Monday, June 23, 2008

Now the numbers game!!

Now is where we deal in the part I enjoy post race. Anaylzing the data and looking for ways to possibly improve for next time, correlate percieved emotions or physical feelings to hard numbers or just to satisfy a curious urge.

Starting at the beginning, last year I felt that the whole TT was trudging against a wall of resistance. Not once the entire race did I ever feel like I got on top of the gear. Pure misery in 2007. Others said the same thing. I think that was wind and weather related. It was cooler and had that humid, thick air feel to it.

So the first half race went by in 2007 at 26.7mph. Compared to 2008 I actually went faster by about 9 seconds to the halfway point. I must admit the numbers are only estimates. I could be off a few seconds.

Oh and I said in 2008 I started out with a 5 minute in race warm-up to not go out too hard due to being so pumped up for the event. Well I went a lot faster in the first 5 Sunday than 2007 anyways. I covered more than a 1/4 mile more road.

In the simplest way to look at the race then we look at the bottom half of the race. Wow, what a difference. In 2007 I actually slowed down to 26.4mph and in 2008 I improved drastically to 28.5 and took back 1:25!! Shows that my perception of 07 was pretty spot on. I only went between 26.7 and 26.4mph averages. I real trudge form beginning to the end.

Now why? I would have to say the two largest contributers of it were just being a stronger rider after another year of training and second being mentally prepared. The next and to a smaller degree I think was probably weather. And the nominees for best supporting roles also goes to a Zipp Sub 9 disc, a more aerodynamic position, experience, a year of stretching, higher saddle which has helped me climb, off the bike exercises, stiffer lighter shoes and cleat repositioning. Maybe position should be moved up to the A-list... Just figure details, details and more details OK? Or maybe it was the Waffle House breakfast that morning? Boy I sure hope not, but I do love a big glass of OJ on race day!!

So anyways, last year I recalled the 15 to 20 mile section as being especially brutal. I was mentally destroyed and suffered physically to get through and then recovered after Hayes to come in pretty hard. So lets compare shall we? IN 2007 it took me 11:29 to clear that last set of rollers, but this year I got through it in 10:36 at 28.2mph. A gain of 53 seconds if my math serves me.

Also you cannot discount familiarity. I figured given identical conditions I would be able to go back to Groveport in one week (were in 2007-imagination world if your still with me here) and go a minute faster. Well, maybe that wasnt quite the case because after a year I improved a total of 1:03. I thought conditions were faster this year too. Did you?

I should explain why i think that. IN the 80's I improved at the local 40k TT out west of Columbus 2 or 3 minutes every time I went. From 1:03 (no aero equipment) my first time, 1:00:05 or something like that, 58 minutes....

So this leaves the final stretch on Richardson. This was a stretch I had planned on hammering home along with 2 miles of London Lancaster preceding it which seemed like a fast stretch of road with a hairy 40+mph downhill into a tight left hander to Richardson. That left at the bottom of the hill was probably why it was marked on the road, but unused on race day. Guys would have gone off the road and maybe lots of them. Of course what we did do was continue on Walnut Creek Pike to Hayes and then the easy left on Richardson instead of the scary left. Hillier or more false flat up, but safer. Regardless now we can only look at Hayes to the finish line. Did I gain or lose time? I havent looked yet so I am going to say I actually went faster in 2007. I'll be back as Arnold would say...

Well, well I actually went a lot quicker this year so although i didnt come rippin home like Hodos, I did go quicker by 40 seconds over 2007. btw-dont try and add up the numbers (not that you would, in fact I should probably scream to wake you back up...AHHHHHHH...). There, did that help? The reason being is I am overlaying sections of road.

So what are my other assumptions. Well the one that cannot be ignored is in fact I did go quicker the first 11.7 miles in 07. Why? Well for one I was a lot faster starter in TT's last summer. Did I go out too hard and blow up for the second half and thats why I didnt go very well? Hmmm..maybe, maybe not. I am going to sway towards the mostly no side. I just wasnt as strong, but I did go out harder and possibly some wind helped too? It was windier last year. Maybe a tail wind early on? I dont recall.

So did I under perform and cost myself 9 seconds this year (enough to equal Matt Weeks time) and tie for 5th? Well I said I wouldnt beat myself up about it so I am going to just say I think I rode a well planned and smart race, but that yes, in the mental game of Time Trialing I was not going as hard as I could up front and I knew it.

What would really help me would be to see data from Hodos, Sroka or Weeks, but I cannot because they dont have any data. I think they all raced on feel. I am not quite ready for that yet. I know I am faster racing without wattage (but training with it), but I use that mph as a gauge. Or more like a motivator. Whatever it says I try to make it a higher number. Buy my rev limiter is all Perceived Exertion.

I was also worried about racing a race as long as 40k without wattage to pace by. Thats a thing of the past now. In fact one of my hunches that Time Trialing with power actually wears you out may be true too. Aspiring to hold a certain wattage I started to realize last year makes you really tired. Its like making 1000's of "micro-accelerations" I called them chasing that little number around. It is really hard mentally and physically.

So last summer after States I weaned myself from power. I know 3 guys ahead of me paced without speed or wattage and went on feel so maybe I will tape over my entire computer at Leroy and see if I go quicker and then try it at Presque Isle!!

Theres always room to improve and this is how I do it. Maybe seems crazy to others, but it sure works for me. Theres a lot more concerning my ideas on positioning, cadence is a biggie too. But I wontbore you any longer. So thats me, Ray the human test sled.

Now its onto Nats!! Can someone sponsor me for the gas, food and hotel next weekend? haha!!


Batman said...

I think it's really hard to separate out all the different components -- fitness, better position, more aero, better race management? Without wind tunnel measurements, I think it's really hard to say what is making the big difference.

Race management seems to be a big factor to me -- holding that perfect line between going too slow and blowing up. I was one of those who went almost totally on feel. No speedo. I did look at my HR and at the elapsed time occasionally though.

Feel It: The Factory Rider said...

I can't really say much about position or equipment (hey, i'm on a cross bike) but I can say that last 20% of the TT means a lot to me. We pre-drove the course and I got a good idea of really where to wind it up. Pick good spots to pick it up and start your "sprint", or what is left. I've known of the second TLE TT, my winding it up started after the last roller but I didn't ramp it up enough, so I had a great sprint up the final climb. Same with Presque Isle, I was looking at their mile markers, not mine. I didn't wind it up enough, and the final turn, I could sprint at almost 30mph. While at the state TT, the mansion on Richardson (app. 1.8miles to go) I really cranked up to 25-26.

This is just my advice, and I know my dad uses the winding it up theory too. Maybe this can help you even more?

Are you headed to P.I. fall edition? I know we are trying too.

Ray Huang said...

Brian, great job to you at states. I wish yoou had recorded data too. I would loive to see your speed throughout the course. Of course we probably wont be on the COBC course in a long time.

Robert for sure knowing the finish is critical. and laying anything youve got left donw there can help. I took back a ton of time at the TLE #1 TT by hammering away the last 2 miles. Took 6 seconds off my time through that section form lap one and saved my run (from the jam car). I am definitely planning on PI Fall!! I think your going to do great there. You can go 20mph at Allardale Park now, PI you will fly!!!