Switching to TT bike


#1

Today marked the last workout of SSB I LV for me (Pallisade :dizzy_face: - but managed to hang in :star_struck:), I completed the whole plan on my road bike.

I am in triathlon and have just been fitted on my new Canyon Speedmax :heart_eyes::heart_eyes: and want to put it on the trainer now. This brings me to some thoughts that I would like to bounce with you guys

As I am new to riding in TT position I am considering if it is a good idea to jump into SSB II, using my conditioning from SSB I. As muscles and core/positional stabilization is different between the two positions I may have less carry-over from SSB I to SSB II, on the other hand I can probably manage given a different FTP when I test now in the TT position. An alternative would be to start again SSB I on the TT or to start triathlon half distance base. I have enough time until race season and some room to wiggle.

Finally I am also considering to do a ramp test of SSB I after the recovery week on my road bike solely to gauge FTP gains from SSB as a motivational exercise. I would time this on the saturday of the recovery week, and then test again the week after in the TT position.

Thanks for your thoughts!


#2

It’s understandable to measure your FTP gains on the road bike (apples/apples comparison) :grinning:.

After that, dedicate a week or so getting the new TT aero position dialed in with more endurance and steady-state oriented workouts, getting out of the saddle on occasion. Then, after a couple of short/easy recovery days, do your FTP Ramp test on the new TT bike. Approach the test as you would a race - time trial…staying in aero position!.

Good luck!


#3

I would agree with doing a ramp test on your TT bike.


#4

I’ve got a few thoughts here.

One is that while training in the TT position is the most specific and finding your “TT position FTP” can be helpful in figuring out exactly what your limits are there vs. in a more comfortable upright position, triathlon (especially for the half and full distance) isn’t really about going as hard as possible on the bike. Your race power is going to be somewhere in the endurance to tempo range, so I think you’ll find more advantage from raising your FTP as much as possible and also, separately, getting used to the TT position than you would from training entirely in aero and trying to raise your aero-tested FTP.

Along those same lines, as @chad, @Jonathan, and @Nate experienced in training for a 40km TT, knowing that your position is going to be uncomfortable when you train is a real drag on motivation / discipline to train consistently for months. They talk about this in the podcast on planning your year, from around 46:30-48:00, and suggest that if training in the TT position feels like a drag, you’d be better suited to training comfortably and doing a little bit of focused work on adjusting to your TT bike:

As for what plan to do… I think my vote would be to finish SSB II and then go on to do the half distance base / build / specialty. You’ve done six weeks of dedicated sweet spot work, and SSB II actually starts to mix in some variety of effort and give you a break from just doing one kind of workout all the time. If you went straight from SSB I to half base, you’d do a few more weeks of dedicated sweet spot work before you started to see any variety. I think variety now would be better, and then more focused sweet spot later.

Now, that covers the bike training. It sounds like you are already doing triathlons, so you know where you stand with running and swimming. If you don’t, then spend the time during SSB II to get used to running regularly and figure out your swimming. If you do, then don’t stop running and swimming during SSB II, but focus on easy miles (or train for something like a winter half marathon, just keep in mind bicycle TSS and running TSS are cumulative).


#5

I was going to reply but was just going to write something along the lines of what @matthew.weigel has written only far less eloquently.

So I’ll just just say I agree with his post and reasoning :+1:


#6

Hmm, I’m not in agreement with Matthew and Julian. I agree with the previous posters: finish your current plan, switch over to your TT bike and do the ramp test.
Train on your TT bike.

You will develop your aero position and riding ability over the course of the plan. Switch between aero and sitting up during your sessions as you feel best.

I might be put off riding aero, but it doesn’t put me off the whole session…you just sit up! :smile:

If your plan is to ride aero - presumably this is why you got the TT bike - then go in training on it. Worst case scenario you decide to ride your roadie instead, but you don’t know until you try.


#7

Can someone like Coach @chad or @Jonathan clarify a question that I’m sure has been answered many times but I can never find the answer to!

Say our body is physiologically capable of producing certain numbers and our road bike FTP is say, 300W but we test on our TT bike and achieve an FTP of only 250W (an extreme example but stick with it…).

