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So you've landed here on my iWillNotBonk.com Triathlon Training Blog and you're probably wondering who the hell this Tavis guy is and what iWillNotBonk is all about.

I'm just an average age-grouper / weekend warrior blogging about Ironman Triathlon Training and this complex puzzle of juggling life, having fun and reporting on my various feats of strength and endurance adventures!

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“If you’ve abandoned your body, your body will abandon you.” – Ido Portal

As a coach, I have an opportunity to assess mobility and strength in the clients I work with. Clients want to be stronger, faster and perform at higher levels—but most are putting their progress behind by not addressing muscle weakness or imbalances. We can always discover something to optimize or fine-tune.

Moving well is a combination of learning the correct physical skill and troubleshooting the mobility that may be restricting proper movement. Then of course practicing to turn the correct patterns into a habit.

Over the years I’ve researched and collected an extensive library of strength tests and mobility assessments. Gray Cook’s Functional Movement Screen, or FMS, is a series of seven movements assessed and scored for mobility and stability. A modified version, limited to five movements, can easily be used for home testing. Keep in mind that FMS should never be used to predict or eliminate risk of injury. Seek out a qualified strength and conditioning specialist to administer the movement screen if possible.

Functional Movement Screen – Five Movements
Deep Squat
Hurdle Step
Inline Lunge
Active Straight Leg Raise
Seated Rotation

Detailed video guideline of the FMS Screen for home use:

Next Steps – Mobility Hacks

After years of learning from mentors and assessing individuals, it becomes more apparent that a couple of natural movement patterns will help troubleshoot the majority of mobility concerns. There are many methods of improving mobility and variety should be practiced above all, but the primitive squat and a dead hang are two of my favorites.

Primitive Squat

The primary limiters of good squat form are hip flexion, hip external rotation and ankle dorsiflexion range of motion. Progressing depth and length of time spent in a primitive squat as a relaxed position can greatly increase hip and ankle range of motion.

Stand straight with feet shoulder width, toes forward or slightly turned out.
Squat down while pushing hips back until you cannot go any lower. Modification for people with a lack of ankle mobility is to place a block approximately 2 inches in height under the heels.
Maintain a straight spine.
Lower both arms to the inside of your legs in a prayer position. Your elbows can be used to leverage against the inner thighs for additional groin work.
Hold the position for a period of 30 seconds up to 30 minutes.

This is a resting sustainable pose with progression in mind. Start with several short sessions of 2 minutes at a time. Increase until you can achieve 30 minutes. Combine the time spent practicing your primitive squat with existential activities like meditation or practical activities such as brushing your teeth. After one week you should notice an improvement of ankle mobility and less tightness of the shin. After two weeks you may notice reduced back tension and better hip mobility. 30 days of practicing a deep primitive squat can change your posture and improve your athletic performance.

Hang for Upper Mobility Health

Our first world lives are comprised of a lot of sitting or standing in a rounded position which closes off the chest and strains the cervical vertebrae. This can lead to permanent imbalances. Rounding of the spine overextends shoulder and back muscles, particularly the trapezius, which connects the neck and shoulders.

In his book, Shoulder Pain? The Solution & Prevention, Dr. John M. Kirsch, an orthopedic surgeon, says that 99% of shoulder pain can be cured and prevented by simply hanging from a bar. While hanging, the space between the acromion and the head of the humerus opens up, potentially relieving any impingement of the rotator cuff tendons.

Use a pull up bar, and start with 10 seconds of hanging, working progressively towards a full minute during the first week. The second week, add additional sets of 30 to 60 seconds. Over a period of one month try to achieve 7 minutes while adding variations of passive and active hanging. Hanging will increase your strength but the primary purpose is mobility gains.

Net – Positive Results

Clients looking for performance gains and better quality of life through improved mobility should invest 20-30 minutes daily on a variety of mobilization techniques. A small investment in your mobility will provide an outcome of greater execution and faster recovery between workout sessions.

