Naked Women's Racing Blog

Race reports, training tips, and our ladies' lives on two wheels.

Team Time Trial Tips (The TTTT)

In preparation for the Haystack Team Time Trial, the Naked Women’s Racing Team held a time trial clinic and wanted to share some of these pointers with you!  Roberta, Ingrid and Rachel shared all their knowledge on TT/TTTing and now we’ll share it with you!

Team Time Trial Tips:

The main principle behind a TTT is that a few riders can ride at the front of the formation slightly above their aerobic threshold while others draft behind these riders. The riders then rotate, allowing some riders to recover while drafting behind fresher teammates. A rider who is riding at the front is said to be taking a pull.

Accelerations require harder efforts, and therefore it is desirable to have a smooth, steady pace. Different riders have different power outputs, lactate thresholds and aerodynamics. In order to equalize the efforts in order to not burn some riders off too early, the weaker riders take shorter pulls and stronger riders take longer pulls, all at the same speed to minimize the change in pace. A rider finishing a pull usually rotates to the very back of the formation, and the rider who was formerly behind this rider takes over. A rider who needs more time to recover may take a longer time at the back of the formation while the other teammates rotate in front of this rider. With increased desired speed, the riders take harder but shorter pulls at the front so as not to burn themselves up.

The choice of formation is crucial to the performance of the team because it dictates how fast the riders can rotate. The two most popular formations are the single paceline and double paceline. In a single paceline, riders take longer pulls. Often, a double paceline is desirable since each rider takes shorter pulls, and therefore a higher pace is able to be maintained. This is why double pacelines are more often seen at the end of a TTT event when the teams are nearing the finish line.

The recorded finishing time in a team time trial is often based on the N-th rider of that team. For example, in stage races such as the Tour de France or Giro d’Italia the finishing time is based on the 5th rider of the team, out of a total of 9 riders per team. Therefore a team may choose to have a few of its riders take a death pull towards the end of the TTT event, in which the riders take as hard a pull at the front to lift the pace at the cost of exhausting themselves with no hope of being able to latch onto the back of the formation for drafting. They then drop back and leave the remainder of the team to finish the time trial.

John Cobb recommends using earplugs during a time trial. He’s confident that you will ride faster using earplugs because the body associates the volume of the wind to the level of exertion. The earplugs might help you stay calm even when your legs are searing with pain.

Helpful videos:

Double pace line:

Single pace line:

Equipment Used in a Time Trial:

  • TT bike/ road bike- make sure you have a good fit
  • Areo Bars- either a part of your bike or clip on
  • Wheels- Aero- dynamic/ disc wheel
  • Skinsuit/ shoe covers
  • Aero Helmet

Time Saved in an ITT based on 40km with each piece of TT equipment, ranked by least expensive first:

  • Body position on regular road bike-56 seconds
  • Shoe covers-30 seconds
  • Skinsuit-134 seconds
  • Aero helmet-67 seconds
  • Aero wheels-25 to 60 seconds
  • New aero bike frame-17 seconds
  • Body position on aero bars on TT bike-122 seconds


The Rules:

3F. Team Time Trial

3F1. Teams may be made up of two or more riders. The distance, timing basis, and number of riders who are required to finish must be specified in the official race announcement. Times may be based on any specified finishing position or on the sum of the times of any specified finishers. 3F2. Course. (a) Courses may be out-and-back, around a circuit, or one way. Only out-and-back or circuit courses may be used for record purposes. (b) The recommended minimum roadway width is 12 meters for an out-and-back course; otherwise a minimum of 8 meters is permitted. A warming-up area at least 2 km in length adjacent to the starting area is recommended. (c) The turnaround point for an out-and-back course should be at a place where the roadway is sufficiently wide to permit the riders and any following vehicles to turn smoothly. 3F3. Only road bicycles shall be used. 3F4. The starting interval between teams will normally be at least two minutes, but may be increased according to the course. 3F5. Starting order may be chosen by random selection, by numeric order, or by seeding (fastest last). 3F6. Start. (a) Each team shall report to the starter at least three minutes before their scheduled starting time and shall start at the scheduled time. If a team appears later than the appointed starting time, the start shall be allowed only if it does not interfere with other teams starting on schedule. If it does interfere, the team may be further delayed. In case of a late start, the appointed time shall be used in computing results. (b) The riders from each team shall line up side by side at the start. All riders shall be held at the start and shall neither be restrained nor pushed. When there are too few holders, all

92riders must start with one foot on the ground. All teams must start in the same manner. (c) No restarts shall be permitted for any reason. 3F7. In championship events, teams shall normally consist of four riders and the team time is the time of the third rider. Thus, at least three riders must finish.

3F8. Teammates on different laps may not work together. 3F9. All pushing of riders is forbidden, even among teammates. 3F10. No team shall take pace behind another team closer than 25 meters (80 feet) ahead, or 2 meters (7 feet) to the side.

3F11. The exchange of food, drink, minor repair items, help with repairs and exchange of wheels or bicycles shall be permitted solely among members of the same team. 3F12. Support Vehicles

The Race Director and Chief Referee with decide whether support vehicles will be allowed. Rules governing support vehicles in a Team Time Trial are as follows: (a) Support vehicles must be authorized and under the

control of the Chief Referee to be on the course. (b) Each team may be followed by a motor vehicle. The

vehicle may carry spare wheels, repair materials, and

bicycles ready for use in case of a mishap. (c) A bullhorn may be used to communicate with the rider.

Support vehicles shall at all times remain at least 10 meters behind the riders, except when a rider has a foot on the ground.

(d) Support vehicles shall not be allowed to drive in front of or beside its team but must remain at least 10 meters behind the riders and must not pass any rider until there is a 75 meter gap between the riders, or until the referee decides that it is safe. Should this distance diminish, the support vehicle shall immediately drop back behind the following rider.

(e) No attendant may lean or hold any piece of replacement equipment out of a vehicle.


(f)     No rider may be handed supplies during a team time trial, whether from a support vehicle or not.