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Want to make the most of your Time Trialing?

Scarlett Parker offers his 15 top tips, for Time Trial success.

1. Warm-up a bit. The shorter the event, the longer the warm-up. You should arrive at the start with a few minutes to spare, on the verge of sweating.

2. Don't go off too fast - you'll pay later on. With adrenalin in the system, it's easy to think you're being conservative when in fact you're well over your intended average speed.

3. Set an approximate goal, be realistic and work out the average speed. For example, a 25m TT in 1 hour is 25mph - very tough. The higher the speed, the greater the wind resistance. Maybe aim for 20mph average to begin with, I quite like having the average speed displayed on the computer. Having the distance displayed can be a bit demoralising. If you feel fresh with five miles to go, step up the pace a bit. Usually, however, it's a case of clinging on from this point!

4. Try not to get locked in one position. If you're using tri-bars, this simply means shuffling about a little on the saddle or unweighting your rear end from time to time, plus moving your head around a bit. On regular drops, experiment with drops, hooks, hoods and tops (with hands near the stem) to ward off nasty aches and pains in hands, neck and shoulders.

5. If you're gonna use tri-bars or other special aero kit, make sure you ride plenty of miles with it before the event to familiarise yourself with aero positions etc.

6. Eat a nice big low-glycaemic carb meal the night before eg. pasta. Get a decent night's sleep. Also stay well-hydrated the day before. Don't eat too much before the event. A light breakfast up to three hours before the start is fine, and maybe something like a banana in the final hour before the off. Eat too much and all the blood goes to your stomach for digestive purposes.

7. You probably won't need food during a 25. Water should suffice, but you could always mix it up with a bit of fruit juice (say 10%) and a pinch of salt to aid absorption.

8. Remember you're not allowed to draft. If someone creeps past you, let them go. If you're going to pass someone, be committed - this can knock you off your rhythm, but that's the way it goes.

9. Don't be reckless when you're feeling very tired and making decisions on the approach to roundabouts and junctions - assume cars will do the worst possible thing.

10. Ride within yourself until the last two miles, then throw caution to the wind and suffer a bit (more).

11. Keep your cadence (turning the pedals) up. If your lungs hurt you need a bigger gear; if your legs hurt you need a smaller gear; if your legs and your lungs hurt you've got it right!

12. You need mental strength and to psychologically outwit yourself. I usually end up with a song going round in my head or counting pedal strokes. You'll feel great during the first two miles, during about miles 10 - 15, and as you cross the finish line. The rest of the time it's mind over matter... consciousness comes and goes.

13. Don't do unnecessary fettling with your machine the night before the race, or on the morning of the event. Something will fuck up irreparably.

14. Don't believe that max tyre pressure will make you go any faster. Comfort is more important, and a bit of give in the rubber will help the tyre conform to bumpy surfaces anyway. I used to be a 120psi (rear) 115psi (front) person. Now I usually run low 90s (f) and high 90s (r) and I'm much happier. I weigh about 138lbs - adjust accordingly.

15. Share your own ideas. Post your response to my tips by clicking on Post a comment below.


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