The post Is Your Strength or Mobility Holding you Back? appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

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With so much emphasis on weight and more recently aerodynamics, we often overlook another major force component that riders must overcome to propel the bike forward: rolling resistance.

When we first created Best Bike Split we took in as much data as we could find to create some standard baseline coefficient of rolling resistance (Crr) values based on the typical tire types and sizes of the time. We also provided a way for users to input known values if they had them to help make the model more accurate.

In the subsequent years tire manufactures have come a long way in making faster tires, common tire widths have expanded, and we have branched into modeling some new types of non-road races.

Best Bike Split was past due for an update to the system, so we have recently “rolled” out some changes to help fine tune Crr settings, as well as highlight the impact of various tire rolling resistance value changes to overall performance and expected finish times on race day.

To explain the process we went through on these updates, I want to first discuss why rolling resistance is important, talk about a company that is helping to standardise the way we look at tire data, and look at some case studies to highlight just what this means for athletes in real world scenarios.

Coefficient of Rolling Resistance

To get insight into what Crr is let’s first dive into the great force equation of cycling. The illustration below simplifies the concept but the key takeaways are that anything you can do to lower the forces against you will help you go faster for the same amount of power or maintain speed for a lower power output.

rolling resistance

So what exactly is Rolling Resistance? It is simply the friction between your tires and the road. The greater the friction, the slower you will go. Poor road conditions, lower quality tires and tubes, rider weight, and speed all contribute to adding friction and thus slow you down. Tire pressure also plays an important role, but like tire quality and road conditions it is baked into a single parameter called coefficient of rolling resistance (Crr).

To help understand just how these variables impact rolling resistance we will dive into the actual equation:

rolling resistance

Notations:

𝒈
Gravity

G
Gradient of Road

Wkg
Weight in Kilograms (Rider+Bike)

Crr
Coefficient of Rolling Resistance

𝒗
Velocity

It’s easy to get lost in the notations above, but what’s really important is that the Power needed to overcome the friction increases linearly with speed. The faster you go the more power you will have to produce.

The chart below shows how much power is needed just to overcome this force as speed increases using a typical rider weight of 160 lbs with an 18 lb bike and general Crr for a properly pressured Continental 4000s II tire with butyl tubes over average flat road conditions.

As shown above for the typical speeds that athletes ride, rolling resistance can make up a significant portion of the required power output, but how do you make a knowledgeable choice when selecting tires and modeling race plans?

Tire Data to the Rescue

With bicycling aerodynamics we are starting to see more and more standardized testing and reporting; however tire manufactures don’t seem to have a standard rolling resistance test nor do they often report numbers to consumers.

Originally, we gathered up as much data as we could find and ran it through a machine learning model to determine the key characteristics (assuming relatively optimal tire pressure) that drove differences in Crr values. The results based on the data we had were that tire width, tire type, and tube type were significant and we developed baselines off the resulting equations.

The data showed that wider tires were generally better, clinchers had caught up or surpassed many tubular tires, and that latex tubes were significantly better than butyl.

In the past five years since our original modeling, tires have gotten wider, tubeless tires have gotten better, and new materials have helped drop the Crr of tires considerably.

The dilemma was that we did not have adequate data to rerun our original analysis. Luckily a company aptly named bicyclerollingresistance.com saw the same issues we did and stepped in to help. Their site gives consumers an insight into tire data not formally available, along with some real world impact in terms of watt savings for their specific test setup.

Based on what they have done we have adjusted the way we model Crr to adhere to their reporting standard. If you are using a tire they have tested you can simply look up your tire in their comparison chart, select your tire if available, and find your Crr value from the Rolling Resistance Test Results table (example below).

rolling resistance

Once you input this value into your BBS bike Crr settings, we can take the power analysis to a new level by showing the real world impact of that rolling resistance change for an athlete on race day and the impact of changing Crr within a race plan using our Time Analysis Tool.

