TT Performance Help

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ft_critical
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TT Performance Help

Postby ft_critical » Mon Nov 02, 2015 1:07 pm

Hello all.

I am a bit disappointed with my TT Performances compared to what I experience on my road bike; and compared to my expectations of what I should be able to do.

I have read a bit on the forum about the power being down when switching from road to TT bike. None-the-less the assumption I had was that I could transfer a lot of my ability from a road bike to a TT bike; as in, not be a complete beginner TT-guy. But I am beginning to doubt this is true.

My question then is: to improve performance in Time Trials do I need to do a lot of TT specific training? I know that might sound a stupid question, but given I am pretty good racing a road bike I thought that less specific training would be required.

So assuming that, resoundingly, I have to do specific training what is the most effective training type (intervals), how often etc?

I guess what would be most helpful is what people found helped them improve performance most in their own ‘journeys’ to TT excellence?

Potentially relevant information: 43km Calga TT is the target, I do about 250km per week, I have a TT bike (I am happy with the fit), 5’10 and 78kg, racing RR, Crit for 7yrs, no power-meter but one is ordered, I have a fluid trainer that I am comfortable using, Masters4, been doing one 40km TT session a week, done 3 TT's at Calga …


Thanks for your help,


FT.

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby nickobec » Mon Nov 02, 2015 1:26 pm

When I switched from road to TT bike for our weekly (in summer) 16km TT, I was slower on TT bike than on the road bike (and putting out 25 less watts)

I was riding the TT bike for that race and at least one 42km commute to work (with an 18km threshold interval) as well as racing crits.

Each week I was shaving 10 to 15 seconds off my time, went past my best road bike time, a couple weeks later a bike fit (with absolutely minor changes) took a minute of my time. By the end of eights weeks, two minutes faster than my road bike and putting out the same wattage.

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby vander » Mon Nov 02, 2015 1:36 pm

Time on the bike I think is very important. Doing some harder efforts on the bike also are useful.

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby dalai47 » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:38 pm

ft_critical wrote:I have to do specific training what is the most effective training type (intervals), how often etc?


Many ways to skin the proverbial cat, but raising FTP efforts assist greatly i.e. 2*20min @95-105% FTP. As to frequency for TT specific intervals, as also a Masters 4 it will depend as an older athlete on how you recover from efforts.

There is often a difference between what you think is a good fit vs what is a fast position. I thought I had a good position and after spending a day in the wind tunnel found ~43 Watts of which only ~10 Watts was switching TT helmets... Once you have the PM you could with the assistance of Golden Cheetah's Aerolab do some field testing or utilize Alex Simmons' expertise.

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby ft_critical » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:39 pm

That is better performance improvement than I am experiencing Nick, although you are doing two sessions vs my one per week.

What harder efforts do you recommend Vander?

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby ft_critical » Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:11 pm

dalai47 wrote: raising FTP efforts assist greatly i.e. 2*20min @95-105% FTP


Thanks Dalai, so they are hard efforts, 105% of FTP is basically the max you can hold for 20min?

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby dalai47 » Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:02 pm

I find them hard! Personally a fan of pushing up my FTP rather than pulling and ride 95-100% FTP for the intervals. A fraction less stress on the body so recover a little faster...

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby Derny Driver » Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:23 pm

ft_critical wrote:
I am a bit disappointed with my TT Performances compared to what I experience on my road bike; and compared to my expectations of what I should be able to do. .....

..... been doing one 40km TT session a week, done 3 TT's at Calga …[/i]
.

Mate I will tell you my story, may or may not be helpful...
I switched from triathlon to road cycling and thought I could time trial. I did 3 years of 40km TTs on Olympic distance triathlons, thought I was okay at them. After a couple of years of racing I came to the realisation that while I was going top 5 in A grade road races and crits every week, my TT times were with the B graders. I could do a 2 man TT with the best time trialler in the club, but by myself I was hopeless. If I attacked off the front in a bunch race the guys would just laugh and wait for me to die and come back with my tail between my legs, as I couldn't sustain power for any length of time.
I could go incredibly hard for a certain length of time, had the ability to be able to recover in about 20-30 seconds, and then I was good to go again. A surging race was perfect for me ...I think I was naturally suited to that sort of thing. But that constant pace ...was elusive.
I would say it took me 5 years to get my TT times down to where they should have been. I came 2nd in our club championship TT the week before I injured myself and was forced to retire.
I would say that the thing that helped me get better was just doing TT races - a lot of them. I had to learn how to pace and what my limits were heart rate wise (no power meter). Doing TTs is actually quite a technical thing, its one thing to have the power numbers but are you riding on the fastest part of the road, getting good shelter, good aero position, are you focused, mentally strong. Are you always in the perfect gear, pushing as a big a gear as you can while maintaining cadence, maintaining momentum up rises and around corners .... I could never replicate that stuff in training, only with the adrenaline of racing and a person in front to chase could I do good times.
In summary, do as many TTs as you can and be patient. If you are not genetically suited to TTs it may take years. Its definitely a learning process. Every little thing you master equates to seconds off your times. One day it will all click and you will have the confidence to produce some great results.

