Review of the Season (the numbers)
The season is over. It finished like a damp squib; the disappointing trip to Hull was followed by withdrawing from my scheduled final race on 28th September after I knackered the thread on one of my armrest clamps on the preceding Thursday night.
So, time to reflect on my first year time trialling. I plan to write a few posts in the coming while, looking back on my experiences so far – both to record my (growing?!) understanding of the sport and hopefully to help anyone who reads the blog and is thinking of taking it up. I have learned a few things which ought to help.
I raced 15 times in total. 13 of these were 10 mile races, and all but 3 were on our local course at Sawtry. My best times are:
|Distance||Time (Min:Sec)||Speed (MPH)||Date|
|10 miles||21:06||28.6||Aug 28|
|15 miles*||35:12||25.6||May 24|
|25 miles*||54:55||27.3||June 29|
I’ve marked the 15 and 25 mile distances with an asterisk* because I only raced once at those distances! (So whatever time I did, it’s my PB) I’ve also included the average speed because I know from comments that some people (not TTers!) think in terms of speed rather than time. The 10 and 25 mile PBs were recorded on the E2 course down near Cambridge, which is a dual-carriageway. The 15 mile time was on the single-carriageway course at Sawtry (this is why the speed is considerably slower – more on that in a later post)
One thing I learned that I will write more about soon is that times for a given distances are extremely sensitive to the course you’re riding on. So you can’t compare a time on course A to a time on course B. But of course I want to be able to compare performances, to see where there has been progress and where it has started to go wrong. Luckily the vast majority of my 10s have been on the N1/10 course at Sawtry. So I made a chart in Excel of the times/speeds I have recorded on there and the power outputs that went towards them.
I hope this chart is reasonably clear. It shows my best performance by far was the 22:35 I rode on 24th July. There is no doubt that this was my stand-out race of the season, even though it was nowhere near my best power. I never went close to it before or after. My summary of the what I think the chart says is:
- After the first couple of races there is a big jump in power. I believe this was due more to understanding how hard I could push, rather than a big jump in fitness (though I believe my fitness was steadily improving at that point)
- Times came down quite rapidly from the 26th June to 17th July. I think there’s two reasons for this: better equipment and improved weather conditions. During this spell I fitted my new Flo wheelset and USE Tula aerobars. And the nights got noticeably warmer. Warmer equals faster.
- I peaked on 24th July and it was largely downhill from there.
Believe me I have spent many hours trying to distill what I did on the 24th July! If I had performed that well in my PB race on 29th August I believe the time would have been below 21 minutes. And if I had taken that form to Hull I think I’d be sitting on a PB close to 20:30. IF IF IF.
I’m pretty sure I know what happened – I made a drastic position change that night. Dropped the saddle and the bars a long way down and it paid immediate dividends. It was the best night of the year in terms of conditions, so that would have helped considerably. Given the drop in power to 291 watts, the time was so much faster that the new position just must be better. The following 3 performances, all poor power outputs, prove the point I think – times were similar to earlier in the season, but 15-20w less power. The drop-off in power from mid-season deserves a post of it’s own. That will follow. It will contain a couple of lessons for any novice TTer like myself.
Overall though I am pretty pleased with my initial foray into time trialling. I started with no expectations, only the hope that I would not disgrace myself. In fact I didn’t disgrace myself, I turned out to be solidly mediocre. At school I never reached the dizzy heights of mediocrity in any endurance sport. In fact I was so bad that I rarely even finished events. So being mediocre is a large step up. I hope to be able to kick on next season into the ‘not bad’ area. I can do it, no doubt, but it will take big improvements in several areas. I have alluded to these areas in this post and will write about them in more detail soon. In short, I need to pedal harder and slip through the air better. Easy eh? 🙂