What’s the Real World Impact?

rolling resistance

Quickly jumping back to the equation we know that weight and Crr impact rolling resistance, but just how much is one worth versus the other? To answer that question we need to do some quick analysis.

The chart below assumes a fixed Crr of .00387, fixed speed of 20 mph and a standard 18 lb bike setup. By varying weight we can see the direct impact it has on the power needed to overcome rolling resistance friction.

rolling resistance

Now if we fix weight and speed and vary Crr from a very good tire value to a poor tire value we can see the impact from Crr changes. Below we have plotted the results for riders of three different sizes all with a standard 18 pound bike setup.

Weight obviously matters quite a bit; however, there is something to remember about equations that are linear. The final force impact will be the same based on percentage reduction in either Crr or weight. With current tire advancements it’s easy to find a 25 percent or even a 50 percent reduction in Crr, but a 25 percent reduction in weight is much harder!

So what this means is that if we are just isolating the variables to consider as they relate to rolling resistance, then Crr and speed are the major components. Luckily this information is finally becoming readily available and for a relatively low cost per watt savings, and anyone can take advantage on race day.

There are of course other reasons to not always go with the fastest tire. You may also consider puncture avoidance, longevity or specific training tires, but to really show the impact, we look at two examples: one from the World Tour and a famous one from IRONMAN.

In a Matter of Seconds

At the Pro Tour level, athletes ride extremely fast! This is especially true during Individual Time Trials. What is also important is how close times can be between the top contenders, not just for individual stages but for the entirety of a Grand Tour.

After thousands of kilometers and 89 hours of racing, the 2018 Giro de Italia was decided by just 46 seconds with Chris Froome winning over Tom Dumoulin. These results emphasize the importance of every second out on course.

Before the final time trial stage of the Giro, we modeled Tom Dumoulin’s performance using estimates of his aero position and power. Looking at his equipment we already knew he was riding an extremely fast rolling resistance tire, but now we could play what if scenarios against the best tested tire.

In this case we look at the Vittoria Corsa Speed Tubular tested at .00297 Crr vs. their Tubeless version measured at .00249. The analysis shows a 10 second benefit which at those speeds is equivalent to 4 watts of savings! That might not sound like a lot but when grand tours are won or lost by less than a minute, those seconds can make a big difference.

rolling resistance

While this may not be an entirely fair comparison due to tires having to match the sponsored rim types etc, it does clearly show the significant impact rolling resistance can have even on the highest end tires.

Bit by the Gator

There are some famous stories about the great American ITU and IRONMAN triathlete Andy Potts racing the world championship course on Continental Gatorskin tires. By all accounts and reviews these tires are excellent in many ways and as the name implies they rarely, if ever, flat; however, they are not known for having great rolling rolling resistance.

In fact in testing they tend to test on the very low end compared to Continental’s own GP 4000s and newer TT series tire offerings. So how did this choice effect Potts’ time and more importantly how would it impact an age grouper?

Because the vast majority of age groupers ride slower than pros, and we know the power required to overcome rolling resistance increases with speed we will focus the analysis on a Kona age group performance.

If we assume an age group athlete averaging 200 watts with a moderately aggressive aero positioning and CdA (drag coefficient) using 2017’s ideal weather conditions and vary the tire rolling resistance, we can find the time gains that are possible based on tire selection.

Tire
Crr
Time
Time Gain

Gatorskin
.00606
5:16:45
0:00

Gran Prix 4000s II
.00387
5:05:43
11:02

Gran Prix TT
.00315
5:02:15
14:30

So while the difference from the very good all around Conti 4000s to the shorter race specific TT tire might not be worth the potential for flatting, it is clearly obvious that having a high rolling resistance training or all weather tire will cause a significant time disadvantage.

