They don’t call time trialling, “The Race of Truth” for nothing; it is the most simple form of bike racing as it’s just you against the clock. They are great training sessions and often overlooked by many cyclists but they will help you improve as a cyclist.
There are many tips to help you save valuable seconds as you get more into them however I have listed some of the key ones below to help you get started!
This is crucial as your muscles need to be have blood in them and pumped ready for the start, if they are cold you will not be able to push them. The shorter the race the longer the warm up needed and should include some high cadence efforts along with some short race pace efforts. A good warm up will also make sure your heart rate is elevated before you start the race. A common mistake is not warming up before the start and then the HR goes up too quick meaning it is very difficult to settle into a rhythm.
This is so very important as if you go out too hard you will blow up! The idea is to go out at what you can hold for the entire race and ideally give it a little extra towards the end. This is something that takes time to perfect however with the introduction of power meters this has been made easier.
Your enemy on the bike is the wind so anything you can do to make you more aerodynamic will make you faster! There are many items you can buy to help you achieve this such as helmet, skin suit, overshoes etc however your position on the bike will make the most impact. The idea is to make your frontal area as small as possible but remember you have still got to be able to pedal!
Know the course
Its a good idea to try and ride the course before the event if possible to get an idea of the gradient, road surface, roundabouts etc as this will allow you to ride the course as hard as you can on the day. Its also worth checking the wind speed and direction on the day to know what section you may need to push harder.
Positive self talk
When racing a time trial there is no let up and you are on the limit for the entire race. You need to be mentally strong and have the ability to switch off from the pain. Visulisation and positive self talk can all help along with plenty of turbo sessions in training as they will help you get used to the constant force needed to be applied to the pedals. The turbo is also a great tool to improve your mental strength.
Good luck for your next time trial!