Many are calling cycling the new golf. More and more of the over 50 set are migrating from the leg pounding sport of running to cycling – a sport that can be practiced for life. This increase in participation in cycling is also causing a considerable increase in cycling competition which is readily available in every state through the Senior Games system. Most states hold numerous local senior games events ultimately leading to a state championship. Every two years, the National Senior Games Association hosts the National Senior Games, aka, The Senior Olympics. Participation at the latter event is typically over 10,000 with hundreds of cyclists in attendance. The cycling events offered are time trial races (a race against the clock) at the distances of 5 & 10 kilometers and less frequently road races at distances of 20 & 40 kilometers which are always available at least at the state and national championships events. In that I believe that time trial racing is an art form that needs to be learned through tutorials and experience, I offer this exerpt from my book which I co-authored with my significant other, Rose Marie Ray, a multiple state time trial champion & triathlete, “From Broken Neck to Broken Records, a Masters Cyclist’s Guide to Winning,” as a starting point.
My qualifications to write this article are that I am an avid, successful time trial racer who has won a national time trial championship and set a national record, but in addition, I have won 28 state championships since healing from my broken neck and returning to competition in the fall of 2006. Along the way, I have broken state time trial records at distances of 5, 10 & 20 kilometers in the two age groups in which I have competed. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.
THE RACE OF TRUTH – THE ART OF RACING A TIME TRIAL
WARNING: The information you are about to read will make you a faster time trial racer. If you are a cyclist who likes to race simply to participate, and if you enjoy paying money to race with no hope of winning, or if racing is just a social event for you, this article may or may not be of interest to you. Prior to giving up on the article however, please read at least the next paragraph for a different perspective by Dave Viney, an elite-class time trial competitor.
If, however, you are a hard core racer or want to be one with all your heart and you go to the race to win, then you believe as I do: that the only winner in a race is the guy on the top step of the podium and the other two guys on the podium are the first and second losers. This information is vital to your winning races.
Dave Viney is the finest time trial rider I have ever known. He is a multiple gold-medal winner in the Canadian National Masters Time Trial championships as well as multiple winner in the North American Masters Time Trial championships. He rode the fastest times in those meet for anyone over 30 while he was in his 50s!
Dave is currently 59 years old, and, in most time trial events, he turns in the top time overall beating even the Pro, One, and Two racing groups. A month before his planned-peak form for the Canadian and North American Masters championships, Dave rode a 40 kilometer time trial at the United States Cycling Federation’s Florida State Time Trial Championships in 52:55 at the age of 58 – that’s an incredible 28.2 mph average for almost 25 miles!
Having the utmost respect for Dave and knowing that his training is “the best”, I asked him to comment on my time trial racing chapter. He is very straight forward: “Not too quibble but I kind of like the TT because you are competing against yourself so everyone can be a “winner” by improving on previous performances on the same course hence the popularity of the thousands of weekly club-run TT’s.” Dave
In that Dave is my time trial hero, our differing philosophical outlook notwithstanding, in deference to him, I invite those of you who are casual racers to read on. You will find other comments by Dave highlighted throughout this chapter.
Time trialing is called the “Race of Truth” for good reason. There are no wheels to suck, and there are no excuses – you are on your own, you are in the wind, and there is no place to hide! If you listen to the chatter at the end of the typical road race, you will hear many of the following statements: “I got boxed in”; “I didn’t know someone was off the front”; “I was driven wide in the last turn”; “Someone sat up in front of me”; “My lead out man went too early”; “My lead out man went too late”; etc., etc., etc.. There are no excuses in a time trial – you either cover the distance faster than everyone else or you lose.
