CYCLING clubs are virtually gearing up for TT’s first online time trial.

This creative idea was designed to offer friendly competition and aid cyclists in their gradual return to training after over two months of lockdown due to the global pandemic.

Hosted by the TT Cycling Federation and Indoor Cycling Works, this inaugural “Virtual Time Trial” utilizes Zwift, an online cycling programme which enables users to interact, train and compete in a virtual world. This event rides off on July 10.

Zwift is not new to many local riders, several of whom have been using the application to maintain a light training regime during the quarantine period.

Rigtech Sonics manager Roger Frontin welcomes this developmental initiative and believes it’s a revolutionary means of returning smiles back to the faces of cyclists.

Having been stuck inside and restricted to a limited amount of training since mid-March, outdoor cyclists now face another external battle, this time, against clouds of thick Sahara dust which have forced athletes and the public at large to take additional precautions.

“We’re considering participating. It’s a whole new area that is now being used globally. It’s an option we have to consider.

“The amount of Sahara dust plume we have right now will make us move to indoors.

“We are monitoring the advice and are limiting our outdoor rides and should use this event to return to training in a phased process,” said Frontin.

The Rigtech Sonics manager admitted they have already begun road training but have been forced to limit their time outside due to the dust cover.

Similarly, The Braves cycling coach and former Olympian Gene ‘Geronimo’ Samuel thinks the virtual time trial is a good idea but maybe too little too late due to the freedom now allowed to road cyclists.

Several members of The Braves are tri-athletes and have already familiarized themselves with Zwift technology over the past few months.

“A lot of our athletes have been using that programme indoors during the quarantine to do races. It’s not the same as racing on the road but it keeps you going. It’s a good initiative. However, everybody is returning to outdoor training.

“Those who will compete will see it as a novelty sport. It’s something different, yes, but personally, it should have been done during the lockdown and not when things are moderately returning to normal,” stated Samuel.

The virtual time trial is also open to the public. To participate, entrants must pay the $100 registration fee and bring along their bike, personal hydration and a towel. Cyclists do not need to have a Zwift account or a smart trainer as these will be provided by the hosts on race day.

This unique three-day online competition pedals off at Indoor Cycle Works at 51 Mucurapo Rd, Port of Spain (inside Rafmon Marketing’s compound).

Prizes will be awarded to the top three fastest times in each category. Competing categories range from male and female juniors (16–18 years), Elite 1 and 2, Elite 18–39years, Masters 40-49, Master 50-59, Masters 60+ and a male and female open.

Frontin concluded, “We have no major upcoming events so there’s no need to be training aggressively. We’re just phasing back in our training right now and may use this avenue as a training stint for our riders.”

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