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Can you get motivated to train for TTs as a lighter rider?

neebneeb Posts: 4,360
edited April 2018 in Amateur race
After years of never getting around to it I did my first couple of 10 mile club TTs last year. I can manage about 4w/kg at FTP but being pretty light at 63kg that only equates to about 250w, just over 260w over a 10 mile TT course. Maybe if I trained specifically I could get that up to 270-280w for 10 miles, but I guess I'm never going to be really competitive. Are there any lighter riders out there who really enjoy training and competing in TTs? Can you get motivated, and does it seem worthwhile shelling out for proper equipment? So far I've just used a road bike with standard setup (no tri bars or anything).
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  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    It's entirely up to you. Focus less on power and more on your times. Either be content giving away time on a road bike or bite the bullet and go full on TT.
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,656
    Hi Neeb,

    interesting subject for me, as I too was 63kg a couple of months ago (Put on some over Christmas....) and had an FTP of 240, so very similar power to weight ratio.

    I too have meant to TT for many years, and am myself planning to start this spring.

    I did a couple of hill climbs in the autumn, and they were very good fun - perhaps that may be where our forte lies more?

    How did you find the two TT's you have done, and do you mind me asking what your times were?
    I appreciate it is variable with regards to type of course, weather\wind etc, but would still be very interested to hear what times your output generated.
    Were you completely spent at the end?
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  • How tall are you? Build?

    I am currently around 67kg and am 168cm. My top power output compared to many may not be super high but I have the advantage of being able to get very low and reduce my frontal area to a point that I can make the watts go further (so to speak) I always knew I’d never be able to produce up to 300 watts for a sustained effort so I concentrated more on making myself more efficient. Then when you do actually get a bit more power anyway, it’s a win win situation.
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    What does your weight have to do with it? I've got 15kg on you at the same FTP and do just fine, so there's no reason you can't ride a sub 20min 10 if that's what you want to do.

    As far as equipment is concerned, I wouldn't commit to anything until you've done at least a couple of events and decided testing is for you. After than you'll easily be dropping minutes with smart choices and aero testing.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,360
    Thanks for the feedback.
    How tall are you? Build?
    about 175cm, skinny..
    Daniel B wrote:
    Hi Neeb,
    interesting subject for me, as I too was 63kg a couple of months ago (Put on some over Christmas....) and had an FTP of 240, so very similar power to weight ratio.

    I too have meant to TT for many years, and am myself planning to start this spring.

    I did a couple of hill climbs in the autumn, and they were very good fun - perhaps that may be where our forte lies more?

    How did you find the two TT's you have done, and do you mind me asking what your times were?
    I appreciate it is variable with regards to type of course, weather\wind etc, but would still be very interested to hear what times your output generated.
    Were you completely spent at the end?
    TBCH I've really only done one TT - the second time I turned up to the wrong course and just did it by myself anyway, so it hardly counts (especially as I wasn't sure exactly where the finish line was.. ;-))

    The one I did properly was a circuit on mostly flat country roads with a few turns and my time was 26m 2s, so obviously I'd be disappointed if I wasn't 25-something next time.. As I say, first ever TT, road bike, no tri bars or anything. 262 watts average for the course. I probably only gave it 98% as I didn't have a time reference point and my main target was just finishing knowing that I'd managed to put out somethng like the power I'm capable of over that duration. I think I thought I was going to get under 26m towards the end but obviously must have started my clock 2 or 3 seconds after the timers did.. ;-)
    Grill wrote:
    What does your weight have to do with it? I've got 15kg on you at the same FTP and do just fine, so there's no reason you can't ride a sub 20min 10 if that's what you want to do.

    As far as equipment is concerned, I wouldn't commit to anything until you've done at least a couple of events and decided testing is for you. After than you'll easily be dropping minutes with smart choices and aero testing.
    I'd love to be able to aim for a sub-20. I assume I'd need to gain at least a few watts to do that though, not just get more aero? (and maybe a faster course?).

    P.S. I didn't look anything like you do in your picture.. ;-)
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    edited January 2018
    I did a mid 19 on 281w weighing 78kg with a CdA 10w higher than I have now. If you really wanted to you could crush it.
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  • neeb wrote:
    I'd love to be able to aim for a sub-20. I assume I'd need to gain at least a few watts to do that though, not just get more aero? (and maybe a faster course?).

