Waterfall ride: Middies vs Fasties

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jonboy
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Postby jonboy » 05 Aug 2012, 10:57

I tried my hand at the fasties today.

I'd noticed over time that the middies bunch had been growing and getting faster, with only one or two fasties putting their hands up at the start.

As it turns out it felt like a 'fast' middies ride. Average speed was around 32kph - less than previous averages for the odd middies ride.

The paceline on the return leg was much quicker - noticeably so. This we linked onto a Sydney CC train and ended up around 57kph along the mad mile - even then touching on the brakes now and again. Its this section of the ride that I enjoy most - it only takes a slightly slower rider to get the bunch out of rhythm. Hopefully I can crack avg 60kph for the mad mile soon.

Hopefully some of my mates from the middies will join me next week so we can all improve.

Stay safe out there - see you on the road.

John

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Postby timothy_clifford » 05 Aug 2012, 13:27

I had the same idea a few weeks ago - jumped around the middies on West Botany and tailed onto the 3 fasties. Took a turn the whole stretch of the Grand Pde before being dropped just before the Rocky Point Rd. Solo'd to Waterfall before meeting with a stray DHBC rider on the way back. Middies caught us at the start of the Mad Mile. I'll be trying it again - just as soon as I shake this flu and let by knee heal up.
Anyway, here's some kudos, Jonboy, for driving the fasties on the Grand Pde this morning:
Last edited by timothy_clifford on 25 Aug 2012, 18:32, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Philip » 05 Aug 2012, 15:51

Good on you Jon! I've also been toying with the idea of trying the jump. I've been coughing up a storm all week so I thought I'd leave it till next week, hopefully fully fit by then. My fear though is being the "slightly slower rider" and messing up the rhythm.

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Postby jonboy » 05 Aug 2012, 16:56

Thanks for the positive feedback. And for the photo.

I'm sure that I'll be dropped when the gun riders come out to play and when the regular fasties aren't recovering from races and hill training the day before. But that's how you get faster and improve, I hope.

J

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Postby mikesbytes » 05 Aug 2012, 17:55

Just suck the wheels of the fasties and if you get dropped, cruise along until the middies come by and jump on

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Postby geoff m » 06 Aug 2012, 08:55

Great report John. 12 months ago we had to encourage some 28s up to middies as we struggled for numbers. Now middies is a big, strong, and quite well disciplined bunch. Recently I've noticed a bunch of guys starting to stretch this group out as they get better.

It's time for these fit lads to move up as John said. To get a regular Fasties ride would complete the set. 6 to 8 or more riders would ensure that newer riders can sit back on the back when making the transition.

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Postby Strawburger » 06 Aug 2012, 09:13

Absolutely agree with the comments made. I was sitting in a similar position late last year. Amy V encouraged me to jump on to the fasties bunch with her (John, Matt, Alex & Amy). I was hesitant but i sat on for most of the ride. That ride made me motivated to push just that little bit harder in other rides and the results since have been excellent and something I personally would not have dreamed of!

If you want to improve and get that little bit stronger/faster, the short term pain of those first few rides pay off in the long term.

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Postby Stuart » 06 Aug 2012, 12:38

But wouldn't A, B and C bunches sound a whole lot better :-)

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Postby Philip » 06 Aug 2012, 13:44

as quoted from the DHBC web site.

"Fasties: With an average speed of 35+ km/h, our fasties bunch is for fit and experienced riders who want to attack a long training ride;
Middies: Average speed 31+ km/h. Not for new riders, our middies know the course well and press hard for the whole ride;"

So us middies are getting faster and the fasties are getting slower. Perhaps ABC would be better. ;))

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Postby geoff m » 06 Aug 2012, 13:51

There is historical and cultural significance in these bunch names. A, B, C would be too obvious and pretty boring! (-:

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Postby Philip » 06 Aug 2012, 13:54

Though don't change the name till after I ride with the fasties, i want to be able to say "I ride with the fasties"
:lol:

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Postby christian » 06 Aug 2012, 14:07

Well if you cast your mind back to when we went to the 4 bunch arrangement the middies was an average of 30km/h. The pace has increased, I'd say in the last year. I will admit the fasties speed on Sunday was not super quick, but that is the nature of the bunch, it very much depends on who is there on the day. The middies on the other hand was never meant to be run like that, like the C25's and 28's it originally had a defined average speed of 30km/h.

As you may remember we use to leave in the opposite order, C25's first, this was changed so people could ride up a bunch and if they got dropped then they would be collected by the next bunch along, which should be travelling slower. This all sounds great in theory, now as it did when the plan was devised but in reality most people have a fear of being dropped. As I have stated on many occasions everyone who rides with the fast bunch has been dropped by them, and not just when they have started riding with them either.

