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well, it appears as though I've hit my time threshold for a 10mi. flat TT (we have local practice every thursday night). The course usually involves a slight amount of wind but its beneficial during some portion of the race as its an out and back course. I have topped out at 23:30 and cannot seem to break that time barrier (unfortunately). I'm geared to the gills (disc, tri-spoke, helmet, shoe cover, skinsuit) so its not a technical issue (I can't buy more speed). Do any experienced TTer's here have any suggestions as to break through any time walls you've experienced? I figure the wind has some effect...my starts are not lightning fast, nor is my transition turn to home..so that might be a few seconds there, but I need some advice for upping my power output...my training isn't helping much in this regard...I weight about 160 if that matters.
 

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Current program?

The standard advice to build speed is 10-20 minute high intensity intervals, with 3-5 minutes of recovery in between. Doing 3-5 of these, maybe 2X per week, should build your speed. If you're already doing this, then you may indeed have hit the wall (your genetic limits). After all, that is a fairly fast time.
 

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I'm no expert but...

it seems to me there are a few possibilities to consider:

1) You have reached your full potential as a time trialist (pretty unlikely, as there are so many variables that could most likely still be tweaked for more improvement).

2) You need to change your training strategy to reach your athletic potential. What kind of intervals/workouts have you been doing besides weekly TT practices?

3) You need to change your position/setup for maximum aero at max power output. How confident are you that you are in the best position you can be in? Have you had coaches/others critique your position? Do you have a power measuring device to check your sustainable output in various positions?

4) Your event strategy needs honing (including warmup, start, pace, turnaround, mental attitude, etc). What is your warmup routine? What about your pace stategy? Maybe you are going too hard in the first half and don't have enough left in the second half? How do your times/avg speeds differ between the first half and second half of the race?

Do you have a power meter? I read something recently that indicated that a power measuring device (so that you can monitor/maintain critical power throughout a TT) can increase your efficiency/time by a minute or two in a 10 mile TT, compared to using an HRM alone. If you dip into anaerobic reserves even for a few brief moments too many during a TT, your time is gonna go down... power meters help you prevent this better than HRMs.
 

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bahueh said:
well, it appears as though I've hit my time threshold for a 10mi. flat TT (we have local practice every thursday night). The course usually involves a slight amount of wind but its beneficial during some portion of the race as its an out and back course. I have topped out at 23:30 and cannot seem to break that time barrier (unfortunately). I'm geared to the gills (disc, tri-spoke, helmet, shoe cover, skinsuit) so its not a technical issue (I can't buy more speed). Do any experienced TTer's here have any suggestions as to break through any time walls you've experienced? I figure the wind has some effect...my starts are not lightning fast, nor is my transition turn to home..so that might be a few seconds there, but I need some advice for upping my power output...my training isn't helping much in this regard...I weight about 160 if that matters.
How much more time are you looking to gain? 10 seconds? 15 secs? 30 secs?

You might be max'd out by genetic factors. Not everyone can ride a 21 minute TT.

Altitude tent maybe?

Check out this thread:

http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-61199.html
 

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bahueh said:
well, it appears as though I've hit my time threshold for a 10mi. flat TT (we have local practice every thursday night). The course usually involves a slight amount of wind but its beneficial during some portion of the race as its an out and back course. I have topped out at 23:30 and cannot seem to break that time barrier (unfortunately). I'm geared to the gills (disc, tri-spoke, helmet, shoe cover, skinsuit) so its not a technical issue (I can't buy more speed). Do any experienced TTer's here have any suggestions as to break through any time walls you've experienced? I figure the wind has some effect...my starts are not lightning fast, nor is my transition turn to home..so that might be a few seconds there, but I need some advice for upping my power output...my training isn't helping much in this regard...I weight about 160 if that matters.
Others have already mentioned most but I'd look at your position including your head and helmet position while on the bars. Can you go lower or are you maybe too low... usually there is room for improvement.

Warm up is super important. A good warm up routine can make a huge difference. For short TTs like a 10 mile TT my warm up routine is usually around 45-60 minutes depending on the temp and includes working into my LT/AT zones 4-5 times with the last time being as close to my start time as possible.