    If you get aero enough and pick a fast course on a fast day, you could knock out some seriously good times. You're new to time trialling so just work on learning how to pace your races, learning the courses you will race on, putting power out while still remaining aero, etc. You will get faster. If you get hooked, look into more slippery equipment!
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,360
    Brilliant, thanks both for the encouragement. It does seem a massive gap to bridge but I suppose there are a lot of potential gains that all add up - more aero position, more aero equipment, faster course, a few more watts..

    Any tips for getting more aero / knowing how aero you are just on a road bike? With my current setup the bars are about 8cm below the saddle. I can pretty much manage to ride with my hands on the ends of the hoods and forearms straight. If I'm in the drops my forearms won't ever be straight...
  • NapoleonDNapoleonD Posts: 18,632
    Just crack on with it and look to improve your times. I’m a fattie, with not much more power than you and have done a 55min 25 on triathlon training
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  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Lower doesn't necessarily mean faster. As long as you have a power meter you can field test using Aerolab on Golden Cheetah. Just look up Chung method for protocol.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • Grill wrote:
    Lower doesn't necessarily mean faster. As long as you have a power meter you can field test using Aerolab on Golden Cheetah. Just look up Chung method for protocol.

    And at the same time , power doesn’t necessarily mean faster if your position is poor. You want to minimise your frontal area without compromising your power output. It’s a balance and also a compromise finding the best of both. You will always be able to produce more power in a more upright position than getting low down so yes being really aero isn’t good if it means you can’t transfer the power through the pedals efficiently, but sit too high up and you’re wasting watts by causing unnecessary drag.
  • "True" road riders in the pure sense, professionals, are required to do it. It's their job. Stage races have time trials. They just have to train to not lose so much time if that isn't their specialty.

    Local/regional TT may be a crapshoot. Looking at results that is......I haven't done it yet. I see the "slow" categories often having winning and podium speeds equal to some of the fastest categories.

    I'm going to try it for fun.

    I'm 160lbs now and up to about 260w. Probably up to 270 to 275w and down to 155lbs by race season for road. The TT stuff will just be to try it out. I know some Clydesdale riders with a huge ftp but some "extra" weight will kill me. But that's life.
  • neeb wrote:
    The one I did properly was a circuit on mostly flat country roads with a few turns and my time was 26m 2s, so obviously I'd be disappointed if I wasn't 25-something next time.. As I say, first ever TT, road bike, no tri bars or anything. 262 watts average for the course. I probably only gave it 98% as I didn't have a time reference point and my main target was just finishing knowing that I'd managed to put out somethng like the power I'm capable of over that duration. I think I thought I was going to get under 26m towards the end but obviously must have started my clock 2 or 3 seconds after the timers did.. ;-)

    One way to improve that time a lot would be to pull those arms out of the wind. You don't need tri bars to do this, just do what the pro's do and try lean your hands over the bars. It'll bring down your time and you will notice the speed difference. If you don't want to risk that, bend your arms 90 degrees on while on the hoods or even drops if you're flexible enough
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,360
    One way to improve that time a lot would be to pull those arms out of the wind. You don't need tri bars to do this, just do what the pro's do and try lean your hands over the bars. It'll bring down your time and you will notice the speed difference. If you don't want to risk that, bend your arms 90 degrees on while on the hoods or even drops if you're flexible enough
    Yeah, I need to practice that.. ;-) Whether because the bars are too low or my core strength isn't up to it I find it pretty hard to maintain that position. I can manage forearms horizontal when on the hoods but find myself tiring and switching back and forwards between that position and hands in the drops (with forearms not-so-horizontal..)
  • Uhhhmmmm, clip ons can be bought used for probably $15. New for maybe $20 to $50.

    You've been giving up a censored load of time/speed not using them if you can hold 260w.

    We have Craigslist, I think you have Gumtree........get on Gumtree and buy some. Do a couple practice rolls, then give it the gas on a training ride. I bet you'll have a censored eating grin on your face when you feel the speed difference.
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,360
    Uhhhmmmm, clip ons can be bought used for probably $15. New for maybe $20 to $50.

    You've been giving up a censored load of time/speed not using them if you can hold 260w.

