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Climbs like a sprinter...
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just did my first ever TT. It was a spur of the moment kinda thing since all the guys I ride with do it on Tuesday nights and the weather forecast for tonight is pretty bleak so I did it to get al least some kind of ride in while the weather is crappy. It's not really my bag but it was kinda cool. It was a ten miler. I did it on a conventional bike. 25:52 at an average speed of 23.51 mph. I know, with hindsight, I could have gone faster but I didn't know what to expect or how hard to push and not die halfway out.

What I experienced was that it was hard for me to get comfortable at first and calm my breathing down. I think I did pretty good in that there was only one time where I needed to ease up and "recover" for a minute but I guess I could have pushed harder overall.

So how do you know how hard to push without blowing up? Other than a little lung burn at the end I felt fine. Do you try to stay just below LT (I don't know what my LT is) for the whole time? Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Failboat Captian
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Seems to me the racing forum would be a better place to ask. I've never raced, but would guess that you need to get an idea of the course frist. know where any hills are, how sharp an upcoming turn is, etc. Then, based on the length, decide how hard you want to go at certain points. No knowing the course, you'd be doomed to either go too slow or burn out and crawl across the finish line.
 

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waterproof*
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that's a damn good pace, btw.

the one big tip in general is to "negative split" meaning you save a bit on the way out and hammer on the way back. But just a bit... you're still going hard the whole way.

otherwise, you can feel threshold in your legs, you don't need a pulsemeter or powermeter. there's a pace / effort level where your legs start to fill up with the burn... you can only hold that pace for a few minutes... that's above threshold. If you're at threshold, you're balanced right on the edge of that. of course it's nearly impossible to stay right at that effort level, with wind and road changes.

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No Crybabies
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bmxhacksaw said:
So how do you know how hard to push without blowing up? Other than a little lung burn at the end I felt fine. Do you try to stay just below LT (I don't know what my LT is) for the whole time? Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Well, that's the $100,000 question. Pacing.

I've done time trials for about 10 years, everything from 2 miles to 500 miles. I've always been pretty crappy at pacing. Tend to go out too fast, blow up half way, limp for a while, then drag it in.

About 6 months ago I bought an SRM power meter. It's take a number of trials to get used to it, but I think I'm starting to get it. Last week I did a 10 mile time trial, and tried to stay as close as possible to my target power the entire time, including the start. This seemed to work very well for me. I targeted 270 watts, and actually averaged 268. The test was all the more difficult with a tailwind the first 5 miles and headwind the last -- averaged 30 mph first half and about 20 mph second, but with same power throughout. I averaged higher power and better speed, given the conditions, than I have recently when I started out with power over 300 watts. Posted the data and got some good feedback here, too. If anything, the power meter helps with analysis afterwards, even if not so much during the event.

The problem with pacing, without instrumentation, is that even 350 watts can feel very easy for a few minutes, even for us mere mortals. You pay for it big time 5 miles out, though.

Here is what I would suggest. Assuming neutral wind and level course, next time ride the first half at the speed you averaged this last time. If you feel good at half way, then up the speed just a little, no more than 1 mph. At 7 miles, up it a little more if you can, maybe .5 mph. Then, with 1 mile to go, you should be dying, but try to maintain your speed. When the finish is in site, like about 1/2 mile, give it everything you have. Someone else was right, near the finish, you should feel like you are going to puke, your throat will be dry, and your legs feel full of acid (they are). Experience counts for a lot, and you can't get the bulk of that by reading something. You pretty much have to be there.

Primary lesson, though, is the best way to have a bad TT performance is to go out too hard. Better to err on the side of going out too easy, maybe just below LT the first half.
 

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Fixed said:
About 6 months ago I bought an SRM power meter. It's take a number of trials to get used to it, but I think I'm starting to get it. Last week I did a 10 mile time trial, and tried to stay as close as possible to my target power the entire time, including the start. This seemed to work very well for me. I targeted 270 watts, and actually averaged 268. The test was all the more difficult with a tailwind the first 5 miles and headwind the last -- averaged 30 mph first half and about 20 mph second, but with same power throughout. I averaged higher power and better speed, given the conditions, than I have recently when I started out with power over 300 watts.
Awesome. This is basically what you want to do. Remember that the Second half is about twice as long as the first. and the Third half is REALLY long. Having just a smidge in reserve will keep ya movin'.
 

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Climbs like a sprinter...
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, Fixed, I'll give it a try. BTW, I did the TT Tuesday night and then on last night's ride I felt super strong (for me). I was the first through the rollers to the "T" (the halfway, regrouping part) and then we have a double set of "S" curves that we sprint through at the end of the ride and I was actually able to shake loose the "Klingons" and create a gap. Is there any correlation to feeling stronger the day after a hard effort like that? I've read that some guys actually get stronger at the end of grand tours. Because of my life responsibilities I basically ride on M-W-F-Su but I would rearrange that if going three days in a row and then resting a couple of days would make me stronger.
 

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I've been working on improving my TTs recently also. Doing well in a TT takes a buncha practice. You'll improve as you gain experience. It takes experimenting to learn *your* own most effective approach. Every day is different, every course is different. Getting a 'feel' for what your body is capable of takes lots of events..If you can get to do a series over the same course you can try different stuff and see what times you get.

I've been doing repeats of a couple of tough uphill TTs the past few seasons and a "TT Festival" with three TTs in two days, times combined. I've approached these events somewhat differently each time and kept track of the results and my own perception of how I am feeling, what kinda HR I have, etc etc. A big bunch of variables.

One thing I did, as a learning experience, was to 'dedicate' one TT as a "throwaway event". I went to the race expecting to do poorly (poorer than usual) because I wanted to see exactly how hard I could push before I totally 'blew-up". I went out really hard and never did totally blow up..had a good result. I learned that prior to that, I had only thought I was maxing-out. I rode the whole TT (11miles, 3300' elevation gain) at an average 170bpm when my tested AT was supposed to be much lower..

During my last very tough and very long TT (44miles out and back 3800' climbing and descending) I observed that I don't really seem to have a sharp line where my performance 'crashes', but rather I seem to keep up my maximum effort but my speed declines. Using my Garmin data from last year and this year over the same course, It was apparent that I'd learned some.

Concentration is crucial, especially on long TTs like the one mentioned above. It takes some focus to keep full effort and effectivness over a 2 hr + TT..Or any TT..Every second counts...duh..but minds wander.

More study needed.. In a wheel to wheel race, it's easy to see your 'cracking point'...everyone pulls away and you tend to give up..In a TT, you don't have that sharp line where you can't keep up...your speed may just start to diminish.

It's fun to learn a "new" skill. I always avoided TTs because I wasn't good at them and I got a little bored..But since I've began again with them, I've found they are not boring, they are a complicated excercise and quite challenging.

Don Hanson
 
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