Author Topic: The TT limit of genetical truth??  (Read 2912 times)

The TT limit of genetical truth??
« on: June 29, 2009, 02:42:27 pm »
Following the discussion of how hard road racing was. I was wondering if people had any opinions on Time Trialling.

Being the race of truth, it's purely about physical ability, with tactics playing a much smaller role. It's a science. If I make X, Y and Z mods to my bike you can predict quite accurately how much time it will shave off from other data. But can you make the same predications / projections of the human body (non-fully conditioned) by vital data such as V02 max, AT and MHR??

I wondered whether I could ever get a sub 20m 10 time and sub 50m 25 time, essentially get a 30mph average. Training and bike costs not a factor, only my genetic limits.

My current PB on a 10 is just short of 24mph on a non aero road bike. Thats 271 Watts average according to this calculator http://web.archive.org/web/20071212072421/http://www.kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm

To bridge that extra 6mph (with the additional help an aero TT bike) would require 421 watts, a 55% increase in power.

Basically this seems impossible to me. So would recent form detail that I am genetically incapable of such times, or even getting close. Would there be any way of calculating the very best I could ever hope for??



EDIT: Oops should this be in the health and fitness thread?? :-[
EDIT2: Also boobed up my calculation. Only 55% power increase required  :-[ :-[

Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2009, 03:04:57 pm »
All it's measuring, very, very approximately, is what effective power you put in, not what you're capable of.

mattc

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Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2009, 03:10:55 pm »
Wot Ian said.

We don't know how "well trained" you are, but I have to doubt 55% increase would be possible!
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andygates

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Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2009, 03:18:31 pm »
I don't.  That sounds maximal, but not absurd, not "you must take EPO and get cyberquads" silly.

Elite performance is a funny thing, takes deep commitment to train and a competitive mental edge as well as best training methods.  The mental side is not pure science - when you get up to the greats on a big race day, the story is all about their minds, not their VO2 maxes. 

Genetics is a common excuse of people like me, who kinda sorta push it but never really totally commit.  If I stuck to any one of the training plans I draw up, I'd be...  and so on, and so on.  Truth be told, unless you gin up an elite competitive mindset and get elite training, you'll never know.

Tell you what though: I look at the TRAT riders' performance and I see riders doing way more than I think they thought they had in 'em.  If them, why not us?
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Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2009, 03:29:30 pm »
Appologies yes a bit of a mix of ideas. The Power outputs were more for interest. I agree a 55% increase doesn't sound likely.

The question was more if we could crudely know a riders level of conditioning and their VO2 max, could we predict that they could obtain certain times by becoming well conditioned (by recalculating a trained VO2 max and AT).  Is it just the VO2 max that matters, or does build, metabolism and as Andy suggests, the mental edge, play a greater part??

Sorry, I should learn to specifically ask the questions I want to  ;D


Tell you what though: I look at the TRAT riders' performance and I see riders doing way more than I think they thought they had in 'em.  If them, why not us?

Yes, I think distance and speed are quite different beasts though. Certainly the riders did amazingly well to not get broken and be able to spend that amount of time riding in such a short period. I think that the mental side was very large for that ride, as the physical limits of distance are far beyond what the rider can mentally deal with.

With riding fast though, certainly you need the mental side to perform at your best, but it cannot help you overcome a physical limit. (Although you do hear stories of inhumane feats, i.e. when women lift cars matrix style to remove children from undernearth. I have nothing to substantiate these reports though).

mattc

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Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2009, 03:43:40 pm »
Appologies yes a bit of a mix of ideas. The Power outputs were more for interest. I agree a 55% increase doesn't sound likely.
...
The question was more if we could crudely know a riders level of conditioning and their VO2 max,
...
I think the problem would always be how to measure 'level of conditioning'. Sports scientists seem to have some very rough ideas of this, so you could get a VERY crude estimate. Emphasis on VERY.

To really know, you'd have to go for it and actually train. Sorry!

(I would still bet BELOW a 55% spread, assuming you ride hard "a fair bit" already. It just sounds a lot ... )
Has never ridden RAAM
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No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Zoidburg

Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2009, 04:48:05 pm »
The term "genetical truth" is slightly misleading.

