Time Trial / Time Trialling / TT

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  • Is road racing not also dying? I've heard feck all about it other than seeing the Tivo is still recording the Tour Series.

  • conversely, our club TT's seem strong down in the South. At least 40 riders most weeks on a slooow course.

  • Are numbers down across the board this year?

    Apparently, probably more so for opens than club events. MDCC have been averaging 20+ on Thursday nights, but High Wycombe got barely over 50 entries for the Wilkinson Sword on the H25/2 last Sunday

  • Ask TTF admin for their analytics over the years. I wonder if there's any interesting patterns.

  • I see there's at least 20 pages of this kind of chat on TTF already. (I'm still curious about their own analytics)

  • Yes for us... all our results are online so I arbitrarily looked at the last 7 events this year and we had an average of 13 riders per event (max=19, min=9). Taking the same period of last year (n=6 events, +1 cancellation), the average number of riders was 38.5 (max=47, min = 31).

    For me the reasons are the same as several others... baby, time etc. but this can't be driving the overall trend. A few guesses as to broader trends might be:

    1) The ongoing expense of the arms race - a few years ago it felt like some time, home testing and some judicious second hand parts could elevate you to near the top of the field in terms of aerozzz, but now I feel like you need 5k just to begin. Maybe this has always been the case and I'm just grumpy because I'm no longer in the group who can afford it but it's my perception.

    2) road safety - I get the feeling a growing number of people are getting pissed of with the dangers of riding on the road. I've now got very little enthusiasm for racing on big roads with big lorries, or small roads with cars pushing past on every blind bend. it's definitely intimidating to novices and I no longer encourage my friends to come along and have a go anymore.

    3) local road events restarting - last year we had a lot of riders in our road categories, now we get just one or two on road bikes. I think this is because the local crit series has restarted after a COVID hiatus and so many of the road riders have gone back to those events instead.

    I'm sure TSTR will tell us that all of these issues are as old as the sport itself, and I'm sure he's right but just some of my reflections.

  • Points 1 and 2 were at least two of the things I mentioned on my survey.

    Maybe the issues are as old as time itself but they're certainly magnified nowadays and you can't argue with a couple of points, namely, fast bits and the testing is more expensive and there's more motor traffic on the roads.

  • TSTR will tell us that all of these issues are as old as the sport itself

    Some more than others.
    Your point 0 is definitely as old as the hills, but shouldn't affect overall numbers. People in their 20s have always dropped out to concentrate on career and family, but they come back in their 40s and it's a zero sum game
    Point 1 is only relevant at the pointy end, as long as everybody else accepts it. I think there has been a real philosophical change in the 21st Century where fewer people are happy to be also-rans - they would rather not compete than be beaten. This is a society wide problem, so it's hard for TTing to solve, yet TTing in itself is capable of addressing it by being one of few sports where it really doesn't ruin your day if somebody is 50% better than you.
    Point 2 is more of a perception than a reality, but I get it, especially as many people who rode only for fun have retreated to the turbo cave during 2 years of lock down. Going out in traffic again seems as scary as the first time you did it. TTing is safer than commuting, because we make it so by picking our time and place, but the two things people are rubbish at are statistics and probability. Feels trump maths because homo sapiens doesn't have maths as bundled software, and feels were better than nothing.
    Point 3 might explain a temporary bump (or reduced rate of decline) in TT participation in 2020/2021, so you'd need to look at 2015-2019 to see what the base level was without refugees from massed-start racing

    Other reasons people give are the gamification of turbo training, which has made it an end in itself. People no longer need actual competitive cycling to motivate their training. Inflation has made people look twice at their hobby spend, particularly when it involves long car journeys. Rationally, petrol going up 60% isn't really a deal breaker for most testers, but it's enough sticker-shock to make them question whether TTing because they've always TTed is a good enough reason to continue.

    That's just the people who used to TT and now don't. A decline in recruitment of novices is a whole other set of questions.

  • they would rather not compete than be beaten.

    Yep. That's why everyone is happy to go on Zwift at 60kg/400W FTP and "win" "races".

    "Point 2 is more of a perception than a reality" - well, there are more cars on the road so unless you've got figures on close pass levels, hit and runs and/or values for the % of arsehats behind the wheel I'm going to stick with it being more dangerous, perceived and reality.

