FTP Hour Trainer Test Done, Post-Ride Pacing Questions



cheetahmk7

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Sep 16, 2010
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Originally Posted by Rider123 .

Race Completed!

Was put in the Cat 4/Junior U17 bunch but I was technically only racing against the Cat 4's. There were only about 6 other Cat 4's that I had to worry about (15 U17's.)
First 26km was pretty flat and although I told myself to sit in under we hit the climb, adrenaline got the better of me and I did try to go with a couple of moves. Made the other Cat 4 riders in the bunch chase which was good.
We hit the climb and a couple of U17's went off the front. I followed and the other Cat 4's all went. About half-way in, I could see that there was only 1 other Cat 4 left, with maybe 4-5 U17's in our group. We were going hard up the hill, I was putting out ~300W for ~10-15 mins. As soon as I saw as the last Cat 4 rider dropped, I moved onto the front, drove it for the remaining 2-3km to the top. I knew I needed a decent gap and a group to latch onto as I was by far the lightest Cat 4 rider and was no chance of soloing 40km to the finish. At the top of the hill, there was an U17 maybe 500m ahead, and me driving a group of 3 other U17s with all Cat 4 riders behind us.

As soon as we got to the top, the other 3 U17's came around me and they descended the mountain like mad men. I know I'm not the best descender (triathlete), but jeez these guys were flying around the hair-pin bends.
Luckily for me, one of the U17 riders didn't quite make it to the front and so he waited for me to work together at the end of the 15km descent. We swapped turns and picked up a couple of dropped Cat 2-3 riders from previous bunches. We rolled turns for the last 15km and I was starting to hurt. Just kept looking back to make sure none of the other Cat 4's were catching up and doing my best to stay with the group. Lasted 12km before I blew up and rode the last 3 km by myself, anxiously looking over my shoulder.

Rode to the finish line and got the win! The end result was a 3-minute gap to the next 3 Cat 4 riders who battled it out in the sprint.
Great feeling!
Was that the Damian McDonald Memorial?
 

Rider123

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Originally Posted by daveryanwyoming .

You'll likely get differing opinions on the VO2 Max question but IMO if you're not running out of FTP headroom relative to say your 5 minute power, you're not stagnating on FTP progress, and you don't have events that will demand a lot of 3 to 8 minute VO2 Max efforts coming up in the next six to eight weeks then stick with the Threshold work and the base building (CTL) work.

There's a couple of downsides to introducing L5 work too early in your program, for one it's hard to generate as much session TSS during dedicated L5 sessions so unless you pad them with some easier work (if you have the energy to do so after a hard L5 session) then your CTL tends to sag. Another is there's only so much high end work most folks can tolerate in their training week so the L5 work typically comes at the expense of at least one if not more L4 sessions and IME push up work on FTP is more effective then pull up approaches based on a lot of L5 work. And maybe the biggest is that L5 work is very hard mentally and physically and over the years I've seen an awful lot of riders try to speed up their progress by swapping L4 work for L5 work only to totally fry themselves on training and hang up the bike for a while if not forever. Search the archives on these boards and you'll see that scenario play out again and again.

Yeah, VO2 Max work can be incredibly valuable and can be very important for racing or for raising your aerobic ceiling after a lot of FTP progress and then stagnation. But use it when most appropriate which IMO is either when you're running out of aerobic headroom (FTP too close to 5 minute power is a pretty good sign) or you'll need some more VO2 Max top end in upcoming events and want to do some work in that area as part of specific race prep.

That's my take on it, but I know plenty of folks that really love L5 work so you'll likely get some differing opinions.

-Dave
I haven't got my 5-min power tested although I've always thought my 5 min power was high compared, sans power meter, to everything else
How exactly wold you define as 'too close' though?


Originally Posted by cheetahmk7 .


