As I’ve mentioned quite a few times on the blog, there is a lot more to a fast TT than pedaling hard. Back in 2010 I was tearing up the Cat 3 fields, riding away in criteriums and putting down some of the highest wattages I’ve ever seen on flat ground. I slapped some clip-on aerobars on my road bike and went out with hopes of winning the Cat 3 State TT.
I didn’t. I finished a dismal 14th. I was passed by numerous riders. Even my power was startlingly low that day. I learned that there is a lot more to a good TT than having a Time Trialists power profile alone. The TT has been a multi year-project for me, one that is still in progress.
I’ve done what I can to find a good position. I’ve worked with the equipment I have available and my power meter to find a position that ‘looks’ fast to me, and that I can achieve good power numbers and race results.
One method I’ve used is filming myself. If you’re a bachelor, this might not be too hard since you can do it in the privacy of your own home (or garage… no windows). Otherwise, take your lumps from your family and setup your trainer where you can videotape yourself from profile and front views. Ideally find a way to put the side view of yourself on screen in front of you. Wear your TT helmet and look at obvious areas for improvement. The helmet tail should lay close to the back, and your head should be low. Try a few stems, risers, spacers, and aerobar angles to see what feels comfortable.
Modifications to equipment are often necessary. I modified and reconfigured my helmet straps and retention system so my helmet can lay at the ideal angle. I modified my aerobar pad risers, and even modified my aero bottle mount for ideal position.
The next step for me will probably to see a professional time trial bike fitter. They know many riders who have been to the wind tunnel, and have seen their results. They also understand bio-mechanics and can help refine position without the cost of a visit to a wind tunnel.
Hopefully if you’re a cyclist, part of your enjoyment of the sport is the equipment itself. I enjoy working on mechanical things and do almost all of my own bike work. This is even more important for time trial equipment, which must be fit to the rider and budget. If you pay close attention to ‘pro bike’ profiles of top professionals, you will see many more do-it-yourself modifications and non-sponsor correct equipment on time trial bikes for exactly this reason. Luckily I enjoy this aspect of preparation for the time trial as much as the training.
I was hoping to give a profile this week of my bike for this year’s race, but I didn’t quite find the time to take the photos. The State Time Trial is Saturday, less than 48 hours away. After the weekend’s race reports, I’ll post a profile of my bike and detail my efforts to find all the speed I can.