Mis-Trial: Stan's misadventures in individual time trial

burnthesheep Posts: 675
edited April 2018 in Amateur race
Well.........here we go! A thread about my misadventures in attempting time trial. I'll try to take pictures as I go, post results when they happen.

CMS ITT series dates are posted, and I'm going to do it. It will just replace a weeknight ride I'd already skip out on dinner and do anyway. So, no skin off on the family front. Wife gets a weeknight to run or do whatever, and I usually get one weeknight to ride during the warmer months.

I'll be riding on my Cat 5 license (US has 5 categories), and I will likely have a hurting put out on me by the other riders. That's ok, I'm here to learn and have fun. It's not a USAC event, but they make you present your license so they force you into the Cat matching your license so that racers don't try to sandbag I guess.

Looking at past Cat 5 times, it's a mixed bag. I've seen the winning time be anywhere from 24mph to 26mph and even one lone 27mph time in Cat 5. For US vs UK comparison to Cat 4......our Cat 4's are doing it at 26-28mph.

I should be up to 270 to 275w by April. Now, that's 20min. This is closer to 25min for a race, so there's going to be some tough interval workouts in the TT position at some point. I'm already starting to do some intervals and SS in the TT position while in a road race training block. It's getting better. It was easily down 20-25w at first from my road position. Now it feels down only maybe 10 to 15w. I really need all of it to be able to not finish very poorly.

Yes, I'll try to win with what I've got. Realistically, it's going to be about having fun. Seeing some cool ass TT bikes and some fast ass riders in a really cool environment under the lights of Charlotte Motor Speedway. That's worth 10 watts alone right there!

Now the tech.............here's what's in the mail........(no, this won't make me win.......but it's a fun start!)

Helmet: Giro Advantage 2.......Had for ~$75. A little older design, but lots of triathlon and ITT tests still put it as a top contender especially on a budget. You can get them down to $25 used, but some of the defects I saw in pictures didn't make me feel very good about buying a used/unknown helmet.


Skinsuit: Galibier Chrono 5.......Right at $100. Recommended from the folks here on Bikeradar forums. A used Bodypaint 3.0 would be "faster" or "nicer" maybe, but new at $100 beats one watt saved and a used piece of kit at $150.


The bike: You've seen it......my trusty roadie Propel........just using some clip on TT bars and the newish (to me) aero wheelset. I don't have the $$$ for a full on TT bike. The cheapest bike used I found local to me was about $500 for a piece of total junk.



  • What distances are the races?

    Time t work on getting comfortable and powerful in your TT position. Good luck! :D
  • supermurph09
    supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    Good luck, but most of all just enjoy it! (you know what I mean).
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,572
    edited January 2018
    Nice one BTS, will be watching this with interest :-)

    EDIT: Just to add, especially interested as I am planning to do the same this year with regards to starting 10 (And maybe 25 mile) TTs, although a dip in motivation has led to me not really training for the last few weeks and eating badly - hoping I can snap myself out of it soon :?
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  • Thanks for the well wishes.

    I've started doing some of my SS intervals in the position on the trainer. These are at 10 min each right now, 3x per workout. I'm getting better, but the posture could use some work. I'll take pictures and post so it can receive proper criticism.

    These are 10mi events.
  • Silly but important question.

    What's the deal with helmet stickers? I've seen some triathlon nonsense postings about a person's helmet manufacturer info sticker wearing off from use inside and not being able to use it.

    My TT helmet is brand new, so no worries. But should I worry about that or protect it somehow?

    How about road race events? Not sure my roadie helmet's sticker is still in there.
  • Sticker is still in there on the roadie, I checked.

    I'm debating whether ever wearing the skinsuit and TT helmet on training rides on the TT bars. Those rides are about my handling the bike and laying power/position down. However, around here I don't feel it safe having a helmet covering my ears so I can't hear traffic behind me. The races are on a closed course.

