Cycling Competition


Manchester Triathlon Club is affiliated to British Cycling as a club. Individual club members may join British Cycling, and when they do so, they have the opportunity to join as a member of MTC, which means you are then able to race as an MTC member in Road Races, Cyclocross and MTB events.

Manchester Triathlon Club is also affiliated to Cycling Time Trials UK. This allows members of MTC to compete in  CTT organised time trials.

Time Trials

Known by some as the Race of Truth, others as great training for triathlons and the rest as a very painful type of torture!

Cycling Time Trials (CTT) is the governing body for Time Trials in England and Wales. Their website contains lots of useful information as well as a list of all Open events.

The minimum distance for a time trial is generally 10 miles but shorter races are permitted. Most races are at fixed distances (10. 25, 50 and 100 miles) or fixed time (12 and 24 hours). Riders start at one-minute intervals, or sometimes more, and cover the course alone.

There are two classes of time trial events:

British Cycling Logo
CTT Logo
Club Events

As the name suggests these are organised by a club primarily for their own members or those of other local clubs. You can normally turn up on the night and enter on the line as long as you are a member of another affiliated club (such as Manchester Triathlon Club) and the cost is usually only a few pounds. Most Club events are held on midweek evenings and are often used by time triallers and triathletes as training for open events or triathlons.

Some of the events that are run locally include:


Open Events

These events need to be entered in advance. Most events can be entered online via the CTT website.

The CTT also produces an annual handbook which contains the entry details for all Open events, This can be purchased from the CTT website (or borrowed from a friend). For most events, entry closes about 14 days prior to the date of the race so it’s important to enter early. Unlike most triathlons and running races, entries are usually accepted based on your entry time. Most events are fastest first, but some events are specifically aimed at middling to slower riders, and reject entries from faster riders. You can only use times that you have recorded in a CTT affiliated time trial, such as another open event or a club event. You can’t use your time from the bike leg of your last triathlon.

Details of local time trials, including course descriptions can be found on the Manchester District website:

Road Racing

Road Racing is massed-start cycle racing on roads or tarmac circuits. First rider over the finish line wins, with anything from twenty to almost 200 competitors, depending on the event. In the UK, events range from short Youth and Juvenile (under16) races of 20km or less, through club level events for adults of between 40km and 100km, to Elite-level one day races of 200km or more.

The majority of adult racing takes place on public roads, though there are an increasing number of circuit events, either on roads closed to other traffic or on specially constructed circuits, some which are shared with other sports like motor racing and kart racing, others are purpose built for cycling. All under-16 racing takes place on traffic-free closed circuits.

Competitors must be members of British Cycling and hold the appropriate racing license.


“Cross” is one of the easiest branches of cycle sport to get involved in. It’s generally an autumn and winter sport. Massed starts make for exciting races, usually no more than an hour in length – and shorter for juniors, women and veterans. The races are usually multi lap events, held on short (typically less than a mile and often less than half a mile), grassy courses, generally in public parks or on school playing fields. Less technically demanding than Mountain Biking, Cyclo-Cross often requires riders to dismount to clear artificial obstacles – often wooden boards. The ability to swap smoothly and quickly from riding to running and back to riding in one fluid motion is a key skill for advanced riders.

More details can be found on the British Cycling cyclo-cross pages.

Mountain Biking

Mountain bike racing comes in a number of shapes and sizes. The two that Man Tri members tend to take part in are Cross Country (XC) and Endurance/Marathon racing. Whilst they are both great ways to improve your cycling confidence, skills and general cycling fitness the increased availability of off-road triathlons involving an off-road cycle leg means that they can be used as specific training too.


Track Racing has grown in popularity following the success of the GB Team in the Olympics and World Championships. Track racing takes place on short specially built tracks consisting of two tight, banked corners joined by two short straights. Tracks range hugely in length – outdoor tracks usually being longer and with shallower bankings – but Olympic and World Championship Track racing is generally held on indoor 250m wooden tracks. Many outdoor tracks are concrete or tarmac surfaced

Track bikes are relatively simple, lacking the gears and brakes of their Road cousins. With bikes having a fixed wheel (forcing you to pedal continuously) the rider controls speed through pressure applied to the pedals.

Track cycling is harder to get into as you require use of a specilist track bike (although these can often be hired from the venue, eg Manchester Velodrome), and most velodromes require that you go through an accreditation process to be allowed to ride on the track.

More details can be found on the Manchester Velodrome site here.