Many of our club members will be aware, our evening 10 Time Trial series begins in early May, with the promise of longer evenings, warmer and drier weather. …Promises which May doesn’t always deliver on! ‘Open’ Time Trials however start well before this.
Steve has kindly put together a list of great early season TTs below and we explain the whole process for anyone who wants to give an Open TT a try and why you might want to start your season early.
What is a TT?
Time Trialing was originally created in the 1890s, when cycling road racing was banned in Britain. To keep the illegal races subtle, riders set off at minute intervals, over a set course and timed each other to determine the winner.
Courses were given and only referred to by secretive codes, a tradition still held today.
Our own Horne Circuit is officially the rather catchy “G10/39”
Don’t worry, Time trialing races are now fully legal and have rules set by the governing body in England and Wales, Cycling Time Trials (CTT). So the police aren’t keeping an eye on you now. …well, not for visiting this web page anyway.
What is an open TT?
Unlike our Club Evening 10 events, Open Time Trials are booked in advance on the Cycling Time Trials (CTT) website. Where as our Club TTs are predominantly made up of riders from EGCC and OCC, an open TT will feature possibly a hundred riders from a huge range of local or national clubs.
Events are also typically held in the mornings on weekends before traffic peaks. So although they are not on closed roads they are typically not very busy.
Here-in lies the dark art of Open TTs; wearing enough not to shiver on the early morning start line but not too much to overheat in the race! An early season TT may also need some Wim Hof Breathing techniques!
How do I find and enter an event?
To get started you’ll just need to set up a profile at https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk
Once registered you can search for all events, sign up and see all your results, read race reports as well as view all the rules, all in one place.
Signing up must be done in advance before the event entry closes. You can’t just turn up on the day like you do at a club event.
Races listed include Time Trials over 10, 25, 50 and 100 miles as well as Hill Climb Races, 12 and 24 hour events.
Full course information is also provided on the CTT website for each event, as well as marshals and signage on the day, so it’s ‘harder’ to get lost! For the most popular, (typically the fastest) courses you may need qualification times, these are taken from your previous race results.
What to expect at your first Open TT?
There is always a race HQ located nearby the start or finish which has facilities to change, see the results as they come in from the time keepers. Most importantly, somewhere to get a well earned cake and cup of tea!
You are allocated a start time by email once all event entries are in. You should arrive at the start line a few minutes early, warmed up ready to go so you don’t get too cold waiting to set off.
As the results come in you can expect a welcoming friendly group back at the HQ to discuss how the event went. Experienced riders are always incredibly encouraging to beginners and are very willing to share tips and tricks. You’ll see familiar faces when you’ve been to a even just a couple of events.
There are awards presented at the end of the event for the winners of each category as well as prize money if you’re quick enough.
These results also count towards annual club recognition for performances. So if you can finish an Open TT faster than all your eligible competition within your Club category, then you could win silverware!
This Season EGCC will also be following CTT in providing separate Male and Female honours.
What Equipment do I need?
Any road worthy bike is allowed for Time Trialing, although a time trial bike will give you an advantage, you do not need one to take part. The Rider accounts for 70-85% of the air resistance on the bike, so your position is more important aerodynamically.
A standard road bike with ski bars fitted can get very close to the speed of a full time trial rig. Disc wheels, aero helmets and skinsuits are completely optional for those chasing the finest margins of personal bests.
The rules now state that you do need to have a rear and front light mounted to the bike to compete, regardless of weather and time of day.
CTT also recently updated the rules on helmets. So now, not only children need to wear them but all participants. It’s more aerodynamic to wear one anyway so no complaints here !
You can expect the temperatures to be lower for early season events, so additional layers would be strongly suggested for all but the hardiest.
So what about the regular Open TT Racer?
With dense winter air being slower than the summer months, personal bests may well be unlikely at these events, so why would an experienced TT rider enter these early season events?
Firstly, they are a great way to get used to putting out race pace power, in full race position. Something many racers don’t do over the off season. This means when the faster events come round you have already practiced and are accustomed to holding your positioning.
It’s also a great opportunity to experiment with your positioning and equipment on the bike before the season starts.
Most of all though, it’s still fun, even if it is a little colder!
Sunday 5th March. SCA 25 mile Hardriders Cycling Time Trials: Sussex CA (Hardriders)(Road Bikes)
Sunday 12th March. 2 events to consider. One at Bletchingly: https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/events/view/25631 and one at Bodle St Green nr Herstmonceux: Cycling Time Trials: East Sussex CA (hard riders)(entries close 02/03/23)
Saturday 18th March, SCCU Sporting 10: Cycling Time Trials: Southern Counties CU (sporting weekend)(Road Bikes)
Sunday 19th March, SCCU Sporting 25: Cycling Time Trials: Southern Counties CU (sporting weekend)(Road Bikes)
Sunday 26th March, ESCA 10: Cycling Time Trials: East Sussex CA (Entries Close 16/03/23)
Sunday 2nd April, Dorking CC (ESRC) Hardriders: https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/events/view/25638
Friday 7th April, Crawley Wh. 41.5 miles Hardriders: Cycling Time Trials: Crawley Wheelers CC (sporting)(Road Bikes)
Monday 10th April, Brighton Mitre Hilly 25: Cycling Time Trials: Brighton Mitre CC (hilly)(Road Bikes)
Sat 15th April, VTTA (Sy/Sx) 10: Cycling Time Trials: VTTA (inc. Surrey/Sussex Championship)(All ages accepted)
Sunday 16th April, Paceline RT 15.8: Cycling Time Trials: Paceline RT (Sporting)(Road Bikes)