There is admittedly an element of luck, and certainly a lot of strategy in road racing and, hence, the strongest rider does not necessarily win. In time trial races, assuming equal equipment, preparation, technique, and the ability and willingness to experience pain, the strongest rider will almost always win. I love that! “In a TT the strongest rider who does the best job at pacing and maximizing his effort, and who has done his homework in equipment preparation and course review, will win.” Dave
To be an outstanding time trial racer, you need not only a strong engine, but you must be willing and able to withstand rather intense pain. To me, that kind of pain is “delightful pain” – I embrace it! You must also be able to concentrate – otherwise, if you let your mind wander, you will assuredly allow your speed or power to fall off leading to a result below your potential. Time trial riding is hard work and you have a lot of tasks in addition to just riding your bike fast!
While on the subject of pain, I have never forgotten a statement made by Olympic swimming champion, Don Schollander, who set three world records en route to winning four (4) gold medals at the 1964 Olympics. When asked by a reporter what separates a champion from the rest of the pack he said, “The difference between a champion and a non-champion is, that when the body is screaming out in pain, the champion pushes his body even harder while the others do not.”
If you are still reading this, let’s deal with specifics. I will assume that you are serious enough about time trial racing that you have equipped yourself properly with the basic necessities for an optimal performance:
1. You have a dedicated time trial bicycle with aero wheels that has been properly fitted to you.
2. You plan to wear a skin suit, aerodynamic helmet, booties over your shoes, and either no gloves or aero gloves designed specifically for racing time trials.
3. You will run with a water bottle on the seat tube if you have a bicycle with round tubing.
It is the day before a time trial race at which you plan to compete. I suggest that you prepare a checklist of the things you wish to bring with you that can be printed out and used every time you go to an event. With both of us racing, Rosie put this list together when we did our second race and left a few things we really wanted at home. It is easy to forget things in the hustle to get out the door with so much stuff—especially with two of us racing. Check off each item prior to leaving home so you have no surprises the next morning.
Some of the things that I bring in addition to the obvious are:
- Extra wheels so that I don’t need to struggle with tire/wheel issues when I should be warming up or thinking about the race.
- Spray adhesive (recommended by Dr. Joe Branconi, a super time trial racer, at my first competition). I use Duro All-Purpose Adhesive™ or Elmer’s Craft Bond™ spray adhesives for affixing the racing number to my jersey. Numbers that are pinned tend to flap in the breeze which is distracting and not aerodynamic—and they also hard to put on with pins and can put holes and pulls into your very expensive skin suit.
- A tool kit with everything I might need for minor repairs including vinyl gloves.
- A tire pump.
- A bike stand on which to prop your bicycle.
- Essentials: Pre-race meal items and energy gel(s) and bars, sun block, water and/or other fluids, etc. If you like a banana in the morning, don’t plan on getting one at your hotel at 5:30AM.
Clean your bike thoroughly – “a clean bike is a fast bike”—as told to Mike McCollum,–a 50-year-veteran of the racing circuit; Olympic Games alternate, and a national cycling Coach of the Year—by his Dad.
Check your tires carefully for any chards of glass or anything else that might later cause a flat. Inflate your tires prior to leaving home. You don’t need the surprise and aggravation of a presta valve failure or any other tire issues the morning of the race. “I vary pressures depending on road surface- 150-160 psi for a hard, smooth surface, down to 120 on a chip-and- seal-type surface.” Dave. Although this is probably stating the obvious, do not run 150 pounds of pressure in a tire designed for a maximum of 125 pounds! I use tubular tires which typically have much higher inflation limits than clinchers.
If the race is the next morning and far enough from your home to require a hotel stay, arrive during daylight hours to leave yourself enough time to familiarize yourself with the course.
Drive or ride the course noting turns, landmarks, condition of the road, hazards, etc. I’m a firm believer in the process of visualization prior to an athletic event. With the course in mind, you can envision yourself successfully racing the course.
However, do not be surprised if you find that the course has not been marked and that there are creatures in the middle of the road on your arrival. At one time trial event, while driving the course the afternoon prior to the race, we found three bulls wandering around the road. Not cows – actual bulls!! Somehow, according to our experiences, it does get taken care of in the morning by the race director or volunteers. However, if you do see glass, sand, and other hazards when you are out riding the course, mention them to the race director in the morning to insure that they have been marked. Nothing is worst than being in the zone and hitting sand going around a corner.
