Aero is everything. In your first time trial, which is likely to be on a road bike, that means riding in the drops so you’re low at the front.
The rider accounts for around 80 per cent of total drag. Tony Martin has a fantastic engine and he’s a great athlete but he’s also really thought about aerodynamics in a big way.
When you get more serious, setup your bike at home in front of a full-length mirror and try to minimise your frontal area. Basically, the smaller the frontal area, the better. Tuck your elbows in, round off your shoulders, but sometimes a higher position can also be more aero, because if you’re uncomfortably low then you’ll have to stick your head up and expose it to the wind. If you bring your body up then your head’s level, and more comfortable, and your position is more aero overall.
Find a position which you think is achievable over the course of a time trial. It may feel a little uncomfortable at first but commit to it for two weeks. Use that position in training so you’re used to it on race day. You never do a dress rehearsal on opening night so everything on race day should be utterly familiar.
That’s where things like power meters can be useful because they give you the confidence to understand the impact those changes are having. Micheal Hutchinson is a perfect example. He used a wind tunnel to validate his position and while he’s not necessarily produced any more power – less if anything – he’s gone faster and faster for years, because he’s got more and more efficient.