or Connect
Cycling Forums › Forums › Bikes › Power Training › Where did my TT power go?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Where did my TT power go?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
September/October of last year my power numbers on my normal 2x20 and 35k course were very similar whether on my road bike or TT bike.  

Over the winter I focused on the road bike, or neglected the TT bike.  I was without a PM for almost 3 months.  Now this spring I've found that on my TT bike my 20-60 min power is 15% less than on my road bike.

This means my L4 TT workouts are really in L3.  I'm trying to focus on an upcoming 40km TT, so building on my sustained power is a top priority.  But, so is re-adapting to my TT position.  

So what do you folks think?  Should I do my L4 work on my road position and 1-2 days of ~1hr of tempo (as hard as I can manage for the duration) on my TT position once or twice a week until the TT position power comes a little closer to the road position's power?  Or, do all my sustained efforts on the TT rig, getting more 'specific' quantity and re-adapting to the bike but perhaps missing out on an opportunity to do more 'quality' in terms of producing watts?
post #2 of 27

If your focus is on the TT -  then your main training focus should be on going faster on your TT bike. It's not a watt-trial - do whatever you need to do in order to go faster. If you go faster on your road bike then use that.

 

A 15% drop is significant enough to warrant doing all your riding on the TT bike if the TT is really important too you - even rest days. L3 and 4 are always important but I'd recommend some L5 training on the TT bike as it'll do a fairly good job of recreating how you'll react to the position/sit on the bike while you're pulling yourself inside out towards the end of the TT. Throw in some L5 efforts after a couple of hours of L3 or a few 20 minute intervals. You only really become accustomed to a race position when you frequently go "race hard" on it and become comfortable with it.

 

If you have a PM that you can use on your TT bike then you could use your rest days to do some aero testing. Do some training in your full TT kit - inc skin-suit, shoe covers and helmet. Make sure everything still fits and that the pressure cooker of an aero potty doesn't provide a nasty river of sweat surprise that you might have forgotten about during your last event...

post #3 of 27

I'm having the same problem.  In my last TT in the fall I did about 290w versus my road FTP at the time of about 305-310w.  Now my FTP is higher but there's no way I could do 290w for an hour on the TT.  30mins at 290w would be pretty painful I think.

 

I don't know what the right answer is.  I guess it depends on how far off the TT is.  (You're in CA right?  Which TT is it?)  Last year I didn't do my 2x20s on the TT bike for exactly the reason you are suggesting.  I just did Tempo and eventually was pretty comfortable in my TT position, which was quite aggressive.  All was basically okay on race day (it's not like TTs are ever *not* painful though).  So that's the strategy I'm taking now and things are definitely improving.  Another approach that I've used is to start out by doing something like 5 or 6 times 5 min intervals in L4 (in place of 2x20s) and then work up from there (did 12min intervals last Sat actually).  If your next race is your TT and that's your main objective right now I'd probably ride the TT bike almost every training ride until then.  The one time that I did that last year I felt very good on the TT bike that weekend.

 

One other comment: I think it's pretty rare for TT power to be equal to road bike power.  90-95% is about the best most people do in a good aero position, and some are way below that.

post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 

Hey, thanks for the replies!

 

Swampy, even at a power disadvantage I am much faster on my TT bike.  I have a few TT's (local club, and "real" ones) before Sattley where I'll use all my gear.  I tend to do my practice TT/L4 (tt bike) training in a racing kit and aero helmet, no shoe covers no rear wheel cover.  I like to pot together all the stuff only for races, but that's just a mind game.

 

Lanierb, I'm doing the NCNCA district TT in Sattley, CA.  And, while that is a big goal for me I do have road races, stage races, and Alta Alpina left on my calendar.  So I think I may do all my dedicated L4 (and soon L5 and L6) work on weekdays on the TT rig, but I will use the road bike for my long rides on the weekend.

 

Most importantly I'll never go 4 months without riding the TT rig again, once a week every week!

 

Thanks guys.

post #5 of 27

Yeah I think it's mainly the 4 months off, but who wants to ride the TT bike in the winter?  

 

Sounds like a good plan.  I will likely do Sattley as well but don't know for sure yet.  Be sure to use the aero helmet in the practice TTs because you have to practice holding your head in the right position with it.

post #6 of 27

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lanierb View Post

Yeah I think it's mainly the 4 months off, but who wants to ride the TT bike in the winter?  

