Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Race of Truth (Lessons Learned)

I got my butt handed to me during the time trial at the Mineral Wells Stage Race.  I am not going to sugarcoat it because I am hoping that this humiliation will fuel me to perform better in future time trial events.  So what went wrong?  Several factors impacted my finishing time:
  1. Lack of preparation.
  2. Lack of sufficient warm-up.
  3. Lack of equipment.
Lack of Preparation.  Oddly enough, this time trial was my first ever "race against the clock".  I guess I just didn't see the need to pay money to participate in a time trial.  OKC Velo hosts several time trial events in Oklahoma City and the Tulsa Wheelmen are now sponsoring a monthly time trial series.  So it looks like there will be some additional time trials in my future.  In addition to understanding pacing strategies and pushing your physical limits, these "practice" time trials will help dial in one's warm-up protocol (2) and equipment (3).  The goal of these events is to work on eliminating the 10 common mistakes when participating in a time trial.

Lack of Sufficient Warm-Up.  Have you ever seen the Pro Tour riders warming up before a time trial?  They have sweat pouring off of them as they prepare their cardiovascular and muscular systems for the effort that is about to be demanded from them.  It was cold, windy, and raining at Mineral Wells; so my warm-up consisted of getting on my bike, making sure my PowerTap was working, and then heading to the start line.  You don't have to be an expert to know this is not really a warm up.  I knew better, I just didn't care...until it was too late.  Searching the Internet for "time trial warm up" yields some pretty good articles, but I found this article from to be one of the better ones.

Lack of Equipment.  I find it a little hard to believe that this was a limitation for me since I love to spend money on my bike and buy new things.  But I did not even have aerobars for my bike.  This is unacceptable.  You have to be able to get low and narrow on your bike so that you can punch through the wind.  The goal is to decrease your aerodynamic drag as much as possible without limiting the amount of power you can put to the pedals.  Recently, VeloNews published an excellent article that analyzed the impact of individual equipment on aerodynamic drag. took this article one step further and did a cost vs. benefit analysis of this equipment.  I highly recommend that you read this article before your next time trial.

No comments:

Post a Comment