Archive for July 1, 2009

Championship Physiology/Time Trial Ability

Posted in Championship Physiology on July 1, 2009 by bethleasure

Biological Clock

8“When I’m climbing well, I’m time trialing well. When I’m time-trialing well, I can climb.” Mari Holden, TT World Champion


Yep that's the necessary suffering!

Yep that's the necessary suffering, Mari!

There is both luxury of specialization at the championship level, as well as necessity of strength in all areas relevant to road racing. A pro team sprinter must complete that long road race to use natural speed and so trains at sustained efforts around lactate threshold in addition to sprints.

There’s little room for avoiding aerobic fitness based on biological preference at the pro level. While team time trials are rare below Grand Tour level, the race against the clock may be an individual effort but often with team implications. Furthermore, TT fitness paves a smoother way on a powerful road to cycling success.

Work near lactate threshold is fueled by two types of awareness: a narrow internal focus, preferably on instrumentation that assists pacing and pain management, as well as narrow external focus that senses route rhythm and adjusts pace according to terrain and intuition. The race of truth is just as much about being true to perceived exertion as it is to tangible splits such as speed and time or a wattage target.

There’s also learning how-to-TT-suffer that accompanies the discipline of it. Further, there’s a highly motivational element in evidence in “the power of the jersey” – when a race leader traditionally seen as a climber rides a time trial stage beyond expectation to hold on to victory, for instance. This motivation comes in training by designating resources and equipment to improve time trial competitiveness, such as an aero helmet purchase or wind tunnel testing. Other significant performance enhancers, such as mastering cadences specific to types of time trial courses, down-stroke technique, and aerodynamics unique to individual profile in relation to power output are details that gain seconds at the championship level.


Prayer for Time Trial Ability
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” 9James 1:12


We celebrate the race of truth – sustained hard effort that tests our mettle as much as our metabolic efficiency. We ask for strength, resources, opportunities, and tests to challenge and improve TT ability.


Ponder Am I maximizing my ability as time trialist? Affirm I master this fitness and skill to reduce time at distance. Watch for cadences, positions, strategies, and attitudes specific to this mastery.


8Conversations with Mari Holden, a generous and gifted champion. My favorite story about Mari is her infamous interval training up one of the canyon climbs near Colorado Springs, CO. She went so hard that she threw up on the top  (not the first time) but saw one of her best PR’s and average watts for the duration. She won the World Championship TT later that year.

9The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society