    There is a 1-mile loop at a stadium nearby I could use around the service road. But, it's a quite hilly loop. It's about 700ft in 10mi. It also has a ridiculous high speed j-turn that is off-camber at the bottom of the hill. Hmmmm.....

    I'm into week 4 of about 10 in the training plan. Only 2 hard workouts this week, but both power intervals. Yuck. Hold 3min power till you almost pop, repeat.
  • Update: informal local fun TT thing next week depending on weather. I decided to take the time to setup the bike for this and give this TT thing an attempt for a little bit. See what my favorite race type is this year or something.

    This took a lot longer than I thought. I thought I'd clip on, raise the seat and move it forward and be done for now. Nope. It proved difficult getting all the bar fasteners, arm pads, and all the stars in the universe aligned to get something just "workable" for a road bike clip-on setup.

    The goal was getting the arms in, the shoulders in, and the head down. Not sure why the tip of the helmet sticks up some, but seems consistent with photos of the pros using that Advantage 2 helmet from like 8 years ago. It's still a very competitive helmet in the TT scene, and it's cheap.

    I'm happy with the first effort. I'm sure ST will have a lot to say about it though!

    Picture 1: you have to do this with a level bike. Put it in the trainer and pick the proper climbing stop. Otherwise your work is wasted once you put it on the pavement and it's wrong.

    Picture 2: cables at the cockpit before picture. I had already cleaned this up from the LBS that assembled the bike. But, the cables were still hanging below the bars and in the wind in places.

    Picture 3: best I could do for now. I pulled them behind the bar and the Wahoo Bolt the best I could. I tested the shifting and braking and turning the bike to make sure it would turn and work fine still.

    Picture 4: Skewer, max aero. :laugh: FWIW, after that RR, I would NEVER run a skewer like that riding in a group. NEVER.

    Picture 5: Front view. Not bad for a road bike and first attempt. Not great, but not horrible I guess.

    Picture 6: Side view. Not best angle, but my helper was much appreciated so I didn't complain. Back not completely flat, but not necessary as long as your head itself doesn't poke up too much.

    Picture 7: Side view 2. I took off the really thick arm rest pads. Those were easily 1/2" to 1" of stack height. I may just buy some black felt to cover the bumpy velco texture on the plastic. I only have to deal with it for 20ish min at a time. I'll put the pads on for much longer training rides. Can't really tell in the picture though.

    Picture 8: interesting story on the seat. I assumed this bike did not have a flip flop seat post like a Cervelo aero bike. It doesn't. But the seat post clamp is reversible. There are two pivot mounts. So you can reverse or flip where the clamp faces. Facing rearward would be a road seat setup, facing forward you can get the seat much further forward. Still not a TT bike position, but it definitely helped a lot. I took before/after numbers and wrote them down for both road/TT setup.

  • whatleytom
    whatleytom Posts: 547
    Position doesn't look bad for a first go. Focus on trying to get your head as low as possible, think getting chin to touch hands (it obviously won't) and you'll get plenty of free watts if you work at shrugging your shoulders too. Doesn't feel like it'll make you narrower, but it definitely will. Your helmet looks ok as well, but its coming up off your shoulders. Tip it back to try and get it to sit flush if you can. Shoecovers like some Velotoze will also give you a few free watts over normal socks and shoes for not a lot of money.
    Blog on first season road racing http://www.twhatley.com/
  • The aero works! It was a little rolling course, 350ft over the course. Very very windy. Not sure how I lived through that, but was fun. The hills were not steep at all, but hills plus wind were interesting.

    Those guys were serious. Mostly guys from the Electric Banana Racing Team. I think at least 4 of them were. Looking them up, the one guy won a P123 stage race in Georgia recently. So these were not B-group riders out to attempt a TT.

    Despite the wind, there were 88mm wheelsets and disc wheels present. :eek: Talk about some big balls.

