This discipline is normally a solo effort against the clock. Known as the ‘race of truth’.
This is a very accessible way into competitive cycling as no license is required, entry fees are fairly cheap (around £10 or under).
Road Time Trials are organised by the Cycling Time Trials (CTT) organisation (http://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk) which is a different body than British Cycling. To enter open time trials you do need to be a member of an affiliated club, fortunately Plymouth Corinthian CC is such a club so there’s a good reason to join if you want to time trial.
You can ride a time trial on your normal road bike. Expect to see riders in the top 10 with full time trial kit (e.g. specific aero bike, aero helmet, skin suit and clip on/tri bars).
There are common distances that are raced, the most popular are 10 miles, 25 miles or 50 miles. Keen racers will aim to set their fastest time at each distance over a season which will qualify them for the regional Best All Rounder (BAR) award and there is also a National BAR award also.
If you’re new to time trialling there are also some club events that you can enter on the night. Another entry point are to look for ‘sporting’ events, these tend to be over other distances and may be on a more interesting course (typically undulating or containing a hill). So times on a sporting course cannot really be compared with others as each course is unique so it’s more of a race on the day or sometimes courses are repeated during the same season. A good example of a local sporting course which would be good as a starter time trial is the Kelly Bray 13 mile course, time trials on this course are normally organised by St Budeaux CC.
The club has a long history in producing some of the best local time trial riders.