TT in a Saskatchewan winter, it’s a thing, really!
Winter is around the corner; it’s cold and snowy. Many cyclists and triathletes have retreated to the relative discomfort and suffering of their warm (and sweaty) pain caves to spin out their winter mileage. Others have put their skinny and gravel tired-bikes up on the rack and have, instead, recruited their fat bikes, cross country skis and even snowshoes for their winter training.
The thought of a time trial in winter is the last thing on most Saskatchewan cyclist’s minds. But that is exactly what 42 cyclists did last November in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert, and will be doing again on December 14th; and again in January, and February.
Bring the province together one bike shop at a time
HPL Cycling, the only Saskatchewan-wide cycling team, worked with local bike shops and cycling clubs in three different Saskatchewan cities – Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert – to organize the first ever indoor eSports time trial series. The Winter Time Trial Series is based on the Zwift online platform. The Series includes men, women and juniors who race outdoors against each other in season, but who may live hundreds of miles apart. The Series is open to anyone who likes to bike, whether or not they have Zwift or Strava accounts, or even indoor smart trainers. Thanks to the support of local bike shops, the Series is free to participants.
Participants can register online to ride at their local bike shop (see below). For every event, the bike shops set up a Zwift station with a smart trainer and a custom Zwift account. Riders use their own favourite outdoor bikes, get weighed and provide age and other relevant details that are used by the Zwift application to ensure an even and fair competition. In Zwift, a dedicated time trial bike is used to ensure an equal race environment.
Race around the world, indoors!
For every event during the Series, one approved Zwift Insider Strava Segment is selected and all riders, regardless of their location, ride that course. Following the ride, race times are compared on the Zwift Insider Strava segment. Results are then tabulated by HPL Cycling and shared on their webpage and social medias. In November, the first Series ride featured the Volcano Circuit. On December 14th, the selected TT course on which everyone will compete will be the 6 Train in Zwift’s New York world. Other courses may include: London Classique, and Yorkshire – Queens Highway with lead in, 2 laps banner to banner.
In its first year, the HPL Saskatchewan Winter Time Trial Series includes five time trials between November, 2019 and March, 2020. In Saskatchewan, these are great months for fat biking and XC skiing – if there is any snow. But, they are much better months to stay on top of your bike fitness and TT or bike segment race-readiness.
As more cyclists, triathletes, gravel grinders, bike packers and other cycling enthusiasts find out about this Series, the hope is to get more people riding and racing across the province and providing them the opportunity to compete, race, meet and get to know, even if only online, their fellow cycling enthusiasts. The Series is endorsed by the Saskatchewan Cycling Association and Triathlon Saskatchewan and is enthusiastically encouraged by the local bike shops.
Real life race categories
Categories for the Series include those found in outdoor time trials – Senior Men and Women Category 1-3, Sport Men and Women Category 4-5 and Junior Women and Men. Points for the Series are awarded according to the points system used by UCI-sanctioned Saskatchewan Cycling Association. At the end of the Series, the riders with the most points in their respective categories will win, not only prizes, but also bragging rights for being the fastest in the province in cycling eSports.
For more information about the Winter Time Trial Series, contact HPL Cycling at firstname.lastname@example.org and see them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Saskatchewan bike shops participating in this Series include Bike Doctor and Bruce’s Cycle Works (Saskatoon); Western Cycle and Dutch Cycle (Regina) and Fresh Air Experience (Prince Albert).
Written by Terry Lazarou, HPL Cycling