How to race a Time Trial

A cautious start in a Time Trial is always optimal:
  • Keep an effect which is about 5% lower than your usual average wattage figures developed under similar conditions in the first 4-5 minutes.
This builds a stable heart beat and you get a good start without excessive lactic acid accumulation which can be fatal for the rest of your Time Trial. If you like conditions usually develops an average power of 300 watts, you need to keep a power consumption of approx. 285 watts in the first 4-5 minutes.

For shorter periods with hills or in headwind it is advantageous to increase the impact with about 5-10% than the average power consumption. You should reduce the impact at descent and in tailwind, instead of trying to keep a constant power consumption at all times.

Fabian Cancellara on his Spezialized S-works, a prototype Time Trial Bike designed to be used in the Tour de France 2009 by the Team Saxo BankIf you do not have a Watt Meter you can race Time Trials reading your pulse if you have a Pulse Meter. When you are completely recovered, you should be able to use the calculations from our Training Zone Calculator.
Remember that AT (Anaerobic Threshold) is the pulse you can stay for an hour without acid accumulate in your muscles.
If you race a 25 miles Time Trial and you expect to keep an average pace at 20-25 miles/hour throughout your Time Trial it ends up that you race for about 45-50 minutes which is less than an hour. Thus you should be able to maintain a higher average heart rate because you race less than an hour. Instead of the usualy 90% of your heart rate reserve that should be equivalent to your AT, you should be able to race at 92% or perhaps up to 94% on one of your good days.

Please note that your pulse does not show you how many watts you drive down into the pedals. If you have bad days, your heart rate will react differently than on a good day, even if you should be fully rested. On these days you need to race with less than the 90% to find a heart rate you can stay in every 45-50 minutes


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