be good for both, but the character of the events - lots of accelerations in the crits, sustained smooth delivery in TTs - is pretty different. Thoughts?

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    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    First off, as a 50+, you are going to be more concerned about your max HR than a younger racer, and your recovery will be slower. I'd ease into it, with shorter intervals and not run the HR up to 220 if you can help it. I'd also get a cardiac workup done to make sure what YOUR particular MaxHR should be and whether your ticker can actually stand this.
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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    First off, as a 50+, you are going to be more concerned about your max HR than a younger racer, and your recovery will be slower. I'd ease into it, with shorter intervals and not run the HR up to 220 if you can help it. I'd also get a cardiac workup done to make sure what YOUR particular MaxHR should be and whether your ticker can actually stand this.
    Thanks for your concern, Tom. I'm pretty clued up on my LTHR and my max HR. After racing the crits, among other things, the one thing I'm confident can stand this is my heart. It's like a steam hammer. Legs, they're a different matter.

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    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    I'll let Ex answer your question, as there are few people in the world more qualified to answer it.

    I'll just say that one thing they both have in common is the need to be able to generate great power in a very aero position. Shovel uses 'crit bars' to make holding that position easier when he goes off on his breaks. Ex has posted photos which show just how close his crit positioning is to his TT positioning. As I've gotten stronger on my TT bike, I've found myself ending up much further forward on my saddle when on the road bike in crits, and I now have my saddle as far forward as it can go on both bikes. I believed strongly that doing the TT thing would help me when on the road bike, and it already has. I expect that to continue. Aero factors matter so much it's mind-boggling.
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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    OK, here's a real idiot-boy question.

    For a TT newbie, what would you suggest for an initial training regime? 20-minute threshold intervals were mentioned in the linked thread, which sounds intuitively right, to me; but intuition isn't always the best guide.

    And would you think it possible to train both to improve one's performance in crits and TTs at the same time? Obviously, bumping up the threshold power would be good for both, but the character of the events - lots of accelerations in the crits, sustained smooth delivery in TTs - is pretty different. Thoughts?
    How tall is a tree?

    Because TT's come in distances from 5 to 200 km, you need to pick your distance then run with it.

    What seems to be a standard non championship event these days is a 20km; using this as an example you'd want to train in part at a maximal effort for this duration, or slightly longer, along with adding in shorter, higher intensity aerobic intervals and strength work on the TT bike.

    There will (hopefully) be an aerobic improvement as you progress, along with becoming familiar with how your body reacts and learning how to pace yourself to this distance.

    Any aerobic improvement will be beneficial in crits, and learning how to pace will help you in bridging and OTF efforts. I won the TX state crit several years ago by riding off the front and going into TT mode for the next 40 minutes.

    But TT work wouldn't be my sole advice for crits because most people are dealing with pack dynamics; short, sharp bursts which create completely different power profiles. Some TT type work will be beneficial, but really you need to work more on the anaerobic side.

    All this has a caveat: What type of rider are you and where are you on your progress.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    How tall is a tree?

    Because TT's come in distances from 5 to 200 km, you need to pick your distance then run with it.

    What seems to be a standard non championship event these days is a 20km; using this as an example you'd want to train in part at a maximal effort for this duration, or slightly longer, along with adding in shorter, higher intensity aerobic intervals and strength work on the TT bike.
    The local clubs are pretty traditionalist, they tend to organise weekly TTs at 10 miles, so a bit short of 20km would be the easiest distance at which to get some competitive experience. However, the medium-term target for me would to go under the hour for 40km.

    All this has a caveat: What type of rider are you and where are you on your progress.
    Ah, well, in Friel's terms I'd say I was strongest in muscular endurance and weakest in anaerobic endurance. The latter is why I struggle in the crits. My limiter on climbing isn't so much force, as weight - I'm too big to be a true climber, but as I continue to drop the weight that will improve somewhat, at least. The anaerobic stuff definitely needs a lot of work, though.

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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    the medium-term target for me would to go under the hour for 40km...The anaerobic stuff definitely needs a lot of work, though.
    Anaerobic stuff is the most trainable in the shortest time period.

    40k's are different beasts than 20k's. They require a lot more technical expertise and discipline. The penalty for a lack of either one of those is pretty big. If that's your goal I'd ride as many of them as you can, and draw out a 40k course you can practice on. I'd want to ride that 1/2 times a month; set marks at 10,20, and 30k and note the time you arrive at each point. Then go back and figure out where you can improve.

    In 95% of the files I see people go out too hard.

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    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    In 95% of the files I see people go out too hard.
    Raises his hand.

