Ever thought about Time Trials?
Time Trials are ridden as a test against the clock … and yourself. They can vary in distance usually starting at 10 miles* but sometimes less, and with many different courses to choose from locally and nationally. The principle is simple. You are timed to see how fast you can cover the distance. You don't have to be fast because you ride your own race and get a time at the end with which to compare the next time you ride that course or distance.
How do time trials work?
The tester (the term ‘testers’ is used to describe a rider who rides time trials) can have a variety of challenges depending on the course profile and the weather on the day. At most events there is always a range of experience, age (12 is the youngest allowed to "I lost count when I got past 70") and ability and nobody ever looks down on you. Don't be scared to give it a go. In fact some of the best testers will encourage you as they fly past with "well done" or "dig in"! As with all SFA riding, if you are under 16 you'll need a parental consent form signed by a parent or guardian.
At the HQ you sign in and you are given a number. If you are number 1 you start at 1 minute past the start time, number 10, 10 minutes past and so on with riders starting at one minute intervals. Having warmed up you make your way to the start, trying to avoid punctures or other mishaps.
You should arrive at the start about 5 minutes early (if you are late, and if they can find a slot for you to start in the time difference is added to you finish time!). When the previous rider has set off you pull up to the start timekeeper. With 30 seconds to go someone will appear and try to grab your bike off you. In fact he is the 'pusher-off' and could become your best friend not just because of the intimacy of the situation. He holds your bike so you can sit on your saddle, cleat in and get ready to go.
You are given a count down and on "go" your pusher will give you a push to get you off on your way. Some give a real good shove, others seem to just let go so it's usually best to get pedalling quickly on the word go! You then follow the course details told to you beforehand (marshals are placed around the course) and back to the finish line. It good shout out your number as you cross the line (in fact a chequered flag at the roadside), but if , like me, you think you are taking your last breath, then don't worry, the timekeepers read your number! This makes it important to pin your number so it is clearly visible to them so either at the very bottom of your top or on your shorts; possibly across the join between the two.
The San Fairy Ann CC Time Trials 2022
San Fairy Ann encourages anyone to try a Time Trial at the Wednesday evening club. Events in 2022 are due to run for 15 weeks, from 4 May and finishing on 10 August with a mix of 8, 10, 15 & 25 mile events included. All based on the A20 courses. The events start at 7/7:15pm. Meet at the Lenham Community Centre car park from 6pm with last sign-on at 6:40.
Novices are encouraged to contact the Assistant Time Trial Secretary in advance of attendance to enable advice, guidance for their first event. Entry is on the line on the evening events, so, to compete you can just give it a go. Club kit or plain cycling kit needs to be worn (pro-cycling team kits are allowable for these events but not for "Open" events, and no short sleeved tops like those used in Triathlons are allowed in any event). Any roadworthy bike will do but it must have a working front and rear light fitted and you must wear a helmet. Some testers will be on expensive TT bikes with all the gear and others will look as though they happened to be passing - it doesn't matter - you've only yourself to beat!
There is a small entry fee that covers a levy to the national body and to pay for use of the car park - so this just covers our costs. Yet to be decided for 2022 (but has been around £5 in previous years).
Club events vs. Open events
For those already competing, it’s always worth getting clarification on the odd ‘nuance’ here and there, one common misunderstanding is the difference between a ‘Club’ event and an ‘Open’ event. In essence, anyone can ride a Club event and some of these events may form part of a wider club competition or series. An ‘Open’ event costs a little more to enter and requires an official entry form to be completed and submitted a couple of weeks in advance – and you must be a fully paid up member of a cycling club that is affiliated to Cycling Time Trials. Open events can be hosted by any club and are open to any affiliated rider in the country. SFA usually host one or two each year on local courses.
If you need help in entering an Open event because it can be a bit confusing first time please ask a member of the club. There is lot's more to know but for beginners it is better to keep it simple and give it a go. You will find that when you are on your bike it is not very sociable - when you have finished and get back to the HQ the place is a buzz of discussion, excuses and relief as we wait for the results!
* Standard distances are 10, 25, 50 and 100 with 12 and 24hrs that measure your distance rather than your time! Most people probably stick to 10's and 25's, at least until they are 'hooked'. Having standard distances means you can attempt to get a PB (personal best) but there are none standard distances as well.
To find out more..
For lots more detail check out the Governing Body webpages (We race under CTT regulations, not UCI and there are important differences to worry about only if you get serious!) https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/