So if you are a middie who is fast, then why not ride with the fast bunch, even if you can't hang on the entire way you just drop back to the middies. Each week you'll make it a bit further as you get faster and more experienced because as I'm sure you are aware, it's not just power that keeps you in a bunch. If this happens then the pace of the middies should drop off a little, which makes it easier for the 28's to move up.

I also pointed out on Sunday, as I was getting dropped up the Captain Cook bridge, "I was tired as I rode out in the correct bunch" (and I did hills the day before in my defence)

So if you're one of the middies that likes to push the pace, Alan, then ride up a bunch, there is no shame in getting dropped.

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Postby mikesbytes » 06 Aug 2012, 21:22

If you ain't dropped occasionally then your not extending yourself enough

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Postby timyone » 07 Aug 2012, 08:09

Lol this happens every year, the muddies or 28's get too fast, often faster than the group ahead! Every one assuming they are too slow for the bunch ahead. There was a time when fasties was cruisy, but just the safest bunch, we just didn't really point it out to any one. Good work John and every one riding up a grade, just don't sit on the front too long the first time, even if everyone is doing a massive turn, you can do a shorter one etc

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Postby Philip » 13 Aug 2012, 17:21

Except perhaps the fasties, who seem to be getting caught by the middies on a fairly regular basis..... Just sayin'. ;)

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Postby christian » 13 Aug 2012, 18:15


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Postby Dougie » 13 Aug 2012, 21:24

I think the biggest leap will be trying to move between 28's and Middies. As the Middies get fitter the gap gets bigger. The leap is not only one of fitness but that of bike handling skill also. It seems to me that in the 28's the hammer gets dropped at Marrickville to the Princes Highway. This is the most technical and worst road surface of the whole ride. Having come off a few times I will happily stay off the back just to stay safe.

Mind you I don't think I am even fit enough for the 28's at the moment, so who am I kidding!

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Postby mikesbytes » 14 Aug 2012, 09:21

When I rode C28 ride captain, there were a number of riders who were ready to step up, I hope they did.

If you are a quick rider in your bunch, then you are actually doing the others a disservice by not stepping up, as you contribute to making the bunch too quick for riders to step up to.

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Postby Stuart » 14 Aug 2012, 20:00


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Postby shrubb face » 14 Aug 2012, 20:13

Which fasties have actually been there lately? I know most of us have been racing all weekend, every weekend....
Last edited by shrubb face on 15 Aug 2012, 13:37, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby mikesbytes » 15 Aug 2012, 13:30

This is what I think you should do.
1. Split Middies into 2 bunches, the top 60% in the new-fasties, the bottom 40% in the new-Middies.
2. About 40% of C28 moves up to the new-Middies
3. Some of C25 moves up to C28

This will probably get Middies and C28 back to their correct pace

If any of the existing fasties turn up, the can either sit on the front of the new-fasties or they can do a solo attack off the front and get picked up by the middies later in the ride.

BTW I received feedback on C25, two Sundays ago, that some pushed for a waterfall PB and made it too fast for the true C25's

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Postby PatW » 16 Aug 2012, 09:34

Interesting comments Mike. I rode in the 28s recently when you were the ride captain and afterwards you mentioned a few of us should have been riding Middies. As it turns out, all but one of the four riders who were able to keep up with the 36-37k pace coming home on the Grand Parade were in fact regular Middies riders who were just having an easy ride for the day. The remaining six were four regular 28s riders and two newbies who were all dropped by your group and straggled home the last 10k's.
Perhaps the ride captains/coaches need to have a bit more of a feel for who is riding, work to a pace (all that Strava and Garmin info and we can't set a regular pace?) and adapt according to how the bunch is handling it on the day. Perhaps even communicate that within the bunch before/during the ride?
I've been trying to bridge across into the Middies for a while and the main problem (besides the obvious fitness issues) is the unpredictability of the pace. Same could be said for the 28s. Every ride captain takes it out at a different pace.
Is it possible, with consideration to wind and weather factors, that the ride captains nut out guideline pace for each group and with a bit of latitude, ride to it. And unleash the Stravarians from Waterfall to Sutherland for their PB fix?

