I rode my TT bike a lot and got second place at the Colorado State TT championships, aka first “muertazo“. Now if you’d like to learn more about what went into this, read on.


Time trialing is an art; it requires a fine balance of knowing when to put down power and when not to in order to achieve the fastest time/speed possible. For example, a steady power output will rarely give you the fastest time for a given course. Time trialing also kinda sucks because when done correctly, it hurst so damn much. Or as one local rider once told me,

“It’s a shit thing to be good at”.

So why do it?

Shortly after moving to Colorado I discovered I might be good at TT-ing. So I bought myself a Cannondale Slice RS and went to local bike fit specialist, Ivan O’Gorman. I told him, “Make me aero, I will worry about everything else.” So he set me with an 18 degree back angle and sent me on my way. The following season my TT results were night and day. I went from top 20s to consistently top 10s. After a few more position tweaks, a few more bike upgrades and a lot more questions for Ryan Cooper, founder of Best Bike Split (http://bestbikesplit.com/), the following season had me placing no less than 7th in any TT I entered in, with the highlight being a 2nd place at Tour of the Gila stage race.

So then I decided, ok, perhaps I should really give this TT thing a go. I will be eligible (aka, viejo enough), to race masters nationals in 2019. I looked at the results over the years and by using bestbikesplit, I was able to determine that I have a really good shot at getting on the podium. So I made Colorado State TT my A race this year.

Preparing for state TT was about a 28 week process. I will skip the training details and just say that I rode my TT bike a lot during that time. Enough that even one friend of mine told me,
“Hey, so … you ride your TT bike a lot huh?”

I didn’t think so, but looking back, I would say that on average I rode my TT bike about 2-3 times a week. That means doing your recovery rides, tempo, sweet spot, criss-cross and LT efforts on your TT bike.

I also paid closer attention to the details.
In terms of positioning, I first worked with Ivan O’Gorman and Leomo Labs. Using their real-time motion analysis sensors, I was able to determine that I experience very little positioning degradation while riding hard and so adopting a more aggressive TT position would not have any negative effects on my performance, but instead help me go faster. (https://youtu.be/jDAtNx4Sjk0)

I then worked with Andrew Buckrell of STAC ZERO (https://www.staczero.com/vwt). Using their virtual wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics analysis, he was able to determine that a few more tweaks to my position and a different helmet choice would see an approximately 3% reduction in my CdA.

With regards to gear/equipment, that meant upgrading to Di2, getting an SRM and Ceramic Speed EVERYTHING.

A Vision disc and deep section front wheel are a must, which were paired with Vittoria Corsa Speed Tubulars, currently the fastest tested tire in the world, pumped at the correct PSI of course! (yes there’s a formula for this.)

I also changed my TT extensions to something longer and higher, as per the independent suggestions from both Ivan and Andrew, so 51 Speedshop’s ski bend was just the ticket.


For training, I bounced ideas off of Tim Cusick on what I should focus on. I also depended heavily on WKO4 and Trainingpeaks.com to help analyze and plan my training leading up to the event. Trainingpeak’s ATP estimated me to be 97 CTL/18 TSB and I came into the event at 93 CTL/18 TSB, so very close!
For things that are often overlooked, I would stretch after almost every ride, knowing that good flexibility would be a key to TT-ing success. I also worked on my core strength because an aggressive TT position is only as good for as long as you can hold it steady. Once you start to rock and roll is when you start to go slower. Finally for diet, both my wife and I made a more conscious effort to eat more vegan which saw my weight drop about 2 kgs; a weight I never thought I could maintain without constantly getting sick.
In the days leading up to the event I kept refreshing bestbikesplit’s website hoping the weather would change. The forecast called for 15-17 mph winds coming directly from the north. Since the state TT course ran mostly east/west, this meant 20 degree yaw, which certainly was not ideal.

Yaw angle – effective wind angle for a cyclist moving at speed

 Thankfully, on the day of the event, the wind wasn’t as windy and it had even shifted a bit east so NNE (5-10 degree yaw). This was just what I needed to feel a bit more confident. This also meant that I would get a bit of a tail wind on the way back, so that meant going harder on the way out than I would need to on the way back (remember what I said about steady power and pacing earlier?).

So what did this all mean?

Well, putting all the above together saw me catching and passing my 30 second and 1 minute guys about 9 minutes/4 miles into my TT.
My 30 min max power was in the first half of the race, 285 watts at 28.4 mph (aka, the cross head wind section). And my best 20 minute average speed in the second half of the race 31.2 mph (aka the cross tail wind section). Pacing perfection thanks to the calculated power plan via Bestbikesplit’s.
All that said, I came in second place at State TT. While I am happy with my performance, it still is a bit bittersweet (I am my own worst critic). But it told me I am headed in the right direction for master nationals next year. That said, I would like to thank the following people that helped me achieve this, without your help none of this would have been possible:
  • Ryan Cooper for always entertaining my inane questions about everything TT-ing and aero
  • Ivan O’Gorman for getting my position on the bike dialed
  • Andrew Buckrell for helping with the final touches
  • Patrick Sansbury, my former coach and friend who I can always count on to bounce training ideas off of
  • Zach Edwards, best mechanic in Boulder
  • Trainingpeaks, WKO4 and Bestbiksplit.com when combined can make you pretty fast
  • Cannondale, ceramic speed, vittoria and vision for simply making amazing products
  • And finally, to my lovely wife, who puts up with this silly hobby of mine

 

Final numbers:
Time: 50:24
Speed: 29.59 mph average
Watts: 285 watts
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