Was that the Damian McDonald Memorial?
Yep, that's the one. I don't do many road races but that race was well-worth racing in.
How did you go?
 

daveryanwyoming

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Originally Posted by Rider123 .
...How exactly wold you define as 'too close' though?...
Hard to pin it down exactly but if your FTP is more than 85% of your best 5 minute power on a good day then they're getting very close. Similarly if you've brought your FTP up over 80% of your best 5 minute power and you're stagnating for long periods with Threshold efforts and FTP progress then it's likely you're running out of aerobic headroom.

Part of the problem of putting exact numbers on it is that rider's have different aerobic vs. anaerobic strengths or AWC vs. CP in Monod terms. A strong AWC makes 5 minute power a relatively poor proxy for power at VO2 Max as they'll tend to have relatively high 5 minute power numbers relative to the amount of power they're actually generating aerobically for that duration. But still the five minute to FTP comparison is a relatively easy way to assess FTP vs. P_VO2 Max. Many reasonably well trained folks are in the 75% to 80% range with room to continue working directly on their FTP but much higher than that and it's likely some VO2 Max work will help.

BTW, if you don't do many five minute all out efforts you might be surprised how much your 5 minute MMP can improve after a long period of just SST/L4 work. Try some all out five minute efforts on good well rested days to set a baseline but don't be surprised if that number rises even without doing any dedicated L5 training days. I've seen that in a lot of riders that periodically test 5 minute power after a steady diet of SST/L4 work, push up works for 5 minute MMP as well as FTP but if you really need to target VO2 Max and 5 minute power either to add aerobic ceiling or to prep for target events then dedicated L5 work is the ticket.

-Dave
 

danfoz

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Originally Posted by Rider123 .


Rode to the finish line and got the win! The end result was a 3-minute gap to the next 3 Cat 4 riders who battled it out in the sprint.
Great feeling!
Good job! And good thread - really glad I didn't skip to the last post and spoil the great ending.

As to be expected, some great information from the usual suspects.
 

cheetahmk7

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Sep 16, 2010
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Originally Posted by Rider123 .
Yep, that's the one. I don't do many road races but that race was well-worth racing in.
How did you go?
I actually raced a bit further up the road and I only lasted 6 minutes. You get that when you are crook, but fortunately I'm still in GC contention for B-grade in the Tour:
http://www.riverinainterclubracing.com/tourtworivers.htm
http://app.strava.com/segments/2437868

You can't be going too bad if you beat Laurie Lyster as he climbs and time trials quite well. I had some good battles with him a few years back.

If you want to do a bit of travelling, there is no shortage of scratch races that suit those that can climb, but if you can't climb well there is hardly a race on the calender worth doing.
 

Rider123

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Update:
The criterium season kicked off this week and I entered a Cat 4 race. There were over 50 riders in my category.
My plan was to sit in for the first 30 mins and attack up the incline (500m @ 3%) with about 4 kms to go and time trial my way to the finish.
I was feeling really good for the first 30 mins (the increase in FTP really helped) and I went really hard up that hill. Managed to get away from the group that let nothing go for the whole race, but only stayed away for 2 kms.

Anyway of more importance, my max. 1 min power during my attack was ~530W (~8.8 kg/watt). That is, according to the power profiling graph, in lower Cat 2 category, which is similar to my 4.5 kg/watt FTP.
Now seeing as I am not allowed to utilise my FTP power as I am not allowed any time off the front (I've placed 4 times last season), is my best tactic to go with ~2km left or should I stay in for the sprint?

Btw, I have only worked on my FTP during the whole winter season with no dedicated VO2MAX sessions, so I'm hoping my 1 min power will increase as I continue racing as well as adding some Vo2Max Intervals.
 

RapDaddyo

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This is exactly why it is so difficult to get away and stay away solo. You would need a relatively long climb to get a large enough gap that the group can't chase you down with 4km to go. The best option is to form a coalition with a few other good climbers so that you can share the work to the finish. A group of four is just about perfect, three will work and two will only work if both have very good FTPs. Solo is almost impossible unless the peleton screws around and doesn't get organized. But, if the finish is at the top of a climb, go for it because that's your perfect course.
 
