Competitive cycling requires preparation. But nowhere is that more true than with time-trial racing, which relies on pure speed rather than the ability to fight for space in the peloton.
But knowing how to approach time-trial training--(How long should your intervals be?; What should you focus on during your time-trial?; How do you become a faster athlete?)--can often make-or-break you race-day success.
Whether its Olympic coach Gale Bernhardt or cyling legend Mark Young, here are six cycling experts offering their insider tips on boosting your ability to master your time trials.
Cycling Time Trial Tip No.1: Start Slow
"Starting too hard: This is probably the most common mistake riders make during time trials. It can also be one that causes a significant amount of time loss.
"Work into the effort over the first minutes of the event. Avoid building excessive fatigue early in the race that will cause a necessary decrease in speed. You may never recover to hit your goal pace if you start too hard."
Cycling Time Trial Tip No.2: Focus
"If you can stay focused on pushing your body to the edge and recruiting all your muscles in your legs--not just the hamstrings and quads--then you can produce a peak performance. However, this is incredibly tough and you have to be physically and mentally ready to push yourself at your highest level for a fairly long period of time.
"If you can produce the same feelings in all of the leg muscles as you can in your quads, then you will be focused on recruiting those muscles and turning that into speed on the bike."
Cycling Time Trial Tip No.3: Don't Be a Drag
"For reducing pressure drag, consider:
- Keeping a bottle in the cage, as it's more aero than without
- Shoe covers
- Shaving your legs
- Filling the front tire gap at the rim
- A snug-fitting Lycra top
- A more aero helmet
- Gloves with Lycra backs
- A deep-section front rim
- Bladed spokes on the front wheel"