When we perform VO2max intervals at our TT bike ‘FTP’, but using the same heart, lungs, muscles and blood as we possess on the road bike, are we actually performing sub threshold efforts with a higher RPE or are we effectively stressing the right zones?

I’m also in the camp of believing that it’s more effective to increase your power output with focused workouts at the higher of the two numbers on the road bike, and then work in TT bike workouts to try and raise you as close to that level as possible, rather than bringing the workouts down to the lower ‘tt’ ftp. That’s the way I’m going at the moment and it seems to be working well - out of 5 weekly TR workouts I try and do the hardest 3 on the roadbike and the other 2 on the TT bike. The RPE of the TT bike ones get easier every week…

edit: ^ this applies to someone who splits riding between road bike events and TT bike events…


#8

Keep in mind VO2max is generally sport specific (although e.g. running and cycling VO2max are going to be somewhat connected), even with the same heart, lungs, and muscles. It also depends on the extent to which individual muscles are utilized, whether that’s because they have different leverage in each position or because discomfort is causing you to not use some muscles or push them harder. So yes, VO2max is going to vary with different positions and it is still going to reasonably represent your VO2max in that position and sport.

I think training all the time in the TT position is more specific, but I also think that it may be a barrier to consistent training (and motivation). If it turns into a barrier that keeps you off the bike, or makes you dislike your time on the bike, it’s better to be consistent in a way you enjoy and separately put effort into adjusting to a TT position. On race day your motivation to do everything you can to perform well is high and if the fit is good and you’ve practiced at least some, it shouldn’t be a problem.

I know for my training this year I didn’t do more than about 20-25 minutes at a time in aero on the trainer; I did only a few minutes of VO2max intervals in aero, and mostly stuff that was below my target race power. I would often do 60-90 seconds in aero followed by 30-90 seconds sitting up, etc. Then when I raced, I sat up to change water bottles, when climbing slower than 13mph, or doing U-turns - otherwise staying tucked for 3 hours at target power was not a problem.

But still, it’s a thing to consider if holding aero is a problem. If it doesn’t affects your mood, motivation, excitement to ride, then go for it. (If it’s very uncomfortable, try to adjust your fit too… you may never be 100% comfortable in aero, but it’s worth trying to get as close as you can.) It’s not bad to hold aero. It’s bad to hate your bike. :heart:


#9

That’s the crux of it right there. It’s tough to say that one approach is definitively better than the other since some strong arguments can be made on either side of this issue. I’m to the point where I even see the benefits and mild downsides to both extremes of the matter.


#10

My opinion on this (from someone who has a road and TT bike FTP within 10W) is that it takes time to bridge the gap in FTP, and you must be prepared to put in the time to achieve that.

Whilst it is the same muscle groups and core systems, the way we use them, and the time our body is spending dedicating resources to other areas (core stability, etc) can reduce the ‘available’ power in the legs.

Also, bear in mind that (depending on the course), the numbers you are chasing are W/CDa, not W/Kg - so it is OK to give up a few watts if that means that you are more aero and hence faster.

For TT’s, knowing how to suffer is one of the black arts, my advice would be that if your FTP is 50W apart, you need to make an adjustment so that you are working closer to that FTP for your sessions, with a clear focus on bridging that gap. Aero is King (this is why you have the bike), so don’t neglect that - or the ability to hold the position.

It’s hard work, but that’s what is needed to be successful in TT.


#11

I guess I didn’t make my question clear which related to IF you have a big difference in power outputs for whatever reason (I don’t have a 50w difference, it was just an OTT example). Chad basically confirmed what I feel, and what you said, which I agree with. What I was trying to get at is whether it is more effective to A) Adjust the power targets in VO2max workouts downwards to meet your TT bike ability and bring it up gently, or B) Use the higher targets of the road bike position (which your body ‘can’ do in that position) and try to force the adaptation to happen in TT position slightly more stressfully.

It seems that, as with everything, it’s different strokes for different folks.