For fun we looked at the impact of what the best clincher / tube combination (Gran Prix TT with Latex Tubes) would have been for Lionel Sanders’ time last year. While we don’t think this combination would be worth the puncture risk when the margin of victory of Lange over Sanders at Kona was only two minutes and 42 seconds, some athletes might be willing to take the gamble!

In short, your tire selection can make a big difference. By testing out different scenarios of both rolling resistance, weather, average power and more, you can be better prepared to have your best race.

Don’t let an easy fix like tire selection cost you on race day. Sign up for Best Bike Split today for free and get your race day plan dialed in.

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Results:

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 4:48:06
2 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
3 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors

Stage 5 of this year’s Tour de France was the first foray into the hilly terrain of the Brittany countryside. It was never going to be an easy day, with categorized category 3 and 4 climbs, and a massive number of smaller bergs to tackle throughout the route. With many of the climbs lasting around 1.5-3km in length and with a solid uphill finish, this route might remind you of a mini Amstel Gold circuit.

We have the privilege of looking at an in-depth analysis of two Mitchelton-Scott GreenEdge riders, Damien Howson and Mathew Hayman. Both riders played a part of their team’s plan to keep team leader Adam Yates out of trouble.

Rider Analysis: Matthew Hayman

mathew hayman

Finish Position: 135th +7:52
Click HERE to view the file

We’ll start with a detailed look at the efforts of Mathew Hayman on the first half of stage 5. He spent the start of the stage chaperoning his team leaders around the peloton and using his experience to maintain position at the head of affairs.

The opening 5km of today’s stage was the hardest to date, as the bunch was not willing to let the early break go too far up the road. In the opening 2 ½km the bunch averaged 53.5kph, and Mathew had to average 512w, 6.18w/kg just to keep on the wheels. This initial surge of power at the very start of the stage would have been a big wake up call to the legs, foreshadowing some intense riding later in the stage.

After this fast start, the peloton backed off to a steadier tempo, settling for controlling the time to the break, and some calm was restored to the bunch.

First Hour of stage

Avg Power – 217w, 2.62w/kg
N. Power – 292w, 3.60w/kg

Around the 100km mark the pace kicked back up as the BMC-led peloton began to reduce the deficit to the break. This also signaled the start of the early climbs, most around 4min in length and taken at a consistent tempo effort of 5w/kg by Matthew. Here is a breakdown on the early climbs that the riders faced on the approach to the final

km 106: côte de Kaliforn, cat. 4, 7.1%

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Time
Avg. Power
Power:Weight
Avg HR

3:55
452W
5.46W/kg
158bpm

km 113: côte de Trimen, cat. 4. 5.6%

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Time
Avg. Power
Power:Weight
Avg HR

3:58
452W
5.46W/kg
158bpm

km 140.5: côte de la Roche du Feu, cat. 3. 6.6%

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Time
Avg. Power
Power:Weight
Avg HR

4:36
445W
5.37W/kg
169bpm

Keep in mind the efforts between the hills were not easy either, with some fast racing to keep to the fore and avoid any potential crashes. As the efforts start to ramp up, the stress starts to become apparent. Overall it was a hard day for Matthew, with a final TSS sore of 386 for the stage. With a normalized power of 334w, 4.12w/kg for nearly 5hrs, these punchy climbs had a real impact on the body.

Matthew kept close contact to the head of the bunch throughout most of the stage until the climb of Cote De La Chapelle De La Lorette with around 12km to go. At this point his job was done and it was up to others keep Adam Yates out of trouble in the technical run into the finish.

Rider Analysis: Damien Howson

damien howson

Finish Position: 61st +1:01
Click HERE to view the file

The final part of the stage was extremely fast with the climbs coming in quicker succession. The pace reached full pitch as the last of the break were caught in the final 20km to the finish. Damien was part of the leading group right up until the final kilometer, when his job was done successfully. (At that point Yates was positioned well with the front bunch).

The pace continued through the longer climbs with an effort still around 5.5w/kg average for Damien on the cat 3 bergs. What is noticeable is that his peak 1-2min efforts really increased in the final 40km of the stage.

