Cat 4 women: Leave time is 5 am with Michelle Helmke and maybe Chuck


Cat 3+ 2 Men and Women racers : Leave time is 6am

Ignacio will drive this van.


Junior racers: 8:30am leave time.

Nelson will drive this van.



Please pack smart and remember your day bag.


We will do our best to get everyone back to the hostal as early as possible so you can start to recover well. Three different cars will leave the venue after the time trials as well.


Lets have fun!!!!!!


And now for some more great info and tips from Nelson – thanks for the discussion today!


Time Trialing: The Basics for VOS

Nelson Cronyn

The first major time trial of the season – stage one of Valley of the Sun – is coming up

this Friday. How well you do in that time trial will have a direct impact on your general

classification, i.e. placing, at the end of the three stages; it will also give you a good

indication of your level of fitness.


Let’s assume that you have been following your training plan and Ignacio’s advice

regarding rest, sleep, and hydration. Let’s also assume that your bike is in excellent

mechanical condition and in compliance with USA Cycling regulations (e.g. gears

blocked out so that you will pass rollout, no illegal equipment). You have ditched your

tool bag, lights, pump and any other stuff attached to your bike – including water bottle

cages – because none of that stuff will do you any good in a TT of this length.

Recognizing that it is too late to cram in much in the way of useful time trial-specific

training three days before the big event, here are a few tips that you may find useful to

improve your performance:


Arrival at the TT course: Check, double check, triple check your start time and know

your bib number. Write this information on your hand if you have trouble remembering.

Find the start line and what time you need to be there. Make sure that the time on your

watch/GPS/HRM is synched with the official time. DO NOT LOSE A TT BECAUSE



Warm Up: Research shows us that a good warm up is essential for performing well in a

TT. You should ideally arrive at your start having spent approximately 20 – 30 minutes

gradually ramping up from 60% to 90% of maximum heart rate. Trainers provide the

greatest control over your warm up and may allow you to be closer to people who are

paying attention to the time. One possible warm up scenario: 1) In an easy gear, say

39/23 or 39/25, spin from 60 – 120 rpms increasing by 5 rpms per minute. 2) Spin easy

for three minutes. 3) Three by three-minute progressive intervals in a harder gear. Do one

minute at 70% race effort in, say, a 53/21, then one minute at 75% in 53/19, then one

minute at 80% in 53/17. Rest (spin) and repeat two more times, ramping up from 75% to

90% of race effort. Gearing should allow for 95 – 105 rpms, so will depend on the

individual. The higher heart rates are at the end of each interval, not an average for the

entire interval. At no time during your warm up should you go into the “red zone” where

you are anaerobic – as you would be in an all-out effort. Hydrate and eat easily absorbed

carbs (e.g. Gu) before you head to the starting line.


Starting line: Focus on yourself. Forget about the other riders – this is your race. Get

into your starting gear on your way to the start. Big chain ring, and an easier gear in the

back but not the easiest (closest to the spokes). Make sure you have shifted precisely into

your chosen starting gear. Once at the start, avoid pedaling backwards because you may

drop your chain. When you are called to the starting line the starters will normally ask

you to roll your front wheel to the line, apply your front brake, get on your bike, and get

clipped in. Before doing this, get your pedals into their starting position: power leg, the

one you start off in, at about 10:00. If you are not very comfortable with being held

upright on your bike while clipped in, then we can practice this. You want to be

comfortable in this position, not wiggling all over the place and cranking your handlebars

GO!: You are at the start, clipped in, squeezing your front brake, held upright by the

starter’s assistant, balanced, looking straight ahead of you down the course, listening to

the starter’s countdown. When it is time to go you take off sprinting with all your might,

muscles flexed, face screwed up in a grimace, eyes popping, perhaps with a loud grunt or

roar. Right? WRONG! One of the biggest mistakes people make in time trials is going

out too hard. Yes, you want to get up to cruising speed quickly – but you do not want to

go deep into the red zone, anaerobic territory, in doing so. So prepare yourself mentally

by thinking that you are not going to use more than 80% effort in your first 30 – 50 pedal

strokes before settling in to the pace you can sustain for the remainder of the race. Check

out the starts of the Elite Women’s Individual Time Trial and the Elite Men’s Individual

Time Trial World Championships to see what beautiful, calm, focused TT starts can look


On the road: You having gotten up to cruising speed and have approximately seven or

14 miles (VOS time trial distances) to go. Now what?