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Postby mikesbytes » 16 Aug 2012, 10:02

Pat you are correct, I got the pace a little wrong in the first part of the ride, my pace was too quick along General Homes, but not as bad as the speed suggests, as there was a tail wind that day. With the headwind returning the overall average pace was about right. Some would of found the quicker tail wind pace a little challenging while others would of found the returning headwind the problem. The 2 dropped riders were Peter and Adam. In each case I had ridden with them for sometime and both had decided to drop back to the following bunch. As they were both experienced riders, there wasn't a need to enforce the no drop policy.

In regards to the varying pace of the middies group, that is to be expected, on different days there are different conditions, different riders and different judgements. And if the pace one week turns out to be a little to high for a rider, they can roll off the back and cruise, while waiting for the bunch behind to catch [not C25 riders, the bunch will slow to the pace of the slowest rider]

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Postby Dougie » 16 Aug 2012, 10:22

Mike, that was probably me on the 29th pushing the C25's pace. I was trying to catching Eleri and the rest of the 25's when bringing back three riders whom dropped out at Sans Souci after bits started falling off their bikes. I had them in the mid 30's along the Grand Parade. Clearly my over the shoulder shouted "you OK's?" was misunderstood by me. The "eyes on stalks" and inability to speak should have been a dead give away. I guess I mistook the skeletal grimances caused by the punishing wind resistance and and almost crippling G forces as happy grins. I'll know better next time. Incidently, I haven't seen those three boys again, but I suppose cycling is gaining popularity............

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Postby GregPankhurst » 19 Aug 2012, 11:04

Well after feeling very strong and comfortable riding C25s, I tried making the jump from C25s to C28s today, and found the going wayyy too quick. I got spat at Sutherland and was so spent I actually turned at Engadine. Even then it was a long slog back.

I know getting dropped is part of the challenge of stepping up, but today felt like a hell of a step. Maybe it was a just a fast day..............

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Postby Eleri » 19 Aug 2012, 11:45

Greg, that was very much my experience when I attempted to move up a bunch. It's the climb up Kingsway, then the stretches on the highway either side of Sutherland that knock people out fairly predictably.

There's plenty of training benefit in a solo ride from Sutherland to Waterfall. Really! And don't worry, it happens to everyone.

You'll be right, it gets easier. Trust me :-)

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Postby jonboy » 19 Aug 2012, 12:35

I had another go at fasties again today – took last week off due to inclement weather.

I was happy to see a coterie of middies joining me. But I blame the bad pub food, a late night out and another gormless performance from the Wallabies for getting dropped.

At Sutherland me and two former (or is that current?) middies ate humble pie and started cruising along in the expectation of hooking onto the middies bunch which, in the end, never arrived.
We should have put the hammer down earlier because with a couple of lucky traffic lights we may have caught the fasties. Philip decided to peel off at Waterfall, and had an epic ride through RNP.
The return leg from Sutherland was fast and furious, and depending who was on the front, very fast.

It was ages before the next bunch arrived at the café – a breakaway of 6 riders from the 28s? The speeds of the bunches seem to be a bit all over the place at the moment but I’m sure that equilibrium will prevail once people settle on which group they fit into.

A good training ride today – punching into a strong winds. And some really strong efforts from riders who are starting to stretch themselves.

But I think I might have to get NZ citizenship soon to make me happier on selected Sunday mornings in the future…

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Postby utopia » 19 Aug 2012, 15:31

Based on my one ride on 28s, I think on first glance 28s are theoretically 12% harder, but realistically about 30% harder.
The main difference is how upslopes and accelerating out of the traffic lights are handled.
It also seemed to me there was an almost deliberate attempt to drop riders at the Tempe stage.
I'll do the 28s again sometime, but probably not on my commuter.

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Postby taybellz » 19 Aug 2012, 16:46

Get better. Drop them. You will feel great!

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Postby GregPankhurst » 19 Aug 2012, 17:39

Need to make my humour more (or perhaps less) self depreciating in future. :-)

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Postby christian » 19 Aug 2012, 19:31

I wouldn't feel to bad about being dropped by the fasties today, Matt decided we were not going fast enough, so powered up the Kingsway with the rest off us just hanging off the back single file. Don't know what the average ended up being, but it hurt.

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Postby marc2131 » 20 Aug 2012, 06:30

Did my first Middies ride this week and loved it.
Thighs a bit sore and hesitant driving due to potential cramping (cant brake properly :roll:) but nothing a little massage cant fix. Feel better today. Thanks guys.

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Postby rhys » 20 Aug 2012, 12:28

I just changed to speedplay and I'm finding them harder to get into than my Look Keos. I struggle with many things others don't, so take that with a grain if salt. Traffic light speed shouldnt be an issue with a well-drilled bunch as we're supposed to roll off gently and then build up. Maybe practice track standing if its a huge issue, or just practice clipping in and out in a hurry. Some people it just takes a little longer.

