Beacon Roads Cycling Club
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Advice on getting involved in other clubs' time trials

A time trial is a race in which individual riders (or sometimes small teams of riders) set off at intervals to try and complete a set course in the shortest possible time. Time trials usually take place on open public roads, which are sometimes quite busy.

Almost all time trialling in the UK is organised under the rules of Cycling Time Trials (CTT). CTT rules recognise two basic types of time trial: club time trials and open time trials. A club time trial is only for members and guests of the organising club. It is usually a fairly low-key affair, which you can enter 'on the line' for a small fee. There are not normally any marshals or direction signs, or any facilities at the start or finish. By contrast, an open time trial is much more formal. With a few provisos, anyone who belongs to a CTT-affiliated club can ride. You have to enter in advance using a special form, the entry fee is typically 6 or more, there are marshals and signs to guide you round, and you can expect changing facilities and catering at the event HQ.

As a Beacon member, you are generally entitled to take part in other clubs' open TTs (although sometimes special restrictions apply). If you fancy riding an open time trial, we advise you to do the following:

  1. Read the information for beginners on the CTT website.
  2. If you're not already familiar with them, read CTT's regulations.
  3. Get advice on preparation from a club coach and/or experienced club members: see the Training section of this site.
  4. Check out the calendar of events on the CTT website, or in CTT's printed handbook. Pick an event that appeals and is at least two weeks away. The event should be within your capabilities in terms of terrain and distance (if you are new to racing, start with a 10-mile or 25-mile event) and in terms of any performance requirements that may apply (some events stipulate entry requirements and oversubscribed events usually take entries only from the fastest entrants). You may assume that a course is reasonably flat unless the organiser specifies otherwise. Courses are coded by region. Midland courses have code numbers that begin with the letter K.
  5. Download an entry form, either from this site or the CTT site. Fill it in and send it off with your entry fee. Unless another date is specified in the calendar, the closing date for entering an event that takes place on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday is the Tuesday nearly two weeks before the event. For a midweek event, it is the Saturday nearly two weeks before. CTT has a slightly unusual policy on the publication of organisers' addresses: in the run up to an event, the organiser's address isn't available from the CTT website, but only from the printed handbook. If you don't have a handbook, please contact us for the information.
  6. Sit back and wait for start details from the organiser. You will find that many people riding open time trials have some very fancy special TT equipment (clothing, performance monitoring gear, warm-up equipment and, of course, bikes). Such things do make a difference, but they are by no means essential. Don't forget that a) the money might turn out to be wasted if you don't take to the discipline, and b) good training will bring much bigger improvement gains than good equipment.

Provided you're a first-claim (i.e. full) member, you don't need to get any sort of clearance from the Beacon to represent the club in an open time trial. However, you may find it helpful and more fun to go to an event with one or more club-mates. So check on the message board and/or chat to people at Beacon club TTs to see what others are planning.

As a Beacon member, you can also ride as a guest in club TTs organised by other clubs in the area. Another club has no obligation to let you ride as a guest, but it is very unusual for a rider to be refused. Details of club time trials taking place near Birmingham are available from the website of CTT's Midland District Council.


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