Are TT's For Me?
I really don't freakin' get it.
Did the final TT last night, weather conditions were pretty good, ~24C, little-to-no wind. Arguably better than last week.
I rested all week, even took Sunday off ENTIRELY! No big effort Monday, just rode out to the track and back.
Ate well Tuesday, hydrated well. Rode out at an easy pace.
Started the TT, decided since previous efforts had considerably less power for the second lap, i decided i'd be conservative for the first lap, so rode a bit more 'easily'.
It actually felt *really* good. My legs felt loose and light, and the cadence felt just right. (Sorry, i'm apparently waxing poetic about TT's..) I complete my first lap (of two), and i peek at my time: 13mins even. WOOT! I rode that, without too much effort, very nice.
I decide to crank it up just a tad, and continue it through. It starts feeling not-so-great, but still good. "I'm Doing Great" becomes my mantra as i'm on the highway, halfway through the final lap. I pick up the pace a but more, hit the final corner and dump what's left in the final 400m. I cross the line, look down at my clock, and WHAM - immediate, severe disappointment.
My goal this year was to at the very *least* beat my time last year, of 25:57...or at least break 26mins. The time: over 26mins. 26:13, to be exact.
FRAAAAAK!! I don't think i could have rode this any better. Anyway, here are my stats:
|Date||1st Lap Time||Pwr||Cad||HR||2nd Lap||Pwr||Cad||HR||Total||Pwr||Cad||HR|
The power rating *may* be off, i've been having problems with it not zeroing properly, but it should be relative to itself, so while it may not be 281w, the numbers are relative to themselves.
Anyway, let's pretend the power is accurate (since it's not a huge stretch for me to sustain, that's about my LT, and after all it could be correct too. It felt like what i rode.)
You can see that my second lap was actually stronger than my first. As i said, i did it pretty much 'right'. Yet my time doesn't reflect this at all.
There are other factors on this course - traffic can play a pretty significant role..more cars means faster time. Don Gillmore says that it can account for upwards of 20 seconds. I will confess that there wasn't much traffic while i was riding, esp. the second lap.
But this misses a bigger, more urgent issue.
I took a look back at my 2006 and 2005 times (never rode before 2005.) My times are about the same as 2006, and shockingly, 2005. Two years ago, without even having aerobars or remotely aero wheels or frame (let alone an aero helmet!), i was still riding about the same time. (Tho then we didn't have to slow down for the corners, but that's no more than 20-30 seconds on the course..and following a few other riders through the corners, i've found i'm quite fast - so they're not slowing me down a heck of a lot as i barely brake.)
So, WTF?? How is it that i can Pursuit quite a bit faster, and bunch-race a LOT faster/stronger than two years ago, or even one year ago -- but my TT time is not changing??
Perhaps my biggest improvements have come in the form of anaerobic capabilities, peak power and recovery...and while i haven't done any TT-specific training, surely this should improve by *default*?? I can only think that my training the last two years was much more conducive to TT efforts than Pursuits or bunch races. 2005 i mainly just 'rode' and went in weekly races. Winter of 2005 was a lot of time in the gym. 2006 was more focused, but still more general riding and racing than specific training. No gym in winter of 2006, but lots and lots of muscle-tension hill repeats. This year, less racing, more specific training, mainly for Pursuits, and secondarily for bunch races.
I would have predicted *some* improvement, even 20-30 seconds.. Consider this: if my (kill myself) 5:40 Pursuit time from last year is expanded five times over the 5:30 i can do with relative ease this year, wouldn't that translate into a 50 second improvement on the TT?
Now sure, i'm a fair bit more aero on my track bike, and the drivetrain is more efficient (fixed-gear supposedly puts an extra 5% wattages into the wheel), it shouldn't matter for the TT, since i've been riding the same bike on the road, and should be relative to my road times.
Does it make sense at *all* that my Pursuit can improve significantly, but not my TT? I don't know the answer to that question.
Anyway, i'm left feeling like TT's really aren't my thing. Maybe next year, i'll train more specifically for them, and perhaps see some gain in that area. I'll also likely make a dedicated TT bike, since i'm going to get a new road frame, and can use the Argon18 for the TT bike without having to pick up too many new parts.
Here's the PT file from the effort, click to zoom in:
Anway, i now have a winter to contemplate this..
Oh, and to add insult to injury, i stopped in the OB Rec Center to weigh myself (haven't jumped on a scale since the spring, i think i was about 155lbs then) - turns out i'm becoming a fat potato as well, peaking at 160lbs. I barely weighed this much when i was going to the gym twice a week and building quite a bit of upper-body mass!! Now, i don't think i've got much more body fat, i think it's mainly in my legs. This year, i've still got a LOT more muscle mass in my legs than i've had in previous years. By this time, the last two years, my legs slimmed down a LOT. This year they've retained mass, which is interesting.
So, that's my TT story for 2007. Constructive thoughts on the issue would be much appreciated!
What's coming up?
- Trackfest 3/BC Cup #4 on Sept 8th. I'm not entirely sure how i should prep for this..i'm feeling a bit burnt out from the intensity, so will have to consider other types of intervals rather than risk frying myself.
- Vic Race Weekend the following weekend, the 14th thru 16th. Fri night has the Bear Mtn hill climb. Sat has the Oak Bay crit. Sunday is Bastion Square. Looking forward to all three!
- Cyclocross! Come Oct, there'll be weekly riding, plus a few 'big' events! This is mainly for fun, i'll train specific skills (like mounts and dismounts), but prolly not much other than that..i don't have any expectations this year. Looks like cranks might be ordered, which leaves the shifters as the last item remaining...hopefully will be built by mid-Sept!
- BC Cup #5 in mid-Nov (9th-11th) - woot! Final event of the year for me... After that, i'll be chillin'.
Peas out, go vegan! =)