Tour of Washington County: Cycling Time Trial 101

Last week I got your pedals wet with the first of three posts that attempt to explain the cycling world; D is 100% in racing mode, now even more so with a new goal added to the agenda (Labor Day weekend just filled up!).  The recent stage race that his team participated in, the Tour of Washington County (ToWC), consisted of a Road Race, Time Trial (TT) and Criterium (aka Crit).

While cycling is a team sport (many people forget that, or never knew), the Individual Time Trial is, well, just how it sounds. It’s just you and the long, open road…

ToWC time trial road 2

This particular event was pretty short – they did ~16 Km* (10 mi) as an out & back. The entire ride is an all-out sprint!

It looks like this:

ToWC time-trial warmup 1ToWC us

Step 1: Warm up! Almost every rider had their trainer set-up and a routine to go through. D’s warm-up involves ~55 minutes of intervals, building up and and then bringing the heart-rate back down. This is no easy 10 min “lap”; it burns upwards of 500 calories!

Yep, that tan is totes normal; the darker the line, the more you’ve trained. 

Step 1.5: Entertain your girlfriend while you wait to line-up.

ToWC time-trial 1ToWC Time-trial 3Tour of Washington County Time Trial line-up

Step 2: Line-up and wait for your turn. A race official is standing by, announcing numbers in groups – “Three One Nine, Three Seven Five, Three One Six!” – to let the riders know, you’re up next!

The racing order depends on the prior stage’s results. They race backwards; whoever won the ToWC Road Race on Saturday would go last for the TT in their Category.

ToWC Time Trial Start

Step 3: Wait for it…and, GO! (This is how the pros do it, a la TdF.)

Officials give the rider a “4, 3, 2…”, and then they’re off!

ToWC time-trial 5ToWC time-trial 6

TT’s are also know as the “race of truth”; riding alone, putting every ounce of energy into those pedals, sprinting for miles. You get no help from teammates, or drafting; the true test of endurance and strength!

This is where the fancy bike gear comes out; you’ll see the sperm Aero-helmets, aero-bars and more aerodynamic bikes. See Fabian Cancellara, TT king:


Image source.

The ToWC TT finish was ~2 miles from the start, and I totally missed the memo on that (realizing about half-way through D’s race). I did see this tired guy after:

ToWC post-time trial

And after that, it was time to rest! The riders had a few hours to recoup before their final ToWC stage, the Criterium.


Tired, yet? All I did was spectate and soak in some rays, but this was part 1 of a long day and an early morning! It was fun to watch all of the individual riders in their different routines, racing styles and fancy gear.

Questions? Personal TT stories? Curious how anyone could wear that helmet and take themselves seriously? Me, too.



Filed under cycling, learning, new things!, pictures, Races, weekends

11 responses to “Tour of Washington County: Cycling Time Trial 101

  1. “Curious how anyone could wear that helmet and take themselves seriously?”
    I also like step 1.5. Very important.

  2. Sounds a whole lot more “serious” than my Tuesday night TTs! Same set-up, though. 🙂 They are FUN! I definitely love the solo aspect in this case, i.e. not worrying about other riders getting to close to me and making me nervous!

    Those helmets are EVERYWHERE. I just don’t buy that they make you *that* much faster, but if all the pros are doing it… heh. Don’t worry, you won’t catch me in one. 🙂

  3. OMG this is totally awesome! Makes me wish me or my cycling BF were serious cyclist haha! I would love to watch this. Oh and I totally laughed out loud at the sperm helmet comment totally true!!! I’m not so sure about those! 😉

  4. Those helmets, I just, can’t… LMFAO!

    D is looking smoking hot in his kit! *Whistles* 😉

  5. Mamacita

    Love this post; I am learning a lot about the world of cycling.


  6. Oh man, TTs are the WORST! (in my opinion). I’m impressed by anyone who can do well at a TT – it’s so hard to push yourself that much when you’re all alone! D looks like he’s doing well – the tan line is a wonderful indicator 🙂

    I’m excited for your Crit post – my favorite!

  7. A 55 min warmup is no joke! I guess you want your body completely ready!
    I am definitely not one for those helmets! I chuckle to myself when I see slower age groupers wearing them in a triathlon!

  8. You’re just getting me ready for the Tour, I can feel it.

    Your man is a f*n rock star! That’s awesome. Time trials are like sprints on steroids. So much speed!

  9. Pingback: Five Faves: Le TOUR! | Dietitian on the Run

  10. Tell D he is a serious rock star! which makes you….a groupie?

  11. Pingback: Cycling 103: Chesapeake Criterium | Dietitian on the Run

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