Cycling Time Trial & the benefits for Triathletes

I’ve been thinking for a long time about the benefits for Cycling Time Trial races as a method of training for Triathletes. Coming from a cycling back ground I was strong already strong on the bike leg of any triathlon however I quickly realised that taking part in these races against the clock proved to be beneficial and helped boost my ability to pace myself, maintain a high-power output whilst being ready to run straight off the bike.

From my perspective I treated time trials as a training session and usually paired these with a run for a good quality brick session, couple this with the fact it is a non-drafting event really adds to triathlon race simulation.

‘Time trialling is the simplest of competitive formats: a race against the clock, with riders starting a minute apart. It’s known as the ‘race of truth’ because there’s nowhere to hide, no one to draft behind; just you and the bike and the thumping of your heart. Oh, and a clock ticking.

Most events are fixed distance, being 10, 25, 50 or 100 miles. There are also fixed time events – 12 and 24 hours – with the objective being to ride the furthest you can. Courses are on public roads and are either ‘out and back’, using a roundabout to turn halfway, or circuits with consecutive left turns. You can take part on any roadworthy bike except a recumbent. ‘

What do you need to know?

Well there are two types of time trial events;

  1. Club Events – These are events typically held mid-week and is for club members and guests of the host club. These events you can turn up on the evening, pay an entry fee usually between £3-£5 and you are then given a race number which will be your starting position. Club events are typically shorter events being 10 mile or 25 mile events.
  2. Open Events – These events you can sign up online – or via post and once accepted you will receive course details, start times and other bits of information which will be useful. These events usually cost between £8-15 but it depends on location, distance and popularity of the course.

Where are they held local to us?

Time trials are held all over the country and are defined by course codes which date back to when the sport was illegal and used as a method to communicate between riders which course a race was to be held. E.g. D10/1 is the 10 mile Time Trial course in Rainford.

In our local area there are 3 mid week races held throughout the summer Tuesday and Wednesday is held on D10/1 (Rainford Bypass) and then a Thursday night race held in Tarlton D10/18.

There are plenty of weekend course in areas like Congleton J2/9, L100/1 Kewsick etc. All these races are typically entered through the Cycling Time Trials website.

D10/1 – Rainford Bypass

What equipment do I need?

A road worthy back is all that is required however although it is not in the rules, I would highly recommend a helmet. Never be put off by some of the fancy bikes you might see at a time trial race. In the past I have seen trikes, tandems, road bikes and time trial bikes. The biggest thing is that Cycling Time Trial do not follow UCI rules for restriction on bikes so Triathlon specific bikes are legal.

What Next?

Sign up to Cycling time trial and get entering races, make a plan to visit the local club events mid-week and test yourself, I can guarantee the scenery is better than Pimbo. After a long period off the bike with injury and changes to personal life I plan to use Time Trials this year as a method to get fit again… Hope to see you at a race this year.