John Stenner Memorial Colorado State Time Trial

I have mixed feelings about how this race went.  After being under the weather all week I felt pretty good this morning and prepared for the race per usual.  A couple bowls of cereal three hours prior, an iced quad latte on the way to the race, a bottle of cold gatorade during warmup, and a chocolate GU at the start line.

I got in a half hour warmup and still felt pretty good.  The first six miles were downhill with a tailwind and I planned to go out relatively easy, so I knew I would continue to warm up.  I started pretty well and held a steady ~30 mph to the turn around and had my 30 second man behind me on my wheel.

I pushed pretty hard up the hill, but tried hard not to overcook it.  I rode probably about 320 watts (very near threshold) during the uphill sections, and my HR topped out at 166, a beat or two above my threshold HR.  At the halfway point I felt pretty good.

My somewhat aero setup

On the next downhill/downwind leg I took it relatively easy.  As the speed pushed 35 mph, I think my not very aero setup hampered my progress somewhat and I was passed at this point by my 30 second man, and the last man on course (incidentally last year’s winner with one of the 10 fastest times) who started about two minutes behind.

As it should, the last uphill/upwind leg hurt.  Badly.  I felt the urge to burp, but up came a mouthful of gatorade and GU.  The TT position is not friendly to stomach contents, I guess.  I’m not sure of my average watts for the final leg, possibly around 290, but I held 320+ up the final hill for a minute or two and my HR was steady at 175-177.  The highest I have seen this season was 179 for my VO2 Max test.

I had hoped for 53 minutes (26.7 mph), which would have put me in 7th place last year.  I came in at 53:46 (26.3 mph) averaging ~290w for 14th place.  I certainly rode as hard as I was capable of, which I am proud of.

However, I am not proud of the result and have been humbled by a group of more experienced, practiced, and better equipped riders.

I will update this post later tonight with power analysis and official results when available.

Power Analysis: Below is my pacing plan vs actual:

Pacing Plan

Actual Pacing by Segment: 284w, 317w, 271w, 279w

As you can see, I stuck to the plan until I couldn’t keep the pace for the last segment.

Some of my data supports an expected average in this range.  My peak 6o minute power is almost identical to the TT (288 vs 287w).  However, my hour record was set during a semi-steady state effort.  In fact it was set with 20 minutes of rolling hills (237w) followed by a 40 minute climb (311w) which would suggest I would be capable of a higher average.

Some other data suggests a much higher expected average.  My tested at 330w last month and my Normalized Power for the hour long crit I won with a solo break a couple weeks ago was 331w.  Due to the small hill and corners on the course however, I was not pedaling 20% of the time off the front leaving my average power, again, 286w for the hour.

There are a few explanations for my lesser than maximum expected performance.  Maybe I had a bad day after being sick all week.  Or I could not produce as much power in my almost never practiced TT position.  Perhaps although I have averaged 311w uphill for 40 minutes, I could not average 300w for 54 minutes.  Lastly, the power demands of the TT are much more steady state than my Threshold Estimate Test or Normalized Power from a Criterium.  Below you can see the differences in power by zone for an hour criterium and the 54 minute TT: (Note: Same average power for each)

Crit Surges, Power + HR Zones

TT Surges, Power + HR Zones

Sorry for the long post but I think it gives some insight into the difficulties faced by a self coached athlete analyzing power data and predicting performance.

About Russell

I have been racing bicycles for a decade. This blog will chronicle my efforts as a Category 2 road racer and lining up with the PROs.
This entry was posted in , , and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to John Stenner Memorial Colorado State Time Trial

  1. Carl Blick says:

    My 16 year old son Josh Blick, has just arrived in the US from Australia as part of the Real Aussie Kids Team and competed in the Colorado State TT as his first event. Maybe you saw them? They are the kids in yellow. I enjoyed reading your blog. It is a very comprehensive analysis of the event/TT course and your performance. Is this in depth post analysis common in your country??? Josh is set to compete in Cat 3 and will be in the Niwot Crit on Sunday too. Congratulations on your upgrade to Cat 2- obviously your efforts have been rewarded.

  2. says:

    Thank you for the kind words.

    I don’t recall seeing Josh at the TT, but I parked right next to Lachlan Morton who won the championship, and in fact I’d like to say I helped because he used my screwdriver to adjust is FD trim before the race.

    I saw quite a few Real Aussie Kids out yesterday. Unfortunately a couple were tangled up in crashes on the very technical course but I saw Nathan Bradshaw do very well in the Cat 4 race and from the looks of it this morning, he’ll be racing 3′s next time out.

    As for the blog and the long post, if I’m lucky I occasionally get a bit of down time at work to write. Also I think we (amateur racers) have a lot to learn from each other. I can see why a PRO may want to hold their cards closer to their chest, but with the number of power meter users out there I am happy to share what I know.

  3. Pingback: Time Trial Improvement | The Road to Cat 1

  4. Lee Middlekauff says:

    Hey Russell, have come across your site a couple times while surfing around. Definitely fun to read. I raced for the CU team ’87-90, quit the sport and am getting back into it this year as a 42 year old. Came across this blog while looking into the John Stennar TT (a former classmate btw). Back in the day 53 minute TT’s were a rarity. Was shocked to hear your disappointment. You said you averaged 26mph, isn’t that more like 28?? In any case nothing to sneeze at. What have you heard about the new TT course?

    • says:

      Thank you.

      Last year I was going well and smashing the Cat 3s so I had high expectations. I was disappointed with my placing and my average wattage. I’ve learned a lot about the time trial in general since then, and while I stand by my disappointment on placing, I now know I shouldn’t have been expecting to average my road FTP (power) while riding in my relatively unpracticed TT position.

      As for the new course, I’ve only glanced at the flyer so far. I’m excited to see an exact 40k distance, one less turnaround, and what looks to be a flatter course. Hopefully I’ll make it down there for a course preview sometime soon.

Leave a Reply

Gravatar Logo

Please log in to to post a comment to your blog.

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. (Log Out)

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. (Log Out)

Connecting to %s