Rider Etiquette

It feels a bit strange to be writing this and many may say - "I know that".  To those that say "I know that", great but there are many in our sport who have not grown up with it (myself included) and do not understand how it runs.

The first point to make is that time trialing is meant to be fun for all - not just riders.  The second point to make is that the sport and every event entered depends on volunteers - so be nice to people or the race you are in may not be there next year.

When I started time trialing in 2009 we still had paper entries and clubs bid to run events by submitting a paper form, start and finish sheets were sent out by post (you remember "letters with stamps") and the CTT Handbook was pored over at the start of the season with a highlighter to identify those events you planned to enter.  As time went by the CTT Internet entry based system came in to existence which once we all got used to it made life easier for riders and mostly easier for organisers (but it did require an element of IT knowledge).  Some aspects of the old system remain - Juniors must still have a signed parental consent form for example.

There is a National Committee for the CTT which holds an annual AGM to which Districts send representatives, the number of representatives is dependent upon the number of registered clubs in the District.  There is a District Committee, the West DC, which has several formal appointments and a number of "general" appointments for club representatives and again there is a District AGM to which all clubs are invited to send 2 representatives to the District AGM.  And of course there is your club which has its own structure and rules and pays an affiliation fee to the CTT which allows you to enter CTT events.

The Regulations of the CTT are at https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/articles/view/11 and contain such arcane guidance as teams wearing the same colours for a team time trial, positioning of numbers (so the time keeper can actually see it), duties of the organiser, and much else beside.  If all riders read and understood these regulations it would help all organisers considerably.

Each year clubs are asked to volunteer to run Open (Type A) events in the following year and where there are date clashes as conversation takes place to resolve the clash.  The aim of date fixing is to provide riders with a good mix of events across the season.  Clubs are expected to run events once they have volunteered and although circumstances may prevent this in general most events go ahead.

One disadvantage of the online entry system is that many riders leave it till the closing date day to enter.  This means that organisers do not know if they have enough riders to make their event viable.  What is a viable event - well firstly one that does not leave the club out of pocket but just as importantly one where the volunteers marshaling the course do not out number the riders.  Marshals and other officials give up their time to enable the race to take place, if they only see 20 or so riders they may wonder if it is worth the effort.  So why not plan a month in advance and enter your events early.

So what do I expect of riders for an event:

  • Enter in good time
  • Read the start sheet properly
  • Let the organiser know if you cannot attend - you won't get a refund but it will help the time keepers
  • Study the course, the course will be signed and there will be some observers but the onus is on the rider to know the course (turn points with distances tape to your handle bars can be useful for longer courses)
  • Arrive in good time and park considerately
  • Sign in and take the correct number
  • Use the toilets provided and not local doorways (I jest not - a Welsh course was lost after locals complained about riders' behaviours)
  • Arrive at the start with a few minutes to spare
  • Race safely and obey the highway code
  • Grunt acknowledgement at observers if you can
  • Shout your number as you cross the finish line
  • Sign in and return your number
  • Don't crowd the organiser / finish list producer while they are trying to do results
  • Stay for the prize giving if there is one and acknowledge the winners
  • Raise any issues with organiser via email or a phone call, not on social media

Here's to happy and successful racing