Resurgence in Youth Time Trials

Resurgence in Youth Time Trials


Resurgence in Youth Time Trials


Yvonne Bowler


There has been a resurgence in Youth Time Trials in West London


Hillingdon Slipstreamers is a youth cycling club based at the Hillingdon Cycle Circuit in Hayes, West London. Their weekly Saturday morning sessions are extremely well supported with over 100 riders each week from a membership base of over 200. The club is supported by a governing body and coaching staff of almost 70 – all contributing their free time to facilitate cycling development across all 5-16 year old riders.

Traditionally, the club has been aligned to the British Cycling events calendar, with riders taking part in youth road races and criteriums, track events and mountain bike races. The only time Time Trials really featured were at the annual Club Championships where a 1 lap (.96 mile) of the circuit was executed as part of other events which made up the competition.
Towards the end of last year, a young female rider approached one of the Slipstreamer coaches to ask if she would be able to demonstrate her cycling ability as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Award. Long standing Slipstreamer coach, Ralph Passey, jumped on the chance to help the rider use a series of monthly time trials to demonstrate her continual improvement and her commitment to training.
The coaches realised that having just one rider conducting a solo time trial would be a missed opportunity, and worked into the Slipstreamer’s development programme a monthly time trial practice as part of the “early morning performance session” which takes part an hour before the normal Saturday session.
And from there, a renewed and vibrant interest in Time Trialling was born.

Slipstreamers celebrate their wins
Slipstreamers celebrate their wins

Slipstreamer Coach Dave George explains “For monitoring the riders, the time trial practice allowed us to record and analyse performance advancement. The added benefit is that we could demonstrate the use of process and performance goals to help target the more black & white product goals. What started with just 10 riders making the effort to join the early session, within 5 months we now are reaching over 40 eager testers!”.
The interest has now flowed over into other events. Slipstreamers as a club have always supported the CTT’s “GHS Schools Championship”, also seeing Hillingdon Cycle Circuit being the host for the London West District branch of the CTT. This year, it is expected that a larger number will be entering the event based on renewed interest.
Westerley CC, also host a fortnightly Wednesday “10” at Hillingdon, which is actually 11 laps of the 0.96 mile circuit. Again, around 10 Slipstreamer riders enter this event on a regular basis, and are starting to put in some really impressive times.
With all this new interest, Slipstreamers then decided to host their own event. They decided to make it an interclub competition inviting riders from Twickenham CC, Kingston Juniors CC, Willesden CC and Welwyn Wheelers. Application was made to and approved by the CTT London West District Committee. Jim Burgin, Chairman of LWDC commented, “For years we ‘elders’ have watched the efforts of the Hillingdon Slipstreamers and other similar clubs and have wondered how many moved into the senior ranks; it seemed very few. The thoughts were that perhaps there was little time trialling competition for them and your initiative has been greeted with delight by the District Committee.”
A date was set, invitations sent and a structure was beginning to take shape. To make it fair, it was agreed to hold three individual races. Race 1 would be for riders 12 and under, Race 2 for riders aged 13 & 14, and Race three for 15 & 16 year olds. It was also agreed to make qualifying for team prizes to be mixed gender to promote more girls taking part. There would be prizes for fastest boy/girl in each race, but the overall winner would be the shortest average time of all boys and all girls for each team.


Dave admitted “We didn’t really know how the average time calculation was going to pan out. Slipstreamers had more riders taking part, but some were as young as 8, so we’d have to hope that our older riders did something special.”


May 18th, the chosen day soon came around. 87 riders over the three races were on the startsheet. The weather could not have been better, bright sun from the outset and a very light breeze. The BBQ was fired up, and to add to the festival feel, the PA system was cranked up and the carnival was starting.


Surprisingly, all races started more or less on time, and the 73 riders that signed on started their warm-up rituals and made their way over to the start. Ralph remarked “I thought it was a nice change to organising a criterium race which can be quite hectic . In this case it was relaxed and good humoured . A refreshing change of pace.”.


Performances on the day were outstanding. The results for fastest on the day were:


Race 1 (Under 13):


First Boy: Peter Hewson (Hillingdon Slipstreamers) 00:27:28.4

First Girl: Josie Griffin (Welwyn Wheelers) 00:26:06.7

Race 2 (13 & 14 year olds)


First Boy: Carl Jolly (Hillingdon Slipstreamers) 00:22:50.4

First Girl: Kat Anderson (Welwyn Wheelers) 00:24:43.8

Race 3: (15 & 16 year olds)


First boy: Glen Dossett (Welwyn Wheelers) 00:22:05.7

First girl: Gaia Casciello (Welwyn Wheelers) 00:26:41.7


The overall competition winners were Welwyn Wheelers, for both boys and girls, with results as follows:





Welwyn Wheelers 25:22.83 (9 riders)

Welwyn Wheelers 26:51.75 (6 riders)


Hillingdon Slipstreamers 27:29.45 (22 riders)

Twickenham CC 30:10.40 (1 rider)


Willesden CC 28:47.97 (3 riders)

Hillingdon Slipstreamers 30:58.82 (12 riders)


Twickenham CC 29:40.45 (8 riders)

Willesden CC 31:58.45 (1 rider)


Kingston Juniors 30:10.97 (6 riders)

Kingston Juniors 33:50.8 (1 rider)


At this moment, Hillingdon Slipstreamers plan to continue with their monthly time trial practice, and hope to make the Interclub an annual event on their calendar.


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