Updated: Oct 1, 2020
You may probably be wondering what TT stands for in the Cycling Thesaurus if you are still fresh into the learning curve of the most addictive socio-economic sport in the universe. Hmm, does TT stand for Tee Tee, Tea Tea or it’s a famous guy’s name called Titi. All false, no, TT stands for Time Trial. Yes, it is simply a trial of how fast your timing is on a certain marked route on a race or a cycling segment. Is a Time Trial the same as a road race you may ask. TTs are a short version of a road race with the exception of groupings of cyclists riding together in what is called a peloton. In a time trial, every competing cyclist is spaced out in a 60 second/ 1 minute gap that allows the time keeper to accurately time each cyclist by the time they left the start line to the time the cross the finish line. The rules of time trialing are:
1. No drafting behind a cyclist or vehicle
2. No pelotons
3. No hanging on chase cars
How to the do it?
Is time trialing for anyone or for everyone? Well yes and no but you can never know for sure if you do not try it out right? Anyone who trains right can time trial but not everyone can time trial. Its life so deal with it if superfast speeds crouching in a bullet shape position does not fit you.
So you want to test your intensity against the clock? You need to train hard. First, you need a road bike.
A modern road race bike for longer races
This is a bicycle designed for speed, it is a Lamborghini on two wheels, very light and aerodynamically build to give the rider the greatest advantage for quick pacing. For most, this is ideal but for experienced/ elite cyclists, a TT Bike is the way to go.
A proper TT Bike. Feel the Thrill for Speed
This is a road bike built like a concord jet. Its geometry is much different from a road bike in that it is a Lamborghini with a space rocket. Very expensive to purchase but the joy of clocking upto 60kph on a flat road with less head or crosswinds is worth every penny.
Its all in the geometry of the frame, wheel set and groupset
Next, you will need tutorials. Yes, GCN (Global Cycling Network) videos or any other cycling race related videos on how to time trial more so how to prepare for a time trial race. Next, you may need a trainer. This is a training device which you mount your bike on at the rear wheel. You can increase the stiffness of the rotation cogs to better make you sweat hard as you train hardest minus the elements of the weather and environment. A 60-minute intense workout daily for a week is ideal to get you into beast mode.
Now if you don’t have access to a trainer you can use Mother Nature’s gusty winds to your advantage by training in headwinds. The beauty about this natural training method is that it builds you properly as it shapes you physically and more so mentally as you may experience such elements on race day. The downside is that if you are not mentally strong, if you don’t have an iron will, a mind made of steel, a heart casted in brass, you will throw in the towel at the first 3 minutes of training. The only way to beat a headwind is all in the gear ratio. Set a gear ratio that gives you excellent acceleration power as well as climbing power output on 5% climbs. For me on a 50T crank, I go for 50*18 gear ratio, on a 53T I go for 53*21.
For an ultracyclist such as myself, I train in the ways of old, old school. I train on a super heavy steel mountain bike (The Tourist alias the BEAST). This for building stamina. Next, I take my specialised (not the brand) hand built hard tail (The Tsibektican) for quad power build up and spinning prowess to better harden my thigh muscles. Now for speed and aggressive offroad skill sharpening, I take The Dopemaster (Raleigh Outland rigid mountain bike) for a good 1 hour work out to finish the muscle strengthening procedures. Lastly, I take the machine that will get the job done, my light steel road bike (The Thunderstruck) fitted with time trial bars and I go to the route for what is called a recce ride to learn of the contours of the terrain and better the learning curve on what to expect on race day.
That sounds like too much work right. Well, its all about the gains you can get.
Finally, you need the gear.
The Late Caleb Belac Omwoyo in full TT suiting in a time trial race in 2019
Such a suit is as tight as your own skin but very comfortable that you may forget to remove it. Its design is to reduce wind drag as much as possible during headwind sessions. A time trial helmet as well is what you’ll need. The difference between this and a normal cycling helmet is that it has no breathable holes for aeration of the helmet’s inside. Once your head gets it, you feel a certain vacuum feel above and around your scalp area.
The next time trail race is scheduled for October 18th 2020, the Southern Bypass Time Trial 6th edition. You have more than enough time to be a badass on the 47km track. Have fun.