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Rider123

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I seem to have the best success when the race has been hard, when I can ride from 10th to 4th wheel in the last lap then sprint for a place.

So, I am wondering what is the best tactic to make a short 45min crit. as hard as possible for everyone else on a pan-cake flat course with 4 sweeping corners.

From other people's experience, is it the constant high speed that would hurt the most or a number of accelerations/attacks?
 

RapDaddyo

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A steady high speed won't do much to winnow your competition. You might find more success with a strategy of depleting their anaerobic work capacity with harder or longer accelerations. Part of AWC recovers quickly and part of AWC recovers slowly. You won't do any damage with only a few attacks, but over time you can whittle away at the second part of AWC. A typical acceleration out of a corner lasts about 5sec. You can stay near the front and push the durations of some of the accelerations, knowing that it is having the cumulative effect of gradually draining their AWC-Part2 tanks.
 

Rider123

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How would you define the first part of your AWC and the second part of your AWC (the one that recoveries slowly)?
Is that done by intensity/time and is it different for different people?
 

RapDaddyo

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Unfortunately, this is one the least studied aspects of cycling (and other aerobic sports) physiology. I think there is universal agreement that there are two parts of AWC and that the larger part has a recovery half-life of 30sec. So, that part is fully recovered in 5 mins. The uncertainty is about Part 2. What is the relative size of Part 1 versus Part 2 and what is the recovery half-life of Part 2? There is some evidence that the recovery half-life is multiple hours because one can observe the performance of track cyclists through multiple heats of the same day. Their peak performance declines with multiple heats during the day/night (assuming they have to go all out in their heats). So, clearly one is looking at full recovery not until the next day. But, the relative size of each part is not known and likely differs from one cyclist to another. I have conceived of a testing methodology for myself, but I'm not prepared to say it's the only way to test this relationship. So, here's my test, basically a sequential set of tests to exhaustion. You get well warmed up as you would for any max performance test. Ride at 120%FTP to exhaustion (i.e., you can no longer sustain the target power), ride for 5mins at a recovery power (e.g., 100-150W), repeat 6 times. The total test duration should be about 1hr depending on your initial duration (e.g., 5-7mins). What you will have is a set of declining durations. Your AP and NP should be well within your aerobic capacity due to the approximately equal time at recovery power. So, what will account for the declining duration of each successive test to exhaustion is Part 2 of AWC. BTW, this is a good explanation of the recovery half-life of AWC Part 1: http://www.cyclingforums.com/t/326046/distorted-max-20-min-in-ride/45#post_2638424
 

Rider123

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Went racing this morning and managed to get a new 5-min peak power.

My plan this morning was to make the race as hard as possible for everyone else; try to get in a break after half-way in, rest up for the last 10 minutes before getting ready for the final sprint (my other 4 places have come this way).
There was a solid field of about 35 riders and we were riding around a pan-cake flat course with 4 corners (~1km a lap).

I knew people who try to get away during the first 10 minutes so I waited in the pack and when the 3rd break got caught, I counter-attacked. Unfornately, I'm known as a strong cyclist and one that can TT (the triathlon jersey didn't help my cause), and they all went after me. For some silly reason, I looked back and seeing them on my wheel, I kicked again. After 1 min of agonising pain, I turned back to see that I had a good 70m gap. There were numerous people trying to scramble across but no one got to me. I looked down and I was pushing 350W. The gap started to open slightly and it was close to 100m but I knew I couldn't sustain 350W for the remaining 20 minutes. I thought if I could hold this gap and ride at 280W, I could be a chance. Anyway after 10 minutes away by myself, I got caught. I was trying to recover as much as possible in the final 10 minutes upon rounding the final bend, I was in a prime position in 4th wheel. Unfornately, I didn't have a sprint left after my escape and ended up running ~10th.

