Report: South DC e-TT Championships

 CTT South DC region hold their inaugural e-TimeTrialing Championships on the 21st March with Ant Gritton the first senior rider

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South DC e-TT Championships

Online e-cycling has been growing in popularity with several cycling governing bodies hosting major championships over the last year or two. In addition, online time trials have become increasingly popular due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions with numerous clubs and teams create online events using apps such as RGT or Zwift to keep their club members engaged.

After several test events, the CTT South DC region held their inaugural e-TT’ing Championships on the 21st March. This unique event was a new initiative for the region and brought together riders from a variety of clubs and teams using a virtual simulation of one of the regions well-known courses. The event also utilised a method of racing that is a little different to what riders are used to when racing in reality. Rather than use conventional individual time trial starts every 60 seconds, a mass start option was instead used but with drafting still disabled. This meant riders couldn’t slipstream anyone but allowed all riders to see what everyone else was doing from the very start which increased the ‘gamification’. It also provided sprint finishes to keep everyone engaged all the way through.

However, the major concerns with online racing in general is that of ‘e-doping’. This can include data manipulation, dishonesty of a riders weight or tampering with their equipment to produce performances they realistically just couldn’t in reality. To help address this, this championship event was only advertised to clubs and teams within the region so that most riders would be ‘known’ in their likely ability. Plus, pre-event voluntary ‘weigh ins’ were requested by the organiser in the event of any contested results.

The race itself utilised a virtual version of the regions P164 course. This is a 10 mile rolling and twisty affair near Lyndhurst in the New Forest. The event saw 25 pre-registered competitors with representation from many of the clubs and teams in the area with ages ranging from juniors through to highly seasoned veterans. Pre-event excitement often leads to an over excited start and that was very much the case here as several riders put huge sprint starts in initially that they’d probably pay for later on. Elite triathlete Ant Gritton (Sotonia CC) took an early lead and was holding a steady 6w/kg as he quickly built a 100m lead inside the first mile.

He was followed by Bryce Dyer (Aerocoach) with Richard Wagstaff (a3crg) closely behind. However, the first part of the course was gently downhill with things starting to bite with a sequence of short sharp rolls once riders got a third of the way in. At this point, the lighter more efficient riders could start to get their own back. By this point, Gritton and Dyer were starting to move comfortably clear of the rest but an intense battle was forming in third with Julian Lockwood (Primera Teamjobs), Bren Reese (Bournemouth Arrows), P Morse (Andover Wheelers) and Wagstaff all within metres of each other and frequently changing positions as the terrain varied and the effort tolled.

Sadly Mike Boyce (a3crg) and recent event winner Matthew Gilmour (VC Venta) dropped out due to technical issues when both were still in the mix. A few hundred metres behind that group was S Gray (Gillingham District Wheelers) and Martin Kanzi (Bournemouth Arrows) duelling it out and with the next group after them seeing Gordon Richardson and Tim Dadswell (Antelope RT) also within eyeshot of each other.

As the course hooked back on itself with 3 miles to go, things flattened out before a final steep ramp up to the lantern rouge 1km to go marker. Gritton was now 300m in the lead followed by Dyer and then Morse who had finally got some daylight between the boxing match that was still going on between Reese, Lockwood and Wagstaff. Once the final ramp was breached, it was then a steep downhill to the line and a quick climb off to your own shower and Sunday lunch. In the end, Gritton won the event in 22:17 with Dyer 29 seconds back for 2nd and Morse a further 47 seconds behind for 3rd. In the master age categories, Dyer was the fastest 40-49, Lockwood the fastest 50-59 and Kanzi the best of the 60-69’s. The first woman home was Rachel Hackman (RNRMCA) in 26:11 and placed 8th overall.

Whilst arguably very different from the real thing, many riders enjoyed the experience and the virtual events and championship will take place again in the region next winter.

1st Ant Gritton S Southampton Tri Club 5.3 22:17 First Senior Rider
2nd Bryce Dyer 40-49 Aerocoach (Bournemouth Arrows 2nd Claim) 4.2 22:44 1st Master 40-49
3rd P Morse 40-49 Andover Wheelers 4.1 23:31 2nd Master 40-49
4th Bren Reese 40-49 Bournemouth Arrows 4.2 23:51 3rd Master 40-49
5th Julian Lockwood 50-59 Primera Teamjobs 4.4 24:00 1st Master 50-59
6th Richard Wagstaff 50-59 a3crg 3.3 24:04 2nd Master 50-59
7th Ian Sherin 50-59 3c 3.3 25:37 3rd Master 50-59
8th Rachel Hackman 50-59 RNRMCA (Poole Whs 2nd Claim) 3.5 26:11 1st Female & 1st Female Master 50-59
9th S Gray 40-49 Gillingham District Wheelers 5.0 26:43
10th Martin Kanzi Bournemouth Arrows ? 3.2 27:10 1st Master 60-69
11th G Richardson 2.3 27:52
12th T Dadswell Antelope Racing Team ? 3.1 28:19
13th M Hartly-Oinn 2.8 28:35
14th Martin Balk 3c 2.1 30:06 2nd Master 60-69
15th N Hughes 60-69 Fareham Wheelers ? 2.3 30:35 3rd Master 60-69

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