You can lead a horse to a time trial, but you can’t…possibly expect it to go any slower than Will.
They say the time trial is the race of truth, the unadulterated test of a cyclist’s engine, a race not sullied with the distracting trappings of drafting, tactics, and cooperation. What do they know?
I hate time trials. Why? I can’t do them. They require lots of silly equipment that will get used 3 times a year. They require you hunch over, wreck your back, and hurt yourself for long periods of time. Did I mention I can’t do them? Oh yeah, and I almost forgot, I can’t do them. Plus they are stupid. I can explain the situation with a physics force diagram (arrows to scale).
Let’s take a look at the data. These are my Rutgers TT results from a few years past, given as a percentile:
2009 (Men’s A): 43/51 = .15
2008 : Back Surgery = Ouch.
2007 (Men’s A): 43/54 = .20
2006 (Men’s A): 33/46 = .28
2005 (Men’s B): 38/44 = .13
Pretty consistent. Pretty consistently bad, that is (and getting worse!). Why so slow? It’s simple. It’s really simple. I don’t enjoy TTs. I don’t feel it. There is no flow, no chi, no zen, no reward, no motivation. I need a carrot, a mechanical squirrel, a gun to my head, anything to make me ride faster than my screaming muscles think they can. You’d think this would be a rather large problem for a bike racer. It’s actually not so bad. I can chase and sprint pretty well. I can suffer. I just don’t like to do it on my own. I’d rather be red dog than blue dog any day of the week.
A power meter would probably go a long way to bring my TT on par with the rest of my fitness. Oh, the luxury of pegging it at a prescribed power! Can it. No son of mine buys a powertap to get better at TTs! They just aren’t enough fun for me to devote time or money to them, not to mention the kind of crowd that partakes in such events. As Don wrote in his seminal work, Time Trials are Stooopid,
So you’ve finished your race. Do you go out with your team to a local eatery? Do you go for a jog (crazy triathletes)? Perhaps thank the race director for stressing out for weeks just so you can ride your bike by yourself (as opposed to training, which for you probably involves riding your bike by yourself)?
No. You bitch. You bitch to the officials about minor time discrepancies. You bitch to the race director about the officials. You bitch to the race director about the volunteers not holding your hand at the turnaround (perhaps we should also wipe your bottom at the port-a-johns?). You bitch to the race director about the weather. You bitch about your fitness. You bitch, you bitch, you bitch, as if a complaint is the only thought you’re capable of producing.
I’ll leave the bitching to the coughChoadroffs(sic)cough of the world and admit it. I can’t TT, and I think I’m okay with that.