Time Trialing is probably the most baffling of all the cycling specialties. People who can’t do can’t figure out why, and people who TT well can’t figure out why people who can’t do so poorly at it. Despite the fact that in my best cycling years I shared a house with one of the greatest time trial guys in U.S. history, John Frey (former holder of the U.S. hour record, still holder of the U.S. 40k TT record at 47:32 set on a 52x13 fixed gear), and despite the fact that I trained with him often, and despite the fact that he held no secrets of his success from me, my time trial efforts were wildly inconsistent. There was no reason I should not have been a good time trialist. I had good power, I could make good long solo moves in road races, I had good position on the bike. Some element was missing and long after it mattered, I discovered what this element was. In retrospect it seems ridiculously obvious.
I got much better at riding consistently good TT’s as I got older and it was entirely due to a better ability to focus on what I was doing. There is the key element to Time Trials: concentration. A time trial guy can tell you exactly how he trains, exactly how he sets up his bike, how he tapes up or stuffs Vaseline in all the bolt holes, and none of that will help you ride a better TT. It’s all about focus which is an attribute that TT riders take for granted.
I have one method for helping keep your focus in a TT: Pay attention to your rpms. That may seem silly, but again, if you target a rpm range, and ride the biggest gear you are able to do that in, then you can’t do much better than that. You of course could pick something else to focus on, a power meter for instance, whatever, if you have trouble focusing, you need to find something to keep your mind on the task at hand.