Turnaround technique is somethings that takes practice as do starts. I like a fairly easy gear for both and usually use a 54/19 for both starts and turnarounds. Make your turnaround as wide as possible and don't worry about cutting it super close to the cone.

As for training, keep it fresh and don't continue to do the same things if you're not seeing any progress. I can't even guess what you need to do in this regard but mixing it up is a good start. If you're doing tons of long interval stuff move to shorter more intense intervals for a few weeks. Also make sure you're taking rest weeks and getting fully recovered from your workouts. Don't use "group rides" for training, they totally suck for that.

Good luck!
Pete
 

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bahueh said:
I'm geared to the gills (disc, tri-spoke, helmet, shoe cover, skinsuit) so its not a technical issue (I can't buy more speed).
Oh c'mon, you can always throw money at the problem! As mentioned earlier, get a PM if you don't have one -- that's actually a GREAT place to throw money at the problem, and if you have a nice disk, it's pretty likely that you could replace it with an almost as aero, albeit slightly heavier powertap pro with CHAero wheelcover for about the same amount of money (plus then you'd have a PM to use for training).

And what about some time in the wind tunnel?

And you didn't mention an aero frame or fork, and really the zip 808 or even hed jet 90 will be more aero in most cases as a front wheel, and...

Assuming that you cannot possibly get more aero, here are my thoughts:

1. Bring up your 20 minute power. This means lots of 2x20s, and lots of 4,5,8, and even 10 minute V02max intervals. improvements, assuming you are well trained, will take lots of work and will likely be modest... on the order of 5-10% at best (oh what I wouldn't give to see another 30 watts...).

2. Pacing. For a flat windless course, you'll get the best time by getting to speed and then setting your power output at exactly the bleeding edge of your 20 minute power. But courses are rarely flat and windless, so consider going harder on the ascents (definite room to pick up time) and harder into the wind, and find time to recover (i.e. just a hair under 20M power) on the descending / tailwind sections. This is very difficult unless you know the course like the back of your hand, and even then....
 

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Longer cranks

I'm putting together a TT rig. How long is your crank? I just jumped from 175 to 180 and it's made a world of difference (especially climbing).
 

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Since money isn't an issue in your case, considering getting a power meter. Without knowing how much power you are putting out, everything else is voodoo. Technically, I have done one 40k TT so far and it was the day after I did a 70 miles road race. :) In my training, I do tons of upper L4 threshold power work lasting from 2x20 to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Basically, if I know how much power I can put out in 1 hour and 30 minutes, I know I can ride faster (more power) doing a shorter TT. 10 miles TT on a flat course is short. I can go all out and a bit more.


bahueh said:
well, it appears as though I've hit my time threshold for a 10mi. flat TT (we have local practice every thursday night). The course usually involves a slight amount of wind but its beneficial during some portion of the race as its an out and back course. I have topped out at 23:30 and cannot seem to break that time barrier (unfortunately). I'm geared to the gills (disc, tri-spoke, helmet, shoe cover, skinsuit) so its not a technical issue (I can't buy more speed). Do any experienced TTer's here have any suggestions as to break through any time walls you've experienced? I figure the wind has some effect...my starts are not lightning fast, nor is my transition turn to home..so that might be a few seconds there, but I need some advice for upping my power output...my training isn't helping much in this regard...I weight about 160 if that matters.
 

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The best way to improve TT times is to have someone teach you how to time trial.

For quite a while, I was a weak time trialist; I wasn't putting up fast times compared to how strong I was. One training ride, on a very hilly loop I regularly train on, my coach came along on his scooter. I did the 11km or so loop with my coach beside me, holding my HRM riding on the scooter. He spent all 19minutes or so yelling at me how to properly ride a TT; when to stand and sprint, when/how to recover etc. Throughout that season, I was hanging around mid pack Cat 4's in TT's. The next one I did, I came 5th in 4/5's. Not long ago, I broke a team record on a flat, windy 15.3km course with a time of 19:48. By the end of the season, I'm hoping to get that down to 19:15.

