TTTT – Thirsty Thursday Time Trial in Ormond Beach

TT001I was invited to come up to Ormond Beach to try a 10K time trial, put on by The Bike Shop. Owner Jack Gonzales posted it in our Facebook Group and invited me up.

I was warned it was rather informally done but pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had. It may be “loosely” run but the guys know what they are doing and put on a great little race. For a practice TT to gauge your progress, it’s perfect.

The Venue

This is a FREE time trial. It is not sanctioned by anyone, it’s just a group ride that has a TT in the middle of it really. The group meets at The Bike Shop around 6:15 and departs out through town to a very pretty country road. They go about 12 miles as a group out to the entry of a neighborhood, where they have an interesting method of running the race. The first rider gets everyone to line up and then walks down the list and gets everyone’s name. Then he hands the list to the last rider, who starts everyone. Once the first rider has a significant enough head start to avoid being caught he sends the next rider, and then a rider every 30 seconds after. Finally, the last rider goes at his designated time.

Meanwhile the first rider has reached the finish line and is starting to take times as other riders finish. Since he asked everyone their name, and probably has a great memory, he writes down the finish times. (I’m impressed with that!)

All in all a simple yet effective system that allows everyone to race.

Following the race, the group rides back to the bike shop as a cool down. And, there may be some “socializing” after.

The Course

The road could be better. It is pretty rough. It reminded me a lot of the last 6 miles of the state TT in Palm Beach this year, or if anyone has been on the old Chuck Lennon TT course, that was about the same. Other than that though it’s a nice, flat course. A lot of shade, very little crosswind, a lot of scenery and not a lot of traffic. There is no bike lane but the car drivers were all very polite and considerate. No honks, no close passes or other incidents marred my ride.

It comes out to exactly 6.22 miles on my Garmin

TTTT Course.  Start to Finish is right at 6.22 miles

TTTT Course. Start to Finish is right at 6.22 miles

My Report

The group ride outbound gave me plenty of time to “warmup” (see Other Comments below) so I was ready to go when my time came. I was a little concerned about a storm looming off to the west but never felt a drop of rain.

I started about 20th in line and had 4 or 5 behind me so quite a good turnout. I asked the guys behind me to say something nice when they passed me 🙂

Finally my turn came and I was worried, because this group had gone FAST on the way out (dropped me in fact) and I was afraid I would get blown out. I pedaled fairly hard right away to get my HR up to about 145. My plan was to do three 2 mile segments. Segment one: about 145-150 HR, Segment two: 155, and segment three ramp it up to all I had. I was kind of watching power as well but not really, as I am not familiar enough with it yet. I could feel lactic acid almost immediately but I attributed that to being “loaded up” from waiting so long to start.

I did not have a rabbit for the first two segments. Apparently the guy right in front of me was pretty fast. Also, I kept waiting for someone to steam by me and it never happened. In segment 3 I caught sight of “Jose”, a guy wearing an Amway jersey that I had a lengthy conversation with (I was in that business for many years.) It took me up until under a mile to go but I caught him. As I passed him I said “Come on! Less than a mile to go!” I inspired him, as he passed me back in a sprint to the finish. I tried to sprint but I did not have anything left in the tank (that’s a good thing!)

I showed 16:51 as my time but it must have taken me a few seconds to stop the Garmin, since the “map” shows I was closer to 16:44. The “official” results show 16:50

Official results from The Bike Shop

Official results from The Bike Shop

My Power Agent readout for the TTTT.  I started the Garmin at t-minus 3 and stopped it shortly after finishing.

My Power Agent readout for the TTTT. I started the Garmin at t-minus 3 and stopped it shortly after finishing.

Other Comments

The only two negative things about the ride is:
1) The outbound group ride is mixed with people who are going off and doing a longer ride. Some of them were riding on aerobars in the group(!) This is a big no-no. Not safe!
2) The road itself needs paving badly. There are some serious potholes and several bumpy sections. A few times I got bumped so hard my arm slipped off the aero pads.

Other than that, a really fun ride and a beautiful area to ride. Worth the hour and 20 minute drive up there. I have the next one on my calendar, July 24th.

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How Do I Get Faster?

Titled-Hardesty-ORR-TeamOK, you’ve lost the weight, done a century ride, ran a marathon and/or some other notable completion of a distance goal.

Now, if you are like me, you are getting annoyed by losing to that 77 year old guy who always beats you by 13 seconds.

So are you asking yourself, “How do I get faster?”

I am!

I’ve got the distance, got the endurance, got the cardio down. Now it’s time to WIN something. Sure it’s nice to say “I finished!” That doesn’t ever get old, does it? OK it DOES. It’s not as satisfying as saying “I got on the podium!” or better “I won!” or even better:

“I finally beat that ONE PERSON!” (Insert that ONE PERSON who matters to you here …)

So How Do I Get Faster?

Every article I read starts with the same disclaimer: “You have to determine what works best for you.”

