now ... i am NOT a top-shelf time trial junkie. I mean, if the course is just right ~ maybe i'll nab a top 20 at an NRC event. But, you'll never see me breaking course records or threatening for a stars'n'bars jersey in the race of truth.
That said ... you know i've got an opinion, or three on the subject.
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In the heirarchy of TT necessities, i rank it as follows:
- comfortable position on the aero bars ... as narrow as you can get, then as low.
comfort first, narrow second, low third.
... and it's an evolution of position. the more you practice and adapt, the more aero you will become.
- wheels ... I'm a huge fan of the 16 spoke set-up, myself. The Rolf wheels are still the best all-arounder wheels I've come across. But, for full-monty TT's? I use the HED trispoke front, disk rear. They are the best bang for buck true TT-wheels out there, in my opinion.
clinchers. all the time, every time ... clinchers. Unless you drip cash out of your butt.
- skinnysuit ... silly, I know ~ but the thing makes a difference.
- helmet ... even sillier. just try and not get photographed with it on.
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Bigger necessity = pacing
Realism. Realism in pacing is what allows folks to time trial to the best of their abilities. I've started, watched, cheered at, timed, and photographed more time trials than anyone should (well ... anyone who doesn't want the term 'bike-nerd' tattooed on their forehead). And, I can tell you that the biggest error I see riders commit in TTs is starting out their first few minutes too fast.
I cringe when I see someone sprint off the line. Just cringe.
It's like when I watch riders attack 8 minutes into a crit, fully sprinting, breath bursting out of their lungs like they been sucker punched ... do they think they can maintain that effort for 30, 40, 50 more minutes? Of course they can't ... but, excitement and vigor take grip over good sense, and there they go ~ right back to the pack and at the back, if not out the back.
Yes, TimeTrials are a painful, brutal experience. But, before you can get to that level of suffering ... you've got to learn how to suffer at all the levels before that. It's a progression of pain. It's a learned skill. It's crawling before walking, walking before running, running before flying.
blah, blah, blah ... i gotta get back to work.