If we look at these intensive efforts, we can see that the short steep ramps on both the categorized and uncategorized climbs were very hard. On the climb to the bonus sprint with around 12km to go, Damien kicked out an effort lasting 1:38min at 478w, 7.18w/kg. And this was after a similar effort on a short climb before, where he set his peak 1 minute power for the day at 520w, 7.81w/kg.

Between the climbs, we can see around 8-10 spikes of power between 20-50sec, going up to an average of around 350w (5.26w/kg) and a max of around 800w (12w/kg). With these ‘spikes’ littering his final push to hold position on the flat prior the climbs, and then a combined effort of 4min+ sustained powers around 5.5-6w/kg, this would have been a very taxing section.

We can also see the pace within the bunch at this point was very high. In the 1.5km before hitting climb to the finish, Damien averaged 368w, 5.53w/kg, and maxed out at 793w, 11.92w/kg sitting at an average speed of 45kph.

All of this was done prior to the final uphill kick to the line and after nearly 5hrs of racing. These final punches (up to 10w.kg+) in the run to the line would have really taken a toll on anyone who was already suffering. This is clear from the final results, as we see a scatter of riders finishing anywhere from 2-17min down on the leader. No doubt there will be some serious fatigue as the riders hit more sustained climbs in the upcoming stages.

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Whether you just started your coaching business or you are an established coach with dozens of athletes, there is always more to learn about growing and sustaining your coaching business. With so many marketing tools out there like Google Adwords, it can be difficult to know what your business might benefit from the most and where you should put your time and money.

Adwords is a powerful tool that you may want to consider to reach targeted audiences through the power of search, display, and video ads. This article should help you understand how Adwords works and how you might be able to take advantage of the tool as an endurance sports coach.

What is Adwords?

In the simplest terms, Google Adwords is a paid digital advertising tool that allows you to deliver ads to targeted audiences using search, display, and video. If you have ever used Google to search, watched a video on YouTube, or visited any number of websites, it’s almost a certainty that you have seen ads generated by marketers using Google Adwords.



Why should endurance coaches think about using Adwords?

The real power of Adwords comes from the massive amount of data Google has access to through its many products and tools. That allows you to directly target your advertising to the athletes you think are most likely to be interested in your services.

Do you specialize in coaching local, middle-aged triathletes attempting their first IRONMAN? Are you more interested in attracting competitive marathoners trying to reach the next level? Or maybe you want to reach parents of youth athletes in your area dipping their toes into endurance sports?

With the power of audience targeting, you can find creative ways to communicate with your future athletes where they already are, and tell them about why your coaching business is right for them.

What types of ads does Adwords offer?

There are three primary types of ads that Google Adwords offers that might work for endurance coaches. Let’s take a look at each one:

Search

Every time you search using Google, there is a good chance you see “sponsored” ads at the top of your search results. Those ads appear based on the search terms you used and the demographic information Google has collected (for example, your location, age, gender, and interests).

Display

These ads display on websites and apps external to Google through the Google Display Network, which Google claims reaches “90 percent of internet users worldwide.” Display ads have the potential to include more visual content compared to many search ads and can extend to specific websites that your potential customers might be visiting.

Video

You can also use Adwords to target customers on YouTube. You can set up your video ad to run before other YouTube videos or appear in YouTube search results. Of course, you will need existing video content to use video ads.

How much does Adwords cost?

Just like many of the other features in Google Adwords, you have a lot of control over how much or little you pay. However, that means that there are a lot of potential decisions to be made concerning your budget, and that can be overwhelming to the Adwords beginner.

Available payment strategies may vary depending on what type of advertising you choose, but search advertising revolves around bidding for ad placement based on keywords. In other words, as you decide on your ad and audience parameters, you will also set a budget and bid against other advertisers to get your ad placed. Then, if your customer makes a desired action specified by you (seeing the ad, clicking on a video, clicking to your website and taking a specific action) then you pay for the ad.

