3 Tips to Shave Time Off Your Next Time Trial

In Part I we discussed general preparation for a time trial (TT), the basic attributes of a good time trialist, training strategies and how to pace. Part II will touch on better bike position, specific equipment to shave seconds and tricks to use during the effort that will buy you more time. In Part III, we'll discuss advanced training tips.

For this discussion we'll assume that you have the following pieces of equipment:

  1. A bike specific for time trials (or tri-bike).
  2. A one piece, zip-up skin suit (fits like a second skin). It can be either short or long sleeved.
  3. Aerodynamic helmet and shoe covers.
  4. Heart rate monitor and cyclocomputer (wireless preferred).

More: Buying Time: Which Aero Equipment Offers the Most Benefits?

Optional equipment:

  1. Full disc rear wheel (or wheel cover) and a deep rim profile front wheel.
  2. TT specific tires.

Assume the Position

Your head is the largest obstacle keeping you from aerodynamic efficiency when you've achieved a good TT position on the bike. You want a position that will let air flow over your aero helmet and then over your back. If your head is raised above the level of the back, efficient aerodynamics will be altered and your position will be ineffective.

Think in terms of your car: The hood of the car is the top of your helmet and the roof of the car is your back. You need to get your head tucked as low as possible to keep it out of the wind.

More: 10 Common Time Trial Mistakes

It's also important to be as "thin" as possible—and this has nothing to do with your body weight. Being "thin" means that your elbows are as close together as possible as they rest on the elbow cups of the aerobar extensions. The "thinner" you are, the less drag you'll create.

The key to an efficient position is finding a balance between being able to generate the power you need to go fast for an hour while still maintaining comfort on the bike. The more flexibility you have, the easier it'll be to maintain aerodynamic tuck. If your back is in pain or your neck hurts because of the position, it'll likely affect your speed.

More: 3 Elements of Faster Time Trialing

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About the Author

Dan Dodson

Dan Dodson is a USAC Category 3 road racer and a USAC level 3 coach. Dan was the Category 3 2010 American Bicycle Association Time Trial State Champion and a two-time podium finisher at the Tour of Galena. For more information about Dan, visit him at EternalCat3.com

Dan Dodson is a USAC Category 3 road racer and a USAC level 3 coach. Dan was the Category 3 2010 American Bicycle Association Time Trial State Champion and a two-time podium finisher at the Tour of Galena. For more information about Dan, visit him at EternalCat3.com

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