Smashing TT Club Championships, acheivable goal or not?

Hi fellow Sufferlandrians,

A member new to the SUF fold here, and thought I’d get some training input from this seemingly excellent forum.

I have identified my Mt. Sufferlandria to be the TT Club Championships, which is the discipline where I leave myself the highest likelihood of stepping onto the podium (or ultimately winning if the club World Tour pro is not participating). However, I just want a reality check on whether the goal may be realistic or if I am overreaching here.

A bit of background:
Not new to cycling, and feel I have become a fairly experienced cyclist. Annual distance last year and this year approx 7500 km, just below 300h. Have not followed any structured training plans over time before; some periods of intense high volume training, and some periods with hardly any training at all depending on life situation.

Did my Full Frontal approx. a week ago, and ended up as a time triallist with sustained efforts strength and sustained weakness (confusing, but got some sort of understanding reading the forum). My numbers were as follows:
NM=1321w (15.4w/kg)
AC=568w (6.6 w/kg)
MAP=433w (5 w/kg)
FTP=331w (3.85 w/kg)
Having recently done a 60 min all out effort (332w) and all out PR on a 5 min hill a couple of months ago, I had very good numbers to go by for pacing strategy on MAP and FTP.

Back to my goal;
it is a 21 km TT course, 107 m elevation. This year I had no goal or expectations other than doing my best, and managed to complete in 29:10 averaging 300w (do not have numbers for NP), having done 170km (incl. signpost sprints and whatnot) the day before.
Goal: Completing the course sub 27 mins in June 2021.
I realize that is a huge leap in performance. To accomplish that goal, I reckon my FTP needs to increase to at least 360w, i.e. a 9% increase, and at the same time reduce body weight. The last few years I have been 87-90 in season, and 90+ off season. Unfortunately I love snacks and sweets, but having focused on cutting this, my current weight is down 4 kg to 85.7 kg over the last couple of months. With consistent training and still keeping away from sweets, I expect 80 kg could be acheivable within the next 6 months without any specific diet, leaving me an FTP of approx 4.5 w/kg.

Back to the question then; are these acheivable goals? Ambitious, yes, but crossing the border to unrealistic?

I have been contemplating which training plan to select, but with the recent announcement of Tour of Sufferlandria, I am thinking I could do a TOS prep plan and TOS as a start, a new FF, then move on to start either All-Purpose Road or Time Trial plan on the 28th of February, which on completion most likely leaves a couple of weeks to the TT. Timewise I reckon intermediate APR or Novice TT plan is what I can aim to manage. Any thoughts on how to approach this?

Sorry for making my debut post such a long one, appreciate input from experienced Sufferlandrians.

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I think only you can conclude whether those goals are achievable or not, but a few thoughts come to mind as I read your post…

  • as someone who lost a bunch of weight 10 years ago or so, it’s totally doable as long as it is truly “extra weight”. Drive positive and healthy food and lifestyle choices (i.e., the Process) instead of focusing on the scale (i.e., the Outcomes)
  • look into The Sufferfest Mental Training Program. Follow the program, but I see the goal setting section being essential for you to master
  • focus on your goal but don’t hesitate to make it a 1-2 year time horizon. Putting everything into this year could be risky, as things happen (like 2020! :cry:). Better to work hard but be flexible with outcomes, which are out of your control.
  • consider the Tour of Sufferlandria like a training camp. A boost in training load and a launching off point into your pre-season training planning.

Good luck!

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I am trying to loose a little weight as well.

After a bit of reading, I have come to the conclusion that portion control is a big key to moderate weight loss assuming you have a basically healthy diet.

The key to that is eating slowly because the “full signal” to the brain lags behind when you are actually full. In this way, you do not have to completely give up pleasure foods. Of course, that is easier said than done.

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Hey @Magnito I would say that it is certainly achievable. I achieved a 12% improvement in my time on a 20km loop within 4 months and I was only halfway through the All Purpose Road plan at the time. I also lost 4kg over that period by cutting down on carbs and cutting out breakfast. Clearly not doing a 170km ride the day before would help your TT time.

You should also check this post out: From the Coaches: Pacing for Performance It would indicate that your FTP is fine and timing your effort is the key to success (along with nobbling the club World Tour pro of course)

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Thanks for the feedback.
Since posting, I have given it a bit of thought, and by having a plan and being able to follow it, I believe I have the potential to achieve the goals.