There can be a lot more complexity to optimizing your ad bids well, but the good news is that Google has several way to automatically optimize bids for you. As you become more familiar with the tool you may want to experiment more and take more control.

Is Adwords right for my coaching business?

Adwords is an extremely powerful tool, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for every business. Before jumping into building your first campaign, consider your goals and whether targeted online ads make sense.

Do you have specific, measurable growth goals you are trying to reach? Would you accept any new athlete or are you trying to reach a subset of athletes specific to your coaching style? Are you ready to expand your business to entirely new audiences? Do you have a web experience that clearly explains who you are as a coach and provides an easy way for athletes to reach out to you?

Based on your goals, Adwords might be right for your business.

Where do I start?

There are countless advertising strategies and subtleties to take advantage of using Adwords, which can make it difficult to know where to start. Here are a few ideas that might work well for your coaching business:

Keyword search. This is the “bread and butter” of Adwords advertising. Consider your business and coaching goals, and then set up a campaign to reach your desired audience. For example, a coach specializing in local, female, first-time triathletes could target women in a 50-mile radius, aged 24-55, making between $75,000 and $150,000 a year, and interested in fitness. Then, whenever someone in that group searches terms such as “triathlon training” or “how to run an IRONMAN,” you could bid to have your ad appear in the search results.
Remarketing. Remarketing is a powerful way to advertise to individuals who have already interacted with your website. By installing a remarketing tag on your website, Adwords will have the capability to serve ads to athletes who have already visited, but not converted on your website.
Use existing content. Think about content you may already have and use it to your advantage. For example, if you have an active YouTube channel full of fitness tutorials, explore video marketing. If you keep up with regular blog posts about specific issues, target your desired athlete searching for instruction related to those issues.
Get certified. As you become more experienced with Adwords, you might consider taking free courses in Google’s Academy for Ads. With a variety of courses ranging from business basics to bid optimization, you will improve your marketing skills and earn your Adwords certification in no time.

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Find out how the teams train, and see files from the 2018 Tour de France here!

One of the most beautiful things about watching the Tour de France, or cycling in general really, is that it comes in all shapes and sizes. There are moments when the climbers, aka “the mountain goats” seem to defy gravity, racing to the top of the mountain…or they’re getting shelled out the back on a crosswind stage. Sometimes it’s the bigger, more powerful sprinters that are dominating. Other times, it’s the courageous breakaway that steals the limelight and races for the win. But what about the time trialists? Where do they shine and what are the specifics of their preparation for the race?

Contre-le-montre: What is it?

The individual time trial or, as the French call it, the race against the watch, is racing mano a mano! It is a cycling event where each rider rides the same course, setting off individually at time intervals so that they don’t get the aerodynamic advantage of riding with other riders. In fact, drafting behind a rider is banned. The rider who completes the course in the lowest accumulated time is the winner of the race.

The team time trial is a little different in that all 8 riders of each time start together and the time of the team is taken on the 4th rider crossing the finish line. Riders need to work together to optimize their speed and aerodynamics. Keep in mind that it’s up to 30% easier riding behind another rider.

Every Year is Different at the Tour de France

On July 7, the Tour de France will start in the town of Noirmoutier-en I’Île (oui oui, that’s quite a mouthful!) With an early team time trial (stage 3) the role of the time trialist at the Tour de France will be a little different than usual. Rather than standout individual riders, teams hoping to contest the GC will need power for the TTT, and strong support men for their GC riders through the flatter stages and mountains. They’ll be hoping to get as much of a time buffer as possible for their GC contender before the race’s last stage, which is an individual time trial.

Individual Time Trial

In the individual time trial it is important for the rider to have a high FTP (what is FTP?) and a great power:CdA ratio (more on this later!). Coming at the end of the Tour de France this year and after a massive 200km stage in the mountains of the Pyrenees the day before, there will be quite a lot of fatigue in the legs of the riders going into the individual time trial. This fatigue places a great restriction of the performance being at FTP with very limited physical contribution above this.