It finds out if you are geneticaly suited to TT racing, not if your genes are superior in any general sense.

Fixedwheelnut

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Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2009, 05:15:13 pm »
OK I ride the ;
Q10/26 West Kingsdown -              Climb 141m / descent 243m = diff 102m

Which has climb and descent as above, I have in put my data as a flat course and come up with 275 277 watts, as I don't do freewheeling how accurate is that figure to what I do on a rolling course?,
6' 2" = 74"
14st = 196lb
Bike weight guess 20lb weight 28lb
average speed 24mph [25.05 for 10TT]
steel bike 88" fixed with tri-bars
 2nd edit there is 76m of climb to the turn in 6km and I usually average 20mph to the turn.
 

slopes off to weigh bike ;D edit ok 28lb bike gives me another 2 watts  :)
"Don't stop pedalling"

Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2009, 05:27:57 pm »
I have always maintained that there are 3 vital components-

- genetic potential
- training
- attitude

1 out of 3 - OK club rider
2 out of 3 - good level competitor
3 out of 3 - champion

That said there are gains to be made in terms of kit - wheels especially. A really good disc in the back with an ideal front wheel for the conditions plus Dugast tubs will gain some seconds.

The other way to get fast times (if that matters to you - I always went by position - a win is a win no matter the time) then travel to fast courses and hope for fast conditions.

Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2009, 06:17:26 pm »
VO2 max is largely genetic.  You can improve it a bit by training, but if yours is 45 and Lance Armstrong's is 85 (these are realistic figures), you'll never get there.

EPO only gets you about a 15% power gain, which isn't all that much in terms of speed.  Useful when you're going for the win in the TdF, but again it won't get you from a 26 minute "10" to a 21 minute "10".
Never tell me the odds.

Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2009, 08:12:55 pm »
I suppose it depends how fit you are at the moment.I made an effort last year and went from long 25s  to short 22s. That's on a slow 'sporting' course, so there was another 45 seconds to be saved on a local 'fast' course.

However, only one person has ever gone under 20 on our course (Charles McCulloch), so it isn't easy. But I think it is possible if you give yourself every advantage and choose your course carefully. You also need luck to pick the right day - conditions make a big difference.

inc

Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2009, 07:47:00 pm »

I wondered whether I could ever get a sub 20m 10 time and sub 50m 25 time, essentially get a 30mph average.

Almost certainly no,  There are only a handful of riders in the UK who can regularly average 30mph. If you are interested in your potential get yourself tested by a trained physiologist. They will be able to give you a very good idea on your true potential. Your VO2max can be improved dramatical for a 20 - 30 year old from 30 to over 60, the biggest genetic factor is thought to be lung capacity which is fixed.

Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2009, 08:59:46 pm »
My lung capacity (or at least peak flow) is massive - I can make the little thing hit the stop at the end of the tube.  It doesn't help much.

I could probably go faster with more efficient muscles, but not simply more muscle mass - there wouldn't be the oxygen to drive them.  A few years ago I was limited by my legs (riding just within the limit of cramp) but now I'm limited by my cardiovascular system (riding just within MHR).
Never tell me the odds.

TheLurker

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Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2009, 08:09:25 am »
And of course good old Anno Domini will play a part. If you're on the downhill slope (testosterone levels and growth hormone levels declining*) then all the training in the world is merely a holding action. :) 

*From what (very) little I've read GH production peaks at somewhere about 20 to 25 years, but the real kicker (for blokes) is the marked decline in testosterone levels after 40(ish) which make it more difficult to recover quickly from intense (training) effort, which means you can't put as much effective training in as a younger rider & so on... I daresay a 'real sports scientist' will be along in a minute to tell me I'm talking rot... :)
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vorsprung

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Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2009, 09:19:17 am »
...
My current PB on a 10 is just short of 24mph on a non aero road bike. Thats 271 Watts average according to this calculator http://web.archive.org/web/20071212072421/http://www.kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm

To bridge that extra 6mph (with the additional help an aero TT bike) would require 421 watts, a 55% increase in power.

 Would there be any way of calculating the very best I could ever hope for??


