When the evenings get lighter and there is some warmth in the air, it’s that time of year in the UK when local club time trials start. Often 10 miles on relatively flat courses. Not too hard to put people off, but still capable of attracted decent quality local riders too. As well as evening time trials, ‘Come and Try ‘ events are organised by the CTT – Cycling Time Trials – governing body of time trialling (www.ctt.org.uk) and are ideal for giving it a go. Joining a cycling club which is affiliated to the CTT will allow you to ride in open events.
Time trials are the simplest form of bike racing. Riders set off at 1 minute intervals over a set course which is 10 miles or longer and can be relatively flat or hilly. The winner is the rider with the fastest time over the distance. The good news is that when you ride your first time trial, you will get a personal best time. The beauty of a time trial is that you can race just against yourself to improve your personal best. Time trials are ridden by people of all ages from 12 to the elderly, even Frenchmen with no dress sense can have a go…
Wheel Good Fun
If you haven’t ridden a time trial before, a local evening one is a great place to start. Don’t be put off by the equipment and clothing which regular riders might be using. You can ride a time trial on any bike – that’s what makes them to accessible to all. Local evening events are usually enter on the line. Open events, like those listed on the CTT website, need to be entered in advance.
Short & Sweet
Relatively short 10 mile TT’s are the easiest to replicate in training and the least time-consuming to train for – compared to riding 5 hour road races for example. After your first time trial, the chances are you will want to do another. Think about what happened on your last TT or look at the strava data for it to see how you can improve.
Ten Top TT Tips
- Warm Up – Try to have a good warm up before you are due to start. Don’t overdo it though. Aim to be at the time keeper / pusher offer a couple of minutes before you are due to start.
- Don’t start too fast – It’s easy to get carried away, aim for consistency through the ride.
- Rhythm – Settle into a rhythm and concentrate on maintaining it – be stubborn!
- Gauge Your Effort – Pacing is everything
- Starting Effort – Start in a gear which is not too small or too large – you should be able to get up to speed quickly without being overgeared.
- Get Aero – Even without any aero equipment, try to get used to riding on the drops or with hands on the lever hoods with flat forearms. Wear tighter fitting clothing with less wrinkles and creases. Take unnecessary things off your bike such as water bottles, pumps etc
- Plan Ahead – Look at the weather forecast and work out were the wind will be coming from. Forewarned is forearmed. Check out the course beforehand and think about how you will approach the ride.
- Make sure your tyres are pumped to the recommended pressures & take any unnecessary bits off your bike, like saddle bag, water bottles etc.
- Be Alert – Especially at the turn and if other traffic enters and departs the road you are riding on. Evening time trials are great, but watch out for those motorists in a rush getting home from work.
- Stay Safe – Keep left, unless overtaking and keep your head up at all times. It’s also worth being a bit more alert if you are riding on tri bars, you will need an extra couple of seconds to sit up and apply the brakes, should you need to.
Top 5 TT Products
Time Trial components can help give extra speed, even spending a small amount can help cut through the air more effectively.
2 Tri Bars
Deda Parabolica £62.95
3 Aero Helmet
Spiuk Aizea £84.95
Supra RCA55 Clinchers £499.99
Schwalbe Ironman Tri / TT tyres £14.95