Known as ‘the race of truth’ because there’s nowhere to hide, no wheel to sit on and no bunch to draft behind, time trialling is the purest form of bike racing: it’s just you against the clock. How fast can you complete the course?
In time trialling, just as in athletics and other speed-based sports, there are the traditional ‘standard’ distances.
There’s 10 miles, 25 miles, 50 miles, 100 miles, 12 hours and 24 hours – and there’s a National Championship for each of these.
There are also many non-standard distances on ‘sporting’ courses – generally circuits on single-carriageway roads or lanes.
The 2024 calendar is made up of over 1,000 open and club events of all distances that can be ridden by any member of a CTT-affiliated club.
To make time trialling more accessible for everyone, all events run under Cycling Time Trials rules and regulations now include a road bike category: riders simply select ‘road bike’ when they enter online and the CTT website automatically filters the results.
And in order to make time trialling fairer, a new Open category means CTT can ensure that entrants wishing to ride in an ‘affirmed’ gender – a gender different from that assigned at birth – are riding in the correct category.
The first championship of 2024 is also the newest: the third-ever National Road Bike Championship (no tri-bars or disc wheels) takes place on April 28 on a 23-mile course in Cambridgeshire that’s a mix of dragstrip and lumpy B-road.
Next up is the National Circuit Championship on June 9 – a 28-mile two-lapper around picturesque Greystoke Forest on the edge of the Lake District National Park. HUUB Wattshop team-mates Will Lowden and Jennifer George are the defending champions.
And the final one before the standard distances kick-off is the National Team Time Trial Championship on June 16 at Shepton Mallet, Somerset.
Last year the impeccably drilled Team Bottrill won both the men’s and women’s events and are likely to be the ones to beat again this year.
Then comes the National 50, held on the P417 course in Dorset on June 30 with the National 100 following on July 7 in Shropshire. Adam Duggleby and Emily Martin are the defending champions at both distances.
The classic Mersey Roads 24 on July 27 is also the 24-hour Championship – now the only ‘24’ on the calendar – and is the course where the current competition records were set, the most recent being the women’s by ultra-distance star Christina Mackenzie in 2022 after she broke the Land’s End-John o’ Groats record the previous year.
Traditionally regarded as time trialling’s blue riband event, the National 25 will be held on a new course in 2024 and promoted by Manchester DC on August 4.
Last year Kate Allan led a Team Bottrill clean sweep of the women’s podium while George Peden beat Adam Duggleby to the men’s title.
The family-friendly, traffic-free National Closed Circuit Championship is on August 11, this year on the iconic Goodwood motor circuit with a distance of 10 miles and five separate events including para-cyclists and youths with no lower age limit (7.6 miles).
It’s back to ultra-distance for the National 12-hour on August 18 before the short-distance specialists gear up for the National 10 on August 31 and September 1 – the last and fastest standard-distance time trial of the calendar which this year is on the F2A course in Cambridgeshire. Expect some jaw-droppingly quick rides, as times keep coming down.
But what comes down must go up and Prospect Hill in Corbridge, Northumberland is the venue for the National Hill Climb on October 27.
There will be very light bikes and very heavy gurning as riders tackle a mile at an average gradient of 7.3%, cheered upwards by large and raucous crowds – a spectacular grand finale of the season.
The Classic Series consists of six counting events between March and June that take place all over the UK from Penzance to Peebles on sporting courses.
The final round on June 9 is incorporated into the National Circuit Championships at Greystoke. There are categories for men, women, juniors, veterans, para cyclists and most recently road bikes too.
Points are totalled from riders’ best four events out of the six, and winners in each category receive RTTC medals presented on Champions’ Night at the end of the season with the other national champions.
The Veterans Time Trials Association (VTTA), which organises events for riders over 40 – but which are still open to younger riders – has also released its 2024 calendar including its eight VTTA Championships.
These are all organised as regular CTT events and are run over the standard distances from 10 miles up to 24 hours.
With the VTTA’s Age Adjustments handicapping system, riders compete on a level playing field. These are specific to age, gender, distance and machine type, and they’re a set of times to be subtracted from a rider’s actual time.
For details about the team’s 2024 Championships events visit the VTTA’s website.
Alex Dowsett, former professional cyclist, said: “I started out doing British time trials – a lot of people know about my local Maldon 10 course as I was always talking about going sub-19 on it while I was a WorldTour pro.
Now that I’m retired I’m getting back to doing what I love, and my big goal this year is to win a CTT National Championship because I’ve never actually won one.
Last year I was third in the National 10 and convincingly beaten by Josh Charlton, so that goes to show how high the level is.
The pro teams look up to British time trialling because so much innovation comes out of it and it’s an honour to be part of that, but I also love the sport itself, the friendly faces, the jokes and I’m always appreciative of the work done by all the volunteers who organise the events and who are out there marshalling beside a dual carriageway at sparrow’s fart. You won’t keep me away in 2024.”
Andrea Parish, chair of Cycling Time Trials, said: “While I’m excited to see how the elite riders perform in this superb 2024 calendar, I’m also proud that time trialling is once again becoming a sport for everyone.
Our data shows that road bike participation is up 42% compared with last year and that 83% of riders new to time trialling entered the road bike category exclusively.
For me, it’s essential that our sport doesn’t put up barriers. If you have a bike, you can ride a time trial!”
For more information on how you can get involved head over to www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk.