Is achieving your best possible time trial performance just a matter of training and position?
- We all know that position and equipment is important, the wrong helmet will slow you down, being too low may result in you having to stick your head up too much to see where you're going, glasses on or glasses off, bottle or no bottle, the list goes on. Success here requires confidence in your setup and adapting to the position - plenty of good apps to help you here, eg. Best Bike Split and MyWindsock.
- Then there's training - the right mix of endurance, threshold and vo2max to get you through your chosen distance, and as long as you're following some basic principles of training you'll be close to your best level.
- And let's not forget pacing - knowing your course, where to rest, where to go hard, and so on is critical. Despite all the technology, the winner of a time trial is the rider who has the highest average speed, not the highest average power, or normalised power or watts per kilogram.
At this point most people who have ticked off the above three points are ready to race. Not Remco.
Remco's latest video "My Final Race at the Chrono de Nations" details a few more tips and tricks that either we haven't thought about, or haven't tried.
- The most interesting is using strapping tape - Remco has strapping tape applied to his shoulders, back, and hips whilst he is holding his TT position. The tape is to keep him in position, as he moves out of position the tape pulls on his skin and provides an easy cue for when he is not holding his optimum position.
- Use of Bicarbonate of Soda. Nothing really controversial here, except that bicarbonate is thought to really only be effective for anerobic efforts up to 10 minutes, here Remco is undertaking a 60 minute TT, where the majority of time will be threshold. He's using straight tablets here, so something we can assume he's done some training with to avoid stomach discomfort.
- Use of Nitrate. Nitrates are believed to improve blood flow, although I do not believe the effect is conclusively known, or agreed.
- Use of the earpiece! Remco, along with Stefan Kung recently, admits that he cannot really see where he is going in a TT race and relies on the follow car to direct him. This can even be seen in the video, with the director encouraging him to keep his head down.