Try to get a good night’s sleep the night before the race, but, if you find yourself nervous and unable to readily sleep, remember that the two nights previous to that night are the important nights to sleep well.
Arise early enough to allow at least three (3) hours between your pre-race meal and the actual race. Eat a very light pre-race meal – even a light feeding will feel like a five (5) course dinner on a nervous stomach, but a light meal will feel digested by race time. Experiment with your pre-race meal to see what works best for you. Even though I drink a glass of orange juice every morning prior to my workout, I don’t do well with it on a nervous, pre-race stomach.
Through experimentation, my pre-race meal has evolved to the following: A Clif™ bar, banana, and L-arginine Complete* mixed with water to drink. As a competitive runner, I got into the habit of taking two pre-race aspirins as both a blood thinner (controversial) and to mask the various aches and pains that I seemed to chronically suffer while pursuing that sport. I have continued the habit with my cycling races, and, if nothing else, I benefit from the placebo effect in the belief that my performance will be enhanced and my neck will not hurt!
Out of curiosity, I contacted a physician friend of mine who happens to also be an avid time trial competitor to get his perspective on the use of aspirins pre-competition. He, told me that commencing at the age of 50, he began a regimen of taking a daily low dose aspirin of 81 mg. On race day, he ups his dose to two 350 mg aspirins “as a heart attack/stroke preventative.” Each of us is unique; you have to experiment and find out what works for you. For some people a little caffeine (coffee, coke, or tablet) helps with especially short TT’s early in the day. Dave
Many times, trial events will post start times either on the Internet or at the official, event hotel the night prior to the race. If possible, ascertain your start time the night before the race, and pick up your race packet if available. Place your number on your skin suit that night. It saves valuable time and effort in the morning when you need to concentrate on the race and warming up.
If you do not have a start time and/or race packet in advance, plan to arrive at the race venue at least one and one-half hours prior to the start time of the first racer. Register immediately and affix your race number to your skin suit. If transponders are being used for timing, install it or have it installed on your bike.
Check your start time, and sync your watch with the official race clock. Cruise by the start periodically to see that they are keeping to a published schedule – your time starts when they say “GO” for your number regardless of whether you are there or not – there is NO excuse for missing your start time—although I have had Rosie screaming at me and waving me on near the start line as the starter is looking for me. I like to keep warming up until the very last minute.
Prior to commencing your warm-up, check your bicycle for any obvious issues. Make sure that your wheels are spinning freely, that your brake pad is not pressing against a wheel from lying in your car. Plan to warm up for at least an hour for a time trial event. Every time trial requires a very warm engine at the start so that you can achieve your goal pace immediately without feeling either physical or nervous system distress.
The first half-hour of your warm up should be comprised of easy spinning. In the second half hour you should commence doing race-pace pickups allowing some lactic acid to build up and dissipate. Finally, finish your workout with a couple of brief sprints. Your legs and system will be ready for battle. Some competitors use trainers for their warm-up. Ideally, I warm up on the race course as I would rather feel the road as I will experience it in the race. Dave Viney’s warm-up routine is as follows:
“I warm-up for the first 45 min or so on my road bike – more comfortable, less worry about punctures, got spare with me in case etc, then for last 45 min move to TT bike and TT helmet, booties etc. and do several hard efforts getting up to race wattage for extended periods-3-5 min- I have found that doing a warm-up on a trainer was not good for me – I have to feel the road and the power of the wind and how it will affect me in TT position- I’ve got to get comfortable with wind buffeting me and how bike will handle at 30mph in that wind on that road. The shorter the TT the longer and harder the warm up – ambient temperature also needs to be considered but maybe that is a whole other article.” Dave
It is 10 minutes prior to your start time….
You have completed a thorough warm-up, and it is 10 minutes until your start time. Earlier, you had checked to make sure that the start times were going as scheduled.
