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Time trials – the basics

24th November, 2021

The next 10 mile time trial 19th December Penzance Wheelers Christmas Cracker.


What is a time trial?

To answer this question, I suggest you look at this article on the Cycling Time Trials website – it’s a good general introduction. But it doesn’t answer some of the more ’local’ questions that we get asked…


Where do I go to start?

The HQ (headquarters) will usually be a village hall, named in the description of the event. This will be a mile or two from the position on the road – ‘the start’ – where you actually get timed on the measured course – at the HQ you will ‘sign on’, so the organisers know who is taking part and insurance needs are covered.

You should turn up at the HQ at least half-an-hour before the event start, to allow time for signing on, getting to the ‘start’, having a chat and ogling all the amazing bikes.


I don’t have a racing bike

It doesn’t matter – any bike will do, as long as it’s roadworthy (although apparently recumbents aren’t allowed – they’re too fast so it would be cheating). So bring along your mountain bike if you want.


I’ll be the slowest rider there

Just read the article mentioned above – it’s all about you, not the others there. You’ll get better. You’ll get a ‘Personal Best’ on your first event.


Who can enter?

Truro Cycling Club is affiliated to Cycling Time Trials, the national body for time trials, and our members are eligible to take part in any time trials and hill climbs organised by CTT member organisations.

You must be a club member to have the necessary insurance cover, otherwise you cannot take part. Children from 12 up can also enter, if parents or guardian are present. There’s no upper age limit.


What is an ‘Open’

Somewhat oddly, an ‘open’ is less open than a ‘club’ event. It used to be the case (in the olden days…) that ordinary club events were reserved for members of a particular club only. ‘Opens’ were open to members from other clubs. But now the difference is that ‘club’ events are more informal, and you don’t need to book ahead – just turn up on the day. ‘Open’ events must be booked (and paid for) at least ten days before the event – using a form that you can download here. Best to start with an ordinary ‘club’ event, and move to an ‘Open’ when you have some experience.


How much does it cost?

Entry fees for ordinary club events are usually £4.00 – pay the organiser at the HQ on the day. Open events are £7.00 – £8.00 and must be paid in advance, with your entry form.


What are the local courses? Why do they have such confusing names?

Around Truro, you’re likely to ride on the S6 (Ladock Valley) or one of the S100 courses based at Victoria (Roche). Course numbers also have a suffix (e.g. S6/25) denoting the length of the event in miles. Legend has it that the names were dreamt up to confuse police in the days when these events weren’t legal.

S6 events start about a mile north of Tresillian and the HQ is either at Tresillian village hall or Probus village hall, depending on which club is organising. A good course for beginners, it doesn’t use any ‘A’ roads.

S100 events are based on the new A30 Goss Moor bypass road.

When you enter an ‘Open’ you’ll get full details of the course with your entry details. For club events you can just ask others taking part.


What is a ‘2-up’

Same as a ‘4-up’ only smaller. Seriously, it’s where two (or four) riders go along in a tightly-formed group and help each other against wind resistance. Faster and more sociable than normal ‘singles’ time-trialling, but also requiring more skill to make the most of it.

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