I would guess that if you increased your power by a doable 10% ( see Ultra Cycling:  Intensity Training ) and got a bike with tribars and tyres at 150psi then you could increase your speed to 25mph, which would be a 24 minute time
Or wait for a tailwind
Or draft a tractor
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andygates

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Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2009, 09:54:38 am »
And of course good old Anno Domini will play a part. If you're on the downhill slope (testosterone levels and growth hormone levels declining*) then all the training in the world is merely a holding action. :) 

Damn your eyes, sir.   :'(
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gonzo

Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2009, 10:18:00 am »
Annecdote: Last year a guy joined our club who had previously, at his best, done 20 miles at 16mph. His PB for a 10 is 21 something.

Anyhow, the important thing for TTs isn't just weight, but drag (which is directly related to frontal area). The formula is:

D = cD*0.5*1.224*V²*A

D is the drag which is where 90% of your power goes, so D is directly related to power in.

cD is the drag associated with your shape so an aerofoil would have a low cD and a brick would have a large cD. Generally, this value is about 1

V is your speed (in m/s)

A is your frontal area

What this all boils down to is that to be a good TTer you need a good Power/frontal area. You can either up your power, reduce your frontal area or both.

Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2009, 04:57:04 pm »
You also need to look at how effective yuor training is. You'd probably find that with a good coach you could increase your road speed quite a bit. Intervals, high speed work drafting behind a moped, weight training and then a proper diet and rest schedule would all contribute to the mix.

I'd say that since there are plently of people out there doing sub hour 25 mile time trials that it is all possible and that so far you haven't got the mix right.

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2009, 06:35:36 pm »
And I'll throw motivation into the mix.  You have to have the gumption to train hard, the smarts to train right (not just mentalist max-efforts all the time) and the bonkersness to really throw yourself maximally into the test. 

Is mental focus genetic?

I know for sure that it's manipulable with pharmaceuticals, so it's certainly at least part biological.
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2009, 04:49:39 pm »
VO2 max is largely genetic.  You can improve it a bit by training, but if yours is 45 and Lance Armstrong's is 85 (these are realistic figures), you'll never get there.

From what I've read it's generally accepted that, with training, you can increase your VO2 max by a max of 10%. Not 10 units (what are they, litres per min per kg), but 10% of what it is assuming you're relatively fit now.

So if you're reasonably fit now, and you VO2 max is 45 you could just about scrape it up to 50 with lots more VO2 max raising training. Still a long way off Lance.

If you're relatively fit and your VO2 max is 25 then you could push it up close to 28 with lots of specific training.

Hutch's first 10 was about 23 minutes, on a borrowed bike. His third ever 10 mile TT was sub 20 minutes.

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gonzo

Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2009, 04:56:16 pm »
Hutch's first 10 was about 23 minutes, on a borrowed bike. His third ever 10 mile TT was sub 20 minutes.

For elite status; you've either got it or you haven't.

I've been wondering over this sort of example for a while now; did Hutch do other sports before moving to cycling?

clarion

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Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #21 on: July 15, 2009, 04:58:31 pm »
He was a bit of a rower, wasn't he?
Getting there...

Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #22 on: July 15, 2009, 05:02:02 pm »
Hutch's first 10 was about 23 minutes, on a borrowed bike. His third ever 10 mile TT was sub 20 minutes.

For elite status; you've either got it or you haven't.

I've been wondering over this sort of example for a while now; did Hutch do other sports before moving to cycling?

Rowing (another sport associated with people with high VO2 max, c.f. Rebecca Romero). If I've still got my copy of The Hour (and you haven't read it already) I'll happily send it on to you.

The stuff about the hour record is interesting. It should come as no surprise that to even get close to the record you need to be able to push out at least 500W consistently for the entire hour. This is way beyond most mortals, even with all the training and science behind you.

There's also a bit of a biography here: Michael Hutchinson: Cycling
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2009, 05:03:00 pm »
Hoy rowed for scotland U18.

simonp

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Re: The TT limit of genetical truth??
« Reply #24 on: July 15, 2009, 05:26:42 pm »
A person with a VO2max score of 25 is not "reasonably fit" they are very unfit!

Average untrained young male will score 45.