Prior to getting to your place in line, put your bicycle in the gear with which you will start the race. I typically start in 53-14, assuming no wind and a flat roadway at the starting line. (Note: Gear “53” is the big chain ring and “14” is the fourth (4th) cog over from the right on my time trial bike which is equipped with an 11/23 cassette. Shimano Dura-ace gruppos come with a gear indicator installed on the right shifter for readily determining the gear that you are currently using without looking down.
If you start in too low a gear, you will spin out too quickly leading to unnecessary, early shifting. If you start in too high a gear, your legs will be forced to make a harder effort than needed to efficiently get off the line. You need to try this in practice to find your own best starting gear and then consider start conditions. Some of the variables include an up or down slope, tailwind, fast, sharp turn just off the line, ramp start, holder or foot-down start.
I have had the experience of my chain coming off while being held for the start and pedaling backwards to position my cranks to clip in with my second foot. Because bar-end shifters are constantly variable, it is easy to not be precisely in gear with them. Upon completion of shifting into your starting gear, roll your cranks backwards for a few repetitions to assure yourself that the chain will not come off at the starting line.
There is a tendency for competitors to line up for a time trial much too early – a time that would be better spent completing a thorough warm-up. You will find many of them casually chatting as they await their turn to start. You, on the other hand, will take your starting place minutes before your scheduled start. Your engine will be well warmed up, and you will be ready to immediately commence a hard effort without shocking your body and getting needless lactic acid buildup. You will have time to chat when you collect your gold medal.
Ready, Set, Go!
It is usual for the racers to start in either 1 minute or 30-second intervals and be lined up by number. When you are number one in line or set to go next, pull your bike up to the starting line, clip in with one foot, apply your brake(s), and confirm with your holder that he or she has you securely held prior to clipping in with your second foot. Some competitors do not feel comfortable being clipped in and balanced by a holder. If you do not wish to be held, inform the starters of that fact as you pull up to the start position.
Note: Rosie preferred being held long before I trusted someone enough and recognized that it gave me a better start in that you are in your pedals and set to put the power to the pedal immediately at the end of countdown. The major downside to not being held is sometimes with the adrenalin flowing, it is difficult to clip into the other pedal when you are released.
Place the pedal of your power leg at the 2:00 o’clock or 10:00 o’clock position in preparation for coming off the line with a powerful down stroke. Reset your computer to zero so you have an independent measure of your time and accurate distance. You don’t want to be manipulating anything but your pedals when you are given the “go” signal. If you are using a heart-rate monitor, start it with five (5) seconds to go in the countdown, and get out of the seat in preparation for the release by your holder. When the starter finishes your countdown, accelerate very briskly to get up to race pace. A fast start is particularly important in a short time trial such as one contested over 5K. Remember, often fractions of a second separate the finishers and you don’t want to lose the race due to poor start.
As an aside, a study of running milers showed that coming off the line very fast in the first 10 seconds led to no more of an anaerobic state than coming off the line slower. The same holds true for a cycling start. Let’s assume that your planned average speed for a 5K race is 25 mph. Remember, you are not only starting from zero, but most time trial races have a 180 degree turn at the half-way point where you can lose most of your momentum. This means that when you are looking at your computer, you had better be looking at more than 25 mph in order to achieve your planned average.
Continue your acceleration as you look down the road, and, when you have reached your race pace, settle back into your seat and onto your aero bars. Often times, your adrenalin will carry you to speeds much too fast to sustain. I, for example, am often surprised when I first check my computer to discover that I am doing over 30 mph. Slowly let your speed bleed off to your planned race pace. Understand that speed can be VERY misleading in that there might be a head or tail wind and/or down- or up-slope. For those of you who use power meters, wattage is the ultimate gauge of effort.
There are many conflicting philosophies and techniques as to how to properly race a time trial. Some coaches advise to treat the first-half of the race as if it were the whole race, and then use everything that you have left to race the second half. I don’t always agree with this. Assuming no wind, I have found that I can achieve the best times by racing a negative split; i.e., racing the second half of the race faster than the first half. The danger with the opposite strategy is blowing up prior to the finish.
