TT strategy advice

andywood

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Apr 8, 2008
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#1
After the great advice I received for my first ride on the track last week, I thought I'd ask for more advice on riding a TT.

I'll race the Uchinada individual TT in two weeks time:

http://www.fukaya-sangyo.co.jp/info/uchinada/2012/

Basically 10 km on a flat course, with quite a few right angle corners. The wind is often strong so will come from all 4 sides during the "square" circuit".

I'm trying to work out a race strategy:

http://www.jyonnobitime.com/time/2012/06/time-trial-pacing-strategy.html

Basically, how to put in my best effort over the duration. However, as a relative novice I'd appreciate any advice on time trialling in general.

Cheers in advance,

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com/time
 

Gunjira

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Oct 2, 2009
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#2
Andy,
I've been riding the Uchinada roads, that should make for a great tt.
Not really experienced in this, it's hard for me to give any advice, but I don't think it's that different from a 2k tt on the track, except that the start plays less of a role: stay at your threshold for the beginning and into the red for the end.
Like you said, the wind could be part of the strategy. I once rode the cycling leg of a triathlon on a seaside course with two 180° turns resulting in headwind and tailwind legs. In a situation like that it might actually be better to go anaerobic - aerobic times the number of laps, eg recover from effort on the tailwind sections.
Maybe somebody with more experience can answer if this makes any sense?
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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#3
Good points, Gunnar - I guess the key question is where does the max power benefit most in terms of speed vs. distance? For example - if you can put out 400W under lactate threshold for xx min and then blow up - where do you use it? Compared to 390W for xx minutes, etc. Tricky business indeed. This is where the Health Exam really helped me - cause I could get a diagnostic check on just where my max really was and how long I can hold it before dropping into LAT, and then recovery time back to some percentage which is , unfortunately, never 100% (for me anyway) until some time after.
 

Aron B

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#4
The only thing that really helps is to train harder, but here are some random tips:

  • Know the course. Not having to worry of where you're going saves a surprising amount of energy; getting the corners perfectly saves time. Recon the course beforehand, and preferably once more just before the race to gauge the current (wind and wet road) conditions.
  • If you don't have money or space for a TT bike, at least get drop handlebars. You'll have to learn how to ride them though.
  • Keep a high cadence (RPM). Even on such short stretches you may blow up when pedalling heavily (unless you're Sergej Honchar).
  • Don't try to keep your speed when the wind shifts. Moreover, anticipate and switch back a gear just you're turning into a head wind.
  • Similarly switch a gear before going on an incline.
  • Warming up is very important. The pros sit on a Tacx for one hour even for a 4km prologue. You have to get the heart pumping and arteries wide open so to speak. Try to do a general warming up for at least 20 minutes and some high intensity work to wake up the muscles.
  • Don't eat too much. Don't take a lot of sugar or fast carbs as to avoid "insulin dip/sugar crash". Basically eat normally, then take one energy bar or a can of Red Bull equivalent about 10min before the race.
 

kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
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#5
ADvice from Greg Lemond: Start in a heavy gear and build up to a high cadence and then shift into the next heaviest gear and repeat 'till you finish. Might not win but you won't be last.

It's 10km so warm up well, forget about food or drink and hammer till you blow up, hopefully you blow up at 9.999kms. Aron's advice seems very on point. Don't forget to warm up.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#6
Ok - I used to race the 10's in the UK and was pretty good at it.

Rule #1 Don't start to hard
Rule #2 Don't start to hard
Rule #3 Don't start to hard

In regards to the wind and stuff ignore it, its a 10km TT so just HTFU and cut through it.

Warm up - shorter the distance the longer the warm up - you know the drill 10 minutes spinning at rpm over 95 and then some short intervals to get the heart rate up to max -then spinning you need to be spinning until its your time to start (Watch the pro's straight off the turbo and on to the start gate)

You've done stuff like this on the roller a 10km TT is an all out effort so its 100% from start to finish - build up to you TT speed and then flat line it to the finish.

Done.

If the distance was over 20km then my advice would be different but 10km is bugger all
 

Doug3

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#8
I think you said someplace before that you are a fan of HR training, but for all the hill climbs you do, and now the TT, a power meter might be a good investment.

With adequate testing you should know (as Tim said) just how many watts you can put out for xx minutes, and (as James said) not start too hard and keep to steady power, not worrying about the wind, corners, ups and downs etc. too much.
 

GSAstuto

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#9
James - is the 'modern advise' still roughly an hours worth of prep?

30min - 'in yourself' just spin up and warm up. Not pushing much about 60% your max effort.

Sip some water - you might have dry mouth due to adrenaline building, so this 30min is very important to get yourself psyched and de-chilled a bit.

Then followed by progressive 5's?

5min @ 80%
3min spin down
5min @ 90%
3min spin down

Take a drink of high available carb - I think High 5 has some perfect stuff for this - Extreme or whatever. We used to use just Karo Corn Syrup, Water and Lemon. Tricks the body out of 'governor' mode and makes full available glycogen stores.

5min @ 100%
3min spin down
3min @ 100% followed by a short, hard sprint - but not enough to over lactic.
2-3min spin down, take a quick sip and spit and get on the ramp?

Good hard sweat, pounding pulse and pumped legs. Then let 'er rip!

I heard lately that there's also been some good results by using Red Beet Juice as a 'primer'. Drinking up to 500ml an hour before competition. Any thoughts on this?
 

FarEast

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#10
To be honest Caffine and lots of it is the only think I would recommend taking before a 10km TT. Have a good hearty meal about 3 hours before the TT though.

