What To Expect At Your First Time Trial

Elle just before the start of her first time trial in Lanzarote - Juice Bar 10k TT - leaning on her bike and smiling

I had no intentions for my first time trial to be at triathlon training camp, but a part of me must’ve figured I would be brave enough. On the final day of camp in Lanzarote, the Juice Bar TT was on the schedule as optional.

I got dressed, in the cutest cycling outfit and made my way to the start with everyone, with plans to eat some good food, drink some juice and be the best cheerleader for everyone taking to the start line.

I’m not sure I remember the details of how I ended up actually giving this a go, but I do remember a lot of “go on! you can do it!” and what not! Eventually, I figured, this was gonna be my last chance to ride in Lanzarote and my only competition really, was myself.

So with tired legs, and no idea what I was doing… there I was. As pictured, on the start line, having the process explained to me. I was gonna be going from a clipped in start… something I’d never done before. And I had to get to the roundabout, go around it, and come back to where I started. Simple.

Warming Up For Your Time Trial

You have a few different options here which include a warm up on the turbo trainer, an off the bike warm up or simply riding to the start. I saw Alison of Veloqi CC recommended this 20 minute indoor cycling warm up from British Cycling.

Cycling Warm Up Video

For off the bike, I created a set of dynamic exercises which you can do before both indoor and outdoor rides. You can read about them on the blog or grab a PDF version. I recently recorded the whole thing which is available for purchase. It takes a max of 20 minutes, and for £4.50 you can lifetime access while supporting me to create more content.

If you choose just to ride to the start, Alison suggested sticking to zone 2 and 3, with no big efforts, to reduce any lactic acid build up in your muscles.

Tips To Prepare For Your First Time Trial

The other tips Alison shared were gold to be honest and I figured they needed to recorded somewhere, mostly for when I attempt my next time trial!

  • prepare everything the night before
  • ensure you eat well and hydrate the day before
  • give your bike a good once over
  • remove anything unnecessary for your distance
Elle listening to Triliving Coach at the start line of time trial

Alison also suggested that if you can, ride the course before race day. However, if you can’t ride the course beforehand, then leave with enough time to drive the course. Look for landmarks around half a mile from the finish line, and another closer to the start line so you know when to give everything you’ve got left!

She says “it takes time to learn how hard you can go, so use [your first event] as a no pressure practice run.

Finding Your Rhythm On The Course

When it comes to pacing, you should build up your pace over the first minute or so, and find your rhythm. There’s definitely no need to sprint straight off the start line.

Aim to avoid going into the red on any climbs. If you’re feeling strong with a few miles to go, increase your effort a little and see how it feels. Do the same again at half a mile to go.

Back To Lanzarote…

I didn’t have the advice you have above and as I had no actual intention of riding I really didn’t think to look up the route or do anything else vaguely useful!

Someone holding Elle at the start line as she is ready to go!

The 10km started uphill and it stayed that way for the first half. I had no idea what my heart rate was doing but it was mega windy so I focused on keeping my head down and my legs moving.

It took me 18:35 minutes to get to the half way mark and just ~8:00 minutes to get back to the start line which shows how much I hate hills (but loooove downhills) and the effect on me cycling uphill in a head wind has!

The Juice Bar TT is a segment on Strava so if you go to Lanzarote, give it a go. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna end up there again one day so I’m already excited to do the segment again and beat my previous time.

Huge shout out to Triliving who ran the training camp and all the Ful-on Tri members for encouraging me to take part! I even won the “best dressed” (I think it was called that?!) award for the week and for being brave enough to just jump in head first… into time-trialling!

Are you thinking about giving your first time trial a go?! Or have more tips for less experienced riders?



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