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby dalai47 » Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:37 pm

Derny Driver wrote:I would say that the thing that helped me get better was just doing TT races - a lot of them.


Definitely. Had a couple of seasons following TT's around the state (somewhere in the realms of 20 TT's a season) and ended at the pointy end of the results including State Masters titles...

When you do get the PM, don't make the mistake I did with my first race with power - was on a course I'd ridden a number of years and decided what power to hold to rather than ride using RPE. Rode my slowest time over the course! Since then I only use it as a carrot to push harder as I can catch myself slacking off keeping my power above a number rather than pegging it below a number.

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby ft_critical » Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:39 pm

Dalai, thanks. Something else that might be helpful... My performance benchmarks on the trainer are a 5min test which I use to tailor my other intervals (this is basically V02max). When I compare my 5min test to 20min test, the later is 82% of the former. I use speed on the trainer in the absence of a power meter.

I wonder if that is too big a gap? As in my 20min should be much closer to my 5min. If you don't have any idea that is fine, cheers.

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby dalai47 » Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:57 pm

I would refer to the following article on power profiling. http://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/arti ... -profiling

Your strength could be in shorter power durations? I've only ever tested my FTP so can't say if FTP at 82% of 5 minute power is good or not...
Last edited by dalai47 on Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby ft_critical » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:07 pm

Derny Driver wrote: I could do a 2 man TT with the best time trialler in the club, but by myself I was hopeless. If I attacked off the front in a bunch race the guys would just laugh and wait for me to die and come back with my tail between my legs, as I couldn't sustain power for any length of time.


Thanks DD, sounds a bit similar to me. Although I need the recovery time between the surges, probably more like a minute to two minutes for me.

I certainly plan to stick at it. It is fantastic cross training for RR and Crits.

I really understand your point on it being tactical too.

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby Strawburger » Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:20 pm

I've got nothing much more to add as the other guys have all given great responses.

What I will say though is that it takes a lot of patience to decrease the gap from road bike FTP to TT bike FTP. Mine was siting at 35% difference a few years ago, it's now at about 15%. Going hard for twice a week for 30mins on the TT bike 4-6 weeks leading up to events helped me.
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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby toolonglegs » Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:46 pm

Time on the bike... though that does depend how much difference there is in set up between road bike and TT bike. 2 or 3 rides per week, if you make them hard then you are only talking 2 or 3 hours in total. Also getting the different contact points used to the pressure, for me that is forearms.
Calga doesn't have anything technical in it, but on certain course being able to be comfortable throwing your TT bike around is handy as well... would you brake anywhere on Calga apart from the turnaround?.
Position ( got a side on and frontal photo ) ... on something like Calga your position will be important, especially on the way back I would think as the return will be much faster. Once you are up around 50 kmph it takes a big effort to up your speed 1 or 2 km's. Takes a fair bit of experimenting getting the balance between power and postion right.
Once you get your PM you will have a better idea where you stand. But most of your training will be about boosting your FTP, including getting your pacing right.

You guys are lucky having Calga!. TT'ing is definitely my strong point but I never get to concentrate on it. TT's here are really only in 8 week period ( around late August to early October ). Which means the bulk of training needs to be done in June / July ... work gets in the way every year so I don't bother. Didn't do one TT this year :(

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby jules21 » Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:16 pm

I've only recently started having a serious go at TTs. I got a massive gain from moving my seat forward - it was too far back. couldn't believe the difference. I'm still mucking around with my position. I know I've got more to gain. I rode Eildon TT - 20km - on the weekend and averaged 40 km/h with flat sole shoes (oops). I know there's a lot more speed out there as I'm not much faster than on my roadie and I have a TT rig with aero wheels, helmet, skinsuit.

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby dalai47 » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:56 pm

jules21 wrote:I got a massive gain from moving my seat forward - it was too far back. couldn't believe the difference.


How far back did you have the nose behind the BB?

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby ft_critical » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:06 pm

Thanks Strawburger, that is where I am feeling now, a big difference.
TLL, no photos, but I am comfortable. I can ride the bike hard on the descents now (73kmh). Throwing it around... Calga is full of potholes, I only hit one last weekend - so getting better. I had a look and I seem slightly slower (than colleagues) on moderate downhills. I think I have to work on driving more consistently over the course.
Jules, my seat was too far forward, as in it was illegal. So it is about as far forward as I can go now. I think that it is the higher and further forward position that is making it hard for me to generate power. It seems like there is a different technique needed on a TT bike. Sometimes I feel I have it right then it goes... etc.

