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  • Writer's pictureNaveen John

ISO TT #1- 24km Merckx-style ITT

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

Last weekend the Madras Racing Circuit (MRC) became the first club to kick-off in-real-life bike racing in India again with a "No Contact ITT" -- with social distancing from end-end of the event, no registration lines/numbers pick-up, and using the Strava segment leaderboards on the day to determine rider times.

Seeing that the event went off without a hitch, I figured it was time for Bangalore cycling to follow suit. It took 4 days from inception of the idea to executing the event today. I called it an ISO TT (self-ISOlated TT), taking inspiration for the name from a similarly named race series on the Ozzy club racing scene. The rules were simple: "no contact", socially distanced end-end event, Merckx-style, self start, no drafting, Strava leaderboard-timed.

Image Credit: Chenthil Mohan and Blossom Fernandez/Ben Joseph

Things went smashingly. About 40-odd riders completed the race segment today. For not having raced in 5 months, everyone knew exactly what to do with an acute grasp of the "new normal" (shoot me, I said it!). Hello's were kept curt and distanced, smiles were met with smiles, a couple folks had masks on and some not, bikes were ridden as hard as everyone's individual post-lockdown fitness allowed them to, post-race goodbyes were clinical, and the common thread was the satisfaction writ on everyone's parting grins.


There were folks on MTB's, fixed gear, and hybrids who all put in hard rides today. After ISO TT #2 in 3 weeks (Saturday, August 29th), I will compile a final "most-improved rider" results sheet. For now we have results for the fastest times on the segment today, and also a ranking for each category. Let me know if I missed anyone, or if someone's segment didn't register.

Organizer/Racer notes

  1. Correlation Score and Spatial Score on Strava Fly-Bys can be used to enforce anti-drafting. 2 riders with a CS or SS of above 75 is an indication of a drafting violation. Along with a corroborating rider testimony, the infringing riders are DQed

  2. To avoid unintentional high CS or SS scores, when teammates/friends start together, let the stronger rider start ahead, and if of equal strength, leave with significant insurmountable time gaps

  3. If a stronger rider catches and passes a weaker rider, the rider who has been caught must not follow behind in their slipstream. The rider who has been caught must drop back to at least 25m behind the rider now in front. There isn't wide enough berth to race 2-abreast on open roads without benefiting from a draft, and without putting other riders lives at risk

  4. If a rider is using a low fidelity GPS device, their elapsed time might show as higher than moving time/time-on-device. Regardless, a rider's Strava segment time is the final deciding time in any case

  5. Start your ride ~50-100m and ~5-10sec before the marked segment start and finish it similarily after the segment finish. This will allow your GPS time to lock on to and register the start/finish of your segment effort. Strava will do the magic of resolving your exact segment time. Feel free to use your lap button to get a second measure of segment lap time for your own personal record

  6. If a rider has not opened up their privacy settings (for the day at least) to be included in the segment leaderboard, they will not show up in the results. Details in 'race execution' below

  7. All event collateral for organizing and promotion are on my IG Iso TT highlights [IG]. Feel free to use and adapt to your event; consider it open source material


The next 24.4km ITT is scheduled for Saturday, Aug 29th. That gives folks 3 weeks to ride and improve on their baseline they set today. Upwards!

Ride lots,




Eddy-appa Merckx riding Merckx-style to work. Image Credit: Che

Welcome to the first (and hopefully, never-annual) ISO TT (that's short for self-ISOlated TT) event page. Please read all the instructions below and especially pay attention to the race execution and anti-Corona measures so we can maybe have a second edition after a couple weeks of training in the legs!

Event Brief

Date: Saturday, August 8th

Start window: 6-8AM (it gets windier as the sun wakes up, so earlier start = faster time)

Distance: 24.4km

Weather: 20-22C, 20-25kph Westerlies, 0.6mm precipitation [Dark Sky]

Race execution

  1. Start a new ride on your device once you're done warming-up, and you're ready to start

  2. The segment starts and finishes at the same point it does for all BAR/BBCh races, and I will lay down a fresh orange Strava logo on the road for clarity (will share an image on my IG and on here tomorrow, Aug 5th)

  3. You can do a rolling start, but don't be that guy who's hurtling down the start line at 45kph

  4. It is important that you make the following two options on your Strava 'Privacy settings' to ‘Everyone can see' for (1) 'Activities' AND (2) 'Flyby'

Rules and regulations

  1. This is an Individual Time Trial, so no drafting. This includes other racers on course that passed you, or you pass, or that auto that's flying past you. The event is an opportunity to see how fast you can go with the power in your legs, and improve on it the next time out, so don't let yourself down

  2. This is a Merckx-style ITT, so leave your fancy pants TT bikes, disc wheels, and road bike clip-ons at home, and bring out your road/fixed/MTB/hybrid bikes for this one. It's particularly busy on OMR as the country bustles back to life with trucks Shumacher-ing down the road and the south-westerly monsoon winds blowing across the OMR, both of which can have you splat on the highway which ain't worth the savings from your aero accouterments

  3. There will be a couple volunteers/neutral observers/photographers out on course to make sure everyone is keeping their nose clean, and it is encouraged that riders look out for each other and report any riders who are not riding in the spirit of the rules

Anti-Corona measures a.k.a. Common sense

  • This is a no contact TT, so no one to check-in with, no numbers to pickup, no podium post-race, you get the idea

  • Observe social distancing at the start line. Don't bunch-up to attract police attention, start yourselves with 30-60sec gap between riders, and stronger riders start first so you don't create unnecessary/unsafe passing scenarios out on the busy roads

  • Post-race, please be as anti-social as you can be. Skip the sweaty hand-shakes and pats-on-the-back. Avoid your pre-Corona-times urge to share the 45min breakdown of your 35min race over filter kaapi. You just railed yourself, your immunity is a little suppressed, and you're pretty susceptible to a common cold (the good ol' Rhinovirus), not to mention the flavor of the season -- the 'Rona. So, go home, get out of your chammy, shower, enjoy a recovery beverage and a leisurely afternoon with a smug smile on your face, because you just raced your bicycle again for the first time in five damn months! :)


Post-race I'll share the results based on the Strava leaderboard rankings for the segment on the day and within the 6-8am window

See you out on the road. Stay safe, stay healthy!


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