Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A 2014 WCBC Time Trial Series?

If I revive the Washington County Bicycle Club time trial series for 2014, then I may know already where the course will be. Last February I identified a course in the Town of Addison that would be great for TTs. I envisioned an event of 40 kilometers, the same distance as the state championships. At the time, I was thinking about a new date on the WCA or Wisport calendar, not about a club-level event.

Washington County doesn’t produce a lot of time trialists. But Washington County does produce multisport racers, and a lot of those triathletes/duathletes have shown an interest in the WCBC during the last couple of years. Group road rides don’t really serve their needs, but could we bring them into the club by offering a TT series? It’s worth a try. Forty kilometers isn’t just the state championship distance, it’s also the Olympic standard for triathlons. Some of the athletes in our area might appreciate an opportunity to practice that distance. But I also want to offer a 20-kilometer option—the standard for “sprint” triathlons—as I suspect most of our multisport athletes will face the shorter distance more often, if not exclusively.

I tried to find a second course on which the 20-kilometer TT could be held. Then I asked myself why I wanted to have separate dates and locations for the two distances. Why not do it all simultaneously? As it turns out, my original location can work for both.

Two laps of the blue course would be 20 km. Three laps of the red course would be 40 km. Obviously, you could do four laps of the blue course to get to 40 km but using both options would have some advantages. The most obvious is fewer laps, as I think most people would rather do three longer ones than four shorter ones … especially since I have decided to move the finish line to the top of a long climb instead of having it at the bottom.

Originally I placed the start/finish line at the intersection of Indian Drive and Deer Road. By moving the start/finish line to the intersection of Aurora Road and Cedar View Drive, a single race official could track all of the racers. Someone doing 20 km would start by going north on Aurora; someone doing 40 km would start by going west on Cedar View. Two riders could start simultaneously, one in each direction, and they would be unlikely to see each other thereafter. That’s good because without officials all along the course there is no way to prevent drafting. There’s also no way to cut the course short: the race official would ensure that the 40 km riders always make the left-hand turn on Cedar View. Getting all participants on course as quickly as possible is a good thing, but it’s critical to create and maintain separation. I cannot imagine anyone trying to cheat—riders will be competing only against the clock, after all—but why not remove the opportunity and also make the race easy to administer?

I can’t stress strongly enough that this TT series would be strictly against the clock. To put racers in direct competition with each other would violate the terms of the club’s insurance. As long as they race only to set and then to improve upon their own times, these TTs would not have to be insured separately as special events. The focus would be on fun, fitness, and preparation for sanctioned events.

I am not prepared to set the dates yet, but I think one TT per month from May through August would be ideal. These would be Saturday mornings on which no club road ride is scheduled. It’s pretty easy to predict when the club road rides will fall in 2014 but there are other factors to consider. I hope to see some of the WCA, Wisport, ABR and multisport calendars before setting the club TT dates.


  1. This is about the one section of Washington County I have not biked in as Big Cedar Lake and 41 create natural barriers to using this stretch en route to get anywhere else. Maybe that curtails any traffic as well?
    Can't wait Dave.
    -Mike M.

    1. It's a very low-traffic area, and for the 20 km route it's all right turns. There are a couple of stop signs on the route. If we have adequate volunteer help, then we can post marshals at the intersections to enhance safety.