    There might be something in here but I've already submitted my answers so even if it is proved to be perception only it's too late for at least some of us

  • I'm going to stick with it being more dangerous, perceived and reality

    It can be the case that it's more dangerous but that people's perception of the danger has increased out of proportion to the actual increase.

    Oddly enough, I actually rode a bicycle on the road the other day, which is unusual for me unless I'm TTing, and I thought the standard of driving was better than expected. There are probably reasons why the reality didn't match my expectations, including but not limited to my driving in London all the time, where driving standards are really poor, but cycling in leafy Berkshire, where maybe people have got a bit more chilled and more willing to share the road. It's horse and MAMIL country, after all, and thick with people whose stress levels are likely to have gone down over the past couple of years since they're WFH and not suffering from existential angst about inflation and possible redundancy.

  • I don't think there's any doubt the time trial world is in a bad place - I could go on at length (and I may do so when I've more time).

    However I'm posting on a slighly optimistic note to say that I've just got the start sheet for the Hounslow 100 and we've got 80 entrants, which I think is reasonably encouraging.

  • I would definitely agree that some of the driving is better. Like, I've noticed that people in cars actually let me in and pass properly. But when you get one of the arsehats, it's the same shit as always. I had a stupid close pass from a massive supermarket lorry in the Breckland and the first time I left the house to go to the office some cunt in a white van cut me up before I'd left Ealing. Yeah, it's all anecdotal, but for 15 years I didn't consider sticking cameras on my bike and then I did, which goes to show that there's either an increase in shit driving or I've got sick of it to the point where I'm going to cam up. If I could just get one that would last long enough for the longer rides.

    I did have one of the most remarkable rides in the Chilterns in years a month ago - I couldn't believe how many people passed us wide. It was like being in Spain. People waited, looked and then went by using the whole other lane. But, I can't help but think this was because it was school holidays and all the cunts that usually drive in the Chilterns (all the breeders that can afford it) had fucked off OS post-covid rules.

    Ignoring those two issues, there comes a point where chasing arbitrary numbers for a distance/time isn't enough motivation and people like me decided "ooh mountain biking looks fun"

  • Hounslow 100

    I do like this race.

    I don't even know what my 100mi PB is now. But I would bet I can't beat it and nor could I win the event and that's where one of the problems lie. Why would I enter a race that I know isn't going to be as good as I've done previously?

    Why would I put myself through all that pain of training, the stress of competing, etc. all to go slower than I have done before and/or be beaten by 20 blokes - half of whom are physically faster and half that have just spent more time/money aero testing.

  • I don't road race any more but at least there's a chance of a win from someone like me, even if I'm less fit, with less good kit, there's far at play with tactics and luck in a road race and that temptation of a good result is probably what keeps people going back.

  • half of whom are physically faster and half that have just spent more time/money aero testing.

    Better looking too

  • You're joking. I have to fight the locals off when I arrive and then there's the HQ... everyone wants to pin MY number on...

  • A decline in recruitment of novices is a whole other set of questions

    At the level of our club, this is a major issue. In the last 3-4 years we've had half a dozen regular testers move away. West London population isn't going down but we've had precisely zero new ones join to replace them. And the loss of that critical mass means novices have far fewer role models so fewer have started TTing.

    gamification of turbo training

    This is a good point - can get competitive fix without going outside.

  • So, to try to get numbers back up, we've done a discount code for the next couple of Hillingdon TTs. £5 entry, if anyone you know fancies it, with code WelcomeBack5.


    With levy and track hire, that is (slightly) below cost, so not sustainable long term, but will be good to at least try to get back towards full fields now we're into the long evenings. We're only half full for next week at the moment and entries close tonight.

  • Only just seen this but I’ve copied it up to KWCC forum on a thread about a lack of tt riders, hopefully it’ll spark some interest.

  • About to list my 58cm P2. It's modded heavily...P5 fork and brake covers, Aduro bars and adapters etc. Will be keeping gearset and contact points.


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  • Yes definitely worth sending me some details! Very nice

  • How much for the wheelset?

  • Send me a DM. They are pretty well used so won't want much for them.

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Time Trial / Time Trialling / TT

Posted by Avatar for hippy @hippy