Got home and saw that my 5-min peak power was 335W (5.6 watt/kg), which according to the power profiling table, is even higher than my FTP (4.5/watt), at the high-end of Cat 2.
So now I've got my 1-min, 5-min and FTP all in Cat 2 and yet I'm still in Cat 4 (one place away from Cat 3).
It really is hard getting this place when I'm not allowed any room off the front.

Any suggestions as to what I can try to get this last place?
 

daveryanwyoming

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Originally Posted by Rider123 .
...Any suggestions as to what I can try to get this last place?
You've got the engine, focus on the 'driving' and racing skills. If you find a way to get away clean then of course roll the dice and go for it but the reality is that it is very hard to ride away from the field in most lower category races as the fields tend to ride very defensively, often work together to chase everything down, and then don't counterattack those neutralized breaks but tend to sit up which all but guarantees a field sprint. So if you can't find the course where the terrain features will help with the field selections then work on playing your end game.

If your short sprint and positioning skills aren't great then either work on those or try your hand at a flyer in the final kilo or a long sprint from further than most folks are willing to go as in 300 to 400 meters. Sure the odds are better when a good sprinter with a lot of jump and good positioning and defending skills waits till the final 200 meters but that's what everyone is working towards and a long flyer can work for someone with good one minute power, reasonably fresh legs (which is likely given your FTP and 5 minute power) and the willingness to stick their nose out in the wind. You'll still want separation or your jump turns into a leadout but if the pure sprinter's game isn't your thing then work on alternate endings.

As you move up into higher category racing you'll find breaks have a better chance of sticking as folks tend to ride harder and more assertively and not every break is immediately neutralized but almost every break attempt is countered if it does come back. Racing like that can be a lot more fun but when the group think is to assure a field finish then more often than not, that's what will happen unless folks get extra feisty or the terrain helps to split things up.

So basically pick your races to lean towards your strengths (harder courses are better if you have the power) or really work your end game which is how most upgrade points happen in the lower categories. You'll need those end game skills when you upgrade or when you race flatter courses and crits anyway so it pays to start developing them now when you're likely to have fresher legs than many of the folks your currently racing against.

Good luck,
-Dave
 

cheetahmk7

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Talk of Cat 4 is a bit confusing here in Australia as we don't use that terminology. Was it club level D-grade?

I usually find that as a guide Club A = Interclub B = State Open C or D. Of course if you are State Open A, you will also be an A-grade rider at interclub and club level.
 

Rider123

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Originally Posted by daveryanwyoming .

You've got the engine, focus on the 'driving' and racing skills. If you find a way to get away clean then of course roll the dice and go for it but the reality is that it is very hard to ride away from the field in most lower category races as the fields tend to ride very defensively, often work together to chase everything down, and then don't counterattack those neutralized breaks but tend to sit up which all but guarantees a field sprint. So if you can't find the course where the terrain features will help with the field selections then work on playing your end game.

If your short sprint and positioning skills aren't great then either work on those or try your hand at a flyer in the final kilo or a long sprint from further than most folks are willing to go as in 300 to 400 meters. Sure the odds are better when a good sprinter with a lot of jump and good positioning and defending skills waits till the final 200 meters but that's what everyone is working towards and a long flyer can work for someone with good one minute power, reasonably fresh legs (which is likely given your FTP and 5 minute power) and the willingness to stick their nose out in the wind. You'll still want separation or your jump turns into a leadout but if the pure sprinter's game isn't your thing then work on alternate endings.

As you move up into higher category racing you'll find breaks have a better chance of sticking as folks tend to ride harder and more assertively and not every break is immediately neutralized but almost every break attempt is countered if it does come back. Racing like that can be a lot more fun but when the group think is to assure a field finish then more often than not, that's what will happen unless folks get extra feisty or the terrain helps to split things up.

So basically pick your races to lean towards your strengths (harder courses are better if you have the power) or really work your end game which is how most upgrade points happen in the lower categories. You'll need those end game skills when you upgrade or when you race flatter courses and crits anyway so it pays to start developing them now when you're likely to have fresher legs than many of the folks your currently racing against.

