Cycling is my strength, so in the more local events I often stand a chance of winning. I know we always say it’s the taking part that counts, but winning is lots of fun, too.
Time trials are cheap. Open events are normally about £8, evening club events £2.50, and usually there’s tea and cake for a few pence donations afterwards.
They are good training. Try as you might, race intensity is always higher than training. Plus I love to race my bike and share my sport with others.
Time trialling is nowhere near as common in other countries as it is here. And it was only when I briefly lived in Germany again after finishing my undergraduate studies that I realised what I was missing out on. Before this I had only very occasionally taken part in time trialling. Now that I wanted to, there weren’t any. So I vowed that on my return to the UK this would change.
Getting started in time trialling is a bit more complicated that getting started in triathlon. The time trialling community developed as a result of a ban on all road racing many many years ago. As a result courses are described by cryptic codes. To enter most events you need a handbook to find out where to send your entry form, you need to be a member of a CTT affiliated club, the list goes on. But don’t be put off. Things are changing slowly, and a lot of this is due to the internet. There is the time trialling forum, a CTT website (http://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/ ), a lot of course descriptions can now be found as maps, and some events are starting to offer online entry. Many triathlon clubs are CTT affiliated, and if yours isn’t, then I’m sure there will be a cycling club near you that is. And on the whole time trials are such informal events with a bunch of friendly people it’s hard to not feel welcomed. I am well and truly in love with time trialling.
My first two time trials this season were the East Sussex Cycling Association 10 and 25 mile only a week after my return from Mallorca. While my performance in the 10 made me doubt whether I had recovered from the training camp yet, the 25 the following day went much better, coming only 9 seconds short of my PB from last season, set when I was nearly at my peak for Ironman Hawaii. So that bodes well for the season ahead. And the cake afterwards was good. Oh, and I won.
This weekend I have my first triathlon coming up: The British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) sprint triathlon. But first the small matter of the BUCS 25 mile time trial on the day before…