My philosophy of racing on windy days is a bit different. Many racers are quite conservative when the starting leg is into the wind. They try to conserve energy reasoning that they will make it up by going very fast on the downwind leg. In these conditions, especially in a short race like the commonly-contested 5K at Senior Games events, I treat the headwind portion of the race as if the turnaround point is the finish line. I know through experience that once I turn around, I will be able to still go fast on the downwind leg. Using that technique at the 2007 Florida State Senior Games, I was able to break both the 5K and 10K state records on a day in which there was a very brisk headwind on the outbound leg, and many racers performed well under their potential. I believe in putting an extra effort into the slowest part of the course where for example there are headwinds, hills, etc. This is where you spend and gain the most time. You might be saying to yourself, “Great theory pal, but it just doesn’t make sense to me.” As a retired airline pilot whose degree is in engineering, let me demonstrate my thesis using an airplane and a simple mathematical problem:
Assume that a 100 mile east/west (200 mile total) course has been marked out in the sky. Assume that there is no wind. An airplane flying at 100 mph enters the course flying in an easterly direction, traverses the course, makes a 180 degree turn, re-enters the course and flies the course in a westerly direction.
According to the formula of D=RT (distance equals rate of speed multiplied by time), solving the equation for T (time) reveals that the airplane took a total of 2 hours flying the 200 mile round trip. Note that we are only counting the time on the course. Now, assume that the wind conditions change, and there is a 10 mph wind from the east. The airplane again enters the course flying at an indicated speed of 100 mph, and flies the eastbound section of the course with a 10 mph headwind (groundspeed would be 90 mph). The aircraft reverses direction now flying the westerly portion of the course with a 10 mph tailwind (groundspeed would be 110 mph). The question is, did it: (A) Take the same amount of time in both examples to fly the round trip? Or (B) Less time with the wind added? Or (C) More time when the wind was added?
The answer is not as important as the reason for the answer. The answer is “C”: It takes longer to fly the course when the wind becomes a factor. The reason for that result is that the aircraft spends more time flying at a slower ground speed in the headwind than it does when it is flying faster due to the tailwind of equal intensity. In other words, you are flying for a longer period of time while being bogged down by the headwind than you are when being helped by the tailwind. Hence, the headwind has more of a negative effect than the tailwind has a positive effect.
There is no way of making that time up unless speed is increased. If you do not expend an extra effort in the headwind, the same phenomenon will be the cause of you riding a slower time trial. Admittedly, it is a painful, albeit effective, technique!
So, there you are racing the course: You have settled into your aero-position, you are riding at your planned race pace (or power goal), and the pain is getting a bit uncomfortable. What often separates the winners from the losers is mental attitude and work. The poor time trial rider often deals with the pain by disassociation – the rider thinks of pleasant, distracting things to get his or her mind off of the incessant pain. The good time trial rider embraces the pain, and works at testing the limits of that pain. You don’t have to slow down simply because you are experiencing lactic acid build up in your legs. Perhaps you can even increase your speed without suffering additional pain. And if you do suffer additional pain, embrace it!
You must constantly be aware of your effort, speed (and/or power when using a power meter) and focus on the race. It is vital that you constantly run checks on your position and your body. Make sure that your speed has not slowed ever so slightly and, if it has, you must increase your effort to regain your planned pace (or power). Check that your body is relaxed and that you do not have a “death grip” on the bars and your head is not tucked into your shoulders. Remember, you have a fuel tank with a finite amount of fuel to use in the race. The ideal expenditure of fuel is to empty the tank as you cross the finish line.
Excessive gripping of the bar, grimacing of the face, tightness in the shoulders, etc., all use fuel unnecessarily. Check your knee position – they should be very close to the top tube in your pedal stroke. The more you let your knees wander from the optimal position, the less efficiently you will be able to cut through the air. Check your shoulder position – make sure you are not bringing them up towards your ears. Push your abdomen towards the top tube to be more aerodynamic. You must constantly monitor these things throughout the duration of the race. Be sure you are belly breathing rather than inefficient and enervating chest breathing. Relax!