    We have Craigslist, I think you have Gumtree........get on Gumtree and buy some. Do a couple practice rolls, then give it the gas on a training ride. I bet you'll have a censored eating grin on your face when you feel the speed difference.
    Yup, that'll be the next step.. Haven't given up much time/speed yet because I've only done one or two TTs.. :)

    That said, my local TT notes the fastest time on a road bike as well as the fastest overall - I might have a chance at the former but not at the latter.. I assume as soon as I mount clip-ons I'm no longer riding a road bike. But I think if I manage to get fastest-on-a-road-bike once the novelty will pale and I'll then be looking at clip-ons..
  • ShutupJensShutupJens Posts: 1,373
    I used to ride a lot of TTs, and having gone down the route of chasing faster and faster times by modifying my equipment (and spending loads of money) I actually found that the most satisfying results I got were when I just got comfortable riding my road bike on the drops like I was in a break and focussing 100% on the effort of the ride itself. That is how I found motivation to train harder, rather than get faster by throwing money at your bike and d1cking about with position changes etc
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    ShutupJens wrote:
    I used to ride a lot of TTs, and having gone down the route of chasing faster and faster times by modifying my equipment (and spending loads of money) I actually found that the most satisfying results I got were when I just got comfortable riding my road bike on the drops like I was in a break and focussing 100% on the effort of the ride itself. That is how I found motivation to train harder, rather than get faster by throwing money at your bike and d1cking about with position changes etc

    This sounds awful.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • jrichjrich Posts: 278
    Slightly sad that power numbers will prevent you enjoying something without even having experienced it first. How will you know if you like it until you go and do it? My advice is get a grip and go get stuck in!

    Believe it or not, it's perfectly possible to ride and enjoy riding time trials without power meter, or a TT bike, or having done any 'training', or really having a clue about anything. Some people ride time trials purely for the peculiar pleasure that comes with beasting yourself for 20 minutes straight. What I'm trying to tell you is that being 63kg with an FTP of whatever is no barrier to enjoying the sport.

    My own experiences is sort of similar to yours: I weigh 65kg; I did 26:20 in my first TT with a bog standard road bike set up; then I spent a couple of years riding TTs and i got all the paraphernalia and now I can do 30mph+ rides for 10 and 25 miles (pretty average these days really). I'm sure I'd still enjoy racing if I was doing 28mph rides - the main thing is that there's only one way to find out.
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,360
    @jrich - don’t worry I’m not letting my power numbers or whatever put me off at all, it’s just that I only had a go for the first time in the autumn and the local TTs don’t start again until the spring. But mainly I think my initial question has now been answered on this thread - there’s no reason why I can’t get reasonsbly good and in any case it’s only myself I’m ultimately competing against.
  • jrichjrich Posts: 278
    in that case, good luck! (and enjoy)
  • Absolutely get stuck in! Support your local clubs too by attending their evening club 10's and 25's as they are the bread and butter of the club racing scene. Offer to help out too if you're a member, the club's competition secretary can never have too many volunteers!
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    ...
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  • neeb wrote:
    After years of never getting around to it I did my first couple of 10 mile club TTs last year. I can manage about 4w/kg at FTP but being pretty light at 63kg that only equates to about 250w, just over 260w over a 10 mile TT course. Maybe if I trained specifically I could get that up to 270-280w for 10 miles, but I guess I'm never going to be really competitive. Are there any lighter riders out there who really enjoy training and competing in TTs? Can you get motivated, and does it seem worthwhile shelling out for proper equipment? So far I've just used a road bike with standard setup (no tri bars or anything).

    Depends what you are looking for... you might struggle to win events against heavier and more powerful riders, but you might enjoy the process of "getting better at it".
    TTing rewards the obsessive personality, as it is very much a case of accumulation of marginal gains. If you enjoy being analytical and obsessive about your cycling, you will enjoy TTing.
    You will probably look at "upgrading" equipment to keep you focussed on improvements. I suggest you look at second hand upgrades, as you will need to go through a lot of them and it's not a case of what is shinier but what is faster for you.
    You probably want to get hold of a decent power meter if you don't have one, as it is the most widely accepted way to assess your performance and progress
    "Faster" by Michael Hutchinson is an enjoyable read
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,360
    neeb wrote:
    After years of never getting around to it I did my first couple of 10 mile club TTs last year. I can manage about 4w/kg at FTP but being pretty light at 63kg that only equates to about 250w, just over 260w over a 10 mile TT course. Maybe if I trained specifically I could get that up to 270-280w for 10 miles, but I guess I'm never going to be really competitive. Are there any lighter riders out there who really enjoy training and competing in TTs? Can you get motivated, and does it seem worthwhile shelling out for proper equipment? So far I've just used a road bike with standard setup (no tri bars or anything).

