6 Tips to Faster Time Trialing

6 Tips to Faster Time Trialing

Are knobby tires really that much slower?

by Alison Powers, ALP Cycles Coaching

Today, we have our monthly ALP Ride (coach/athlete ride). The goal of this month's ride is to not only pre-ride the Morgul Time Trial near Boulder, Colorado - but to dial in our time trialing strategy so no matter what the course, our ALP athletes would know how to look at the course and come up with their own individual race plans. 

Alison Powers in route to winning the 2014 National TT.

Two time National Time Trial Champion Alison Powers, and former Swiss TT champ Patricia Schwager, will lead the ride and talk about the key elements of Time Trialing. These elements include - 

1. How to look at a course and break it into sections - then create a plan for each section.

2. How to carry your speed and momentum - especially over varied terrain and corners.

3. How to create speed and momentum - especially over varied terrain and corners. 

4. Being aerodynamic while limiting movement and staying relaxed. 

We will analyze the course, come up with a race plan, and tackle each section with 100% effort. We will video so our ALP athletes can see how they look on their bikes while going hard. We can analyze things such as - does the athlete stay aerodynamic, where is their head position, and how much movement do they have when riding?

1. Dial in your equipment.

Preferably, several weeks before your race. Showing up to a time trial with a bike for the first time without any saddle time can spell disaster. If you can, get a professional bike fitter to assist you in dialing in you position. Equipment also includes race wheels and a rear disc, aero helmets, booties, skin suits, etc. 

2. Practice, practice, practice.

Once you've dialed in your equipment and position, you must practice being in the aerodynamic position. It will take your body a little while to adapt to this position, and riding your time trial bike in the aero position is the best way to do this. 

3. Cornering. 

You can't win a time trial by cornering, but you can lose it in the corners by dumping your bike, over-braking or going off course. Practice corners and 180 degree turnarounds. It's okay to come out of the aero bars to navigate a corner. Just get back up to speed and into your bars as quickly as possible. 

4. Limit your movement.

Meaning, don't look down at your computer, back behind you, in front of you and repeat. Keep your eyes forward, neck turtled, and arms in the aero bars. Additional movement creates drag and extra draw slows you down. Your legs should be moving and that's it.

5. Pre-ride the course.

If you can pre-ride the course a week or more before, do it. Practice key sections and time yourself so you know how hard you need to push it during each part. Memorize sections so you know how much further you have until the finish. Visualize the course before you go to bed each night, praciticing key sections in your head. 

6. Time trial is about what happens between the ears. 

Positive self talk is critical to your success. Coming up with a mantra in practice will help you during a race. Alison came up with a great one, printed on the collar of every ALP Cycles Coaching jersey: Better. Faster. Stronger.