“How do you give back to the sport?”
It’s a question that we see posted across numerous forums and social media channels, and a question that we ask ourselves regularly. We have always tried to give back to the sport in whichever capacity we are able, be it marshalling at local TTs, or supporting junior riders. With every small step taken, we have slowly been inching our way towards our goal; we are incredibly excited to share that we will be hosting our own two-day TT event this summer.
In 2022, we set up WattShop Cycle Club, a platform for friends and family of WattShop to “go racing”. In 2023, we wanted to take that next step and give something back to fellow cyclists. Cycle clubs are the core of the TT community; without them the local cycle community would be lost. We want to build something at WattShop, we are more than just a company, we are a community; locally, nationally and globally; a community that we want everyone to feel a part of.
In recent times, TT numbers have been on the decline, down from 66,000 CTT* registered rides in 2017 to 47,000 in 2022. This isn’t the place to discuss the reasons why, in truth there are many, but we want to offer something different, something unique and at least try to be a part of the solution. In the UK, we are very fortunate to have a specific time trialling governing body: CTT. We’re the envy of many riders across the globe. Time trialling in the UK isn’t a one-off monthly event, it’s a true discipline. We have numerous events every weekend throughout the year; hilly, flat, sporting, take your pick. And for the riders that want to take it to the next level, we have Spindata, a national ranking system.
We have our blue ribband nationals; TTT, 10, 25 and if you enjoy the longer races, we also have 50, 100, 12 and 24 (outrageous!) hour options. But what the UK lacks is TT weekends such as Chrono des Nations and King of the Lake. Whilst we cannot claim to compete with such prestigious events at this point in time, that is certainly our long-term aim and a place to set our sights for the future.
So, The WattShop TT Weekender. What’s involved?
It is a 2-day stage race in Staffordshire incorporating the traditional 10 and 25 mile distances. In addition to this, we’ll have a secondary HQ for the 10 mile TT located just a short drive from the main HQ at Yarnfield Park where accommodation and food packages will be available.
The event will be held over the weekend of the 17th/18th June. We didn’t randomly pick this date, it avoids clashes with the Tour of Cambridgeshire, the Women’s Tour and all National events. It also falls the weekend prior to British Cycling Nationals, offering the perfect opportunity for a run out ahead of the TT nationals rumoured to be in nearby Shropshire.
Let’s take a look at the stages. For those from outside the UK, we use very unique course codes; another quirk about the UK scene that sets it apart from the rest of the TT world. It’s really interesting as to why we do this, follow this link to find out more.
Stage 1 – K48/10 – 10 miles
This course hosts two Open events a year and regular club events. A local 10, close to WattShop HQ, it is a unique course, very technical and by no means a flat out and back. Spindata ranks it 122nd nationally and 8th in the district with a weighted average speed of 26.182mph.
If you’re expecting a drag strip, you’re in the wrong place - there’s a short section of dual carriageway and two humps out and back. She’s not fast but she is challenging. We are only aware of a handful of riders to go under 20 minutes, the (unofficial!) male and female course record holders are Dan Bigham and Emily Meakin.
Stage 2 – J5/13 – 25 miles
Another traditional distance, you won’t find this course in the history books. It’s a new course registered specifically for this event. It’s 2.5 laps of the very well-known Swynnerton road race course with the locally renowned “Swynberg” to crest twice. It’s rideable with a 60-25 set up, so certainly not to be feared but a challenge nonetheless. With the 2.5 lap format we’re planning to take intermediate timings sent straight back to HQ so it could be a fun one to watch play out!
The overall time being the combined time of the two races, we’ll have male and female winners for categories based on Spindata categories so there’s something for everyone.
We've taken away the stress of searching for local accommodation; rooms can be reserved at Yarnfield Park which will also act as race HQ for the 25 mile event on Sunday. A great facility, there’s a communal area on site, perfect for socialising, strategising and discussing all things TT. With a presentation planned on Saturday evening, you can expect to hear from our Aero Experts too. Dinner on Saturday will take the form of a buffet and we can assure you that there will be tasty offerings at breakfast on Sunday, ensuring you are appropriately fuelled to head out and smash the course. Hotel room and dinner reservations can be made via the WattShop website, via the main menu. To let us know of any dietary requirements or if you have any further questions about the event please message us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to enter
Entry is via the CTT website and costs £25. Outside the UK and want to enter? Not a problem. You can register an account with CTT. Please be aware that you may need to register your club but it is a straight forward process.
Are you thinking this could be a good opportunity for you to give back to the sport? If so, we’d be happy to welcome anyone who wants to help run the event with us.
We’ll be releasing more information as we get closer to the time but for now, I would like to thank Paul Jennings (Stone Wheelers) and the Manchester District committee for all your help in getting us to this point.