Everybody can enjoy Time Trialling, at any age or standard. Time Trialling is one of cycling’s most exciting challenges. But it is easy to be deterred by the sight of the super fit, streamlined stars of the show. Don’t be. Everyone had to start somewhere and they will admire you more for ‘having a go’ than hiding in the shadows. We have regular riders from 15 years to over 75! Check the club calendar, just turn up and pay £5 to the timekeeper. Riders start a set course at one minute intervals. You are riding against the clock, you are not allowed to ‘draft’ behind another rider but you can use a computer to check your average speed, which will tell you how you are doing. Don’t worry about other people being faster, they’ll be worrying about their own results, not yours! And in time, you’ll improve.
The most common distances are 10, 20 and 25 miles. There are also 12 and 24 hour time trials. And there are a number of other courses of differing distances. Get used to the shorter courses first! At Worcester St Johns, we run club Time Trials during the summer months all over the local area.
During Autumn and Winter, there are no weekday time trials, as the dark evenings are a problem, late season there are hill climbs and Sportives, which are great training opportunities. Most club cyclists struggle just to keep their miles up in the winter but train in earnest as the weather improves for the Spring season.
Entering Open Time Trials
An excellent guide to entering open time trials is at:-
Worcester St Johns CC is an affiliated club to CTT so club members are eligible to enter CTT events. If you plan on entering a few time trials throughout the year, it is very useful for you to have a copy of the CTT handbook that lists the details (such as entry fee and organisers address) which you need to know to enter an event. This can be purchased at http://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/Shop/tabid/367/Default.aspx but if you are entering just one or two events you could ask other members for the details from their books.
Once you have entered, you will receive a start sheet either by email or post that gives details of the event and the rider start times. On the day, turn up at the HQ (usually a village hall of some sort) maybe an hour before your start time and sign on / collect your race number. This is very informal, sometimes there is just the signing on sheet and a pile of numbers on an unmanned table . Pin the number to your top, go and warm up and then go to the start a few minutes before your start time and then it’s down to you. On most Open TT’s (that is open to all club members rather than the more casual Club 10’s) the courses are either well signposted or marshalled at junctions, it is very difficult to get lost on an open 10. After the race back to the HQ hand in number, eat cake (usually very good quality home made stuff), look at results and your time. Later on you’ll get a formal results sheet (by post or email) and then you’ll be hooked and buying power meters, TT bikes and disc wheels, etc, etc.
Training for Time Trialling
There are many excellent guides and tips online specifically aimed at training for TT’s. The first has to be the Cycling Time Trials site, there’s a wealth of information here,http://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/first_time_trial.asp. The bottom line is that regular miles are very important, 100 miles a week is a good target, not that hard if you break it down. Most successful riders also say ‘interval training’ is essential, riding for short bursts close to your maximum heart rate and at race speed. BUT please be sure you are fit enough to do this, if you have any doubts, ask your Doctor to check your fitness.
Most Time Trials are on fairly flat courses, the average speed is therefore high, 10 miles in 24 minutes means 25mph, so streamlining is important and many people use tri or aero bars to help. But don’t get neurotic about equipment, it’s 99% about your legs and your training. Out top riders finish a 10 mile TT in 20 minutes but the UK’s fastest is Bradley Wiggins with 17.57. That’s over 33 mph!
A common mistake in time trialling is to set off too fast, run out of puff, lose time then make a huge effort to chase your lost time. Your aim should be an even rate of effort at all times