How do you ride the fastest time trial?
At the beginning of lockdown, races across disciplines were cancelled which may have resulted in motivation issues for many riders. At MBPC we took the decision that we would use this time wisely and work with athletes on their weaknesses, along with strategies to ride their target events and viewing the time as an opportunity.
For some, this was about how they can get the best from themselves in a time trial. Many riders become obsessed with their FTP alone, and then seem surprised when they don’t really go much faster despite small increases.
We take the view that an holistic approach is required, because it`s not the highest FTP that wins races, its the individual or team that get from A to B in the shortest time and quickest speed.
So let's consider the issues that arise when riding a TT in what seems like a straight forward process.
· What is the weather doing at the time of your ride?
. Where is the wind blowing?
· What is your course strategy for that particular day and how does that affect pacing?
· How aero are you and which part of the course do you need to think about this the most?
· Where and how are you going to apply the power?
· How is your bike set up?
· What are your strengths and weaknesses and how will you use this information during the race?
· What can you learn from previous rides on this course?
· What is the best equipment to use?
· Whilst FTP is important, what does the rest of your physiological profile look like and how can you use that to your advantage? Its brilliant if you can sustain power for your chosen distance, but is a steady pacing the best way to ride?
· Given the above point, do you need to improve areas such as your anaerobic capacity for specific courses?
· Where are the opportunities to recover without losing time on the course?
· What does the warm up and timing look like?
· Has your training been event specific and have you timed your peak for the A goal?
As you can see (and the list goes on), it can be a thoughtful process- do you have a strategy for every single course that you ride, or do you blindly go as hard as you can and hope for a good result?
With our athletes in this period, some have chosen to ride their local courses and walk through this strategy to learn how they can improve.
This starts with specific drills on their TT bikes, in position. Once the riders can hold this and start to improve we move on.
One rider went out to his course and was set loose to ride- no real strategy was discussed then I was able to review the performance, looking at all of the above points. We were able to quickly
understand that CDA was too high and the reasons for this, along with power transfer being at the wrong points.
The rider returned and was able to reduce his time from the first attempt with better adoption of the agreed strategy. Another review with more learning took place from both sides, and again the rider returned and rode the course
On this occasion he nailed it and was able to produce a PB, minutes quicker than attempt one with no changes to equipment and only a slight increase of FTP. This was a breakthrough for the individual and i am convinced he will go quicker still with a number pinned on, as and when we restart racing.
What better way to motivate yourself, we all love a PB surely!?
With a potential for time trials to return in the not too distant future now is a good time to be thinking about how you will ride them.