With our time trialling season starting next Wednesday evening, Keri Williams gives you the benefit of his vast knowledge, which also includes a few hints on how to keep him happy.
Timekeepers Top Ten Time Trial Tips!
- Arrive early and sign on immediately – ideally at least 30 mins before the event start time. Just makes my life so much easier if I get a bit of time to set out my start sheet properly and with a bit of thought. Also makes me a lot less grumpy!
- If you know you are going well, badly, have any kind of urgent need to get back early or late – then please let me know when you sign on. I can’t promise to accommodate you and will not always be able to let you go exactly where you want but if you ask when you sign on, you will have a much better chance of getting your request accepted. Only exception to this will be faster riders who want to go off early just so they can catch lots of slower riders – sorry fast boys’ n girls, your place is at the rear of the field!
- Once you have your number – check who is immediately before and after you. This will help you avoid missing your start, as you can look out for riders who are placed around you whilst warming up.
- After collecting and pinning on your number, give yourself 5 or 10 minutes just to think through your race. Think about how you will start, what sort of time you want to do, where you plan to catch other riders or indeed how long you can hold off faster riders behind you. Break the race down into 3 or 4 segments and have a plan for each.
- Do have a little warm up before you get to start line, note weather conditions, check your bike is working OK and most importantly of all, arrive at the start line in the correct gear to start off in. It always amazes me how many riders roll in to the start line, forgetting that they are going to be starting from a stationary start. We get at least one every event and much as I enjoy watching your faces turn crimson and hearing your knees creak as you try to get going, it does not make you go any faster and will not get you a faster time!
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to the start line and ideally plan to be in line, ready to start, at least 3 minutes before your start time. This will save those mad panic starts and will reduce blood pressures – both yours and mine
- When racing, try to stick to your pre-race plan. Focus on any rider you are catching, as chasing them down will give you a target and make you faster. Similarly try to keep any rider who catches you in sight after they go past. (Do NOT draft!!) Think about keeping your efforts as consistent as possible and when it really starts to hurt, dig deep and try harder, as it will be hurting everyone else at this point too, the weak will falter and ease off, allowing you to gain precious seconds over them. Remember your aim should be to arrive at the finish completely exhausted – that’s the finish line, not 2 miles before the finish or 2 miles after!
- Do please shout out your race number to the Timekeeper as you cross the finish line. I love the 2 or 3 who like to shout their numbers out around 100 metres from the finish line, but I do actually only stop my watch when you cross the finish line!
- Do not crowd around the Timekeeper after you have finished. I will always try to tell you your finish time as you roll back past me, but it is only fair to other riders to let me see them finish and by not bunching around me, you do free up pavement/road space for other, non-cycling, people.
- Finally do please remember to return your number after you have finished.
Above all though, do ENJOY yourselves and remember that although I may occasionally make fun or have a laugh at your expense, the reality is I have nothing but respect for anyone who time trials. There is a reason why they call it the “Race of Truth” and I am properly impressed by you all.