  • I would say that I am focusing on the process by making good choices, and I avoid looking at the scale too frequently. Still, I’d want to verify I am on track though.
  • Have already decided I will look into the MTP
  • I realize it might be hard acheiving my goal this year, but if I do not try I will never know. By doing status checks on progress along the way, this year’s goal may be revised and original goal possibly postponed.
  • My thoughts exactly :wink:

Thank you!

Yeah, the eating slow part is something I am not particularly good at, working on it though. Eating slower, chew more, and not necessarily smaller portions but an increased share of veggies.

And yeah, definitely easier said than done. Trying to stay motivated by the fact that if I manage to shed approx 1/3 of my body fat (still leaving me above 15% BF) it is mission accomplished.

Thanks for the support @genolan. Yeah, I’d drop such a ride one day prior this year. Thinking that going into the race using the FF prep plan may be a good idea.

Will make sure to check out the link! I think pacing may actually be one of my strengths if considering the effort in my first FF. The key was having approximate power targets to aim for, and likewise it would be for the TT; knowing your metrics and having a plan.

I think if you eat slowly, the smaller portion sizes follow. You will feel full sooner. If you take too much on your plate, you will wind up not eating all of it. You will not want to waste food, so you will start to take smaller portions.

I see no reason to disagree with that. I just tend to forget about this until I have nearly finished my meal. Still, filling up with vegetables I have no problem with.

Different strategies may work for different people. If you are hungry, eating slow is not always easy to remember, and another strategy could be to start off with smaller portions and deliberately wait a bit longer prior to having a second serving which with the waiting may not be a second serving after all.

Anyways, for myself I feel I am on the right track with healthy eating habits. A bit anxious to see how my self-restraint holds up through the festive season, but believe some positive thinking will get me through.

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Hi @Magnito! Sounds like you’re off to a good start! There are many good suggestions already, and you seem to be on the right track. With specific regard to TT performance, it’s important to consider any differences in the power output that you can produce in the TT position (but sounds like you help 300W in your 30-minute effort), and then your ability to exceed your FTP power and sustain that level during a TT effort. Generally, we usually see folks being able to hold 5-10% higher than their 1 hour power (FTP) for a 20 to 30 minute race effort. Keep in mind that there’s not a linear increase in power demand for a linear increase in speed or reduction in time…so a 10% increase in power will yield only about a 3% increase in speed. With that in mind, reducing your drag (aerodynamic, drivetrain, and tire rolling resistance) are other areas where you can gain a bit based on equipment used (low RR tires with latex tubes; aero helmet, skinsuit, low friction bearings & chain treatments, etc.) and position changes to improve aerodynamics. If you averaged 300W to go 40 km/hr (30 minutes for 20km) and changed nothing it would take 387W to go 44 km/hr (27 minutes for 20km)…so you’re of course going to want to gain fitness, but also look to save power with aero and drag gains. There’s a nice calculator at: https://www.gribble.org/cycling/power_v_speed.html to compare some different values. Hope that helps!

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Thank you very much for sharing your great insight Coach. Unfortunately you make it sound somewhat harder than I was hoping for. Still, my mind has gradually set on this goal now, and I don’t really feel like dropping it just yet.

Power produced in TT position may be one of the key elements. I need to spend more time there to truly get comfy. Unfortunately I tend to find it harder to get comfy on my trainer than outside, but that could definitely be a matter of tuning the set up and position. Believe the yoga sessions I have started will help me here too.

Working on my 30 min power will be essential. I think I am currently capable of going approx 5-6% beyond FTP for the required time, but there is definitely room for improvement. Although I have been properly exhausted from these efforts, I am always left with a nagging feeling I could have been digging a bit deeper. Doing the MTP will probably be rewarding in that sense.

I was able to average 43 km/hr @ 300w in this year’s TT. Put into perspective, there was another guy with approx same weight but a little taller than me, with far more state of the art equipment averaging 342w but going 1 min slower, which makes me believe my TT position is not all bad. Of course there could be deviations attributed to power meter calibration etc., but still…

As for equipment, I have an old TT bike (not sure, I think 2008 model) with mid profile tubular wheels (Zipp 303), skinsuit (although not top of the line) and TT helmet.

