Time-trials are a special component of cycling known as the ‘race of truth’.
For every cyclist “TT day” is one that will be filled with suffering as they battle their bodies telling them, through burning lungs and legs, to slow the pace and go-easy.
There is no question that every cyclist will suffer in a time-trial, but a rare few actually thrive in them.
Jordi Conrado is one of these Athletes, having focused on the time-trial discipline throughout the 2018 season as well as in previous seasons.
As the 2018/2019 SoCal TT Series got underway two weeks ago at the Piru 20KM TT, Jordi recorded a hard-fought second place finish.
The very next week took the competitors to the Fiesta Island 20KM TT in San Diego, a notoriously fast, yet very demanding course.
We are excited to report that Jordi again stepped onto the podium at the end of the day, but this time it was the top step as the winner of his category!
What’s more, Jordi managed to cover the course in the fastest recorded time, for his category, in all of 2018, which is an incredible accomplishment.
Following his Fiesta Island performance, and ahead of a number of Fall events on the SoCall TT Series calendar, we caught up with Jordi to talk time-trialing and what lies ahead for 2019 in this weeks BWC Athlete Profile. Enjoy!
Jordi powered to a season-best performance, in his category, in his first race on the Fiesta Island course! Photo Credit: Jordi Conrado
Primary Sport/Discipline: Road Cycling
Average Hours of Training Per Week: 12-15hrs
Upcoming Goals: The SoCal TT Series & The 2019 Road Season
Question #1: Congratulations on winning the Fiesta Island 20Km TT, Jordi! En route to the win you put-down the fastest time this year in your category, going sub-27min. How did the race unfold and how did you pace yourself during the three-lap event?
Jordi Conrado:I drove the course the day before to look for any sketchy spots, poor road conditions, and tricky points.
This course is pretty flat, so my strategy was to set a fast pace from the start, and keep it steady until about 2km ‘to go’ where I would go as hard as possible to ‘empty the tank’ before the finish.
On the day, I found myself having good stretches on course in which my breathing, cadence, and power were “just right” and I tried to keep that momentum going as long as I could.
I was ‘in the zone’ so the three laps went by very quickly!
Coaches Perspective/Coach Brian: Leading into the Fiesta Island TT Jordi and I made time to debrief about his previous TT effort at Piru one week before.
From that conversation and the data review we did, we were able to hone in on some key ‘takeaways’ regarding his pacing, one of which was that he could ‘empty the tank’ a bit earlier than expected.
Taking the time to both debrief about Piru, where he got second, and then outline a plan for Fiesta was time well spent as it gave Jordi extra confidence with how to execute his race strategy.
From there it was all about “clocking in” and “getting it done”, so to speak.
And I am so proud of Jordi for his great result. He definitely “got it done!”
Jordi was second at Piru the week before, but Fiesta Island was the win he was looking for! Photo Credit: Fiesta Island TT Series
Question #2: You have been riding your TT-Bike regularly throughout the race season and now it is paying dividends this offseason with a podium and a win in just two-races. What are your time-trial aspirations for next year?
JC:Winning the California State Championship 40km TT is a great goal!
I finished second there in 2018 and I'm sure with the right preparation I can improve my time to fight for the win.
Other than that, I would like to have good results in the TT stages of the Valley of the Sun Stage Race in Phoenix as well as the San Dimas Stage Race.
Coach Brian: During the springtime and early summer Jordi regularly attended the El Dorado Park Tuesday TT & Criterium Series.
These were more than great workouts. We discussed the importance of making these efforts as ‘race-like’ as possible.
They were not worth all the effort if he was not fully committed to performing optimally.
Luckily, Jordi knows no other way than full-commitment!
The pacing lessons learned and time spent on the TT bike each week paid dividends that are coming to fruition now in the SoCal TT Series.
So you can imagine my excitement seeing all Jordi’s hard work come together these past two-weeks!
The San Dimas Stage Race is one of the most competitive Stage Races in California. Jordi's excellent TT-skils set him up to earn a well deserved 4th place overall finish. Photo Credit: The San Dimas Stage Race
Question #3: Looking back on the 2018 road race season, you did a lot of racing, what was your biggest highlight, and are there any events you have “unfinished business” with that you are targeting in 2019?
JC:The result that marked my racing this year was finishing 4th overall at the San Dimas Stage Race.
I have done this race several times, and this was my best result!
As for next year, I have been thinking about heading out to the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico for a couple of years now, and I think this is the year to try…
Also, the UCLA Road Race, which is quite hilly, is something I have unfinished business with. Last year I got dropped very quickly, so it is a race I'll be looking to target in 2019!
Coach Brian: It is exciting to hear that Jordi is contemplating an assault on the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico. This is one of the most challenging Stage Races in the country, so it is without question a worthy goal!
As for Jordi’s comments about San Dimas and the UCLA Road Race, I did not have the privilege of working with him at that time…
So you can bet that I am looking forward to crafting a plan with him so he can both continue his string of excellent performances at SDSR and climb like a beast at the UCLA Road Race!
Jordi likes to take his recovery seriously and that usually entails complete rest, as in a day away from the bike, or it could be coffee-spin, depending on the day.Photo Credit: Jordi Conrado
Question #4: What is/are your favorite workout(s) in your training program? Also, please share a ‘knowledge-bomb’ you have learned while training with BWC.
JC:My two favorite workouts are #1- Climbing Repeats, the short version that are 3-5 min. long at an increasing pace and finish with an “all out” sprint to the top!
#2) Long endurance rides where an "easy" and steady endurance pace is kept for a long time. I like these rides to be about 4hrs, or so, in duration and love it when I get home really hungry!
As for a ‘knowledge-bomb’, what I am learning from Coach Brian is to take it really easy on easy days, letting my body fully recover from the work performed so I can ‘go hard’ on the next workout.
It seems like obvious advice, but I think many Athletes just don't recover properly and therefore can’t push hard enough when needed because they are overly tired.
Coach Brian: That is a great ‘knowledge-bomb’ Jordi, well said!
Rest is such a key component of performance, but it is somewhat misunderstood.
So many Athletes are willing to do all the hard-work and tough workouts necessary to be fit, but few are willing to rest enough to get the fitness gains they have worked hard to receive.
By appropriately balancing workload with rest it is possible to see significant performance increases.
On the other hand, when recovery is neglected, adaptation to training-stress can be limited substantially.
Helping our BWC family of Athletes find that balance of work, rest, and performance is something that I really enjoy!
We hope you have enjoyed reading about Jordi Conrado’s TT success and that it has inspired you to reach for some late season goals of your own!
But is Jordi’s recent TT success coming on the heels of a great season of training and racing, or is it really a sign that he is already starting to do the work necessary for a great 2019 race season?
We’ll let you decide…
But either way, what we can learn from his success is that with purposeful practice and a diligent focus on details, success is never far away, regardless of the time of year!
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!
-Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching
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