    Just to emphasize the point, if you want to be good at a particular racing discipline, you need to focus. You can see the kind of progress that Hermes and Velo Diva have made by focusing on track racing. Me, I do a little of everything so I'm not very good at anything -- which is OK for where I am with my bike racing. YMMV.
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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Anaerobic stuff is the most trainable in the shortest time period.

    40k's are different beasts than 20k's. They require a lot more technical expertise and discipline. The penalty for a lack of either one of those is pretty big. If that's your goal I'd ride as many of them as you can, and draw out a 40k course you can practice on. I'd want to ride that 1/2 times a month; set marks at 10,20, and 30k and note the time you arrive at each point. Then go back and figure out where you can improve.

    In 95% of the files I see people go out too hard.
    Thanks. As soon as I'm back on the bike I'll give that a go.

  11. #11
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    Wed. 7/11, Putah Creek Smack Down -- official time 24:58 over 10 miles, new PR. Hot (100+ degrees at the start), L&V wind, 20% humidity. On the way out, this was my form. On the way back I looked more sweaty and fierce and fast. Too bad the photog missed that,.
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    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    Oh, and here's the data from my Wed. TT ride.

    Remember that Beatles' song, "I'm Getting Better"? I'm getting better all the time.

    Better. better. better...
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Hi RR, Great results. As a suggestion, put your results in the race report thread or start a new thread. This thread is more for racers with questions about time trials and how to get started racing. Another idea is to start your own Putah Creek TT Thread and put your results there. Then each time you do one you add it to the thread. That may be a very cool way to keep all the reports and comments in one spot.
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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    OK, more beginners questions.

    I've scoped out a 10k TT circuit close to home. Four laps for 40k, which I aim to ride a couple of times a month as previously advised. It's a moderately technical circuit and slightly lumpy - no real climbs, but undulating sections that feel plenty taxing when I'm at threshold.

    Now, I understand that ideally I want to keep the effort as consistent as possible rather than overcook it and then have to recover. The corners and gradients make that tough to do, though. Staying at full bore on the downhills isn't easy (or possible, as one approaches the corners) and obviously if one maintains a consistent effort one loses a bit of momentum on th uphill sections. So, two questions arise:

    1. in general (I appreciate this may vary from course to course) is it a good idea to go a little over threshold to maintain speed on the uphills? Making the ride a bit like a criss-cross interval? Or should I just swallow the loss of speed and stay patient?

    2. My instinct on coming out if the corners is to sprint briefly to get back up to speed asap. Good idea? Or does it make more sense to gather pace more gradually and minimise the risk of redlining?

    Clearly, I'll be experimenting with these different approaches and seeing what seems to work best. But I'd be interested to hear the voices of experience...

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    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Given that you are trying to maximize adaptation, rather than to achieve the best time, my opinion (which may or may not be in sync with my coach's) is that criss-crossing on the hills and in turns would do you the most good. One of the things we new TTers need to do is to build strength in the TT position, and cranking harder is one of the ways to do that. Ditto for pushing and pulling on your TT threshold. Of course, if you are doing that type of workout more routinely, and want to use these as practice races to get your pacing down, that is also needed!
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    OK, more beginners questions.

    I've scoped out a 10k TT circuit close to home. Four laps for 40k, which I aim to ride a couple of times a month as previously advised. It's a moderately technical circuit and slightly lumpy - no real climbs, but undulating sections that feel plenty taxing when I'm at threshold.
    I would start at 20km. That's a good distance to learn how to pace without a big impact on fatigue. I'd wait to start on the 40k distance until you're 60 days or so out from the event, maybe a bit more.

    If you can get a profile and a "mostly" wind direction, post them.

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Now, I understand that ideally I want to keep the effort as consistent as possible rather than overcook it and then have to recover. The corners and gradients make that tough to do, though. Staying at full bore on the downhills isn't easy (or possible, as one approaches the corners) and obviously if one maintains a consistent effort one loses a bit of momentum on the uphill sections.
    You can figure a 5-10% effort spread over/under your average wattage. More than that and you're burning matches or losing time.

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    1. in general (I appreciate this may vary from course to course) is it a good idea to go a little over threshold to maintain speed on the uphills? Making the ride a bit like a criss-cross interval? Or should I just swallow the loss of speed and stay patient?
    You spend more time going up than coming down. So yes, go a bit over.

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    2. My instinct on coming out if the corners is to sprint briefly to get back up to speed asap. Good idea? Or does it make more sense to gather pace more gradually and minimise the risk of redlining?
    For a 40k, no, keep momentum but don't dig hard. For a 10k, yes sprint. For a 20k...it's a moderate sprint.