I also noticed from the segment leaderboard that a guy with approx same build and weight as me came in at 27 min with 372w average. Might be ambitious for me to pull off, but possibly within range?

Anyways, I am comfortable that the goal might be a stretch for this year, nevertheless, I think its worth a shot. And although I may not break 27 min, I might still win. As long as I won’t have to compete our Worldtour pro :smiley:

First of all, I enjoy your mindset.
Great deeds are always accompanied by bold dreams. :slight_smile:

I did a lot of shorter TTs this year, one thing to lift your spirit a little: you dont need to produce all this power aerobically if you plan to finish below 30 min, as you have no pre-load in the system. for my last 20k time trial I was able to put out ~105% of ftp estimate. :slight_smile: It is really ugly, but you can dig deeper than you think.

furthermore:

  • in most countries it’s possible to rent out disc wheels/high quality wheelsets for a fair price. If you want to increase your chances (marginal gains!) you might think about this.
  • in the sufferfest nutrition guidance there is a very helpful chapter about legal performance enhancers (as beet root) make your to give it a read.
  • a perfect bike fit helps A LOT. you want to be as aerodyniamical optimized as your sense for comfort allows for this effort.

@Magnito Justa as an example : I try to mix my indoor training between TT Bike and Road bike. Definitely training on the TT Bike is harder for me (breathing) as I don’t have so much experience. And as you are more rigid in the TT position ans you cannot benefit as much from the elasticity. Not all SUF workouts are suitable for TT position and some are a lot harder I find. But it surely a matter of training. Seside the usual Long Scream and Team Scream, I found that the Cadence Builds / Drills help a lot. Defender, Who Dares, Revolver were ok. AVDP is for me very hard in TT. But the funiest one in TT is The Way Out as you are in the mountains ! But the big gear effort seems to help me better recruit the muscles I a m not used on the road bike. For the outdoor rides during the week-end I try to do one training TT and one Road. Enjoy

Thanks for the encouragement @Maxim!

I am pretty certain I may dig deeper, just have to spend some time finding a balance in order not to dig too deep too soon.

  • Aquiring some sort of high end equipment, either borrow or rent, is something I plan on doing. Also plan for a renewal of drivetrain and BB bearing in my existing bike, as well as upgrading the gears (currently Ultegra 6600).
  • Thank yo for the tip, will make sure to read it.
  • I know, have done a bike fit for my regular road riding, and it is something I am considering. Although I am ready to invest time and mental capacity into this, I am not sure how much money I am willing to spend. A bike fit could however prove better value for money then equipment upgrades, but I might try to get someone qualified to evaluate my current position first and then see what investment will yield the highest speed increase.

Also, I forgot to mention earlier in the thread that the course starts with approx 3,5 km @ 1,5% average incline (some sections @ 3-4%) in the first 4 km, thus I think a weight reduction will enable me to go significantly faster in the initial part of the course.

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Thanks for the tips @flongchamp!

Actually I tend to keep my TT bike permanently on my trainer during winter, as outdoor rides here up north during winter is not really feasible. I just need to spend some more time in TT position which I up until now have not done very much of. Looking at getting a new TT specific saddle, as the one I had before was no good, thus I have been using a normal road bike seat for a long time. My sitting knots are quite wide apart, thus I should get a rather wide TT saddle as well to get comfortable. Use 155 mm width in road bike saddles.

Will definitely try the workouts you mention. I haven’t tried too many workouts yet, so its great getting feedback on which works best in TT mode.

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Allright, time for a little update on this “blog”. Sorry to all of you not interested!

Short Story (click here to read)

Gains from last FF (9th of March) following 6 weeks of structured training (Tos prep advanced), ToS, and 2 weeks of almost no cycling post ToS:
NM: 1418 W (+97 W)
MAP: 450 W (+17 W)
FTP: 348 W (+17 W)
AC: 610 W (+42 W)
A little disappointed with FTP and MAP, but still feel goal should be within reach.

Started Time Trial Advanced plan yesterday. Selected advanced due to 3:1 ratio, extra-volume on weekend rides may be cut if strapped for time. In addition I am experimenting with TT position, and feel I am making progress. Will also see to some equipment improvements to acheive goal.