Honestly this is a max effort ride till you die job - you should be pretty much chucking your guts up when you cross the line or bleeding from the eyes - both preferable.

I would suggest getting on a turbo trainer (not your rollers as you need resistance) and go all out for 10km just hard as you can until you blow up. It will give you a really good indicator as to what you are capable of, it wwill also allow you to really push when you come to do the actual TT as you'll know exactly what it feels like.

In regards to warm ups - everyone is differents, for me its 20 minutes rpm 95+ then 5 minutes at LT and then 3 sets of maxing out the heart rate, then straight in to it...... don't spin down as your transiition to the start line is that and you want your blood and heart still itching to go.
 

GSAstuto

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#11
Good point! Especially about the spin down to the ramp. Actually the hard part for me (at least in the wimpy HC sprints) is that once warmed up - there is too much time in the group prior to the actual start - so, I'm already cooled down again and feel heavy. Getting on the ramp pumped and primed is crucial to a good time in such short event.

To be honest Caffine and lots of it is the only think I would recommend taking before a 10km TT. Have a good hearty meal about 3 hours before the TT though.

Honestly this is a max effort ride till you die job - you should be pretty much chucking your guts up when you cross the line or bleeding from the eyes - both preferable.

I would suggest getting on a turbo trainer (not your rollers as you need resistance) and go all out for 10km just hard as you can until you blow up. It will give you a really good indicator as to what you are capable of, it wwill also allow you to really push when you come to do the actual TT as you'll know exactly what it feels like.

In regards to warm ups - everyone is differents, for me its 20 minutes rpm 95+ then 5 minutes at LT and then 3 sets of maxing out the heart rate, then straight in to it...... don't spin down as your transiition to the start line is that and you want your blood and heart still itching to go.
 

andywood

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Apr 8, 2008
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#13
Lots of excellent advice here. I appreciate all the comments. I have 2 weeks to play with so just experimenting to find some target figures to aim at.

I did a 10 k effort on some quiet roads today:

http://www.jyonnobitime.com/time/2012/06/into-the-valley.html

I think I have a good warm up routine which kind of mirrors most of the comments made.

Doug’s point about a power meter is very true. I was trying to hit a certain HR today but the body wouldn’t have it after an intensive session on the rollers yesterday.

The general message seems to be an all out max effort. Which of course I will be doing!

Cheers,

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com/time
 

FarEast

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#14
Andy one last thing - focus on exhaling rather than inhaling, to draw breath is a natural reaction to blow air (Forcefully) isn't, BCF have been playing with this technique to huge benefits.
 

theBlob

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#16
Dec 31, 2009
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#17
I agree with developing a breathing pattern. It will help you keep your mind off the pain. I use a breathing pattern similar to a woman in labor (two short inhales one long exhale).I start slow and mix between big gears and spinning, dragging at bottom dead center, mashing the grapes, standing, kick-the ball at the top, full circle so on. Use all the muscles you have been given. Warm up is key, but just as important is the day before. I like to blow the legs out doing a similar effort but at 80% of what I will do race day. The day prior to that, I will spin the same distance at the highest cadence possible without bouncing in the saddle, not focusing at all on speed. I avoid hill climbing the 2 days before a flat TT and keep training as race specific as possible the week before. Choosing a full day off in the week before is also good idea to build up your glycogen stores. Another technique is to curl your toes up. This has been said to help circulate the lactic acid and blood through faster. Definitely try anything and stick to what works. Don't go in and try something new the day of. Also, interval training is key to developing a tolerance to lactic acid. Two weeks of interval training will produce dramatic affects on your ability to buffer lactic acid.
Good luck and let us know how it went and your time! I am curios to see just how fast you are! Also just a side note, I am aware by reading you blog you are an interval machine, just providing what my thoughts are given others will take info from this as well. Truth be told I know you would smash my grapes based on your palmares!
 

GSAstuto

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#18
Brings back so many memories!

1) The day before the day. (Most important time to get fully charged)
2) Blowing off the steam. (Glycogen injestion routine)
3) Pattern mixing. (Micro recovery cycles)
4) Pressure breathing. (Optimize your VO)

All great stuff! Very analog - but I think still applies.

I agree with developing a breathing pattern. It will help you keep your mind off the pain. I use a breathing pattern similar to a woman in labor (two short inhales one long exhale).I start slow and mix between big gears and spinning, dragging at bottom dead center, mashing the grapes, standing, kick-the ball at the top, full circle so on. Use all the muscles you have been given. Warm up is key, but just as important is the day before. I like to blow the legs out doing a similar effort but at 80% of what I will do. the day before that, I will spin the same distance at the highest cadence possible without bouncing in the saddle, not focusing at all on speed. I avoid hills ride the 2 days before a flat TT and keep training as race specific as possible the week before. Choosing a full day off in the week before is also good idea to build up your glycogen stores.
Good luck and let us know how it went!
 

andywood

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Apr 8, 2008
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#19
basilleroux,

Thank you for that link. What a great article. I love the writing style. I'll go through the whole site when I've got time. Just reading the TT article inspired to go and put some of that theory to practice:

http://www.jyonnobitime.com/time/2012/06/une-strategie.html

Tim and Chuck,

I always love reading your comments. Some might call them "old school" but I don't think so. It's all relative.

Breathing is a biggy. As an asthmatic and ex smoker (kill me now!) I really know of the gains to be made by good breathing technique and cardiovascular fitness in general. For me swimming as cross-training in the winter is a real eye opener.

And Chuck, "interval machine"? I'm quite lame compared to some of the guys I know!

Andy

www.jyionnobitime.com/time