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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

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:

Date1st Lap Time PwrCadHR2nd Lap PwrCadHRTotalPwr 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:

From PowerTapFiles
Bleh. It's frustrating even looking at this. You can even see how i picked up the power on the final portions of the event...

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'.
PS - I've been really happy with my year so far, don't get me wrong. I just find this TT thing to be exceedingly frustrating since, to me at least, it's such a mystery!! I've been having a banner year otherwise!

Peas out, go vegan! =)



At Thursday, August 30, 2007 7:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mebbe you need to use a bigger gearing? i usually do better on TTs when i use a bigger gear and a slightly lower cadence.

At Friday, August 31, 2007 12:18:00 AM, Anonymous Jess MacLachlan said...

This time trial mystery is going to drive you bonkers eh?
-Time trials are aerobic endurance exercise right?
-And the other events described are anaerobic...
So in reading your link something came into my mind about athletes who experience frustrating training plateau's....
You said that your “training over the past few years has been more conducive to TT efforts rather than the others.” This then means that you have been developing your body to more aerobic type exercise rather than anaerobic. I would think that you have hit an (aerobic training plateau. ) I made that phrase up, but you get what I mean. Your body is so used to this type of excersize that it has adapted to it over the few years you've been training and is now plateauing. What it hasn't adapted to yet though... is the anaerobic exercise, this could explain why you see improvements in the other aerobic type and not the aerobic. Its very possible I have no idea what im talking about though....or maybe all ive just done is created more questions for you to think about!

At Friday, August 31, 2007 12:32:00 AM, Anonymous jess MacLachlan said...

hey i cant edit this thing...! anyways

"improvements in the other anaerobic type and not the aerobic."

At Saturday, September 01, 2007 11:16:00 PM, Blogger Dave Noisy said...

Hey Irene - nope, i know that i burn out with bigger gears..i've tried this a number of times on the track, and it's always had a bad result.

What happens is my legs get tired, and my lungs are untouched, and then i'm stuck, because i need to let my legs recover which takes a LOT longer than my lungs....

Jessica - thanks for that! Good that you're familiar with the issue. =)

Pretty much all cycling is aerobic, tho in bunch races and sprints riders will go anaerobic for short periods...this area is greatly improved for me. Pursuits are also aerobic efforts, tho over 4km instead of, say, 18km like the TT i'm referring to.

As far as i know, you don't really 'plateau' with aerobic conditioning, and i know factually that this isn't the case for me. I have a wattage meter on my bike, which tells me the exact amount of power i'm putting into my wheel, and my numbers are still raising - i can more easily hold a higher wattage over any amount of time (5sec to several hours) than i could several months ago..

So i've not plateaued - this is definitely still improving..there's some other element at play here that i can't isolate..

(Also posted this in my Facebook thread. ;)

At Sunday, September 09, 2007 10:03:00 PM, Blogger PEANUT said...

Surely your future is in cyclo-cross.

At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 11:00:00 PM, Blogger Dave Noisy said...

hahaha - we shall see in a few weeks!

See ya in SF!!

At Saturday, November 03, 2007 10:11:00 PM, Anonymous Dale said...

Just popped in to read (I'm a friend of Don Gillmore's and this came up in a Google search) and noticed your comments about the PT zeroing and numbers. There's two things you can try when you don't believe the numbers: 1) Put the computer into "track" mode and it should auto-zero itself 2) Check the calibration by "weighing" youself. http://www.midweekclub.ca/powerFAQ.htm#Q23

I haven't needed to zero my PT SL in the two years I've owned it and that's regardless of temperature. If it reads "0" when you coast then all is fine. If you see anything else then you've got a problem.


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Dave Shishkoff
aka Dave Noisy
Victoria, BC

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