Thursday, August 16, 2007

Happy Talk meets the TT course

Ok, my last post was a bunch of happy talk about how I was so much more aero since I'd improved my position, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Numbers are interesting, but the subtitle of this blog is 'Notes on my attempt to ride a bike faster,' not 'Notes on my attempt to prove mathematically that I have a better aero factor.'

So -- today I did a time trial.

A little background:
I started training for races in April '06. For the first 6 months, I didn't own a power meter, but I wanted to track my training progress. So I established a little 6-mile out-and-back hilly time trial and ran it hard every few weeks. In early '06 my times were in the 17:30 range. I made a May goal to do the TT course in 16 minutes by the end of the season (September 2006). I worked hard, but the best time I could muster in '06 was 16:29 (21.4 mph). I was sort of ill with myself for setting an unrealistic goal - in retrospect, I thought, 60 seconds improvement on a 6-mile course was not realistic.

This year I have a power meter, so I didn't need the TT course to monitor my form. Also, my favorite races, Rome, Dahlonega, and Augusta would have a TTT, an uphill TT, and a 2-mile prologue, so I didn't work on my time trialing much this year. In May, when I thought my form was good and I'd go out and crush my pitiful '06 TT efforts, I ran my TT course and turned in a 16:45. Damn - 15 seconds off last year's best. I pretty much stopped using the course after that.

I tried the course again today. I knew I was more aero, but I was skeptical that I could maintain adequate power in my new TT position to go very much faster, particularly on a short, hilly track like my test course.

Well it turns out that I'm faster -- a LOT faster. I did the course in 15:29 (22.9 mph) in a slight breeze. That's a minute over last year's best, which was run when I was fresh - I'm not even fresh this week. That gives me real world proof that all my efforts are paying off and I'm getting faster.

Am I faster because I'm more powerful or am I faster because I'm more aero - probably both, but who cares - I'm faster, that's all that matters.

I'm now eager to work hard this winter in my new TT position and kill my personal best time in the Tundra Time Trial on the Silver Comet in February.