 

Sounds like a good plan.  I will likely do Sattley as well but don't know for sure yet.  Be sure to use the aero helmet in the practice TTs because you have to practice holding your head in the right position with it.

 

Who wants to ride the TT bike in winter? Someone who wants to nail TT's maybe...

 

Sattley, from what I hear is really fast. Make sure that some of the longer L5 work is done on fast flat roads and maybe with a bit of tail wind. Make sure that you're used to riding in a bigger gear than you'd use on "regular" roads. It was the same back in England on some of the fast, but not traffic enhanced, courses. It'd always take a few weeks of midweek and weekend TT's on some of the well surfaced roads to get used to suffering in a bigger gear - until you get used to it there's always that annoying "in between" gear feeling. You know that you're going a bit quicker than you normally would but your legs can't get the next smaller cog over well.

 

As far as helmet position goes - guys like Steve Hed and John Cobb reckon there's not much difference with regards to head position - the bigger difference comes from chosing the right aero helmet to match the shape/curve of your back. Cobb has said a few times that head down and tail up is often faster than the position that "looks right" - ie helmet about level and helmet tail near, or on, the back.

post #7 of 27

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swampy1970 View Post
As far as helmet position goes - guys like Steve Hed and John Cobb reckon there's not much difference with regards to head position - the bigger difference comes from chosing the right aero helmet to match the shape/curve of your back. Cobb has said a few times that head down and tail up is often faster than the position that "looks right" - ie helmet about level and helmet tail near, or on, the back.

Head/shoulders position matters a ton for me, and I'll bet those guys (Hed & Cobb) would agree.  Reduces my drag by 10% (yes, 10%) relative to a nearly identical position.  It's not so much the head tilt as the head shrug (if that makes sense to you), and the head shrug feels different with different helmets on.  What you really need is to setup a video camera on your profile and the screen in front of you while you experiment with it.  You will pretty quickly see what I mean.

 

post #8 of 27

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lanierb View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swampy1970 View Post
As far as helmet position goes - guys like Steve Hed and John Cobb reckon there's not much difference with regards to head position - the bigger difference comes from chosing the right aero helmet to match the shape/curve of your back. Cobb has said a few times that head down and tail up is often faster than the position that "looks right" - ie helmet about level and helmet tail near, or on, the back.

Head/shoulders position matters a ton for me, and I'll bet those guys (Hed & Cobb) would agree.  Reduces my drag by 10% (yes, 10%) relative to a nearly identical position.  It's not so much the head tilt as the head shrug (if that makes sense to you), and the head shrug feels different with different helmets on.  What you really need is to setup a video camera on your profile and the screen in front of you while you experiment with it.  You will pretty quickly see what I mean.

 

 

 

http://www.endurancecorner.com/John_Cobb/Part3

 

Quote:
EC: What is the real differences between aero helmets (short tail versus long-tail)?
John Cobb: There are two basic back shapes that all riders fit into. Group [A] which is the classic flat back with an acute bend at the waist and [B] a more rounded back with a pronounced hump or flex point right in the upper back at the shoulder blades. About 75% of age group racers are the [B] type back, about 60% of the professionals are the [A] type back. The [A] backs usually benefit from a longer tail helmet (Spiuk, LAS Laser, Specialized are this type) with an enclosed bottom, this pulls the air away from the head and shoulders and down the center of the back. [B] style riders benefit from shorter tail helmets (Rudy Project Wingspan, LG Rocket, Giro are a few) and the general helmet position is not real important.
 
Many times these helmets are faster with the tails sticking up in the air so I wouldn’t sweat trying to keep the tail down on your back. The reason for this seems to be two things, less frontal area with the tail up and a smoother solid surface for the air to go around with the tail up.

 

Videoing something isn't going to tell you anything. Getting out there and testing it by whatever repeatable method you use, will. I've been through the whole "it looks faster so therefore it should be..." and designed the whole bike around that. Never again. If the likes of Hed and Cobb say they can't see what the wind is doing, my cameras are staying, for aero testing purposes, in their case... Unless I get all fancy and tape on a bunch of string tufts to the skinsuit and go for a ride outdoors ;)

 

I can't do the headshrug such that there's anyway that a helmet would feel different regardless of make or type.

