Never mind the London Marathon, Britain's wackiest cycling time trial is go!
Three... two... one... have a good ride and try not to catch your superhero cape in your chain at the Team Bottrill fancy dress TT
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Where can you compete against Wonder Woman on a BMX, draft an Indian rickshaw, get caught by a large man wearing a pink tutu or spot the legendary Geoff Platts on a shopping bike with tri-bars?
The Team Bottrill Charity 4.2-mile TT, which takes place this Sunday October 9 on an otherwise innocuous stretch of road near Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, is in its sixth year and is starting to challenge the London Marathon for costume craziness.
It is organised by Mark Bottrill, brother of multiple national champion Matt, and Coalville Wheelers, to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity that helped the brothers’ mother in the final stages of her battle.
“It was only meant to be for one year, “ said Mark Bottrill. “We thought we’d raise a little bit of money and give something back, but it was dead popular. It was a winter bike time trial to start off with, where people would just come on old bikes, but then people got a bit silly. So far we’ve raised over £14K and are on over £1,500 for this year's event."
Matt and Mark Bottrill will both be riding, former National 100-mile champion Charles Taylor will be pushing off and, according to Mark, “riders are coming from all over.”
Previous events have featured a replica of Graeme Obree's Old Faithful, homemade (of course) and ridden by Karl Gregg. A bike previously belonging to Chris Boardman has also featured, with Boardman’s father Keith donating photographs signed by his famous son.
There are plenty of prizes on offer including a voucher for a bike fit by Matt Bottrill Performance Coaching (opens in new tab), two bottles of whisky for those deemed to have tried hardest, a hamper donated by Nestle for the best fancy dress (selected by junior judges) and more.
Unlike the majority of ‘serious’ time trials, the Bottrills’ event has a full field.
“It’s capped at 80 spaces as it’s run as a club time trial, but I’ve got 100 riders since a few of those spaces are two-ups,” Mark explained.
Could this charity time trial be onto something? How is it that it has a full field while other events - including three time trials Mark himself had entered this year - have been cancelled for lack of entries?
“At this race everyone can compete," says Mark. "Because everyone is involved. At most time trials there’s only one or two who are likely to win. But here every rider is involved for a prize, everyone feels part of it. This one you can turn up on a BMX and win. It might be something that CTT needs to look at,” he says only half jokingly.
“Having said that, Wonder Woman on a BMX [Tim May] did a dead good time because he was so low - I think he did it in 12 minutes. Some people were gutted that he beat them.”
At only 4.2-miles, the long walk of shame in case of a wardrobe or machinery malfunction isn’t quite so long, which is why Mark Bottrill opens the event to “all bikes that have at least two wheels.”
This year’s event is full, but you can still donate via the Christine Bottrill Macmillan 4.2 TT JustGiving page (opens in new tab).
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor following an MA in online journalism. In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends most of his time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
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