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Clearly, I'll be experimenting with these different approaches and seeing what seems to work best. But I'd be interested to hear the voices of experience...
    Experimenting on TT pacing here is a bit like tossing out the Periodic Table and trying to figure out what constitutes elements. The Periodic Table is there. Why reinvent?

    You're better off playing around with training approaches, spending that time refining your position and adaptation. And seeing IF you can stick to a pacing strategy. That's key...learning the discipline to hold the right wattage when your brain is going "hey....this is easy...let's ramp it up a bit"

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    OK, thanks both. Next time I trundle round, probably this weekend, I'll save a profile of a single lap and post it. And thanks for the advice. As lazy as I am, my default position hitherto has been for my brain to scream "hey...this is hard...let's not kill ourselves" so this is going to be interesting.

    EDIT:
    No need to wait, I saved the ride when I was scoping out the course. Here is the Strava segment. The only difference is that I close the loop in the NW corner in order to complete just over 10k and, as you'll infer, that last 0.6 km is uphill. Pay no attention to the time, this was an exploratory ride.
    Wind is usually predominantly from the west.
    Last edited by chasm54; 08-30-12 at 04:21 AM.

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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Wind is usually predominantly from the west.
    Not a lot of elevation change or gradient if Strava is correct, so I'd be more concerned with the wind which is ground zero for pacing a TT of this nature. Treat the wind like a hill...headwind = up, tailwind = down, and the harder it blows the more the effective gradient. Chasm, I forget if you're using power on this or not...or HR or PE?

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Not a lot of elevation change or gradient if Strava is correct, so I'd be more concerned with the wind which is ground zero for pacing a TT of this nature. Treat the wind like a hill...headwind = up, tailwind = down, and the harder it blows the more the effective gradient. Chasm, I forget if you're using power on this or not...or HR or PE?
    The total elevation gain in the course of the 10k is probably around 50m/160ft. Not using power as yet, a combination of HR and PE. I'm reasonably adept at the PE, so can accommodate the HR lag and cardiac drift fairly well. Eventually I'll crack and get a powermeter, no doubt, but not today.

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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Just remember that HR shows you where you were. For TT's you'll want to settle in to a steady pace for a bit before checking this, and also know that you'll get drift upwards the longer the TT.

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    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Is this the appropriate thread for questions about a specific race? In particular I have questions concerning the Fiesta Island TT series in San Diego. The website is minimal. I am currently "Cat 6". I have been doing some track cycling at the local Velodrome and plan on doing some Friday night Racing starting this week. I did one lap of the island at and average of 18.2 mph last week, not pushing as hard as I could, but doing a moderate to hard effort. -(The tt is three laps.) This was 30 miles into a fairly hilly road ride, so I think I can hit a 20 avg by the September TT. Not world class time, I know, but good for getting my feet wet. http://app.strava.com/activities/64998207#1236835079

    My question pertains to which class would be more appropriate to enter. Masters 55+, or Mercx Men. I am given to think that Mercx is for the "Bring your budget aluminum road , or old steel ten speed bike and see how you do" crowd.
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    It really will not matter which class you enter since it is a TT and you will be riding by yourself and drafting is not allowed. However, if you do not have a TT bike then Merckx men is a better choice if the starting time works. You will get a better comparison of your time to others. The first time you do a race, you are guaranteed a personal best.
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    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    It really will not matter which class you enter since it is a TT and you will be riding by yourself and drafting is not allowed. However, if you do not have a TT bike then Merckx men is a better choice if the starting time works. You will get a better comparison of your time to others. The first time you do a race, you are guaranteed a personal best.
    Thanks. I was considering using my track bike (will have to install a brake, but it has mounts for it). I can get more tucked in the drops, but my run last Friday demonstrated the need for three gear changes, due to wind.
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    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Update. Ran my first TT yesterday. SD Time Trial-Merckx Class. Training up for the event was not terribly structured. Mostly base miles and some interval training (un-coached) once or twice a week.

    I ran my fixed and did OK. As in OK, I mean that I finished last but the spread in times was pretty even, and I was not a piece of "data scatter" falling way off the back. Successful in that I hit it just hard enough at the start that I had steam left to finish strong. I had hoped to average over 20 mph, and just missed it.

    I turned the Garmin over so I couldn’t see it, forcing myself to go by feel. After, when I dismounted I had a lot of burn in my glutes, the first time I had ever worked them that hard.

    I was slow, but as a learning experience I call it a success. I learned what a comfortable 20k pace was, and that I can go a little harder next time. I got data, burning glutes, which indicates I need to learn more about core training. I did find a good stretch for the glutes.
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