Indoor TT Series 2013

Indoor TT Series press release, January 5, 2013

Our Sand Point training studio currently features 16 CompuTrainer units, and is host to 21 training sessions per week, counting our ICE program and sessions for sponsored teams and groups.  But as a premier Northwest training facility, we are always looking for MORE.  This is why we are happy to announce a 12-race indoor time trial series in partnership with the Peak Centre for Human Performance in Vancouver, BC.


Here’s the deal:  Cycle U will hold one indoor TT per week starting in mid-January, continuing for 12 weeks through the end of March.  The courses vary from week to week–flat, hilly, and everywhere in between.  What they share in common is that they take most riders between 35 and 45 minutes, depending on strength.  That means one killer threshold workout!  Why pay to ride indoors when you could just go and train on your own?  A few reasons.

First, indoor racing creates conditions that are tough to replicate until race season rolls around:  continuous effort uninterrupted by weather, stop signs, traffic, etc.  This type of effort is challenging when your legs are used to taking 10 seconds rest here and there during a steady tempo ride.  Prepare yourself for longer rides and races with longer efforts!

Second, the atmosphere in a training studio packed with other racers is motivating.  Riding rollers in your garage can sometimes be less than inspiring; racing alongside other riders will get the adrenaline going and help you push yourself.  Plus, your results are measured against the more than 200 racers at more than twenty training studios in Canada and the US who participate in the program, so racing is fulfilling your patriotic duty to represent your country.  USA #1!

Third, prizes.  Your $10 race fee will help Cycle U provide an uncommonly high prize purse for this type of event. Cash, Joule 2.0 Computers, coaching consultations, bike fits–these, and more, are all on the list, and up for grabs.

IJM CompuTrainers

Farestart riders feeling the pain! Photo credit Gabe Templeton

Interested? Full details, including dates, times, and a more detailed prize purse will be out within the week, and the first race will be held some time between January 9th and 15th.  If you want some input, then head over to our Facebook poll to help us decide which day/time to hold the races, then get ready to giv’er!

Happy Riding,

Colin Gibson


Faster TT’s from Indoor Racing

Efficiency and Pacing for Time Trials

by Adrian Hegyvary


For the last two months, Cycle University has had semimonthly time trial tests on a 10km, electronically simulated course. Using Computrainers, each race pits up to seven people against one another over 6.2 miles of 3% grades calibrated by rider weight. This forum has supplied us with pages of data, given us a rare opportunity to witness how to best ride a time trial, and without a doubt, has reinforced the old tenant that consistent pacing is the key to a strong TT performance.

The Computrainer software allows us to display each rider’s instantaneous power output in watts, the most objective measurement of “how hard” you’re going. At the end of the test the computer records average and maximal power, along with average/maximum speed, average/maximum heart rate, and finishing time. From these data we can analyze each ride in multiple dimensions: how hard you felt like you were working (perceived exertion), how hard you really were working (heart rate), and what all that hard work produced (finishing time and power output).

By examining results in this manner, many riders have seen significant performance gains. Take one rider as a case study: Jeff (we’ll call him) rode three time trials, each with similar results, and was looking for a way to improve. We looked over his old results and found large discrepancies between his average and maximal power, showing that for at least a portion of the test he was going too hard, then had to back off for a while to recover. These accelerations were eating up his energy, just as stop-and-go driving burns more gas.

Last week we set a goal of maintaining 10 watts above the average power of his previous time trial, and trying not to go above or below it. He said that for the first half of the test he felt like he wasn’t working hard, but by the end he was maxed out. The end result was that his average power for the test increased by 10 watts as planned, his finishing time dropped by 20 seconds, but his heart rate remained the same and he felt like the time trial was easier. The key to this example is in the importance micro-pacing: without paying attention to his power output, Jeff would have thought he was going too easy for the first half, and his heart rate would have shown no different. But by targeting a level just higher than he knew sustainable, his performance painlessly increased by a significant margin.

If you’re interested in testing your own performance, there will be one more time trial this season the evening of April 12th. At the end of the series, the men and women with the most improvement in finishing time as a percentage will each receive CycleU prizes. Please e-mail: service@cycleu.com for Dates, times, and registration information or check our website http://www.cycleu.com. (Cost is free but we suggest a $5 donation to Cascade Bicycle Club for each race you do).

In addition, we will hold intermittent simulations of a number of northwest races throughout the season, including time trials from local stage races, key portions of other races, etc. We will also continue to offer the regular 10k race monthly if there is enough interest. We are also available on a consultation basis, and can create courses for regular practice if you are targeting specific events.


Learn fast. Ride Smart.

Cycle University


Are TT Bikes Really Faster?


The 2009 Road Season kicked off yesterday in Washington with the Frostbite Time Trial, a 9-mile suffer-fest just outside of Snohomish. Yee-haw! Results are here:


Coach Adrian threw down for the overall win, and Team CU had a strong showing in the first race of the year.

One cool thing about Frostbite TT is that they have a Retro race where you ride your road bike without any aero gear allowed (except a skinsuit). I raced my category and Retro, which allowed me to finally answer the age-old question: “are TT bikes really faster???”

It turns out that they are:

TT Bike: 20:35 281w 27.0 mph

Out: 290w, 27.0mph

Back: 277w, 27.1 mph


Road Bike: 22:20 285w, 24.6mph

Out: 294w, 22.9mph

Back: 278w, 26.5mph

Although there was slightly more wind during the Retro ride (1 hr later), this is about as close as we’re going to get to a dead-even comparison without going to the wind tunnel or track. So, the TT ride was 2.4mph faster even though I put out 4 fewer watts. Of course, the bike itself isn’t the only thing that was different, there were also different wheels (Zipp 808 vs. regular box section rims), tires (Vittoria Tubulars vs. Michelin Clinchers), helmets (Bell Sweep R vs. Giro Advantage 2), and body positions (namely lower, narrower, and more extended forearms).

Bottom line: TT bikes are fast, and using a power meter in conjunction with trying different types of equipment and positions on the bike can give you insights into how to go faster on a TT bike. Granted, the TT bike/road bike difference represents two completely opposite ends of the spectrum, but isolating one of the variables (i.e. helmet) and testing it under controlled condiditons can yield informative results.