First, let me reveal a bit about myself. I live and breathe time trials. They’re the part of cycling that’s always clicked with me both mentally and physically. For that reason, they’ve been a passion of mine since the 80’s both as an athlete and a coach. That’s me in the photo above, doing my best to get it right a few years ago. The quest never ends.
Maybe the reason for that obsession is it’s so damned hard to ride a perfect time trial. You can do all the base miles you want, then all the interval sessions you can imagine, but if you can’t apply that fitness across the distance and terrain you’re targeting, other people will do a better ride than you.
A former ProTour rider who shall remain nameless summed it up brilliantly “he who stuffs up least, wins”. So how do get it right more often? The answer is practice. Yep, practice and more practice until you lean to cope with everything that can be thrown at you. You need to turn up to your target events as a pre programmed robot, trained to get the best out of yourself with skills honed by the experience of getting it wrong time after time when it didn’t matter.
Time trial pacing 101
Andy Coggan from Training Peaks explained this well with his three rules of time trialling. “Don’t start too, hard, don’t start too hard and really – Don’t start too hard. FulGaz lets you practice that in controlled conditions, but more importantly, it helps you practice how to measure your effort over the entire distance of the event.
Using FulGaz to perfect your time trial technique
I don’t know about you, but consistent pieces of road without heavy traffic or traffic lights are difficult to find where I live.
FulGaz sets you free from that and allows you to work on your pacing in your most aero position without needing to worry about traffic hazards. You can also pick terrain that’s similar to your target event, or even set the wind in the most likely direction for the day of your event. If you have an important event coming up, get in touch. We may be able to get it filmed for you.
I can’t share the details yet, but this is pretty much what we’re doing to help certain athletes ahead of the Rio Olympics.
Using Challenge mode to improve time trial pacing
After not starting too hard, the next dilemma is how do you spread your effort during an event? Hilly time trials need a more varied pacing strategy than flat events. You’ll get more of a reward for going harder up a climb than you would on the flat, but you can rapidly hit a point where overdoing it on the climbs ruins your performance everywhere else. Fortunately, FulGaz has a feature that can help with this, it’s called challenge mode.
Challenge mode allows you to ride head to head against another performance. After your first effort, this “other rider” can be your previous effort. This is an ideal way to see if you’re improving and more importantly to see if smashing it up the hills is actually worth the pain for you.
Getting your position and settings right
Specificity is really important. There comes a point where riding time trials is the only thing that will improve your time trials. If you can’t ride them week in week out, FulGaz can come to the rescue. The closer the terrain to your real event the better. If you need help picking the best FulGaz course for your chosen event, get in touch. Ride in your time trial position and go into the FulGaz settings and reduce your aerodynamic drag numbers. Typically, this number should be reduced to the low 20s. A bit lower if you’re very small or exceptionally aero, up nearer 30 if you’re around 6 feet tall and not so aero.
Recommendations for improved time trial performance
Pick a suitable course in FulGaz then ride it once or twice a week in the weeks leading up to your target event. Use Challenge mode to monitor how you are progressing and compare pacing strategies. If you’re going to be racing somewhere hot, turn the fan off. This allows you to add heat acclimatisation to the list of performance improvements you’re tapping into.
The choice of course depends how long your target events are and how hilly they are.
Flat to rolling
Tomalis Bay (Easy)
Petrie Creek 10
Hamilton Island Triathlon Course
English country Lanes
Longer with climbs
Dandenong strongman loop
Great Ocean road
National time trial course