Mark Gittins on Time Trailling

I learnt how to handle my TT bike, to improve my pacing, and also how to really suffer on a bike and pull all sorts of gurning faces!

Why did you originally decide to try time trialling?

I did my first time trial in 2005 about a year after I took up triathlon. Back then I was a member of Thames Valley Triathletes in Reading and a few mates from the club used to go to the Maidenhead CC club 10’s on a Thursday night, which were really friendly and welcoming. There was a bit of banter in our club about who was going quicker than who, and so I went along to see what the fuss was all about. I also wanted to get used to riding my time trial bike.

Do you think this has benefited your triathlon racing?

Very much so. Lots of triathletes seemed to just ride steady on their road bikes in training and then suddenly expect to be able to race much faster in a time trial position on race day. I learnt how to handle my TT bike, to improve my pacing, and also how to really suffer on a bike and pull all sorts of gurning faces!

Some of the times the proper cyclists did were mind-boggling, but I just saw this as inspiration to try harder. There were people doing a wide range of times but it was all about trying to improve yourself rather than racing others.

How do you prepare for a time trial?

A warm up

If possible, a lap to warm-up with a few race-pace efforts here and there.

What strategy would you use to prepare yourself for the time trial?

Pin your number on nice and tight so it doesn’t flap around on your back. Make sure you are in an appropriate gear at the start. People lose time trying to push a massive gear out of the saddle when they start.

One final tip or two for anyone who is new to triathlon and was thinking about trying one.

Don’t go off too hard! Easier said than done. Better to be able to finish strong than blow up after
7miles of a 10. Make sure you look ahead at the road rather than just down at your garmin!