Time trialling is a great introduction to racing. This type of event is against the clock where riders set off individually at one minute intervals, riding a set distance on a flattish course. The rider who completes the course in the fastest time is the winner. However, hilly or ‘SPOCO’ (sporting courses) have become increasingly popular, mainly as a result of increased traffic on our roads.
Time trials are known as the ‘race of truth’ meaning there is nowhere to hide! Your fitness and stamina (or lack of!) determine how well you ride on the day although other factors play a part, e.g. the weather conditions.
Distances range from 10 miles to 25, 50 and 100 miles plus there are 12 and 24 hour events. The 10 milers are held on ‘out and back’ courses: the longer distances are held on circuit type courses which riders complete using left turns only.
See details of local club “open” events – usually 10 miles – held in the summer evenings in this section.
Team time trials
The majority of events are for solo riders but there are races which are designated as ‘2up/3up/4up’. These events allow riders to work together as a team, practising their ‘through and off’ techniques in a similar manner to a road race.
Time trials are suitable for both men and women with many continuing to race well into their 60s, 70s and even 80s. For riders aged 40 and over a set of ‘Standards’ was created by the VTTA (Veterans Time Trial Association) which consist of a set of achievable times for each age at the distances mentioned above (known as ‘standard distances’).
The minimum age to enter a time trial is 12 years old. Any junior under 18 who wishes to ride a time trial must obtain parental consent. Junior and senior riders must obey the Highway Code at all times and ride with due care and attention. Safety is paramount!
How to enter a time trial
To start with, your club – cycling or triathlon – must be affiliated to Cycling Time Trials. This equally applies to club and open events. Club events are ideal for beginners who can turn up and ride on the night: open events require each rider to complete an entry form (available to download from the CTT website) which they return two weeks before their event.
Once your entry has been accepted you will be posted or emailed a start sheet. This sheet shows your start time, details of the course, where the HQ is etc. On the day, ensure that you arrive in plenty of time to sign in and collect your number. Your number should be pinned at the bottom of your jersey/low down on your skinsuit and be clearly seen by the timekeeper and other officials. Don’t forget to warm up!
Allow sufficient time to get to the start which is often a few miles away from the HQ.
You will see other riders lining up at the start. Make your way to the front (the timekeeper will call you through), clip in and wait for the clock to count down. You will be held in position on the bike by a ‘pusher off’. The timekeeper will count you down from 10 seconds: once he/she says “GO!” you push off as hard as you can and get yourself into a position and speed that you can maintain around the course. Keep your eyes on the road and be aware of traffic and your surroundings at all times.
Once you have crossed the line your time will be recorded by the timekeeper. Make your way back to the HQ and enjoy tea and cake whilst waiting for the results to be collated. You now have a time to beat!
For more information, visit the Cycling Time Trials (CTT) website at www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk.
Find out more in the CTT Matters Newsletter February 2016.