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Time Trial without Data?

Old 01-05-20, 07:32 PM
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BadGrandma
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Time Trial without Data?

I'm a 68-year-old time trialist who has been racing for about 17 years. Last year I joined a very nice group of women who are coached by 2 USAC coaches. The coaches used the free option of Training Peaks and offered advice via Skype. I used a power crank on my bike. By March I was cooked because of overtraining and too little time off. I went from 19 mph without specific training to 16 mph with the above training.
I quit worrying about the numbers, started riding again by mid summer, and added weight lifting 3 times a week in October. I should admit that my husband and I also ride 30 to 100 miles at a time, plus last year, a 140 miler. I plan to keep the endurance rides.
My question: Is it time to sell the power crank and just go at it during a TT , because no way I'm giving up all other aspects of riding.

Last edited by BadGrandma; 01-06-20 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 01-07-20, 11:08 AM
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Hi and welcome to the masters racing forum. You had a duplicate thread started and I deleted it for you. This forum does not get a lot of activity so most of the content for road racing is in the 33 forum.

My wife, racing age 70, is a time trialist on the road and pursuit on the track. She and I have been training and racing with power on the road and track since 2008. We use third party coaches and have not experienced the same outcome as you have. Training with power does not yield over training per se. Poor coaching with inadequate rest and or sleep is a problem and may lead to overtraining.

I train with power and use them as a guideline. I was at the track (velodrome) on Thursday and I did not have the Garmin mount on my handlebars. I was with my coach and the workout was 3 sets of 10x(2 laps on, 1 lap off). The "on" power was FTP or race pace and the off was fast enough to not slide off the 45 degree banking. I put my Garmin in my pocket and looked at the data post workout. I hit FTP to VO2 for most of the efforts.

If I would have have seen the power, I may have had more FTP and less VO2. The key is that it was a hard workout and I took some recovery the next day.

I would mount your power meter under your saddle, collect data, log it and use it, if you see fit. Sell the power meter? No, I would not sell it.

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Old 01-07-20, 11:17 AM
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The other aspect of time trialing is doing something extraordinary to get a superior result. One will not excel at time trials by obsessing over data during the time trial. I use power during a time trial but I am trying to raise my level of effort, not limit it. Hence, one does not want speed, power, heart rate or any other metric to be a limiter. I use metrics to adjust effort to the degree of difficulty of the course, I put in more power climbing and into the wind and less when the wind is at my back or I am going down hill. I try to constantly increase my level of effort as the time trial progresses where the maximum effort is applied to the final 2 kilometers or so.
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Old 01-07-20, 02:10 PM
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Nothing wrong with it. I'd guess that a lot of people who train with power eventually get the RPE down pretty accurate to the power number for pacing. I don't stare at the meter on the TT bike, because where the computer is that would mean my position is probably a touch slower. Glance a couple times early to not go out too hard, settle in. Then just a peek once in a while. But, I could probably pace a shorter ride on RPE only.

I mean, the hour record is on a track with chalkboard or smart board lap data. No power, no HR. And those are guys very very used to training and racing with power.

The toughest part would be executing a negative split outdoors to a real advantage versus someone without a meter. I can't imagine how well you could execute that.

Where the meter shines in training is working the zone you intend to. You DON'T necessarily want to creep or dip too much into VO2 reserves for some workouts (just an example, could be staying instead be in an honest Z2 for a long Zwift session on a rainy day). A meter keeps you honest. Or, late in a workout RPE or HR for really tough work you might think you can back off when you shouldn't.

I'd stay in the meter game. If you're in track events where you can't see your data, just work hard on remembering the RPE from training.

As far as "digging" or extraordinary efforts or "screw the data" efforts.....that's fine. But if you test enough in the field and have good data.....you know what those are because you're used to doing them. Workouts are different because you're either over the power for "extraordinary" but at a lower duration OR well under it for a longer duration. Game day is nailing the threshold and duration. If you practice it, you can perform it. From workouts also, you can guess pretty close to what an open ended best effort could be.

Again, the negative split thing. There's physics, physiology, and psychology behind why it works well.

Lastly Coggan says: "the best indicator of performance is performance itself." You know you can, because you have.

Just, IMO. YMMV.
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Old 01-07-20, 04:43 PM
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Thanks for the advice from all of you. I think I have or have had several problems.
First, my goal in time trialing is to put out as much as I can for that moment, my personal best, which is very free-ing. My field is a crapshot of either too easy or too small, or an hours winner is in the group. So what the hell, have fun.

Then there's the coaching I had. The coaches advertised as a masters' group, but they really meant around age 40. I need the 9 day week program just to get in enough days off after digging in efforts.

I had no easy days because if I rode with my husband I had no easy riding. His zones 1 and 2 are not mine. Also, I like weight lifting.
My goal now is to simply bring back the joy in riding and to TT bat crap crazy. No more bean counting, at least for a year. I do appreciate your advice, but I think my goal is to simply salvage cycling. I think writing it down made my real goals apparent.
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Old 01-09-20, 09:53 AM
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Late to the thread. This opinion comes from one who has never been a liscensed racer, only a 35 year serious enthusiast.

At our age, the racing thing becomes mental as much as physical. Good Nutrition can not be overstated.
Certainly your activity level with biking is above what most MDs would consider optimal for longevity and daily maintenance. The 'listen to your body' needs to be in balance with the competitive side for maximum performance in the 65+ age (there's a thread for us).

Sounds like you have a handle on life. It will all work out. Ride Safe.

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Old 02-05-20, 08:30 PM
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I find a power meter invaluable as a training tool, but never use it in actual races. Racing, TT's in particular have to be 100% on feel. It's your own little pain cave that you crawl into. Too many variables affect just what watts you can sustain in any given TT so targets mean nothing.
What matters is crossing the line completely spent. I've won individual TT's and few TTT state championships. Never once looked at my Garmin in those.
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