Learning To Time Trial

There's a Thursday night time trial series in Madison, and every year I do a few of them.  I also try to do a couple of the MATTS (Mid America Time Trial Series) time trials every year.  

I've typically done okay at them, but never great. I've never won my AG or category at a MATTS race.  There's always someone faster.

This year, I've decided to change that.  I'm putting a bigger focus on becoming a good time trialist.  No more just showing up with my ironman set up and doing the best I can.  This year I'm putting some real effort into it and trying to see if I can be more competitive.  I'm planning on doing about 7 or 8 of the MATTS races.  I want to win my category or AG (I race either Cat 4 or M35-39) in at least one of them, make the top 10 overall in at least one TT and break 55 minutes at the WI State Championship 40K.

To start, I've been tweaking my position on the bike.  Gone is my ironman set up.  I'm still working on my fit and making adjustments, but this is the first round of adjustments....

Big difference.

I've lowered the bars quite a bit and brought my arms closer together.  I need to head out for some aero field testing and make some tweaks, but this is a good starting point.

I've also changed my training a bit.  With no ironman on the schedule, I'm doing less volume on the bike and working in more VO2 Max work and anaerobic work.  

My first test came a few weeks ago at the Cherry Valley 20K TT.  I raced this one a few times when it was a 30K so I was familiar with the course and knew what to expect.  When I signed up I was feeling ambitious and I signed up to race twice - once in the Cat 4 division and again in the Masters 35-39 division.  My goal was to win Cat 4 and just do my best on my second TT.

Race day was tough.  It was in the low 40s and the winds were howling.  The course is an out and back (more out than back since the start and finish lines aren't in the same place) with the way out dead into the head wind.  

The winds were brutal.  I did my best to keep my head down and just focus on my power. I came into the turn around a little too fast and hit a slick spot in the road and locked up my rear wheel and slid sideways a bit.  Not smooth.  It didn't cost me a lot, maybe a few seconds, so that's something to work on for future TTs.  

The way back had a tailwind which sucked as well.  I was spinning out and my legs were burning.  It was definitely better than the headwind, but far from easy.  In the end, my power was lower than I wanted and my time wasn't close to what I originally thought I could do on that course.  But with the winds, I knew times would be slow so I had no idea how I placed.

Twenty minutes later I had my second TT and my legs were shot.  My power was down about 20 watts from my first TT and I finished more than a minute slower.  I didn't have any goals for that race so I hoped it was good enough to keep me out of last place.  

The results:

Very happy to see I won the Cat 4 division.
I was surprised to see I won Masters 35-39.  Small group.
I'm really happy with this first TT of the year.  I proved I can win the Cat 4 division, which is encouraging, but I was still well out of the top 10 overall.  They only listed the top 6 fastest, but I was nearly a minute slower so I have lots of work to do.  

The top 6 overall.


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