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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've decided to try a TT for the first time (this Sunday) and thought I'd ask if anyone had any advice for a TT newbie. I don't have aero bars or a TT bike so I'm really just going to go out and see how far I can push myself. I'm curious about how you maintain effort when in a solo race. Do you target heart rate zones? Hammer as hard as you can then recover? Or try to sit right on the limit for the whole race? Any thoughts would be appreciated

It's a pretty flat 24 mile course.

Thanks!
 

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munga22 said:
So I've decided to try a TT for the first time (this Sunday) and thought I'd ask if anyone had any advice for a TT newbie. I don't have aero bars or a TT bike so I'm really just going to go out and see how far I can push myself. I'm curious about how you maintain effort when in a solo race. Do you target heart rate zones? Hammer as hard as you can then recover? Or try to sit right on the limit for the whole race? Any thoughts would be appreciated

It's a pretty flat 24 mile course.

Thanks!
At your limit for the whole race. "limit" means the hardest you can go, consistently, for 24 miles. So the first 15-20 minutes should feel like you are working, but not like you are going to puke. That's the key mistake that nearly everyone (me included) makes with TTs -- you feel good, so you go out too hard. Then the remaining 40:00 is just damage control.

Better to go out a little easy and work your way into it. Break the race into 3rds. For the first third, hold something back, for the second third, approach your limit, and for the last third, well, just try to hang on.

If you've got a speedo, this is one of the few times that I'd recommend using average speed. Try to figure out a time on the course that you think you can hit. Figure out how fast you have to go to hit that average speed. Then go out and use the speedo to regulate your effort... stay within .5 mph of the target speed at all times. Going too hard in a TT will result in a worse time, generally speaking, than holding a little back.
 

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The individual TT, the one event at which I am not completely inept. I agree with most of the above. For a race that long, don't go out as hard as you can. If you have a HRM, use it. In the first few minutes, build up to LT smoothly, then try to hold it for the rest of the race. Set your computer for distance, so you know how much is left. In the last mile or so, go as hard as you can while maintaining an aero position in the drops. Cadence is whatever is fast and efficient for you. Some are faster mashing, some are faster spining. If you do it right, you should have nothing left at the end. If you can sprint for the line, you didn't go hard enough. Good luck and have fun.
 

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General advice

There are two obvious aspects to doing time trials. Training and the event itself. There are three key training points: 1) Do 3-5 minute intervals at speeds above what you want to do in the TT, with 2-3 minute recoveries in between. Depending on your current fitness and desire, do as many as 5 intervals, twice a week with at least a day off (recovery rides) in between . You might also do a couple of 10-15 minute intervals (5 minute recovery) as well. 2) Have a good base of mileage before actually doing a TT (500-1,000 miles). The amount would vary with TT distance and your general fitness and cycling experience, but the longer the planned event, the more base mileage you should have to both perform well and more importantly, avoid injury. 3) Work on your position. Get as low as possible on the bike while still being able to breath well. Hold that position for long periods. If you're going to use aero bars, practice with them. And practice your turnarounds.

For the event itself, there are a whole bunch of little points which, when added together can both improve your time and make the TT a more "enjoyable" ride. Be well fed and well hydrated, with a good carbo intake the day before and the day of the event. If its an evening ride, snack & sip through the afternoon. Some caffeine 30-60 minutes before the ride doesn't hurt. Be well warmed up - the saying is the shorter the TT, the longer you should warm up. A 10 mile ride to warm up for a 10 mile TT is good. Shortly before your start, do a couple of "jumps" up to maximum effort for 1/4-1/2 mile to get your body ready for a fast start. Arrive at the line sweating, but not out of breath, and ready for a rapid acceleration up to TT speed. Try to get to your maximum sustainable effort ASAP (remember, you're already warmed up). If your legs seem like they are the limit to going faster, shift to a lower gear. If your lungs seem like your limit, shift to a higher gear. Get into your best aero position and stay there. For the turnaround, hold your speed as long as possible, jam the brakes and bank the turn faster than you think you can go. Forget this business about sprinting for the finish - you should have nothing left to sprint with. Around here, the finish of a TT is described as "notfarfrompukin" if you get my point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice guys. It was definitely helpful. The ride went pretty well. i missed my target by a couple minutes but feel like i rode pretty much to the limit. Kerry you'll be happy to know that on the finish i was notfarfrompukin. Thanks again
 

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Just curious, was that the Hines Park TT? If so, was it just me, or was that ride into the wind both ways ?!?!

I made the mistake of going out too hard. I had some crazy idea that I could hold 26 mph for 24 miles. I did average 25.5 for the first half, but that was down to 23.5 by the end. I think if I had just shot for 24 mph the whole way I could have broken an hour. As it stands, I'm pretty happy with 1:05, considering this is my first year racing (3rd TT this year).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It was the Hines Park TT and I'm not sure if it was into the wind or uphill both ways but it sure was hard. What surprised me about it was that my power seemed to come in waves rather than starting high and fading throughout the ride. There were times i was feeling good and then would fade significantly before coming back up the curve. I'm not sure how much of that is physical vs psychological but it was not what i was expecting. Miles 6-12 really hurt me. I was suffering and unable to kick it up but at the halfway mark, things improved and I think i made up some time. As it was, i was hoping for 1:04 and finished at 1:06:38.
 
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