Yes, we’re testing various frame/wheelset setups to see which one(s) deliver the best performance on Zwift’s new Bologna TT route. And we’ll release a post about that soon. But remember: just like racing outdoors, equipment tweaks only achieve marginal gains.

Want to turn in your very best performance on this route? You’ll need to give some thought to perfecting your pacing strategy. Here’s a video from our favorite Lama down under, Shane Miller (who happens to be a very experienced TT racer outside):

TT Pacing Basics

“Go hardest when you’re going slowest.” That is Shane’s basic strategy, and it’s backed by basic physics. The faster you are moving, the more power it takes to further increase your speed. So if you want to trim time, speed up your slowest section(s).

For the Bologna TT route in particular, the strategy can be summarized as riding slightly below threshold for the flat portion (first 6km), then above threshold for the climb (final 2km). For fairly strong riders (let’s say, B category and higher) this will roughly result in you riding under threshold for the first half of your ride (timewise) and over threshold for the second half.

This actually works out nicely as an illustration of proper pacing strategy. Let’s look at some numbers from BikeCalculator.com which illustrate why this strategy works:

  • On flat ground, 300 watts will have you traveling at 40.07kph. Bump your effort up by 10% to 330 watts and your speed will increase to 41.51kph–a 3.6% speed increase, or approximately 19 seconds faster over Bologna’s flat 6km.
  • On a 10% grade, 300 watts will have you traveling at 12.31kph. Bump your effort up by 10% to 330 watts and your speed will increase to 13.48kph–a 9.5% speed increase, or approximately 50s seconds faster up Bologna’s 2km climb.

So you can see, it makes good sense to conserve a bit on the flats so you can go over threshold for the climb.

Want a more precise race plan? Shane shows in the video abouve how you can use BestBikeSplit.com to create a precise race plan for your fitness level.

How Much Faster?

In Shane’s test, applying the BestBikeSplit strategy resulted in a time of 17:36. However, if Shane held a steady effort, his time was 18:15.

Both efforts averaged 292 watts, but the optimized pacing shaved 39 seconds off his overall time. That’s huge!

Hopefully this insight helps you smash your next TT effort. Go get it!