Time trialing: Do a fast ride
Skills for a fast time trial take practice, but will serve you well in most bike races: any time you're riding alone, of course, and in ways even riding in a pack
Temper your negative split with adjustments for elements of the course. As a rule, ride just a bit harder when it's hard (up hill, for example, or into the wind) and recover when it's easy (down hill or with a tail wind). Why? Since wind resistance increases twice as much as speed, it's easier to speed up when you're not already going fast.
At road speeds aero means everything. Drafting others is not allowed in time trials or most triathlons. Once you're over 10-12 mph wind resistance is a major obstacle to going faster. because aerodynamic drag squares with speed – twice the speed means four times the drag – the faster you go the more important riding aero becomes.
As aero technology develops it becomes easier to simply buy speed. Aerodynamic helmets, bikes, wheels, and clothes can make a significant difference in how fast you will go pushing X number of watts. Still, by far the biggest source of aero drag is your position on your bike.
Lean forward and tuck in toward your handlebar, keeping your head low; you will punch a smaller hole through the wind and you'll go faster. Try that coasting down any long hill and you'll feel that effect in a big way. Aero bars make this easier to do comfortably, but even riding in the drops or with wrists draped over the top of road bars will help.
Relax & breathe
Now that you're bent over trying to get aero, by all means, RELAX! A successful position is a compromise between aero slipperiness, power, and comfort. As you adapt to the position and the level of effort, try to relax your upper body and even your face. Your energy should go toward pedaling. Tension in the rest of your body is simply a waste.
Breathing may seem straightforward, but it's not always. Many of us get into bad habits of holding our breath, breathing too quickly, or only taking shallow breaths. You might get away with that for a quick sprint or a momentary attack, but in a steady effort it's poison. Breathe steady and exhale deeply. Always.
Many athletes find a mantra to repeat in their head during hard efforts. That helps them maintain focus. If chanting "Faster! Faster!" to yourself seems silly, remember this: any time your mind wanders your speed will drop, guaranteed. If you're wondering about competitors or making up excuses halfway through the TT you have lost the plot. Think when you're done. For now, "Faster!"
As with most things, practice makes perfect. But that doesn't mean you have to make yourself miserable. Instead, use intervals. Shorter efforts with recovery periods between make intense efforts much more bearable. For starters try 3 minutes on, 3 off for several sets. Experiment with intervals from 3-8 minutes with rest between, or up to 20 minutes if you don't have an actual TT soon. Go hard, recover, go hard again.
the CRANDIC TT course
A couple notes about the CRANDIC TT course itself.
Wind is to be expected. Aero is key, remember? On some out-and-back TT courses you might get lucky with some mild cross wind in either direction that won't hurt you too much. Not here. The CRANDIC TT course twists and turns enough that you'll struggle some in every direction. If there's wind out there, you'll find it. You're welcome.
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