Good luck,
-Dave
Totally agree which what you say Dave.
The bunch seems to chase everything down as soon as someone gets even 5metre. The cries of 'Up,Up' sure doesn't help my cause.
My best chance of placing at the local criterium is for a hard-ish race where the sprint isn't that fast. I'm an okay sprinter.
I have managed to place in the harder courses but for some reason the club only uses results from summer criteriums to see whether you upgrade.
I think I might try a last-minute flyer next time.
Is it as simple as sprint, get a gap and drive it home or is there more to it?
Btw, would ~530W (8.8watt/kg) be enough to hold off the field or am I kidding myself?


Originally Posted by cheetahmk7 .

Talk of Cat 4 is a bit confusing here in Australia as we don't use that terminology. Was it club level D-grade?

I usually find that as a guide Club A = Interclub B = State Open C or D. Of course if you are State Open A, you will also be an A-grade rider at interclub and club level.
Yep, Club level D-Grade.
 

daveryanwyoming

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Originally Posted by Rider123 .
...Is it as simple as sprint, get a gap and drive it home or is there more to it?
Work on some extra long windout sprints in training, but basically shift into a bigger gear than you'd typically use for a fast short, leg speed driven sprint, jump onto that gear and hopefully get some separation just by going early but you won't be able to accelerate the overly large gear as rapidly as you would a more appropriate and lower short sprint gear. But get on the gear and try to keep accelerating all the way to the line. If your speed tops out too far before the line or worse you blow up and start losing speed then it just becomes a good leadout for someone close to your wheel but if you can drive it all the way to the line it can be hard to come around especially for anyone that balked when you jumped long and didn't immediately go after your wheel.

Here's about as good a visual as you can get. Sure this is a leadout for Cav but with the separation he got early in this jump and by driving it all the way to the line he would have won the sprint by a big gap if he didn't have a team mate glued up and ready to jump the final meters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIVsYHIT8yk

Yeah, we're not those guys, but the idea is pretty much the same, pick a bigger than normal sprint gear, go early and drive it out of the saddle all the way to the line trying to accelerate the entire way.


...would ~530W (8.8watt/kg) be enough to hold off the field...
Depends, if that's for a minute or more at the end of a race then possibly. And if you roll the dice long but everyone glues up to your wheel then no, it probably won't get the job done but if the sprinters pause for a moment to look around and figure out who'll go after you then it could do the job. But the only way to find out is to try it in some group training rides or races. If it doesn't work you'll get some training and long sprint practice and even if you keep developing your more traditional short sprint it still pays to work on being right up front as the sprint lights up and not boxed in many riders deep, going long or even leading out a few sprints is a very good way to develop the final lap positioning skills it takes to consistently be up front where you need to be.

But the main point is that if your upgrade points are based on crits then you'd better work on your end game and pure FTP won't get that done alone though it obviously helps.

Good luck,
-Dave
 

Rider123

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Originally Posted by daveryanwyoming .

Work on some extra long windout sprints in training, but basically shift into a bigger gear than you'd typically use for a fast short, leg speed driven sprint, jump onto that gear and hopefully get some separation just by going early but you won't be able to accelerate the overly large gear as rapidly as you would a more appropriate and lower short sprint gear. But get on the gear and try to keep accelerating all the way to the line. If your speed tops out too far before the line or worse you blow up and start losing speed then it just becomes a good leadout for someone close to your wheel but if you can drive it all the way to the line it can be hard to come around especially for anyone that balked when you jumped long and didn't immediately go after your wheel.

Here's about as good a visual as you can get. Sure this is a leadout for Cav but with the separation he got early in this jump and by driving it all the way to the line he would have won the sprint by a big gap if he didn't have a team mate glued up and ready to jump the final meters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIVsYHIT8yk

Yeah, we're not those guys, but the idea is pretty much the same, pick a bigger than normal sprint gear, go early and drive it out of the saddle all the way to the line trying to accelerate the entire way.