I used to think they were just satisfying the lawyers, but after a few years of trying a lot of different things, I now agree with that statement. What works for me does not work for my wife Kathleen, for example. While we are all humans (at least I hope so) we all have different bodies, goals, levels of exercise and physical history.

There are however, a few rules that seem to apply to everyone. Here’s what I have found so far:

Define Some (Slightly) Unrealistic Goals

Goals should be slightly unrealistic

Goals should be slightly unrealistic

What good is it to set an easy goal and make it? The best goals are those that are just slightly beyond reach.

Pick a goal that you think you can get close to, but probably not quite make it.

Famous line from some author – “Shoot for the stars, for even if you miss, you’ll hit the moon”

To Get Different Results You Have To Do Something Different

You will not significantly improve your performance by doing the same thing you’ve always been doing. You have to change something. This can be a simple as doing the same exercise, but in a different way. You can even try a different exercise or different sport. Some suggestions:

  • Try a different style of running / riding / etc. Example: Try a mountain bike instead of a road bike.
  • Try a completely different sport. Swimming, Standup Paddleboard, etc.
  • Change up the workouts. Add intervals (more on this later)
  • Try racing. Don’t get discouraged if you do poorly at first. You will. Everybody does.
  • Talk to different people. Get a coach!

Find a Way To Objectively Measure Your Results

Power Agent is a program to monitor performance, power and heart rate

Power Agent is a program to monitor performance, power and heart rate

There are many devices, tools, websites and apps for this. I use a Garmin Edge 500 to measure everything, including not only the basic stuff but also heart rate, power (on the bike), percent of incline (running and riding hills is a good change up), and temperature. I upload everything to,,, and also use an offline program called Power Agent.

Review your progress frequently. A good coach will have you doing this anyway. One website,, allows you to choose an online coach at a fairly reasonable price. They will review your workout files from your Garmin, for example, and make suggestions and corrections.

Regularly Measure Your Results and Expanded Limits

Important limits to measure are your Lactate Threshold and your VO2 Max. There are lots of articles that discuss these. Coach Adam Baskin of Cat One Fitness has a great system for measuring these levels on a precisely controlled cycling trainer. By gradually increasing the resistance, he measures wattage output and monitors heart rate. Every minute or so he pricks a finger to measure the levels of lactic acid. By assimilating all this data, he has shown me what my “zones” are:

The results of my LT/VO2 Max test at Cat One Fitness

The results of my LT/VO2 Max test at Cat One Fitness

This chart shows the heart rate and power zones for my workouts.

This chart shows the heart rate and power zones for my workouts.

Limits Do Not Increase Unless They Are Stretched or Broken

For me, Interval Training has done the trick to increase my speed. I have yet to meet someone it doesn’t work for. So what is it?

Well, in a nutshell, for brief, controlled periods, you approach and/or exceed limits in your workout. Then you back off for a predetermined amount of time. Your coach will help you a lot here.

This works for cycling and running (for me anyway.) This morning, for example, I did an interval running exercise, repeating the same 3 minute pattern:

  • 0:00 – 1:00 Run very easy (jog really)
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Run hard, starting to run out of breath (Zone 4)
  • 1:45 – 2:15 Run easy, allowing HR to fall back slightly
  • 2:15 – 3:00 Walk, allowing HR to fall back to Zone 2
  • Repeat

I did this over 5.8 miles. This should begin to increase my leg strength, increase LT and VO2 Max for running.

The cycling interval pattern for me is something similar, just longer.

  • 0:00 – 3:00 Ride easy – HR in Zone 2
  • 3:00 – 5:00 Ride hard, Power at or above FTP, starting to run out of breath (Zone 4)
  • Repeat

Never Never Never Never Never Give Up

Winston Churchill used that line as his entire speech to some graduating class back in the day, probably Oxford or something like that.

On those days when you feel like it’s not working, you aren’t getting anywhere, and you just want to go “Become One with the Couch and a bag of Cheetos”, this is your mantra.

In every long race, ride, run, duathlon, etc that I have done, there has been a crisis moment, when things didn’t feel good.

In fact they felt pretty bad. Several times I’ve wanted to go to the side of the course and throw up, sit down, take a beer from a friendly fan (seriously, fans were handing out beers and Bloody Marys at the Space Coast Marathon) or just plain get in the car and go home. I can’t remember the last time I voluntarily quit. Oh I had some force outs, broke a spoke on Six Gap last year, got rained out (lightning) at a 5K once, but those were beyond my control.

Those barriers are defining moments. See paragraph above on “Exceeding Limits.”

Patience Young Padawan. Nothing Happens Overnight

Continuing from the last paragraph, you will hit those plateaus that everyone hits.

Yes, everyone. Nobody’s rise to performance is a straight line.

Stay the course. You will become a:

Performance Jedi

You can become a "Performance Jedi"

You can become a “Performance Jedi”

You will stand atop the podium. You will shake the hand of THAT GUY and say good race, knowing you finally beat him.

Or if you’re like me, you will continue until it happens …