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In honor of the return of the Horsetooth Time Trial starting next week, BIke Fort Collins closes out our month of rolling out regular blog contributions from our partners by sharing a beginners guide to the “race of truth”

Waaaait a second.  Back up.   Whats a Time  Trial?  

A time trial is a kind of bike race that usually held on a point to point or looped course where each individual racer starts out separately, released in regular intervals, and the goal is simply to have as fast a time on the clock as possible.  Theyre anywhere from a couple of miles to hundreds.  (The bike portion of an Ironman triathlon is effectively a 100+ mile time trial),  Most commonly they’re between 10 and 25 miles.

For the most part, TTs are solo events, though team TTs do exist, and some  teams specialize in them.  but mostly its just one person against the clock.

Usually there are rules against drafting.  If you do overtake an over rider your’e expected to do so and cleanly as possible and not linger in the other riders slipstream.

Fundamentally, the time trial is a test of how well you know yourself and y our limits.   Go too hard and you’ll crack and limp to the finish line, broken.  Go to easy, and you’ve wasted an opportunity to explore your potential and squeeze out every last ounce of strength.  The time trial is a race of discovering your limits, knowing when to push past them and knowing when to hold back.   It’s a race of preparation and of staying cool under prolonged physical and psychological stress.  Its also a lot of fun, especially at the grassroots level.

What kind of bike do TTs use?

In pro cycling they use expensive dedicated TT bikes with aerodynamic handlebars , helmets, and skinsuits.  At the speeds these guys are going (30MPH avg is not unusual for a pro riding a 25mile TT)m every little bit of aerodynamic advantage matters, so nothing is left to chance.

But at the grassroots level, YGR TTs always have “aero” categories, and Merckx standard road bike categories.  Merckx is named for the legendary pro Eddy Merckx, one of the all time greats, from an era before aerodynamic gear was in common use in pro racing.    YGR has even been known to throw in a Kerkove category. named for local pro mountain biker Jeff Kerkove, this allows  you to race and be ranked against other competitors on mountain bikes.

Time trials are fun events to enter if you’re interested in dipping a toe into racing but not sure if you have the nerve for elbow to elbow road racing, technical skills required tor mountain bike or cyclocross racing.   they’re about as safe as you can get in a bike race, and you can race against the field, a buddy, or just try to improve your time each week.

Horsetooth Time Trial once again opens the grassroots Tuesday night calendar with the 8th annual Horsetooth Time Trial Series pb Backcountry Delicatessen .   This is no ordinary flat straight TT; the HTTT starts near the corner of Harmony and Taft in Fort Collins and climbs all the way up to the Horsetooth Mountain Park, dives down to Masonville, turns around and finishes by climbing back up to Horsetooth, from the even more formidable west side.

This is a 4 week series, which makes is a perfect early season training series for tracking early season fitness and shooting for personal records.   Remember, this is not a mass start race, so pacing together and drafting aren’t allowed.   Riders will be sent off in 30 intervals and times will be compiled and posted at after the event.   Please be respectful of local traffic on this open course.

Here are the details on your favorite, least favorite 14.35 miles:

Registration will open here on YGR the Monday before each race and will close at 4pm on race day. The cost is $10.00 for your average Joe, $5.00 for college kids and the unemployed. Juniors race free.

Male and female categories include; Eddy Merckx (Mass start legal bikes). Aero (anything goes). Kerkove Kategory (standard issue MTB w/ knobbie tires.

Look for the new Velofix mobile repair van to be on site.






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