Depends, if that's for a minute or more at the end of a race then possibly. And if you roll the dice long but everyone glues up to your wheel then no, it probably won't get the job done but if the sprinters pause for a moment to look around and figure out who'll go after you then it could do the job. But the only way to find out is to try it in some group training rides or races. If it doesn't work you'll get some training and long sprint practice and even if you keep developing your more traditional short sprint it still pays to work on being right up front as the sprint lights up and not boxed in many riders deep, going long or even leading out a few sprints is a very good way to develop the final lap positioning skills it takes to consistently be up front where you need to be.

But the main point is that if your upgrade points are based on crits then you'd better work on your end game and pure FTP won't get that done alone though it obviously helps.

Good luck,
-Dave
Thanks for the advice. The reason why I haven't started doing any short intervals at all is because my focus is equally weighted between triathlons and bike racing. My plan was to use the first few spring criteriums to try to get in a little bit of L5 time in my legs (It's a long 6-month crit. season here is Oz).

Btw, I think you mentioned the importance of a 5MMP -> CP60 ratio a while ago in determining whether I need more headspace (V02MAX Int.). Based on today's ride, my 5MMP was 350W and my FTP is 270W, so a little under 80%.
From your experience, do i need to introduce VO2MAX Intervals into my weekly trainer sessions to see an increase in FTP?
 

daveryanwyoming

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So are you focused on earning upgrade points in crits or building your FTP for triathlons? Very hard to simultaneously focus on both and a big part of the reason behind periodization and breaking the year into build vs prep and racing phases.

But on the topic of FTP building, I wouldn't base your FTP to 5 minute power ratio and any thoughts of aerobic headroom off of numbers cherry picked from racing. It's very likely that whatever you held for five minute power yesterday, you're actually capable of more if you went out and tested it on a good day while reasonably fresh. It's very hard to hit your best possible effort during racing when you're fatigued from the surrounding efforts and need to be tactical enough not to get dropped.

If the emphasis is on FTP building I wouldn't run out and start doing VO2 Max efforts based on this ride alone. If the emphasis is on preparing for racing that will stress VO2 Max efforts then perhaps, and if the emphasis is on earning your final upgrade points in crits then I'd put more emphasis in your end game, race tactics and positioning and sprint. But you really shouldn't try to do it all at once and year round as they focus on different systems and you can't effectively train everything simultaneously so you have to pick and choose a bit which is what annual periodization is all about.

Good luck,
-Dave
 

Rider123

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I've signed up for my club hill climb ITT this weekend.
Theoretically, this sort of race should suit me a little better than the criteriums that I have been racing in.
It's a ~7km climb @ about 4.5% ave, the 1:20 for those in Melbourne.

I've done it a few times during the winter season and I have achieved a time of 17:30 with ~275 W. This was done at a perceived effort rate of about 8.5, with 2 full-water bottles + a saddle bag (~1.5 kg).
My aim is to try to go under 17 minutes in the ITT on Sunday and I was wondering whether by simply removing the 2 water bottles and saddle bag, I would be able to come in under 17 at 275W.

I will be targetting more like 280-285W on race day, but my primary question is how much saving does a 1.5kg reduction in weight have on a ~4.5% climb ITT?
 

RapDaddyo

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You can estimate the effect of each and all forms of resistance on speed here: http://www.analyticcycling.com/. A grade of 4.5% is enough to put gravity at the top of the list of resistances, but bike speed is fast enough that wind resistance and rolling resistance still matter. Be sure to ride tires with low rolling resistance. There is a surprising difference between tires. Personally, I like the Michelin Pro Race tires, but there are a few that are slightly better for rolling resistance. Bike Tech Review has some good data: http://www.biketechreview.com/. Obviously, wheels matter. I'd go with something like a 60mm deep dish on front and disc on back. And definitely try to stay in the TT aero position. I'd also keep one bottle, perhaps half-full. Even at 17 mins, you need hydration.