    I was happy with my effort. I did my best in the hard wind to stay in position when possible. I had to soft pedal some gusts. I lost some power output not being able to stay steady/upright in the wind. Shows 230NP and avg for the course. I could have put out about 20 more if I wasn't worried about falling off in a ditch at times.

    But, this gives me confidence that on the flat 10mi course in Charlotte I could hit 24min even. That would be 25mph. This was right at 24 with all that wind and a little bit of hills. That avg speed was including the turnaround, no turnaround in Charlotte.

    The roll: clock time for the actual course was 19:17.....the team guys all laid right at 16:50ish to 17:30ish.
  • Good work! A windy TT can be a real pain. Never underestimate the aero advantage. Getting aero as possible is the only reason I am as "fast" as I am, it's certainly not my wattage, haha!

    I recon you could get your back a little flatter and your helmet more flush also.
  • The good:
    Awesome venue for a bike event. You get there early enough and you have your own Nascar pit stall to setup. Professional timing (more on the bad of that later). Good crowd, cool folks. I mean, you get to race on a Nascar track, that's neat. They have a big kids event also if you happen to live close enough.

    The OK:
    I feel that most people played by the spirit of not drafting to pass. I did my absolute best to keep people around me safe as I passed and also respect the concept of not drafting. However, triathletes. I'm sorry, but I really hope you were in the "recreation" division with your Cervelo P5X. That bike is absolutely 100% not even close to UCI legal. I saw a lot of triathlon stuff that wasn't close to UCI legal. The huge 6" wide tubing bikes. I know it's meant to be inclusive, but I really really hope none of those were running in a USAC division.

    The bad:
    They dropped my timing chip separate from my velcro band. Like on the floor. I found it after the race after the guy asked for it and I didn't know what he was talking about. I've never used one, so just put the band on they gave me. I asked, and they said "just put that on your leg". They ended up having to go by my written down start time and finish time. I find it hard to believe Strava is off by 13 seconds by theirs, but that might have cost me a win. As mid 23mins is definitely in the win area for my cat versus being 2nd.

    The hope:
    If I practice more in the position, I have a crap load of power to find that some of those other folks likely don't. I'm down a whole 50w over what I could probably put out. Meaning, I should be able to get break into the 22's this year.

    Results: Paper showed 2nd in class and 9th of 109 overall. I'll take it. Not sure how they do it because the lady next to me had like 48th of 89. I'll check online later.
    Strava showed 23:36 vs their 23:49, perhaps the Strava segment doesn't count the standing start. But the chip thing pissed me off some. Avg. of 25.2mph or 25.5mph depending on the time you go by.

    Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1503279737
    I don't feel like I'm getting the power out yet. That's good and bad. That means I need butt time to extract it, it's there. I didn't feel I paced it super well, but the power and HR data look spot damn on.




  • cookeeemonster
    cookeeemonster Posts: 1,991
    I'm enjoying this thread (and possibly another one you do?) so cheers, keep the updates coming, it's very interesting to a lot of people thinking of doing this sort of thing
  • Update, I don't think the computer system waits to print results until all results are in the database. Actually about 24 of 150 people. I thought for only doing 25 1/2 mph that 9 was too high.

    The next race in May in the series will be......uhhhhhh..........different. The Nascar racing track they use is setting up to be a road course, with some small hills and interesting corners, for May. Meaning the TT series will have to use that. Not the nice 10 mile consistent version.

    But, that's ok. We'll knock it out of the park anyway.

    Training wise I won't be able to pick up much power I'm losing from my road position due to a mountain climb event in May that's a roadie thing. That takes priority.

    I'm sure the SS and threshold time spent on the rivet training for that will benefit the TT efforts though.

    As soon as Mid-May hits though, if I'm still in podium position for the series then I'm going to keep the bike setup in TT mode and get all my training time in on that position.

    Then the last 4 races may pickup a few gobs of power.