FWIW my TT bike test was 12w lower than my road bike test, so I use the same number on both but tend to do the harder o/u intervals on road bike, and the lower sweetspot and aerobic rides on the TT bike at the moment without having two different ftp’s. As I get closer to race season, I will increase the intensity and amount of time spent on TT bike.


#12

Thank you all for the great input! really good points in here. I am certainly more knowledgeable after reading through the comments but that doesn’t mean that I know the right way forward.

here’s what I decided. I feel inclined to go all in on the TT bike as I plan to ride/race on it primarily. the downside will be that SSB II will be completed at a lower intensity than before and that I may only partially make use of the great gains I have experienced from SSB I. if I feel that I’m put off from training in any way I go back to the road bike.

the alternative would be to continue on the road bike and add an odd endurance ride here and there on the TT bike to get used to it more. eventually add more and more training on it. it however feels like I am only postponing a necessary adaptation. I’ll keep that as the backup for now.


#13

Sorry for the misunderstanding, and thanks for the clarification.
I think you have nailed it - got with how you feel. Personally, when i start indoor training on the TT bike, i do my VO2 efforts on the base bar (closer to road position), then over time i introduce those into my aero position.
If I were to ‘stake my claim’ , i would say that i am in the camp of ‘adaption at the expense of position’ that is, i believe that for VO2 efforts, the position on a TT bike isn’t so important, as it’s the gains i’m chasing and will rarely ride at those intensities in competition.
Whereas with SS/Threshold efforts - i’m all about the position…
Good luck.


#14

To expand on this, I think that is hugely dependent on your goals, too. If you are doing 5-20 minute hill climbs, you would benefit from figuring out what power you can hold for those durations in your aero position*. For sprint triathlons and 40km time trials, your race pacing will probably be based on the FTP in your tuck, and sometimes doing suprathreshold intervals down low will probably help. Even there, though, again (depending on comfort), you might find that you don’t want to do all your training down low. (I am planning on doing more sprints and 40km TTs next year, so this has been on my mind.)

When you start talking about 70.3 and Ironman events, I think other issues crop up. Obviously you’re working at a much lower percentage of your power, so you have more options; but then the amount of time you are spending in aero grows considerably, so time spent dialing your fit for a long day is worth a lot of watts. I’ve already described where I fall in this context, of course.

*: I’m fudging a bit here because I think the VO2max power you can hold in your tuck is more important than your actual FTP in this case. The exact relationship between FTP and VO2max power varies by individual: you would benefit less by having an accurate TT FTP that resulted in VO2max intervals either too easy or that you can’t complete, than by having an inaccurate TT FTP with VO2max intervals just at the limit of what you can manage.


#15

A 25 mile TT, unless absolutely pan flat with no wind, is one long over/under interval so suprathreshold intervals are absolutely part of the deal and are well worth training. Any TT falls into that category just at different levels of power delivery from 10’s to 12hrs and even longer. In a 10 you end up doing an over/under interval at around your 20 minute power.

The longer you go that may become less emphasised because the power is lower and the difference between moving between say 75-80% threshold is probably less significant physiologically than the moving between 105-110% in a shorter event, although it may not feel like that towards the end! I would say though I think you are unlikely ever to do a true VO2 max effort in the TT position unless I guess you are riding a short Grand Tour prologue? If you are doing a 5 minute Hill Climb you likely won’t be on a TT bike and by the time you get to events that last around 20 minutes, while suprathreshold, aren’t true VO2 Max intervals either. Maybe I’m missing some specific other types of races?

The qualification I would make, especially as @schmidt is new to a TT bike is to be careful judging positions and power output based on a new TT bike on the trainer. I know many people are able to train in their TT position indoors but not everybody can or does. I struggle to ride aero indoors for more than a few minutes but have no issues outside and have ridden plenty of TT’s and triathlons from 10 miles to 12hrs only sitting up for nutrition.

For that reason I would fall into the train to raise your power as much as possible and train for racing in the aero position separately camp. That’s what early season races are for! Other approaches may suit other people however.

The difference I guess for the OP is that while it’s great to be fitted on the bike but it may not be a true reflection of the sustainability of that fit until they get to ride it outside in anger.