    Depends what you are looking for... you might struggle to win events against heavier and more powerful riders, but you might enjoy the process of "getting better at it".
    TTing rewards the obsessive personality, as it is very much a case of accumulation of marginal gains. If you enjoy being analytical and obsessive about your cycling, you will enjoy TTing.
    You will probably look at "upgrading" equipment to keep you focussed on improvements. I suggest you look at second hand upgrades, as you will need to go through a lot of them and it's not a case of what is shinier but what is faster for you.
    You probably want to get hold of a decent power meter if you don't have one, as it is the most widely accepted way to assess your performance and progress
    "Faster" by Michael Hutchinson is an enjoyable read
    Obsessive personality... that'd be me, then! :-)

    Have the powermeter and have read "Faster" (the bit where he talked to his doctor about having his shoulders broken and reset to make him more aero had me in stitches..).

    Looking forward to the start of the season!
  • I'll let ya know!

    First one is in April. I'm at 70kg right now and a 4.0w/kg. I probably could have squeezed another 10w out of that test, but had some respiratory cold issues at the time. I think I blew my nose 10x on that test.

    But, 23 min is 3min longer than an ftp test. Ughhh.

    Looks like local to me in the US a podium in a Cat 5 race (euro Cat 4) is around 23.5 minutes in a pan flat 10 miler. You can finish in the bottom third of all the series races, but not miss a race, and podium the series. A lot of people miss one of the six races.

    A guy that finished next to last every race of the series podium'd according to the series website from last year. He pretty much did 24.7 to 25.0 minute 10 milers.

    I'm doing it because it's a safe TT on a car race track at night under the lights. Easy to get a worknight off from the family to go race. Should be fun.

    I have no illusions about winning. But I'll need a catcher at the finish!
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    I'll let ya know!

    First one is in April. I'm at 70kg right now and a 4.0w/kg. I probably could have squeezed another 10w out of that test, but had some respiratory cold issues at the time. I think I blew my nose 10x on that test.

    But, 23 min is 3min longer than an ftp test. Ughhh.

    Looks like local to me in the US a podium in a Cat 5 race (euro Cat 4) is around 23.5 minutes in a pan flat 10 miler. You can finish in the bottom third of all the series races, but not miss a race, and podium the series. A lot of people miss one of the six races.

    A guy that finished next to last every race of the series podium'd according to the series website from last year. He pretty much did 24.7 to 25.0 minute 10 milers.

    I'm doing it because it's a safe TT on a car race track at night under the lights. Easy to get a worknight off from the family to go race. Should be fun.

    I have no illusions about winning. But I'll need a catcher at the finish!

    Lol, no, a true FTP test is ~60 mins. So it's closer to 1/3 of an FTP test.
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    joey54321 wrote:
    I'll let ya know!

    First one is in April. I'm at 70kg right now and a 4.0w/kg. I probably could have squeezed another 10w out of that test, but had some respiratory cold issues at the time. I think I blew my nose 10x on that test.

    But, 23 min is 3min longer than an ftp test. Ughhh.

    Looks like local to me in the US a podium in a Cat 5 race (euro Cat 4) is around 23.5 minutes in a pan flat 10 miler. You can finish in the bottom third of all the series races, but not miss a race, and podium the series. A lot of people miss one of the six races.

    A guy that finished next to last every race of the series podium'd according to the series website from last year. He pretty much did 24.7 to 25.0 minute 10 milers.

    I'm doing it because it's a safe TT on a car race track at night under the lights. Easy to get a worknight off from the family to go race. Should be fun.

    I have no illusions about winning. But I'll need a catcher at the finish!

    Lol, no, a true FTP test is ~60 mins. So it's closer to 1/3 of an FTP test.

    Yup, but if you want to save time then you can do a 20 min test, BUT you should actually test for 30 minutes and take the reading from the last 20.
  • gsk82gsk82 Posts: 2,707
    I'm about 67kg and gave up road racing to TT a few years ago.

    Why do you think you need to compete with the bigger riders to be motivated? Cant you get motivated by improving your own times? Where you finish in a TT is pretty much irrelevant. If the top local road race guys all show up one week (They tend to be like sheep), you're gong to finish half a dozen places lower than if they don't. To me my finishing position is 100% irrelevant.
    "Unfortunately these days a lot of people don’t understand the real quality of a bike" Ernesto Colnago
  • indjkeindjke Posts: 85
    I weigh 63-65 kg. But I am, no doubt, pure time trialist, according to my power profile and preference for sustained work.
    For sure, it's hard to contest big guys in flat TTs, but... You just like it or not. Also you can focus at your personal progress. And sometimes you can do well on routes that are not totally pancake-flat.
    Boardman Team C / 105 / Fulcrum Racing 3
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