If you are new to time-trialling and you have concerns about coming to ride the Women’s Series events you may find the following answers to frequently asked questions helpful.

What kind of bike do I need?
Alice Miller on a traditional road bike
You can do a time-trial on any type of bike as long as it is in good working order and it is road-worthy. Road bikes and TT-specific bikes are designed to go faster than hybrids and MTBs but it is perfectly acceptable to take part on any bike that is available through normal retail distribution channels.

 CTT rules dictate that the bike must not be modified in any way to make it more aero - if in doubt, please consult the series organiser for clarification on this rule.
Do I need any other special equipment?
No, a straightforward bike is all that is needed to join in and take part. People who regularly do time-trials often buy tri-bars to bolt on to their handlebars to get an ‘aero’ position, but these are not by any means a requirement.

Julia Shaw - the queen of minimising drag!

How fit do I need to be?
You need to be sure you can comfortably complete the distance, but other than that your fitness level is not a hindrance to taking part. The whole point of a time-trial is that everyone is individually timed against the clock. If you are slower than other riders it makes no difference to their race and you will still record a time and you can make it your personal challenge to improve upon this. Everyone has to start somewhere and the vast majority of experienced time-triallists will understand the position of a novice and will give nothing but encouragement, advice and support.
Do I need to be a member of a cycling club?
CTT rules dictate that you must be a member of a CTT affiliated club to compete in open time trials. But don't worry if you're not! A new club called "Newcomers CC" has been specifically set up to allow anyone in the series to compete. Just enter "Newcomers CC" when asked your club name on the CTT entry form. If asked for your district, enter "London West".

You are most welcome to use Newcomers CC as your club for any other other events you may choose to ride on the 2014 CTT calendar.
How do I enter?
The events must be entered in advance by pressing the online link given in the fixtures section which links through to the CTT website’s online entering system.
What is the entry fee?
The entry fee for events is usually around £8-£15
What is a veteran?
A veteran is someone over the age of 40. In each event riders over 40 will be given a "standard" time which will be calculated by reference to the rider's year of birth and the course distance. In essence, it's an age adjusted handicap. Their finishing time will be compared against their standard time and the winning rider on standard will be the one who beats their standard time by the highest margin.
When should I arrive at the event?
Riders mingle by the results board in Richmond Park
Prior to an open event you will have received a start sheet giving your start time. The only requirement is that you are ready to start, at the start line at the allotted time. In practice this usually means that riders aim to reach the HQ about an hour before their start time, to collect their number and get warmed up without rushing.

Will there be any changing facilities?
At the event HQ, there will be space to change and toilet facilities. You can also expect a result board at the HQ, with refreshments served afterwards.

What do I need to bring with me?
Your bike and all equipment for riding it (helmet, shoes etc)
A track pump if you have one to ensure your tyres are pumped up correctly
Tools, allen keys and spare inner tube.

For reference you usually get a free cup of tea in exchange for returning your race number after the event, and plentiful supplies of cake will be available at HQ!
What happens at the start?
Around a week before the event you will receive the start order by post or email. This tells you your exact start time. On the day you will need to collect your number from the HQ and present yourself at the start line at least a minute before your start time.

If I ride out to the event will I be able to leave my kit somewhere safe while I race?
Yes, it is quite common for cyclists to ride out to events. You can then deposit any rucksucks at HQ while you race.
Is the traffic on the roads likely to be heavy?
The safety of riders is carefully considered when deciding whether a course is used for a time trial. Some events do involve riding on dual-carriageways but the traffic is expected to be relatively light. Some of the events are entirely on single-carriageway roads. If you are particularly concerned about this, please look at the course descriptions carefully before selecting an event.
What should I wear?
The CTT does have some rules about what can be worn in time-trials – probably rather out of date but you should be aware that you could be prevented from starting unless your clothing complies. Basically, ordinary cycling shorts to mid-thigh, and an ordinary cycling jersey with sleeves (or any other clothing which covers the body in the same way) are acceptable. Bare-shouldered cycling attire which is the current fashion for triathletes is not, unfortunately, allowed. Also, you should not wear clothing showing commercial sponsorship unless your club is a sponsored club.
Do I have to wear a helmet?
Brownyn Ewing
There is no obligation for adults taking part in time-trials to wear a helmet although you are strongly advised to do so. However, Cycling Time Trials regulations state that all juniors and youth riders (anyone under the age of 18) are required to wear a safety helmet.
Do I have to be ‘held-up’ at the start?
At the start of time-trials riders are usually held-up with their feet ready clipped into the pedals as the timekeeper counts them down. This can be a bit daunting if you’re not used to it but it’s not obligatory. If you don’t want to be held up and would rather just start off on your own when the timekeeper says “go”, then just politely decline the help of the person pushing-off.
Triathlete - Colette O'Neill

Will there be marshalls to direct me?
There should be marshalls on the course to make traffic aware that a cycling event is taking place. However, their role is NOT to tell you where to go. The onus is on the rider to know the course. Make sure that you know where the course goes before starting the race!
What happens if I get a puncture during the race?
Of course anyone can have a puncture anywhere and it may happen to you during a race. If so, it is incumbent on you to arrange a rescue or to replace the inner tube or mend the puncture yourself. Whereas most organisers will not leave you stranded on a remote road, you should not assume someone will rescue you. Time-triallists therefore often carry a pump, inner tube and tyre levers when they race. An alternative solution is to agree with a friend to mutually come to each other’s rescue should the need arise.
What happens if someone overtakes me?
Suzanne Robinson
Don’t worry if you are overtaken – this happens to everyone at some point or other and there are always going to be stronger riders taking part. Just let the overtaking rider get well ahead of you so that you get no ‘drafting’ advantage and don’t be put off. Concentrate on riding your own race at your own pace. This, after all, is what time-trialling is all about!
What if I come last?
Well of course someone has to come last but bear in mind that many competitors have been riding and racing for years and everybody improves as they gain experience and fitness. Generally cyclists are simply pleased to see people taking part so there is really no need to worry about coming last.

What do I do at the finish line?
When you pass the timekeeper at the finish line it is traditional to shout out your number in case your number is not easily visible to the timekeeper. Continue down the road, riding gently to warm down. Don’t distract the timekeeper as they have an important job to do.
How will I find out my result for the race?
Hannah Barnes
The results will be displayed back at the HQ on a result board. You will also receive a formal results sheet in the post a few weeks after the event. We are hoping that the prize presentation for all events in the series will be held at HQ straight after the event.

How will I know my placing?
Riders times are given in start order at the HQ. It should be possible to work out your placing immediately after the event but all the Women’s Series event results will be posted on this website within 24-48 hours.
If I do well and I want to do more racing will I have to compete against men?
Unfortunately, as few women race, events specifically for women are not commonplace. However, women are welcome to enter normal open events. Although you have to race amongst the men in these events there is almost always a prize for the first woman and there are often handicap or category prizes which women are eligible to win.
If I enjoy racing are there any other women I can train with?
It is one of the aims of this Series to provide opportunities for women to meet other female cyclists. Unfortunately there is not often enough women in any one club to merit training rides just for women. However, there is no reason why you shouldn’t get together with other women taking part in the Women Series and arrange rides yourself.
Ruth Eyles -
Author of the FAQ and administrator of the Midlands Series