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Postby Lizanne » 20 Aug 2012, 12:44

i track stand 'cause i can't clip in

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Postby Stuart » 20 Aug 2012, 17:33

I'm a speedplay convert. Way easier to clip into than the Shimano's I used to use. I don't even need to think about it. Also, Cadel uses them, so they must be great ;-)

http://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/blo ... -are-best/

http://www.cyclingtips.com.au/2011/06/m ... ay-pedals/

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Postby Karzie » 20 Aug 2012, 17:56

One of the tricks with the cleats/traffic lights is (when stopping) to not set the gears more than a couple of clicks down from what you were riding at. One click is best. No clicks is better. That way, when you start up the pedal is moving quite slowly to your relative speed and you have more time to get your cleat set. Watch your foot onto the pedal (use your peripheral vision for the rider in front, not your foot), then stand onto it. Then you use your weight and upper body strength to chase the group down. Sit down as you catch them.

I note Trouty's comment about being in a low gear to start up a hill however.

That's just how I do it, so you can play around and see what suits you. If you watch, you'll see that a lot of experienced riders still have trouble with it themselves.

I've noticed that the 28s these days hit out very fast from the stops and make it hard for the riders behind. Plain bad manners in my opinion.

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Postby Philip » 20 Aug 2012, 19:51

I too have learned to hate that Bestic cnr, It has got the better of me to many times.

Wish I'd done more research on pedals/cleats before I went with the easy shimano option. I may have opted for the speed plays. I remember being totally overwhelmed with all the speedplay options.

I have been guilty of taking off too fast at the lights while on the front, but it was never with the intention of dropping anyone. I often feared that I was not putting in enough effort on the front and therefor not doing my fair share of the work. I hated being on the front when I was a beginner (still a beginner actually) not because I didn't want to do the work but because I never knew whether I was going to slow or to fast.
This week I had a go with the fasties, I got dropped at 25km. I now have no fears that I'm going too fast, only that I'm going to slow. Even though I got dropped I loved the challenge and got a far better work out because of it. Our bunch took off on the Kingsway Climb like it was a TDF points climb, I burnt out trying to keep up. I got dropped soon after that. In trying to keep up though I bettered my Strava time on the Kingsway Climb by 10 seconds, needless to say I was a bit pleased. There is some pleasure to be found in the pain.

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Postby geoff m » 20 Aug 2012, 22:11

I still do see riders taking off too fast on the front in 28s and Middies. Take off slowly and in your seat. Do not get your butt in the air. Remember that and it'll be OK.

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Postby timyone » 21 Aug 2012, 11:05

Great tips from Todd, and yeah every one, take off slowly from the lights!

Hill start training does exist, I am sure there's a heap of reasons for it, I was told to do hill starts in a big gear in order to learn how to sprint and kick in a bigger gear at crits in a grade, as I was struggling to sprint in the biggest gear, or get into it.

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Postby rhys » 22 Aug 2012, 13:20

Slightly off-topic, but I have a set of Speedplay zeros (chromo, white) that have less than two week's worth of use I'm probably going to get rid of quite soon.

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Postby Philip » 22 Aug 2012, 13:59

Hi Rhys, What are you using now in the pedal dept? and what will you be asking for the Speedplays?

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Postby rhys » 22 Aug 2012, 14:46

I've gone back to my Look Keo's. I'll bring the speedplays to the track monday if you want to try before you buy, and we can talk about it then?

*Not sure if I will go tonight, feel like I'm getting sick.

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Postby Nozzle » 23 Aug 2012, 19:00

Love my Speedplays. Got Zeros on both bikes. Dual sided entry is a plus, walking is a nightmare. Get the coffee shop covers if you plan to take more than one step from your bike!! Apart from the initial 'skating on ice' effect, I wont use anything else. I had to dial out most of the float anyway to keep my Q factor to a min and not knock my heels on the rear stays.

Anyway, weren't we talking about Middies v Fasties? I plan to try Fasties (again) if I make it this Sunday. Then see if i can use as many cycling euphemisms as possible like 'burnt all my matches' or 'lost in the pain cave' etc. to debrief afterward.

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Postby Philip » 23 Aug 2012, 19:10

I'll also be giving the fasties another crack, I just have to last a little beyond 25km to have achieved a PB. There is an upside to starting off a low base. At Waterfall I'll be heading back into the park, partly because I just can't get enough of 'them there hills', and partly so no one can see me weeping in shame at being dropped two weeks in a row.


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