If the race is a technical course, be aware of your surroundings. I personally seem to lose a lot of my cognitive skills when I am performing at a maximal effort. As an example, at the Senior Olympics in 2007, I was sure that I was en route to a winning effort based on my pace, and the closure with other racers well known to me. I rounded a turn at about 30 mph, turned down a steep roadway only to be confronted by barricades at the end. I had gone off course! I had to make a 180 degree turn, climb a steep grade only to arrive 30 seconds later at a spot that I had been doing 30 mph rather than almost zero.
Needless to say, I lost that important race. Last year at our USCF state road race championships, I was the lead cyclist following a police motorcycle escort. I was so intense and focused on racing fast, that. When the motorcycle made a 90-degree right turn on the actual course, I kept going straight and off course. I fortunately caught up and won the race. Going off course happens, and, when it does, it is embarrassing and you have wasted all of your preparation time by making a simple mistake. It is hard to blow it off when you are in a major event that should have been won—I know first hand!
Now you are approaching the turnaround and, hopefully, you went around it a couple of times before the race and feel comfortable rounding it. As you are approaching the turnaround point, slow down before the turn; and, as you go around the first cone, you should be slightly heading to your right so that you are at somewhat of an angle; you are heading out of the turn and as you pass the cone, you are heading straight down the road and you should get out of your saddle and up on your pedals and accelerate back to race-pace prior to settling back into your aero position.
It is particularly vital to make an efficient, SAFE (I have fractured my neck in a turn on a time trial course) turn in a short time trial. As an aside, practicing turns as part of your training will be time well spent. The barriers in the turn, officials, and cones can be quite intimidating and distracting so practice a few times on the course by rounding them before the race.
When you practice your turns, try to simulate race conditions by approaching at race pace, not braking too soon, and losing as little momentum as possible in the turn. This will also give you an opportunity to choose your optimal braking point for the race. It is not unusual for riders to come out of one of their pedals as they are going around the turn, thinking that they are not going to make it. It causes a racer to lose a lot of time and energy getting back into the cleat and onto the aero bars. Of all the things that can cause you to lose seconds and the race, coming out of your pedal is the thing most likely to do so.
Focus on riders that started before you – try to close on them. A successful technique that some use to close in on the competition is focusing on a road sign or other landmark and making believe that it is a strong magnet pulling you towards it.
Continue to check your pace, position on the bike, hands, face and shoulders for relaxation. As you tire, there is a tendency to mash down on the pedals. Check your pedal stroke for smoothness and symmetry. By now, you are probably seriously hurting, but allow yourself a brief moment away from the business at hand to envision that championship medal and jersey that you are about to win.
Last year at the Florida State USCF time trial championships contested at 20K for my age group, the second half of the race was into the wind. The pain was so intense that I promised my body that if it let me not blow up and win the State championship, I would never subject it to that kind of punishment again! It did, but, of course, I broke my promise!
Here is what Dave Viney is thinking towards the end of a time trial effort: “Over the last few km I keep repeating the mantra –‘ I am not going to lose this damn race by a few seconds after all this pain –keep the pressure on –don’t put yourself in the position to be saying: ‘If I had known he was 3 seconds ahead of me I could have caught him but I didn’t know’ – just assume somebody out there is within a sec of you so every second does matter – don’t give it away at the end!”
As they get tired, many racers make the mistake of dropping their neck and looking down at the road. If you are wearing an aero helmet and you do that, it simply places a big wind catcher (the long pointed end of the helmet) into the airstream. Maintain your position on the bike. Many riders make the mistake of continuously searching for a gear that “feels better.” Find that gear that enables you to run at a very efficient time trial cadence of around 85-95 rpm, and stick with it!