 

I've been having fun with my "brevet" position, just for a laugh. I don't have the braun so I might as well take advantage of what little brain I have left :P While there's obiously the "comfort element" for such long events, I was just leaving this down to the data I got from my PT with regards to positioning. Ironically, the position I ended up with looks like sh*t but if I change it some something lower and more cramped I go slower... and it keeps me chugging along at 21 mph after 250 miles on the bike. Needless to say, future TT work will be of a similar vein but a fair bit faster.

post #9 of 27

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swampy1970 View Post
Videoing something isn't going to tell you anything. Getting out there and testing it by whatever repeatable method you use, will. I've been through the whole "it looks faster so therefore it should be..." and designed the whole bike around that. Never again. If the likes of Hed and Cobb say they can't see what the wind is doing, my cameras are staying, for aero testing purposes, in their case... Unless I get all fancy and tape on a bunch of string tufts to the skinsuit and go for a ride outdoors ;)

Every wind tunnel out there has a video camera set up from the side with a projection down front of the athlete so the athlete can see what he/she is doing.  It IS useful, because what it feels like you are doing and what you actually are doing are two different things, and it helps to see what is happening when you move in certain ways.  Some things are hard to see and others are easy to see.  You should try it.  Like I said above.  I HAVE tried it, and I reduced my drag by 10% by doing it as tested by a very repeatable method.  That's without adjusting/moving a single thing on my bike.  It's simply from the way I hold my head and shoulders.  As a result, I practice it every single time I'm on my TT bike, and I find it helpful to have the TT helmet on when doing this because the feel is slightly different. 

post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 

Swampy, thanks for the good advice about getting used to the gearing when going faster.  One of my practice TT courses has some descending on a false flat where I go 32-34mph (and other points north of 40mph) which is probably too quick for what you're recommending but I can see your point because I'm always flipping the right lever up and down looking for the right gear.  Lanierb, I've made it a habit of always wearing my TT helmet on the TT bike, except when warming up or a TT.  I don't like sweating the thing up then sitting there at the start house with a wet helmet.

 

 

Not that my opinion matters much compared to Hed and Cobb, but my testing has shown that head shrugged low with the tail flat is faster for me, I had always assumed Cobb's comment's about tail down vs tail up had to do with where the vents on the helmet were, if lowering the head and raising the tail takes the vents out of the airstream but since my helmet doesn't have vents in the front I figured down was better (again this has been backed up by my aero testing) but after reading that article I don't think my assumption was right.  My current position is lower in the front than the picture in my profile and my head is lower as well and I'm pretty slippery.

 

Lanierb, Swampy wasn't talking about using video in a wind tunnel to give feedback on your positioning or actions, I think he means having a video of yourself in TT position on the road or a trainer and guessing what changes would improve power/CdA, you know the old "if it looks fast" adage.  Because really how the wind moves is a  bit of a mystery and without data I never assume a position is good or bad and while general rules are great they are based on averages and I for one am not average (in body proportions).

 

BTW, I started my TT bike L5 this week on a 2.2 mile course that used to be a local TT, the records for which are still on-line, and I was pretty quick.  In fact I'd have been the 10th fastest finish there ever, on my first attempt.

 

I have a 40 km practice TT on the schedule this afternoon, so wish me luck.

post #11 of 27

Good luck quenya, not sure if Swampy or lanierb mentioned but the aero benefits of a long tail TT helmet can be somewhat reduced by lack of "head discipline" i.e head bobbing and head movement left/right, etc. Sometimes we're so busy trying to keep our tongues in our mouths and our eyes from rolling back in heads we forget smile.gif

post #12 of 27

So how'd the 40km TT go?

 

For the "slightly bigger gear work" for getting used to faster TT courses - I was reffering to something that's about 1 to 2 mph faster at race effort - unless you TT at 31mph already in which case the 32 to 34mph would be about right. I hear a lot of good stuff about Sattely with regards to fast times - but it can be bitterly cold. Last year it was held on the same day as the Alta Alpina event which isn't a million miles away and I think you remember how chilly it was -  times were slower - Cat 4/5 were won with a 56... the year before IIRC, it was closer to a 53, which is where it seems to be most years. The open class times are routinely sub 50 minutes. Being at 5,000ft and in close proximity to the high mountians doesn't help on chilly days.

