INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL (ITT) – RACE BASICS FOR BEGINNERS

Abhiram BOTS Guides, Racing

Time trials are known as the “race of truth”. There is just you, your bike, the road and the conditions – there is truly nowhere to hide.

WHAT IS AN INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL (ITT)?

An individual time trial is a format of bicycle racing, where the rider is up against the clock. Riders are sent out in a staggered manner, and the rider with the fastest time over a segment wins the race.

The time-trial is the simplest format of racing, but can be very hard race it right. Multiple factors like pacing, aerodynamics, wind speeds have an effect on an individual’s result. This can be tricky to get just right, and like any format of bike racing, is rewarding when it all comes off.

HOW DOES TIMING WORK?

Your start an finish times are measured, and your aggregate time determines your performance in the race. The shortest time wins.

RULES FOR AN ITT

  • An ITT is a completely individual event. There is no aspect of a ‘team’, or a peloton (group of cyclists) involved. Simply put, it is the rider vs the clock.
  • Drafting (sitting behind) other riders or other vehicles is not allowed.
  • If you must overtake a rider, you should do so from the side leaving a 2m gap (UCI rules), maintaining a good amount of distance to the person you are overtaking.
  • If you are caught, you mustn’t fall right into the slipstream(directly behind) of the rider in front of you.

ps: Be cautious, a 2m gap is quite large and may not be practical in many situations.

HOW TO PACE AN ITT?

Pacing is the key to this format of racing. Going out too hard can cause you to underperform in the latter stages of the race. Ideally, you want to ride at the same constant effort throughout the race, pushing yourself to the limit towards the end. A good strategy is to start out at a pace which is slightly lower than one that you think you can hold for the entire course, raising the effort level as you go through the course.

PRE-RACE PREP?

Make sure that your bike is in order and working properly. To maximise your performance, you should warm up for 10-20 minutes prior to your race start.

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