Early February is time to get the time trial bike down from the loft. I last rode the TT bike back in September, and that was a short hill climb in Buxton. I have done a few perfunctory core strength exercises over the winter, e.g. the plank for one minute a couple of times per week, 20 sit ups since Jan 1st, but nothing like enough to get the body ready for a super, uncomfortable, aerodynamic position.
Despite the initial physical discomfort of riding a TT bike – on the positive side it is always a boost to get on the time trial bike, after a few months on a relatively slow winter training bike. Suddenly you feel as though you’re flying along. In fact in previous years, I’ve joked that getting on TT bike can feel like getting on a motorbike, as you race around town at 20mph +. But, alas, that innocent observation no longer seems quite so innocent given recent shenanigans in Belgium and depressing evidence of hidden motors in bicycles. It’s both a tragedy and farce, and not much comedy, save a little related news about participants and a stolen parrot, “A Norwegian Blue” I presume.
A popular bit of banter at local time trials was for a slow ride to joke to a fast rider – “Have you got a motor in there?!” This banter is all said in good fun, but now, it might not be so funny any-more. Especially, if bike was left unattended for a long time…
Anyway, the crazy world of cycling can’t change the essential practice of cycling which is to pedal a lot until it hurts. And if you’re riding a time trial bike for the first time in five months, you can guarantee it will start to hurt in quite a lot of places you had forgotten all about.
On Tuesday, I did quite a hard 75 mile ride to Stow on the Wold. I averaged 18.5 mph, which was a high average speed, given it was quite windy. I’m trying to do some sweet spot training at around 250-70 watts. I managed this for the first two hours grind into the wind. On the way back, I eased off the power, but went faster with nice tail wind behind. It’s great fun cycling with strong tailwind, but this persistent Westerly wind is getting a bit tiresome. It’s hard work going west.
Yesterday, I did a steady two hours on the time trial bike. I’m glad it was no longer than two hours, as I felt quite sore in different parts of back, and even legs. Although, it was a relatively easy ride on power, it felt quite tiring. Moral of the story, if you want to race on a time trial bike, you have to train a lot on the bike too. Ideally, I would have been riding on a time trial bike all winter. But, I don’t like getting the new bike spoilt by salty wet roads. Anyway from now on the TT bike, will be used most rides. The good news is that once you start training on the bike, the body adapts and initial discomfort becomes much more manageable. Last year it got to the situation where I found a TT bike more comfortable than a road bike.
Training on time trial bike
- Different position works different muscles
- Back needs to adapt to flatter aerodynamic position
- Neck works harder looking forward whilst being lower down.
- Doesn’t handle quite as easily as a road bike, so it is good to practise technical aspects. Though ideally you would train with disc and deep section wheels. But, I prefer to save expensive tubulars and wheels for races, so just train on ordinary clinchers.
- Maybe it was different power meter, but it seemed much harder to get same power as on road bike.
4 thoughts on “Training on time trial bike”
Hi Tejvan, I aim to do a few time trials this year to see how I fare. My wish is that I’m enthused enough to buy a TT bike, in time. At the moment, I have a planet x carbon frame with ultegra. The impression I have is that there is a large difference in performance gains among the range of clip on TT bars available. Are there any you recommend? Also, is there any other advixe you can shed on set up and wider transition from normal road cycling to TTing on a road bike?
I bought some Profile Sonic carbon, but was more motivated by weight for hill climbs. It just takes time to adjust to different positions.
Zipp vuka alumina are a good clip on bar as they are highly adjustable to each user allowing you to tune your position.
Ideally I’d love to have a “winter” TT bike that was set up in the exact same position as my race bike. That way I could get some good miles ridden in the right position so it doesn’t hurt so much come Spring time! Could even have Crudcatcher guards and lights for that true training bike setup.