First time trial tomorrow - any advice?

topcattim
topcattim Posts: 766
edited April 2008 in Road beginners
I'm planning to do my first ever proper 10 mile time trial tomorrow night. I'm more of an endurance rider, and less of a speed merchant, so am looking forward to the challenge. I rode a practice ride the other day on a windy-ish and bit up and down route, and came in just over 29 mins so know that I've got a lot of room to improve. I found the practice ride helpful as it showed me that I ran out of puff a bit on mile 8 but found enough to get back up to speed on the final mile. So tomorrow I shall work hard on my attitude in that 8th mile.

I know that I need to avoid getting carried away and riding too hard at the start. And that I need to work at staying aero - I don't have any TT bars and I find it hard to stay on the drops for any significant period, so this will be another challenge.

Does anyone have any more advice for a TT newbie?

Comments

  • blackhands
    blackhands Posts: 950
    Just enjoy it - and then look to improve with the next one.
  • Jeff Jones
    Jeff Jones Posts: 1,865
    1. Just go out to set a time. Don't aim for any particular mark.
    2. Get up to speed quickly, but then reel in your effort a lot, otherwise you go too far into the red too early. It might take you a good five minutes before you settle into a sustainable rhythm.
    3. Concentrate. If your mind is wandering, then you're not going hard enough.
    4. Know the course. If you don't, then it's worth doing a lap around it as a warm up.
    5. Good luck!
    Jeff Jones

    Product manager, Sports
  • nmcgann
    nmcgann Posts: 1,780
    As Jeff says, don't overcook it in the first few mins - it's a very easy mistake to make when the adrenalin kicks in. (I make this page 1 error a lot)

    For concentration a HRM helps. Not so much for an absolute value (or any kind of limit), but to see if you are backing off on downhills and with tailwinds when you should be keeping the pressure on.

    You need to work on getting down on the drops (or using clip-on aero bars) as the power required to overcome wind resistance is huge and getting low will help a lot.

    I find just being in a race will also make a difference compared to a practice ride. It's hard to remain motivated to really go for it until you have a number on your back. I bet you don't run out of steam at mile 8 on the real thing :wink:

    Neil
    --
    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • topcattim
    topcattim Posts: 766
    Great, thanks for those tips. I hadn't planned to wear my HRM but will do so, following your advice Neil. And will be wary in the first few mins as well. Really looking forward to it...
  • clip on aerobars. turns an ordinary road bike into something decently more aero.
    will help wth holding the low aero position too.
    and they're generally not terribly expensive either!
    ========================================
    http://itgoesfasterwhenitmatches.blogspot.com/
  • nmcgann
    nmcgann Posts: 1,780
    topcattim wrote:
    Great, thanks for those tips. I hadn't planned to wear my HRM but will do so, following your advice Neil. And will be wary in the first few mins as well. Really looking forward to it...

    So how did you do?

    Neil
    --
    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • geoff_ss
    geoff_ss Posts: 1,201
    blackhands wrote:
    Just enjoy it - and then look to improve with the next one.

    If you're enjoying it, you aren't trying hard enough :lol:

    Really, a 10 is a sprint. Just go as hard as possible all the way round.

    Geoff
    Old cyclists never die; they just fit smaller chainrings ... and pedal faster
  • nmcgann
    nmcgann Posts: 1,780
    Geoff_SS wrote:
    blackhands wrote:
    Just enjoy it - and then look to improve with the next one.

    If you're enjoying it, you aren't trying hard enough :lol:

    Really, a 10 is a sprint. Just go as hard as possible all the way round.

    Geoff

    The trick is working out how hard you can go moment-to-moment without blowing and losing loads of time.....

    Neil
    --
    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • Mike Willcox
    Mike Willcox Posts: 1,770
    A cyclist's conception on what sort of effort is required by "flat out all the way" in a 10 mile TT is dependant on their levels of effort in training.

    For me racing flat out (not sprinting) would result in blowing up after 5 minutes or so. On the other hand for a rider who never trains above their 25 mile TT pace then the effort for a 10 mile TT must seem like flat out all the way.
  • Richie G
    Richie G Posts: 283
    As a newcomer to TTs i'm finding getting the pacing right really tricky. I'm struggling to find a happy medium between starting too hard and not going hard enough. I seem to be doing better times when i go out hard and have to hang on- not sure if that's the right approach though! Still i'm enjoying it, so that's the main thing! (Well, i enjoy it when it's over! I spend most the TT convinced i can't do another mile and that it hurts too much- then when i'm done i wanna do it again! :D )

    By the way, hope it went well!

