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Old 05-30-07, 05:10 PM   #1
bburrito
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Quantifying Training with a TT

I read in another thread that a great way to test your progress and fitness is in doing a time trial over a measured course. Does it matter the course? The distance? Or does it just matter that you are doing the same course each time and recording your time?
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Old 05-30-07, 06:58 PM   #2
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It's a rough estimate but yeah your times will give you an idea of your fitness improvements.

Any length of course is fine from 5000 meters to 100k. Most standard are 40km and 10 miles. The length should be in accord with your training focus.

Buy a cheap anemometer and note the wind speed and direction. Also record the temperature. These factors will play into estimates of your total power. Use the cycling power calculator to estimate your power for the week.

NOTE: A good time trial is not like a passive thing like a body builder measuring the girth of his arms or an easy thing like a pitcher clocking his fastest pitch. Even seasoned riders can be rocked by relatively flat time trials of just 10 miles. They're supposed to hurt.
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Old 05-30-07, 07:00 PM   #3
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Consistency matters if you want to have a yard-stick by which you can measure your progression.

You might want to try a few different distances and courses to keep things interesting, just make sure you're comparing apples to apples when you look at your data.
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Old 05-30-07, 07:36 PM   #4
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hill climb courses are easiest, imo, for outside. reduces a bit of the wind/aero component (though not all). If not there, maybe best on the trainer.
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Old 05-30-07, 08:58 PM   #5
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Both Friel and Carmichael use field tests both to track progress and to set training HR ranges. You can find the details in their books.

I've used the carmichael one, which uses two 3 mile TTs with a 10 minute recovery between. IIRC Friel uses a single longer one.

Be prepared to suffer, however.
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Old 05-30-07, 09:54 PM   #6
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"Buy a cheap anemometer and note the wind speed and direction. Also record the temperature. "

seriously - that is taking geekiness to a whole new level. Think of the extra grams and the use of the pockets to do this - let alone the whistles of derision from passing cyclists....would make a good Dilbert cartoon.
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Old 05-30-07, 10:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinman
"Buy a cheap anemometer and note the wind speed and direction. Also record the temperature. "

seriously - that is taking geekiness to a whole new level. Think of the extra grams and the use of the pockets to do this - let alone the whistles of derision from passing cyclists....would make a good Dilbert cartoon.
Thank you!

Here wind actually means something important. A time trial in 15 mph gusts is a lot different than one in a 3 mph wind. Such radical variation is normal. When the wind is ripping at 18 or 25, it's always a no-go. Temperature also makes a real difference though usually not as much.
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Old 05-30-07, 10:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NomadVW
hill climb courses are easiest, imo, for outside. reduces a bit of the wind/aero component (though not all). If not there, maybe best on the trainer.
I agree that trainers are great for personal TTs. You don't get the thrill factor of riding with other riders in a public space but it certainly works. Trainers with power computers are relatively inexpensive too.

The only issue I have with hill climbs is that they measure something different than time trials on the flats.

Hill climbs measure your power output divided by the weight of you and your bike. Flat time trials better measure your pure power output regardless of your weight. Again, it's whatever you're into. If you love hill climbing then a time trial that gives you a good look at your performance changes on hills is probably a good thing.
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