 

With regards to position, I've given up on the "what looks faster..." adage. The wind does what the wind wants too... Use the what looks "about right" as a starting point and take it from there. Use the "best practises" as detailed by the aero guru's to create a list of things to try

 

My old position used the "what looks faster..." method and it was fecking uncomfortable. Sure I went a fair bit faster that I did in my road bike position but there was a drop off in performance between 10 mile and 25mile events - let alone 50mile or further. The hillier 25 to 50 mile TT's were great as you'd get to get out of the aero position but upping the gearing and cranking 56x11 as fast as you could doing down hill while on the tri-bars with your neck straining to see 30 yards up the road on twisty roads - 45+mph with the old Campag Shamals (not so great in cross winds) let's just say it was "interesting" ;)

 

In a wind tunnel you have the wind pushing against you with a force that represents the speed you're testing for - so your positions "feel" familiar to riding on the road. Checking out positions on a trainer in your garage/home where you don't have that "wind load", your position will feel different - which is why riding on the drops on the trainer is always going to feel harder than it does on the road. Consequently, that perception on "feeling a position" becomes a bit of a moot point - unless you have someone following you around outdoors with a video camera to do all the checking for you.

 

As for riding with the head down and getting less drag with the tail of the helmet up - it's all about getting the "big part" of the helmet out of the way.

 

I guess I'm kinda lucky in the fact that should I chose to go down the route (ie slippery slope) of getting back into TT's in a serious way that there's a nice midweek series not a million miles from my house that has a photographer at all the events so I could see what I looked like under the stress of a full on race effort should I want too.

post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 

TT yesterday, Eh!  I broke an hour which was a first.  My only other 40 km runs have had significant climbs and were not fast courses.  The course is an out and back, I've ridden the road several times but never as a TT.  It was flatter than I had hoped for, a couple of small hills and a grand total of maybe 620 feet elevation gain.  I wanted to pace myself knowing there was a nasty headwind on the way back in but I ended up not being able to take it up on the return and was not proud of my output or time.  I went out and did it again tonight and finished a hair over 58 minutes, still pretty well paced but much higher wattage and average speed all while still dealing with the headwind.  I think the course is not what you would call a fast course but I think it will be perfect training for Sattley.  It was a nice 3 mile section of straight tailwind to start and I may use that as my "fast course" prep since I'm not Fabian Cancellara or Tony Martin (maybe next year?).

 

I'd be more nervous about the times but I have seen some of CVCs old records of TT's and compared to the fast guys in those who also raced Sattley I'm not doing too bad, Bosch is (was) well out of my league in the long courses but I'll be competitive with guys in the 30-34.

post #14 of 27

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by quenya View Post

TT yesterday, Eh!  I broke an hour which was a first. 

 

It was a nice 3 mile section of straight tailwind to start and I may use that as my "fast course" prep since I'm not Fabian Cancellara or Tony Martin (maybe next year?).

 

Congrats on breaking the hour. It's a duck that always needs to be broken... Back in the day it was a milestone that was fairly hard - ie old school roadbike with exposed cables, round frame tubes and box sections rims but that you went straight to a 58 is a nice ride.

 

I remember thinking same thoughts of grandeur. Rewind to 1991 - I was getting faster and had knocked off a few 57's and a 56 or two on local 25 mile courses and went off to a "fast course" - only to get passed by Boardman for 8 minutes and do a 58... ROTF.gif It wasn't the best of days and Chris, always the gentleman, gave a passing word of encouragement. Just watching him smoothly go up the road was priceless... thankfully, not as painful as being mid pack on the Eddie Soens memorial race when Boardman and the North Wirral Velo team (ie most of the Great Britain 100km TT team) lined everyone out and put the hammer down. Think both legs skewered, smothered in hot sauce and grilled. No-one wanted to be "that guy" that broke the line and took most of the field off the back. If only I could have been hooked upto the same test gear that I was on the lab when making that effort...

 

 

post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 

Yeah the 58 hurt my ego a lot less than the first outing, obviously I'm a long way away from winning a state championship in the Elites but as a 30-34 master I think it is a possibility.  The thing is, I know I have more to give but I need that motivation of having a number pinned on to really bring it out.

 

That's pretty awesome that you got passed by, and got to race with a cycling legend.  I'm sure it didn't feel great at the time but, still that's pretty legit.


Edited by quenya - 4/30/12 at 8:23pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Power Training
Cycling Forums › Forums › Bikes › Power Training › Where did my TT power go?