    I do wonder though if the setup is great for aero and crap for power right now.
  • lostboysaint
    lostboysaint Posts: 4,250
    Great thread - keep up the good work BTS!
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  • whatleytom
    whatleytom Posts: 547
    I'm enjoying this thread (and possibly another one you do?) so cheers, keep the updates coming, it's very interesting to a lot of people thinking of doing this sort of thing

    Also enjoying the thread, having gone through plenty of the same experiences myself. With regard to your power loss in the TT position. 50w is a HUGE amount to lose. I would start looking at whether you may be too narrow on the arm rests which may be restricting your breathing too much but more likely whether you've now got the saddle too high in the TT position once you're on the extensions which may be causing you to lose watts. I try and ride on the TT bike once a week and race a reasonable amount and only lose around 10-15w from road bike to TT.
    Blog on first season road racing http://www.twhatley.com/
  • Mapaputsi
    Mapaputsi Posts: 104
    Really enjoying this thread.

    What may be of interest to you also are Trainerroads 'Faster' podcasts. For the last couple of weeks they have been talking about all things TT as they are doing an internal time trial competition between staff members. Interesting stuff!
  • Some "in depth" TT position testing for power and HR.  LOL, in depth my axx.  :laugh:

    Just picked a target of 170w and did about 5 min each:  drops and subsequent TT positions.


    Cliff notes:  I made you a table.........

    Position |  Avg Pwr | HR0 | HR1 | HR2 | HR3 | HR4 | HR5 |
    Hoods   |  167w     | 125 |  132 |  136 |  138|  139 |  141 |
    TT1       |  167w    |  124 |  140|  142|  143|  143 |  144 |
    TT2       |  167w    |  124 |  140|  140 |  143 | 145 |  144 |
    TT3       |  167w    |  124 |  133|  138 |  140|  141 |  142 |

    I felt better getting the body more forward from the last even for "TT1".  The HR seemed to more closely follow the hood position.  But, wasn't feeling I found anything.

    TT2, same but I just move from having my butt all the way on the saddle to "taint on fire" position.  It's a 10mi TT once a month, I can deal with it.  But, no change.

    TT3.........ahhhh.  I assumed a road saddle in the perfectly flat "velominati" position might be tilting my pelvis up into a worse position.  Maybe...........assumption verified.  TT3, IMO shows a much closer correlation to the HR in the hoods riding position.

    I measured, and the saddle setback avoids that 5cm test.  The ski tips also avoids the 75cm test, barely.  Not a big deal as this series isn't strict on that stuff and has full on triathlon superbikes showing up (P5X).

    Video:  I skipped the hoods filming as we know what that looks like.  First position is with body more forward but sitting on seat all the way back.  2nd position is moved forward on the seat AND got the seat angle down a touch.  It was at that perfect level "velominati" position before.  Nose down some afterwards.

  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    the video looks (to my untrained eye) that you could do with the saddle going up a smidge ...

    power vs HR is ok - but it's not the whole story - as you know - your position will affect your aerodynamics - so a lower power/higher HR for a more aero position may be faster than higher power lower HR but less aero. There is a tradeoff - it's just a matter of finding it.
    Oh - and personally I find that power on the turbo != power on the road - especially not during a TT - put the number on your back and you find another XX watts ...
    If I were you, I'd just get at least one training session in on the TT setup each week -
  • Well today is going to be a 1 hour training session (at power). I made a 25 mile segment that I'll treat as a personal TT. So actually probably 90min including warmup/cooldown.

    The power in my first 10 miler was very very low compared to my road position. That was why I attempted this. I'll look at the power data from today's outdoors ride to make sure the power/aero benefit still works out.

    But, I was essentially 40w low from my road position.
  • Did several hours of tempo with some steady state intervals this week. About 70mi total in TT position. Feeling better.

    Race this Wednesday night, weather looks good so far. This will be on the course with corners. After the longer training rides, 10 to 11 miles will feel relatively short. A little more painful, but shorter.