Time Trialling Myths

If you think Time Trialling is only populated by riders who ride futuristic looking bikes, tight fitting skin suits and space age helmets then think again please. We’ve addressed some Time Trialling Myths here and want to stress that our sport welcomes everybody aged 12 and over with a bike.

  • You do not need specialist equipment

We keep saying this but, anybody aged 12 and over with a bike can take part in time trialling events. You can ride almost any type of bike; a road bike, a mountain bike, a gravel bike, an old jalopy and yes, a futuristic TT bike. Only recumbents are disallowed so other than them, what you ride is entirely up to you

As with any sport, Time Trialling attracts those who want to compete to the absolute best of their ability. So yes, there are many who ride expensive bikes and aero clothing. However, there are also loads of riders who simply enjoy testing themselves in a timed environment. It doesn’t matter whether you are old or young, fat or thin, fast or slow, you will be welcomed and respected for giving Time Trialling a go.

The picture above is of Gareth Davies the N&DCA Chairman taking part in 2023’s National 10-Mile Time Trial Championships. Gareth is a huge advocate of everybody participating in our events and he will be the first to admit that he is living proof that you don’t have to be a top level athlete to take part.

If Gareth can do it, you can do it!

  • You do not need to wear specialist clothing

There is no denying that some Time Triallers will do absolutely anything to make themselves as aerodynamic as possible. This can include some terrifyingly tight skinsuits and you’ll doubtless here some debate about how a certain type of sock can save 2 seconds during a 50-mile Time Trial. Hey! In a few months’ time, gripped by the Time Trialling bug, you might even be joining those conversations.

However, to start Time Trialling you can wear pretty much anything you like as long as it includes a decent helmet on your head. Naturally, we’d recommend padded cycling shorts but, believe us, we’ve seen some real sights especially on Hill Climbs.

  • You are racing against really fast riders

The first rule of Time Trialling is that at some stage somebody dressed in an overly tight skinsuit and riding a space age bike and a rear disc wheel that sounds like an 18-tonne articulated lorry is going to fly past you.

It does not matter.

That blur was Lewis Wake. Just ignore him, he’s been doing this for years and is extremely fast.

Unless you are riding at the upper echelons of your age group, the only person you will be racing against is yourself. Those super-fast riders had to start somewhere and probably did so on an old road bike wearing a loose-fitting tee-shirt, shorts and trainers.

They were consumed by the time trialling bug, that challenge that brings you up against your body and your mind. Yes, they are incredibly speedy, but they will welcome you as a newcomer with open arms and, even more importantly, everybody from riders to timekeepers, marshalls to event organisers, will respect you for taking part.

  • Your time is only important to you

It sounds like a well-worn cliché but when it comes to Time Trialling it really is the taking part that matters. Nobody cares if you finish a 10-mile event in 20 minutes or 40. Nobody cares how fit you are or what age but, they do care that you are faster than the person lying on the sofa, and they respect you for that.

The beauty of your own time off course, is that it becomes your benchmark and the likelihood is that having tried one Time Trial, you’ll want to come back and beat it.

  • Time Trialling can be really, really painful

Unfortunately, this is not a myth!

Time Trialling is the ultimate test of your ability to ride a bike. Once you are on the road there will inevitably be times when your body and your brain are telling you to ease off or stop. Little wonder it is known as the race of truth and you will find your legs burning, your heart pounding and your mind racing for pretty much the duration of the event.

If you are doing Time Trialling correctly, you are probably going to test your physical and mental fortitude like you have never tested them before. At the finish line you’ll be doing a fair old impression of a fish out of water gulping in vast volumes of air, very possibly ready to vomit and desperate to simply fall sideways off the bike.

Sounds hellish doesn’t it? Strangely, it is utterly addictive.

Just wait until you are breathing steadily again, and your heart rate has dropped back to what might be considered normal human levels. The endorphin release is spectacular, the feeling of personal pride and pleasure that you have just tested yourself, and succeeded, is almost overwhelming.

During the coming hours and days you will realise that there is huge satisfaction in having tested your fitness to its upmost limits and you will very probably find yourself wondering if you can do even better.

That’s it, you are hooked!!

Now, when is the next event?