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Harry Paine’s preparations for the National 10 Mile TT Champs

11 September 2014

16-year-old Harry Paine (WyndyMilla-Reynolds) will compete in Saturday’s GHS Final – that’s the national 10-mile time trial championship for youth riders.

Many past GHS winners have gone on to race at the highest level of the sport. The 2005 winner, for example, was one Alex Dowsett, with fellow pros Luke Rowe and Andy Fenn also placed in the top ten. Multi-champion Hannah Barnes (then just 12 years old!) won the girls’ silver medal that year too.

Harry told us about how he has prepared for the championship race, and how time trialling fits into his overall cycle racing plans.

Q. Please talk us through your preparation for the GHS 10.

A. I’ve recently been doing a lot of endurance efforts on the turbo trainer and behind the moped. These efforts are normally around 3-5minutes at my FTP (Functional Threshold Power) so that I can hold a higher speed when it comes to the actual race. I’ve also been preparing mentally by running the event through in my head and making sure I know what I have got to do to succeed in the event.

Q. What are your targets for the GHS 10?

A. My targets for the GHS this year are to get a top five placing and a PB. In doing that I believe that I’ll benefit from it mentally because you get a sense of achievement which makes you feel more confident about yourself for future, similar events.

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Q. Please describe your typical time trial training sessions.

A. I’d usually train for time trials riding my road bike behind a moped {Ed.: watch the video}. I wouldn’t do it on a time trial bike – if my Dad had to stop suddenly I wouldn’t be able to brake when holding the tri-bars.

For this session I normally ride out to a long stretch of road about six miles from home, and I use this for a good long warm-up. Then I then do three minutes at 32mph behind the moped, and I just ride back from wherever I get to, going easy until reaching the point that I started at. I do a further six of these efforts, increasing 1 mph for every effort.

By the end of this I’m well and truly knackered to say the least, and I finish off the session by just riding back at a really steady pace as a warm-down.

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Q. What’s your approach to aerodynamics and riding position?

A. When it comes to aerodynamics I really like to be in a tucked position as low down as possible. I keep my head as close to my hands as I can whilst still looking ahead.

Q. What special equipment do you use for time trialling?

A. I wear an aero helmet with a visor and I wear aero gloves and overshoes. Lots of people say that using these things doesn’t make a huge difference, but it could mean losing a couple of seconds, and that’s the difference between winning and losing.

I also use the best equipment on the bike that I have got. So, for example, I use a rear disc wheel (if it’s a fast course), and either a deep-rim front wheel or a tri-spoke.

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Q. How do you pace yourself during a time trial?

A. During a 10 mile time trial I don’t really pace myself that much – it’s more of a flat-out effort rather than a paced one. However. when I’m doing a 25 mile TT it’s a bit different, because I do the first fifteen miles at about 95% of my max and then the last ten miles really just flat out!

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Q. What’s your approach to gearing & cadence?

A. For most time trials I use a 52 tooth chainring and an 11-up cassette {Ed.: a cassette with sprockets increasing by just one tooth per sprocket}. This gives me a big enough gear to push on downhill sections and an easy enough gear to push on the uphill.

I like to keep a cadence of about 100 rpm. Any lower than that and I get a bit lazy and am not pushing as hard as I can.

Q. How do you judge if you’ve done a good time trial performance?

A. When I’ve done a good performance in a time trial I just know really, because you feel like you have put everything in and you couldn’t have done any better on the day. If I have any doubts about that I feel that I haven’t performed to my best ability.

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Q. What difference do courses and traffic levels make to you?

A. Every time trial course is different. They can be hilly, rolling, flat, have some tight sections, or have a dodgy road surface. But what I’ve learned just in the last few months, really, is that you can’t compare times from one course to another.

A lot of people can say that they have done a 19 minute “10” but the majority will have done that on a dual-carriageway, not on a local sporting course. It doesn’t matter if you don’t beat your PB time every night because it just isn’t possible – you just have to focus on getting the fastest time on the day and winning the event.

Q. How is time trialling relevant to your cycling performance in other disciplines, and to your development as a rider?

A. Time trialling is relevant to me in other aspects of cycling because it’s so useful for everything, whether you’re attacking in a road race or leading out a sprint finish. It all requires you to be able to hold a high power for a sustained amount of time.

Another reason why time trialling is important is that most Grand Tours {Ed.: Tour de France, Vuelta Espana, Giro d’Italia} and other stage races have an individual TT, and those are often decisive.

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Q. Do you have any tips or advice about time trialling for other youth riders?

A. Enjoy it and don’t put pressure on yourself to do a good time – just focus on doing your best. At a young age, say twelve to eighteen, everyone is developing at different rates, so you can’t compare yourself with someone who might be the same age but is just physically bigger and stronger. It all evens out between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one.

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Harry Paine’s preparations for the National 10 Mile TT Champs

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