At last, the finish line is in sight! You have nothing different to do than you have been doing. If you are able to speed up or sprint at this point, you have not held a fast enough pace. You should have nothing left in your tank as you approach the finish line which means you were running on fumes.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider and think about in order to ride an efficient, fast time trial. You have no time to spare to disassociate yourself from the task at hand. If you have practiced the above techniques in your interval training, they will become second nature when you race. You race as you train.
Do a nice warm down on your bicycle, and ideally arrive at the awards ceremony in time to take your place on the top step of the podium.
If you are competing in the typical Senior Games events, there will be both 5K & 10K time trials. Continue to ride your bike between the events to keep your legs loose. I consume an athletic gel such as Clif Shots™ between races, hydrate myself, and start thinking about the next race. If you put forth the maximum effort that you should have in the first race, you might entertain thoughts of scratching from the second race. Don’t do it! You will find as you warm down that you will finally stop feeling like you are sick to your stomach and your lungs are on fire as many often do at the end of a hard-run time trial – especially an early season effort—and often you can get a better time on the 10K race.
Train, plan, and race hard, and enjoy one of the most self-satisfying experiences in our sport – a well ridden, gold-medal-winning time trial race!
The above piece although a chapter from my book was originally written as a series of three articles for “Masters Athlete” magazine. Subsequent to writing the three part article on time trial racing, I competed in the USA Cycling Florida state time trial championships. Although I won my division by a minute and 50 seconds and set a new PR and state age group record for 20K, I failed to practice what I preached and I want to discuss that.
In my article, I dealt with the pre-race meal indicating that it should be consumed at least three hours prior to the event. I further mentioned that my meal has evolved to being simply a Clif Bar, banana, and a glass of water. Although I used to consume a glass of orange juice, I found that it stayed on my stomach too long.
My starting time for the event was a rather late 11:56 AM, and in that I was meeting another racer for breakfast at 8:00 AM, I figured that with so many hours until the start I could modify my pre-race meal. I consumed a plate of bacon and eggs, toast, OJ, fruit and a muffin. Oh, it felt and tasted so good. About 15 minutes prior to my start having warmed up for an hour and 40 minutes, the bacon was still on my stomach and I felt that I was going to throw up. Remember the phenomenon of the nervous pre-race stomach?
My advice to you, and one that I will follow a bit more carefully in the future is do not vary your pre-race meal routine simply because you have more time to digest it!
I would also like to give you an update on Dave Viney, the 59 year old time trial champion whom I often quoted in the article. This year, Dave upgraded his equipment from a Cervelo P3 time trial bike to a P4 (he currently uses a P5). In his interval workouts he felt that he was going a bit faster than he had been going on his other bike. I also mentioned that Dave cycled an incredible time of 52:56 for 40 kilometers at the state meet last year. When he described his prodigious interval sessions to me and the incredible average power and speed that he was attaining, I told him that I expected him to run a sub 52 minute performance this year.
The course this year was an ideal, accurately measured, virtually flat course. Dave Viney turned in an absolutely incredible time of 50:46, a 29.4 mph average for almost 25 miles! Dave is 59 years old! It is amazing what a dedicated athlete, using proper training techniques and properly fitted equipment can do in later years!
Oh, by the way, I will be changing my eating habits the night before an important race. When I arrived at the event hotel in Jacksonville, FL, I discovered Dave in the lobby munching on a plate of apple pie ala-mode!
As an update on myself, I not only won the 5 Kilometer time trial event at the 2011 National Senior Games, but I shattered the national record for the event – a record that had stood for 11 years. Also, with over 100 competitors in the 50 year age groups and over 100 in the 60 year age groups (about 400 total cycling competitors) I turned top time of the day from the 70-74 age group for all racers and pulled off the same feat two years in a row at both the Georgia Golden Olympics (Georgia’s state Senior Games championships) and the Alabama state Senior Games where the closest competitor to me in all age groups was over a minute slower for the 10K time trial event. The above techniques work!! Here I am on the podium at the nationals:
* Here is the URL to a blog I wrote on L-arginine Complete on the GB website which I call “The Magic Performance & Health Elixir:”