Time Trials


Entering the season I had a few goals in mind and one of the dream goals was to duck under the 21 minute barrier in a 10 mile time trial on a local course. The temptation when chasing personal bests is to pick a faster course to set the time. Course bests mean more to me. So far I have resisted the lure of the faster courses such as the V718, arguably the fastest 10 mile course in the country.

I calculated at the beginning of the season that I needed to find around 25 watts more than I had last year. To find these watts I needed to look beyond training. Whilst improving physiologically would be ideal it isn’t realistic to see that level in improvement in one season. So the extra 25 watts would need to come from a combination of reduced drag and increased power.

Attention to detail would be required beyond what I have done before.

Each club 10 I would knock a couple of seconds off my PB, this was very encouraging.  The consistent progression was good and was particularly good for the club handicap competition where consistency is key. I was concerned though that if I was to duck underneath the 21 minute barrier I was running out of road ahead.

During the season my power has risen greater than I had forecast and my CdA has seen a big improvement from last year. However despite this progression and the huge leaps in performance over other distances such as 25 and 50 miles I still wasn’t making the big gains over 10 miles.

On the right day

Each Tuesday the conditions were perhaps a little unfavourable. As explored in my post Time Trial Pacing and the Wind a tailwind on a slightly down hill course with a headwind back up hill is the worst direction. Each Tuesday evening at the JC/5 course this would be the case with conditions seemingly worsening. This was hampering my progress. I knew I was making progress, from other distance time trials I was certain I was there, but I needed the wind to drop and point the other way.

Date Wind Rho (Air density)
April 19 VAR 2mph 1.25
April 26 WNW 6mph 1.27!
May 10 ENE 16mph 1.22
May 24 NE 21mph 1.24
June 21 SSW 6mph 1.21

So on the 21st June the weather changed for the better. A Southerly wind came with an acceptable air density of 1.21. I had a feeling the night before that if I was going to do it, it would be the following evening. This created a little bit of pressure as the only thing that could go wrong was my own performance.

I hit the slight down hill, slight head wind, outward leg hard with my intention to hold on as much as I could back up the hill with the small tailwind to assist. The carrot of finishing and holding the average speed would get me to dig deep enough to keep the power up. This seemed to work. I can not say it was my best performance, although it was my best power of the year. It was enough. More than enough. I crossed the line in 20:43! It was a pb of 30 seconds over 10 miles which is huge.

If I was planning this time at the start of the season in my calculation of how many watts I would need to find to make this time it would have been as much as 35 watts.

My next target has to be 20:30 but with my training focus changing in a couple of weeks it may be a goal for next year.

More elsewhere


  1. Congrats on the time and huge improvement. Result! I’m all about local times too, only uphill. You wouldn’t believe how happy I was to knock 7s off my local hill climb pb last year. Nobody quite understood. Definitely a cyclist thing!

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