A Tale of Two Time Trial Courses

This weekend I’ve ridden two 25M time trials.  The first, on Saturday, was in Cheshire on J2/9

Ade's Road Cycling Blog


As you can see it is a “circular” course on single carriageway roads, with riders doing about 1.5 laps.  According to my software the total ascent in 25 miles is 263 feet, which is all but flat. It’s funny but there are bits of it that don’t feel flat – Seven Sisters Lane and Twemlow Lane but I guess they pretty much are.  The road surfaces are, frankly, shockingly bad, sucking any momentum out of you, and there are a number of technical twists, turns and a roundabout to negotiate.  Yesterday it rained incessantly until about an hour before the start.  That led to lots of standing water on the poor roads so it was nearly delayed/cancelled, but as it was it turned out to be a nice day.  There was no wind to speak of – rare for this course – and the water had all but gone.

On Sunday I rode V236/1 over near Thirsk in Yorkshire

Ade's Road Cycling Blog


This is the first time I’ve ridden this, and it’s essentially two laps of a dual carriageway course on the A168/A19. It’s not that technical apart from the start and turns at the end of each lap.  The surface was perfect – brand new smooth-rolling tarmac.  My software suggests 362 feet of ascent – again, not a lot but 100 feet more than J2/9.  The start was delayed due to mist, but once it cleared it was again another perfect day with little or no wind.

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

J2/9 power analysis

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

V236/1 power analysis

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

J2/9 power zones

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

V236/1 power zones

The difference in the courses is highlighted in my power files above.  My average power across each ride was virtually identical.  In fact, on the hillier V236/1 I used slightly less power for a time that was 3 minutes quicker!  If we drill into though and look at the analysis for V236/1 you can see that I was able to stay in my threshold zone and VO2Max zone for 65% of the ride versus 47% for J2/9.  The technical nature of J2/9 means that you lose momentum and then try to work harder to get back, giving a wider power distribution than the one on V236/1, where I was able to get into a rhythm. It also feels more tiring – my average HR on J2/9 being 175bpm versus the 171bpm on V236/1.

I still have a lot of work to do on pacing and getting into the threshold zone and staying there, but courses like V236/1 make that a lot easier.


  1. Mike Fields · July 21, 2014

    Another thing to consider are the number of junctions on to J2/9 vs V236/1. I find that you will back off slightly if a vehicle is at a junction, in case they decide to pull out in front of you – “you can’t be going that fast on a bike”. This is a distraction at the very least


  2. Ade · July 21, 2014

    Probably 9 junctions on J2/9 and probably similar on v236. Different types though


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