    Cheers
    Rich
  • topcattim
    topcattim Posts: 766
    Well, after asking for all those tips, I forgot one tip that I could have told myself - remember to bring your bike computer so you can tell how far round the course you are! So I rode it blind and had to simply judge how far round I thought I was. I really enjoyed it though, and completed in 28-12 which I'm chuffed with for a first timer. I worked to stay on the drops but need to confess to coming onto the hoods a few times, which gives me a target to work on.

    Like Richie G I think the issue for me is going to be pacing. I suspect I went off a bit too slow in the first half as I had a bit more left in my tank for the final bit than I was expecting.

    I've definitely got the bug now and will be out again as soon as I can. To be honest, I'm more of an endurance rider but had got a bit fed up of the long rides that this requires, so this has given me a new lease of life.

    Can't wait until the next one.
  • Bronzie
    Bronzie Posts: 4,927
    Well done, good first effort.

    Regarding "riding blind" some prefer that approach (no speedo, no hrm, no satnav, no power meter, no kitchen sink) others go for the whole lot, most probably go someway in between.

    I always use an HRM but try not to become a slave to it, although it's handy to tell you when you are not going hard enough. A speedo/odometer is also essential to me so I can tell how much longer I have to endure this awful torture I'm putting myself through.

    Pacing is crucial to doing your best performance and it is something you need experience to improve on.
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,570
    How do you find these TT's to take part in, are they run by local clubs, and I assume there is some kind of entry fee to pay?

    Dan
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • Bronzie
    Bronzie Posts: 4,927
    Many clubs run "Evening 10's" through the summer - just turn up, pay your £3 or so entry, pin your number on and ride. Contact a few clubs local to you to find out if they organise a series or if they know of a club that does.

    "Open" events are a bit more official and are listed on the Cycling Time Trials website - you have to enter by completing a standard entry form by no later than 2 weeks in advance, and you will then get a start sheet telling you what time your start is with course details etc. You need to be a member of a CTT affiliated club to enter open events.
  • nmcgann
    nmcgann Posts: 1,780
    Richie G wrote:
    As a newcomer to TTs i'm finding getting the pacing right really tricky. I'm struggling to find a happy medium between starting too hard and not going hard enough. I seem to be doing better times when i go out hard and have to hang on- not sure if that's the right approach though! Still i'm enjoying it, so that's the main thing! (Well, i enjoy it when it's over! I spend most the TT convinced i can't do another mile and that it hurts too much- then when i'm done i wanna do it again! :D )

    By the way, hope it went well!

    Cheers
    Rich

    That never changes!

    There's an interesting discussion about the physiology of starting too hard here:
    http://www.timetriallingforum.co.uk/ind ... t&p=288100

    Neil
    --
    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • JWSurrey
    JWSurrey Posts: 1,173
    For those taking the "kitchen sink" approach, I read an article (either C+ or C.Weekly) that mentioned a power meter is a good way of ensuring you don't go-off too quickly.

    If fitting riser bars, it's a good idea to remove your head tube stack-rings and put them on top of the stem rather than underneath it, because TT/Tri bars are about 2 inches higher than the bar tops.
    Bear in mind that your gear levers will be on your handlebars, unless you move these too.
    I've never dared try TT/tri bars for fear of the instability factor.

    Edit: And a "crazy helmet" is apparently one of the best aero devices to spend your cash on - other than exercise/training/go-faster legs!
  • nmcgann
    nmcgann Posts: 1,780
    JWSurrey wrote:
    For those taking the "kitchen sink" approach, I read an article (either C+ or C.Weekly) that mentioned a power meter is a good way of ensuring you don't go-off too quickly.

    If fitting riser bars, it's a good idea to remove your head tube stack-rings and put them on top of the stem rather than underneath it, because TT/Tri bars are about 2 inches higher than the bar tops.
    Bear in mind that your gear levers will be on your handlebars, unless you move these too.
    I've never dared try TT/tri bars for fear of the instability factor.

    Edit: And a "crazy helmet" is apparently one of the best aero devices to spend your cash on - other than exercise/training/go-faster legs!

    Yes, I've recently got a PM. I was having a problem last season where I was feeling really bad about 2mins into a race. I now know that's 'cos I was starting off at 400W - a power that I can only maintain for 2mins on the turbo before exploding :roll:

    Tri bars aren't as unstable as you might think - I wobbled about a bit at first, but soon got the hang of it. I've got a pretty poor sense of balance too, so I'd expect anyone else to manage no probs.

    It's best when you get a pair of bar-end shifters and fit them to the aerobars though, it gets annoying having to shift position to change gear.

    Neil
    --
    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    You don't need to move the spacers unless your normal bars are set high. You do not normally have your elbows as low as the top of the bars. They are quite stable when set up right. I was decending at 40+ mph on mine during the Circuit of the Dales TT last Sunday. I have Profile T2s on a standard road bike. You can get quite a good position with them as they are very adjustable.
    See picture 4708 here. http://martin.photium.com/portfolio29361p2.html