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  1. #1
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    Dumb question: What are the skills that makes some good time trialers?

    Very possibly a dumb question, but as someone who's never done any racing, I was wondering what it is that seperates the good time trialers from the bad ones. I assume any professional rider is intimately familiar with their power output at different gearings and cadences, and would know from their training regimens what sort of power output they can sustain over different distances. So with the equipment and training they have now, is seems like it ought to be straightforward for everyone to ride at their maximum sustained power output. But there are guys who are great climbers, like the Schlecks who are also pretty bad time trialers. How can you have the power to accelerate and sustain speed up a hill and drop other guys, but not have a similar power advantage when riding on a flatter course by yourself?

    Also, I've heard commenters talk about how Contador has put in a lot of work and learned how to be a good time trial rider, which implies that it is something that you can work on--there is a set of skills that can be developed to improve time trialing.

    So what is it that AC learned? What is there to time trial riding besides just riding hard at a target power level? What's the skill set to be mastered? What am I missing or not understanding about time trials?

  2. #2
    Senior Member reef58's Avatar
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    Making power from an Areodynamic position is the key. I say for the Rabo boys staying upright helps.

    Richard

  3. #3
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    How can the Schleck's ride the mountains so well, but ride so poorly in the TT?

    There is no definitive answer. It's part genetics, training, position, coaching . . and psychological.

  4. #4
    Senior Member reef58's Avatar
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    They have high power to weight, but maybe their FTP isn't as high as others. They are slightly built. It could be the position on the bike doesn't suit them.

    Richard

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    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's about power into the wind. On the mountain aero doesn't matter much but in a TT it is everything, well that and power and how those combine to make speed.

  6. #6
    Senior Member hocker's Avatar
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    Excellent question actually. I think a big factor is management of energy. You need to go hard, but not too hard so you blow yourself up. This is why using a power meter is like cheating (it's not, just sayin') because you can monitor wattage output and use it for pacing, like having a coach on your handlebars.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Quel's Avatar
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    Being from Switzerland seems to help.

  8. #8
    Senior Member daxr's Avatar
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    There's a trick to it. Eddy B. described it in his book years ago as something he learned from Anquetil, but one of those things much easier said than done.
    "... the age of Happy Motoring is over. Many Americans have already bought their last car -- they just don't know it yet."

    James Howard Kunstler, 2008.

  9. #9
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    The ability to tune out all messages of pain sent from legs to brain.

    Big lungs.

  10. #10
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    when riding on the flat, by yourself, your speed is dictated by your wattage, your frontal area, and your position. Tall skinney climbers have poor power to frontal area/position ratios. AC has improved his max power and his frontal area/position on the TT bike hence is great ITT today.

  11. #11
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    I'd like to see a comparison of TT bikes over the past few years, maybe use 5 riders all around the same build/fitness, then take the average. Use the same course and take detailed notes of the weather to make sure wind doesn't play an advantage. Use a normal road bike, old school funny bike, road bike with aero bars, TT bike, maybe from early 2000's, something from 2009 that is affordable, and the top of the line form 2009.

    It would be interesting to see just how much of an advantage aero bars, helmets, and bike technology makes.

    On the issue of making a good TT'er, to me it seems that these guys can push out huge wattages, and spread them out over a long period of time. Being able to accelerate your self to 55kph used a much different type of leg and body build than accelerating up a slope. When going up a mountain you have to physically drag your bike and body up the hill, working agaist gravity. When in a tt, you are pushing yourself through the air. Not sure if that made any sense, but hope it helps some

  12. #12
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    I'd say masochism is the primary requirement.


    Oh! it just hurts so good.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  13. #13
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    Being able to produce power in an aero position. Zabriskie is so good at TT's not because he has insane power numbers (for a pro, he doesn't), but because he can produce high power in a really aero position. Flexibility helps too. Anyone else see the pictures/video of Cancellara putting his palms on the floor? I can't even touch my toes without bending my knees.

  14. #14
    yes
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    Quote Originally Posted by brendon_ak View Post

    It would be interesting to see just how much of an advantage aero bars, helmets, and bike technology makes.
    Some of the bigger issues such as disc wheel, aero bars, helmet have been well studied. The guys do experiments in wind tunnels to see how body positions affect power and aerodynamics. That would be a way to tune things.

    http://www.amazon.com/Bicycling-Scie...8382583&sr=8-1

  15. #15
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    I wonder if LA's huge hump in the middle of his back helps?

    I've seen that vid, pretty amazing. Cancellara is just a freak of nature, got I love him

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by yes View Post
    Some of the bigger issues such as disc wheel, aero bars, helmet have been well studied. The guys do experiments in wind tunnels to see how body positions affect power and aerodynamics. That would be a way to tune things.

    http://www.amazon.com/Bicycling-Scie...8382583&sr=8-1
    I am more concerned with a real world tests. Obviously the number of variables grows, however I would like to see real results that are more easily related to than something in the wind tunnel. The wind tunnel will find the best aero position, most aero bike, etc, but it seems like some of those advantages would be minute. Manufactures throw around percentages like its no big deal and don't back them up. 50% less drag, etc, but its important to give a base, 50% less drag than what, compared to what?

  17. #17
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    pedal faster.........

  18. #18
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
    The ability to tune out all messages of pain sent from legs to brain.
    +100 All things being equal, that's what seperates a good TT rider from a great one.
    i may have overreacted

  19. #19
    Senior Member daxr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laggard View Post
    +100 All things being equal, that's what seperates a good TT rider from a great one.
    no no no...it doesn't matter how switched off you are to pain, that doesn't make you ride faster. Any idiot can hammer until the lactic acids build up in the muscle tissue and the muscles lose their ability to perform work. Its not about will, its about training your body to be able work efficiently with a greater than normal lactic acid %, and knowing your capacities to hold the effort just at that point for a long time. All of which requires complete focus on the level of pain.

    Keeping the levels under control is a part of "the trick" to time trialing. If you pedal at maximum effort your muscles never relax; the theory is that this impairs bloodflow through the muscles so that efficiency and power is lost to lactic acid build up. What is most effective then is an on-off rhythm, like full power for 6 revolutions, then relax for one revolution, increasing bloodflow and allowing the most power output over a sustained period. Anquetil, Indurain, Lemond, all those guys did that. It easy to describe but very hard to do in practice and very hard to do well consistently, but that is the one trick that separates a good TT rider from a great one.
    "... the age of Happy Motoring is over. Many Americans have already bought their last car -- they just don't know it yet."

    James Howard Kunstler, 2008.

  20. #20
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
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    What I meant Daxr was that some riders who are plenty able to be a good time trial rider simply lack that willingness to suffer. When they start to hurt they back off. The great ones are either able to ignore it or welcome the pain.
    i may have overreacted

  21. #21
    Senior Member daxr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laggard View Post
    What I meant Daxr was that some riders who are plenty able to be a good time trial rider simply lack that willingness to suffer. When they start to hurt they back off. The great ones are either able to ignore it or welcome the pain.
    True enough, but then you have guys like Frank Schleck and Jens Voight who are pain gluttons and plenty strong, but haven't got the knack for time trialing.
    "... the age of Happy Motoring is over. Many Americans have already bought their last car -- they just don't know it yet."

    James Howard Kunstler, 2008.

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