Get aero. VOS is not allowing aero equipment (e.g. TT bars, disc wheels, etc.)

for junior age group races this year, which greatly simplifies things. You have

been practicing an aero position for months now: hands in the drops or hoods,

elbows bent, back flat, head tucked down, eyes looking up the road. Other than at

the start and turnaround (if you have one), this is the position you should be in for

the entire race. Sitting up, even if it is more comfortable, will cost you precious time


Find the fast lane. You want to be on the smoothest part of the road, possibly the

white line on the right or in the track formed by the right wheels of cars. Unless

there is a safety issue or the officials tell you otherwise you do not want to be way

out to the right in the shoulder where there will be more debris and a greater

chance of getting a flat. Do, however, stay to the right – the course is open to

traffic. This is a straight course, so no need to worry about picking the fastest line

through corners (though that will be a consideration in other TTs).


Look ahead. Not only is looking ahead safer, it is faster. Do not drop your gaze

and look down at your pedals, chain, gears, etc. There is absolutely no reason to

look behind you. Ever.


Ride in a straight line. Sounds like a no-brainer, but I have seen countless riders

adding tens or even hundreds of meters to the total distance covered – which

translates into added time – by accidentally drifting from left to right and back as

they make their way down the course.


Stay focused and mentally tough. Don’t space out! All of your concentration

should be on making you and your steed go as fast as possible. There are all kinds

of mental tricks for maintaining focus, from counting pedal strokes to visualizing

your legs as machines to imagining some scary beast chasing you. Is it windy?

Think of yourself slicing through the wind while your opponents are getting

battered. Do you hurt? Think of how fast you are going and how you are

translating pain into your best performance ever. Did someone pass you? Don’t

let up! The rider that passed you could have any number of things happen to them,

including a flat, dropped chain, disqualification for drafting, turning around

before the official turnaround, crashing themselves out, blowing up from exerting

too much effort too early, running in to an official’s motorcycle (all things that

have happened in real races). In any case, this is your race, your time – forget

about the other riders.


“Leave it all out there!” One often hears this expression at time trials, but what

does it mean? It means maintaining the greatest speed possible during the entire

TT. Lots of riders look great in the first and last 500 meters, but what matters is

how well they perform throughout the entire TT, how well they manage to

distribute their effort so that they end up with the greatest average speed from

start to finish. Learning to do this takes time and experience. Keep asking yourself

during your TT: “Can I go faster over the distance remaining in this TT?” Go


After the race: Hydrate. Eat. Spin easy to flush out lactic acid. Stretch. REST and get off

your feet so that you are ready for the next two stages of racing. Think about how you

did, what you might have done better/differently so that you can improve next time.

Process the race with Ignacio and/or other coaches to get their input. Congratulate


Meters and Monitors: Power meters and heart rate monitors are great training tools.

You will need to decide, with Ignacio, whether or not to pay attention to heart rate and/or

power data while you are actually racing. For some riders, seeing their heart rate and/or

power output can act as both a motivator and a helpful guide during the race. Know your

maximum heart rate or power for a certain TT distance? Then you can aim for that during

your race, perhaps even bump it a bit higher, or make sure you don’t go too hard too

soon. For other riders, seeing their heart rate and/or power output may limit their

performance: during the race they see the numbers that they produce during practice,

back off to not go too hard, and don’t realize that perhaps in a race situation they can do

even better. Experience will help you decide how best to use these tools in races.



Have fun! The best time trialists in the world relish pushing through the pain and

suffering of a TT to see what their minds and bodies are capable of. This short clip on

Fabian Cancellara is worth checking out to see how much joy this extraordinarily talented

athlete gets from pushing the limits of human performance.