How to Train for an ITT

Raising that FTP is crucial to perform well here, combined with being able to ride in a position of low aerodynamic drag. Two sessions that I prescribe for my riders preparing for an ITT are:

FTP efforts – 4x12mins at 95-105% of FTP with 6mins recovery between each effort.

FTP touch session – 2x20mins with 4 x (3mins at 88-90% of FTP/2mins at 105% of FTP)/10mins recovery between each effort. This is designed to help reinforce the rider’s ability to hold aerodynamic position while under load. By backing off the intensity a little, you create more bandwidth for the rider to really emphasize holding their optimal aerodynamic position at pace.

Team Time Trial

The physiological demands and the training for a rider in the TTT are much more dynamic than an ITT. Instead getting up to FTP and holding steady power, it is required for the rider to push the limits of their VO2 system some 20% higher than their FTP for 30-60sec as they take their turn pulling the team. When they re-enter the paceline they’ll get 3-4 minutes at a sub-threshold aerobic range, which is a chance for them to recover before the next strenuous effort. Not every great TTT rider is as good an individual TT rider. These guys are more suited for  dynamic output, as opposed to the steady delivery of the individual event.

It is no fluke that we consistently see the same teams at the top of a TTT result sheet. Team Sky, Mitchelton-Scott, Team BMC and Sunweb are the top dogs—and they should be, since they invest the most resources into the event. The team time trial is like the Formula 1 portion of professional bike racing. It’s where the top teams show their scientific prowess and investment (or the lack thereof). These teams have the obvious manpower lining up, but behind the scenes they have also invested the most in the way of the aerodynamics of the riders, bikes and all of the equipment, as well coaching setup to hone the craft.

How to Train for a TTT

However, having a high FTP is still a component of this performance, so training efforts would be done to build that threshold. For more race specific preparation, I would give a rider a session such as this:

2x20min being: 5 x (1min at 120% of FTP/3min at 85% of FTP) with 10mins recovery between each effort.

Alternatively, if you have a few mates out riding with you, start swapping off riding as hard as you can for 20mins or so!

Aerodynamics

Back when I was racing the World Time Trial Championships 15 years ago, I wouldn’t have classified my time trial bike as cutting edge. It had never seen a wind tunnel and weighed around 22lbs (10kgs)! Yet I managed to sneak into the top 10. The technological development of bicycle and equipment aerodynamics in these past years have now progressed so far that I would have finished many minutes behind the top tier using that same equipment. We are now in the age of the “super-bikes”!

When a bike race is going uphill, we are focused on watts per kg—how many watts the rider can put out relative to their weight. This metric works because gravity is the greatest resistance going uphill. But in a time trial, we are analyzing watts:CdA (aerodynamic drag) as this is the greatest resistive force to the rider going fast on flatter roads. In fact, in a highly biomechanically compromised (but aerodynamic) position, the rider will often go faster even with compromised power.

Pacing

Correct pacing is essential in executing your fastest time against the clock. We now have tools at our disposal to measure physiological range, equipment options, the course, and even weather during the event. Literally millions of data points can be computed to produce an optimal pacing strategy. By utilizing the BestBikeSplit program, we are able to prescribe how the rider should apply their power during different segments of the course to produce their fastest time. When can they hold back and recover a little? When do they have to push hard to maximize their time gains? When do they really need to focus on being super-aero? The riders will start the race with this information in their mind and will use their experience and feel on the course to execute this pacing as optimally as possible.

Performance is Multifaceted

As you can see, a lot of work goes into executing your best time trial. The correct physical preparation is important, but crucially so is optimizing aerodynamics and pacing strategies. Stay tuned during the Tour de France for some analysis of the time trial events.

 

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The post How Tour de France Riders Coordinate The Perfect Time Trial appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

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