TT's are all about how you ride
 

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A large variety of inputs so far. BTW, your TT sounds like the VBC time trial series in Vancouver, WA.

One further comment is that you need to break the event into smaller pieces and work your way up to the target. You start with a realistic goal improvement, say 1 minute faster for the total ride. Break the distance into 4 time splits and create a schedule. You then go out and ride at the speed needed for your schedule. Obviously, you don't do this everyday but after a couple weeks of interval work mentioned previously and repeat over the season.

You are teaching your body what the pace feels like. You will gradually be able to make the first 1/4, then 1/2, then 3/4. If you've set too high a goal, you'll never even get close and redline so get realistic. You can always move the improvement up but some form of success makes it much easier than starting too aggressively and failing.

With no schedule, you just attempt to "go faster" and will likely be suffering the last 1/4 or even 1/2 of the race. It's far easier to go faster in the latter portion than to suffer.
 

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AmoJohnny said:
Motor Pacing.
Agreed. Now many will say, "I don't have access to a scooter". Motorpacing is not realistic for many, but look into it. Is there a local scooter club. You can pay some poor college kid $10 for an hour of pacing. It'll be the best money you can spend to improve your TT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
as if..

Orbea_Carbon_Force said:
Since money isn't an issue in your case, considering getting a power meter. Without knowing how much power you are putting out, everything else is voodoo. Technically, I have done one 40k TT so far and it was the day after I did a 70 miles road race. :) In my training, I do tons of upper L4 threshold power work lasting from 2x20 to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Basically, if I know how much power I can put out in 1 hour and 30 minutes, I know I can ride faster (more power) doing a shorter TT. 10 miles TT on a flat course is short. I can go all out and a bit more.

money wasn't an issue...the bike took me upwards of 8 months to fully build, piece by piece. a power meter would be nice...and depending on serious I get about this TT stuff, I may go check them out...but for now, I'm just mostly wondering about training...the intensity workout KI outlined is a bit different than what I've been doing, so I'll give that a try...taking another minute off would be ideal before August 6th (Oregon state TT championships).
 

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bahueh said:
a power meter would be nice...and depending on serious I get about this TT stuff, I may go check them out...but for now, I'm just mostly wondering about training...the intensity workout KI outlined is a bit different than what I've been doing, so I'll give that a try...
Until you have a PM, you really don't know how hard you are training (unless you weigh yourself and your bike religiously and only ride up sustained grades).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
right on..

wasfast said:
A large variety of inputs so far. BTW, your TT sounds like the VBC time trial series in Vancouver, WA.

One further comment is that you need to break the event into smaller pieces and work your way up to the target. You start with a realistic goal improvement, say 1 minute faster for the total ride. Break the distance into 4 time splits and create a schedule. You then go out and ride at the speed needed for your schedule. Obviously, you don't do this everyday but after a couple weeks of interval work mentioned previously and repeat over the season.

You are teaching your body what the pace feels like. You will gradually be able to make the first 1/4, then 1/2, then 3/4. If you've set too high a goal, you'll never even get close and redline so get realistic. You can always move the improvement up but some form of success makes it much easier than starting too aggressively and failing.

With no schedule, you just attempt to "go faster" and will likely be suffering the last 1/4 or even 1/2 of the race. It's far easier to go faster in the latter portion than to suffer.
I"m out there almost weekly to train for the Oregon TT championships in August. If you're out there, I'm sure we've seen each other as its such a small group. I'm trying to get my times down to 22:30ish so I like your idea of breaking the ride into smaller components..
I've been finding it hard to settle into a comfortable, fast pace until about mile 7 (probably due to lack of sufficient warm up sometimes). I normally try to build up through mile 6 so I"m needing to focus my attention on those first six miles...and probably the last 1.5 as I try to maintain the speed and use the tailwind to my advantage (for those of you that don't live here, the wind in the Columbia Gorge is quite predictable as to its direction).
thanks everyone for the suggestions...a better warmup, some different intensity work, and breaking the race into parts are all good goals for now...
 
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