Long story (click here to read)

So, it has been 3 months seen this thread was started. Since then, there has been a trainingwise unstructured Christmas holiday, before undertaking the 6 week ToS prep plan. I selected the advanced plan, including yoga and MTP. I found the rest weeks and almost two taper weeks being too laid back, thus decided to occasionally add or change workouts to somewhat increase the training load. Felt like I responded well to the training, and could have taken a higher load. Still pleased with the plan, as I am getting accustomed to structured training, it is preferrable the load being a little too low than a little too high.

Then there was ToS. Tough first stage, and cruel second. Great suffering. Apart from stage 7, the rest of the stages were somewhat easier (still suffered though!). Managed to do all workouts at 100%, and was very pleased with that.

Post ToS was unfortunately two weeks with very little cycling. Aimed for FF on 6th of March. Did Primers the 5th and felt great and ready to crush it, and even repeated some MTP. I was really psyched to do a great FF! Then I woke up with a stiff neck/shoulder on the 6th, could hardly turn my head in any direction, and tilting my head backwards was possibly the worst. Bummer! Made an attempt at FF, but after the 5 sec efforts it was perfectly clear to me there was no point to continue. My neck was hardly any better the 7th. A little better the 8th. It was far from perfect the 9th either, but I just decided; Let’s do it! No Primers, no mental prep, just do it!

NM: Almost unclipped, did not feel 100% comfortable with the gears, but managed to put in a good effort. 1418 W (+97 W, +7.4%)
MAP: Set a pace aiming for 5% increase (+22 W), assumed to be a realistic target. Unfortunately had signal failure with power surge 2 min into the MAP, which knocked me out of rythm and it took some time settling back at the same power and cadence. 450 W (“only” +17 W, +3.9%)
FTP: Aimed for approx. 7% increase (+24 W). Here too I experienced a signal failure with power surge 2-3 min in, which knocked me off track. It felt like forever, but managed to more or less keep it up throughout. 348 W (+17 W, 5.1%)
AC: The single worst minute of FF. Just went for it standing, sat down for a bit, and then got back up trying to squeeze out the last drop. 610 W (+42 W, 7.4%)

Continue as Time Triallist with sustained strength, and sustained effort weakness.

A little disappointed with FTP and MAP, but still feel I am on track for my goal.

What comes next?
Yesterday I started the Advanced Time Trial plan. I realize it might not be realistic to complete the full length of the weekend rides, but aim to cover the efforts and cut back on the extra volume if strapped for time. The Intermediate plan with shorter weekend rides was considered, but I think I need the 3:1 ratio of the Advanced plan to get me to where I want to be. My experience from the ToS Advanced prep plan was that my body seems to handle the 3:1 ratio quite well too, making it a no-brainer.

In addition I am both working on my TT position. Focus until now has been on spending time in position nad keeping my head down. Did entire race part of Team Scream in TT position the other day (in level mode), quite pleased with that. During today’s workout I experimented with different positions in the saddle, when it suddenly came clear to me that I should shift my position forward. I tried moving and tilting my saddle forward a little and the position felt both more comfortable and efficient, enabling me to straighten my back some more. Next, I will try to raise the saddle to increase power to the pedals.

Equipment is also part of the equation. To facilitate a better position I have acquired a TT specific saddle (ISM Adamo), making it more comfy in TT. Recent position testing also indicates the aerobars are too short which means I need to get new handlebars (current is a one-piece handlebar with low flexibility; integrated stem, base bar, armrests, and bars)
When it is time to move the TT bike outside, I will change the drivetrain to reduce potential loss (current is old, I’d be surprised if several watts cannot be gained). Even bottom bracket bearings will be changed, as well as crankset changed from 175 mm arms to 170 mm arms. Aim to be testing waxed chain instead of lubed for less friction too. If I can find a cheap disc wheel I will maybe get that too, or maybe tro to rent or borrow one.

Summing up, if things go more or less according to plan, I may be able to really smash the TT Club Championships in early June (date yet to be decided).

I welcome any input on gains made, potential gains from plan selection, or other improvements to be made. Any of the coaches weighing in would be especially welcome.

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You may be interested in the most recent (episode 154) episode of the Fast Talk podcast which is all about time trials:

Sounds like an excellent tip, thanks!