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:12 am

ft_critical wrote:My question then is: to improve performance in Time Trials do I need to do a lot of TT specific training?

Yes. And racing. How much really depends on how committed you are to being a good tester.

It takes many years to build and refine TT abilities. Of course having natural talent in the engine department helps and some riders are aerodynamically gifted but TT is quite a specialised event, and to be really good at it takes many years. Those with excellent natural engines will generally do OK, but to perform at their peak, they still need to work on positional and aerodynamic refinement and pacing. One only has to look at elite riders to see large gaps in TT ability despite many having very similar engines.

ft_critical wrote:So assuming that, resoundingly, I have to do specific training what is the most effective training type (intervals), how often etc?

The most effective training is like any other training, a moving target that depends on a range of evolving individual development needs and factors. Yours sound to me like you need to work on better bike position and allow time for biomechanical adaptation (but that's based on very limited knowledge). When in that phase I don't think lots of hard riding is the right solution, but without knowing your specific circumstances, it's difficult to say.

If TTs are your target, I would suggest at least 3 days/week on the TT rig, and assuming you are adapted to the position, 2 of those days will involve solid sub-threshold or threshold level work (one might be a race).

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby ft_critical » Tue Nov 03, 2015 8:34 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:One only has to look at elite riders to see large gaps in TT ability despite many having very similar engines.


Thanks Alex, that is a great observation. It reassures me that I am not some kind of TT dud, this is good news.

Alex Simmons/RST wrote: Yours sound to me like you need to work on better bike position and allow time for biomechanical adaptation (but that's based on very limited knowledge)...
If TTs are your target, I would suggest at least 3 days/week on the TT rig, and assuming you are adapted to the position, 2 of those days will involve solid sub-threshold or threshold level work (one might be a race).


So it looks like those 2x20m sessions at 95-105% FTP are the go.

'if TT's are your target'. Right, important information. No they are not really. I love road racing. TT's I believe really help in road racing and in the long term (I think eventually I will be too old to do RR and Crit) I think I will need to do more TT's - thus I have time to improve slowly. I will try to squeeze in two or three extra sessions a month.

Thanks for the advice!

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:50 am

ft_critical wrote:So it looks like those 2x20m sessions at 95-105% FTP are the go.

There's quite a difference in efforts at either end of that range, it depends a bit on how often you plan of trying them and what sort of recovery you get, and what amount of training load you are able to manage.

People often get caught in a trap of trying to set a new PB each time they do such efforts, or attempt to go harder than is necessary, and they forget what the purpose of the session is.

Training is an integral of all you do, not just one session.

Just make sure you're enjoying it!

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby ft_critical » Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:56 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
ft_critical wrote:So it looks like those 2x20m sessions at 95-105% FTP are the go.

There's quite a difference in efforts at either end of that range, it depends a bit on how often you plan of trying them and what sort of recovery you get, and what amount of training load you are able to manage.

People often get caught in a trap of trying to set a new PB each time they do such efforts, or attempt to go harder than is necessary, and they forget what the purpose of the session is.

Training is an integral of all you do, not just one session.

Just make sure you're enjoying it!


Thanks Alex. Believe me I will be targeting the 95% end of that spectrum. 105% is included as false bravado only.

BTW, do you have any feel for whether my 5min power vs 20min power at 82% is showing a 'potential' weakness in my training/ability? Again, I understand if this is not something you would want to share.

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby foo on patrol » Sat Nov 07, 2015 5:58 pm

You can't just be good and at the pointy end of any discipline at the drop of a hat. It will take a minimum of two years to adapt properly and pickup the required skill set. :wink:

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sat Nov 07, 2015 6:51 pm

ft_critical wrote:BTW, do you have any feel for whether my 5min power vs 20min power at 82% is showing a 'potential' weakness in my training/ability?


Nothing particularly unusual about that ratio.

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby ft_critical » Sat Nov 07, 2015 8:33 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
ft_critical wrote:BTW, do you have any feel for whether my 5min power vs 20min power at 82% is showing a 'potential' weakness in my training/ability?


Nothing particularly unusual about that ratio.


Thanks Alex.

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Re: TT Performance Help

Postby nickobec » Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:32 am

ft_critical wrote:BTW, do you have any feel for whether my 5min power vs 20min power at 82% is showing a 'potential' weakness in my training/ability? Again, I understand if this is not something you would want to share.


Mine is 81.5%

As a Masters6, I am spending more time learning about my recovery times and what happens when racing and training fatigued. It takes me a lot longer to recover than people half my age.

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