The time trial is often referred to as "the race of truth" and many even consider it to be an art form. The fact is that it takes a lot of hard training and mental fortitude to excel at the discipline. Below is a list of 10 common mistakes riders make when preparing for and racing time trials.
1. 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.
2. Not warming up hard enough: Simply spinning lightly before the start of a TT will not activate and properly warm up the energy systems you will call into play for the event. Be sure to do several efforts at Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (or about CP30 power) to ensure you are ready to go. As a general rule: The shorter the event the longer and harder the warmup should be.
3. Changing position or equipment too close to race day: This sounds obvious, but it's amazing how many riders neglect this rule. Train with the position and equipment you intend to race with. Have the final adjustments made at least several training sessions before the event.
4. Too high or too low a cadence during the event: Race with a comfortable cadence that you've been training with. Race day is not the time to experiment with cadences higher or lower than you've been working with in training.
5. Completing warmup efforts too long before start time: Attempt to finish your last hard warmup effort as close to start time as possible. Within 10 minutes is optimum. Make all the necessary preparations before so you can go right from your warmup to the start line.