(This is the second in a 4-part series on Time Trial Success,
written by Peter Cannell. Peter is the reigning Masters 30-34 National
TT Champion, his second stars and stripes jersey after winning the
Masters 30-34 Road Race Championships in 2007. Peter also won the 2008
Tour of Washington County Stage Race, and landed on the podium against
the NRC Pros in Crystal City in 2007. When he's not training for the
Elite TT Championships in August, he's coaching other racers. You can follow his training and racing on his blog (where he is generous with his power data), and leave any questions for him in the comments here.)
Time Trial Success, Part 2: 10 Things You can do to Go Faster This Weekend
by Peter Cannell
2008 US Masters 30-34 Time Trial National Champion, Professional Cycling Coach
Let's say you are racing the VA Time Trial Championship this weekend, and you want to go as fast as possible. It's obviously late to start a new training program, but there are some simple things you can do before the race and during to improve your time:
1. Warmup properly. I'm not a huge fan of long tiring warmups, but do at least this: 10 min easy, 5:00 at race pace, 5:00 easy. Try to finish the warm up as close to your start as possible.
2. Know your start time and be there ON TIME! I can't stress this enough.
3. Tape over the vents on your helmet. Clear packing tape works well.
4. Proper tire pressure - depending on weight, 110 to 125 is appropriate. More is NOT better - you end up bouncing along the road losing power. Trust me on this.
5. Streamline your bike AND yourself. Remove bottle cages. Unless it's really hot, you don't need to drink, and if you did drink you'd be losing big time coming out of the aero position. Leave gloves, watches, rings, medallions, bracelets in the car. They slow you down.
6. Stay in the aero position THE ENTIRE RACE! With the exception of the turn around, there is no looking around, behind you, stretching, none of that. Stay aero -with the exception if you need to shift. Don't get out of the saddle and sprint at the end either - stay aero. Focus on keeping your head as low as possible - don't stare down at the road - keep the head level and LOW. This makes a huge difference in drag.
7. Pace yourself properly - don't go out too hard. Everyone knows this, and without exception guys always say they went out too hard and blew up. Don't do it.
8. Mental focus - remember that everyone else is hurting too, don't loose focus, keep the effort steady and hard. If you want to quit the TT in the first 5 minutes you went out too hard. Keep the effort hard and steady.
9. Drink before your start - have someone give you a bottle during the lineup so you can get a last sip or two in.
10. Don't eat too much before your start - most TTs start in the morning, so a light breakfast is all you need. Don't wolf down 1500kcal before your TT - it will only slow you down.
Peter Cannell is a professional cycling coach and one really fast dude. Based in Mebane, NC, he coaches racers up and down the eastern seaboard. For more on his coaching philosophy and availability, contact him by email.