In 1890 bicycle racing was banned. The ban resulted in the birth of the secret Time Trial – The Race of Truth – rider and bike against the clock. Time trialling is cycle racing at it’s simplest. Rider against the clock over a set course. At the finish, fast or slow, the rider’s time is recorded enabling them to judge their performance and set a benchmark against which they can gauge their times in other events that they ride. Events are split between Club time trials, and Open time trials. The majority of time trials are run on flat or undulating circuits, with the aim of achieving the fastest possible time over standard distances of 10, 25 or 50 miles. Other events like 12 or 24 hr TT’s, require a rider to set the furthest possible distance within the set time. Hill Climbs form another discipline, but are essentially the same as timed events, but using an A to B course up a steep climb.
There are two categories of time trials:
Club Events – these are fairly informal events and generally take place on evenings from the spring to late summer. There is no need to pre-enter and riders are set off in the order in which they turn up at the start line. Costs are very low, normally just £5-£6. Distances vary but most club events are either 10 miles or 14 miles. For more info about Club events click here.
Open Events – these are much more formal and require pre-entry via the Cycling Time Trials website, usually at least two weeks before the event. Events are held over a range of standard distances or times, e.g. 10, 25, 50 or 100 miles; 12 or 24 hours.
Riders are seeded according to their previous performances over the race distance with the seeded riders setting off every fifth rider and the fastest starting last. Entry fees are higher for open events but there are also generally good prizes, including cash, across a range of age categories as well as team prizes.
How to enter
To enter an open event you will first need to register with Cycling Time Trials. Once you have registered, you’ll then need to find an event by clicking here. Using the filters panel on the left, select the district you wish to race in (we are London South) and what distance you wish to race.
Don’t worry if you haven’t raced at a certain distance before, most events are under-subscribed (except the really fast courses) and you will usually get a start. The organiser will either email or post you a start sheet a few days before the event with the course details and start timings.
A word of warning: if you know you will not be able to make an event you have pre-entered, or if you pull out on the day, it is considered courteous to inform the organiser by email or phone. Failure to do so on more than a couple of occasions will likely result in word getting out and you may struggle to get accepted for other events.