Sunday Bunches - Do you like this possible option?

Road cycling & upcoming rides
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geoff m
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Postby geoff m » 18 Feb 2013, 21:27

Dear all,

A large number of riders, and bunch sizes and sometimes inconsistent speeds provides us with an opportunity to consider an additional bunch.

Currently on Sundays we Have:

6.00am RNP (Strong C28s plus)
6.30am
Fasties (35kms ph plus)
Middies (30 to 33km ph hour)
C28s (28 to 29kms ph hour)
C25s (25 to 26kms ph hour)

I've noticed that Middies is now a fierce pace, usually 33kms per hour - and every week a reasonable number of dropped riders are able to form their own bunch from Loftus on. Those pushing the pace could go up to Fasties, but are reluctant to because of the gap up. This in turn makes it too fast for Middies, and discourages C28 riders up. In turn, those stronger C28 riders have pushed the pace up there making it hard for those transitioning from C25.

We also have regularly sized groups of 20 or more. Anything over 20 can increase challenges around communication, passing through changing lights, merging, etc. So introducing another group may alleviate this pressure.

Please leave a post on what you think about the following proposal (which is not in operation - for discussion only):

6.00am RNP (Strong C28s plus)
6.30am
Fasties (35kms ph plus)
Mid-Fasties (33-34km ph)
Middies (30 to 32km ph hour)
C28s (28 to 29kms ph hour)
C25s (25 to 26kms ph hour)

Please also note that we currently only have a few ride leaders with first aid and cycle skills training available, and endeavour to have someone available for C25s. This is not guaranteed, and often not possible, and weather, etc, training schedules, events and racing impacts on availability, including on the day. If a ride leader is training with another group, they will identify themselves to encourage better communication and riding. Given our numbers and potential bunch starts, everyone must understand that its likely to see ride leaders for C25s only, and not always.

In all cases, ride leader or not, we must all ride responsibly, with regular communication and safety calls, and look out for each other. Riding in groups exposes us to dangerous risks, and contact with others in the bunch causing accidents will occur as will other types of accidents. We must all be prepared for this reality, and accept those risks - otherwise do not ride.

Do PM me or introduce yourself to me if you are happy to help with leading rides, especially for C25 level. Where ride leaders stretch beyond C25s, assisting with C28s is also helpful.

Any thoughts on the proposed bunches?

christian
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Postby christian » 18 Feb 2013, 21:43

I don't think the solution is to just add another bunch. We don't have so many riders that we need five bunches if they are more even in size. What this comes down to is the middle two bunches. The 28's don't want to go up to the middies because they are too fast and the middies don't want to go up because the fasties are too fast, or they probably don't want to get dropped or are on a bit of a power trip by being one of the fastest ridders in the bunch.

Quite often the fast bunch is just three or four people, not the 20 odd of the other bunches. Chances are the so called 'fast middies' would be able to hang on, and if you get dropped you'll survive, you know where you're going. I get dropped all the time these days, doesn't bother me at all.

Also you are more likely to be pulled up on bunch etiquette in the fast bunch because being sloppy is tolerated less, but this is how you become a better cyclist, its not just about being strong.

This will sound just like my usual rant about people not moving up, that's because it is, nothing has changed they are the same problems. If people move up it should all even itself out.

timothy_clifford
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Postby timothy_clifford » 18 Feb 2013, 22:25

To support Christian, if enough fast or strong Middies move up to Fasties, the average speed of the Fasties drops and the easier it is to hold on. Same for Middies and C28s.

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Dougie
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Postby Dougie » 18 Feb 2013, 22:37

Geoff,

I agree with Christian. When I have ride leadered in the recent months the 28's have become too big and too fast. I have almost demanded that certain riders move up to the Middies. In fact I did tell the 28's one morning that since half of them were stronger than me and I rode up with the Middies then they should too.

Strava doesn't lie (although I really wish it would!). You know who you are and importantly I am following you.

My thoughts are.

If your Strava reports that you have averaged 27kph and you are a C25, congratulations you have now graduated to the 28's. expect to be dropped for a few weeks.

If you have averaged 30kph and you are a C28, congratulations you have now graduated to the Middies. Expect to be dropped for a few weeks.

If you have averaged 33kph and you are a Middie, congratulations you have graduated to the Fasties. Expect to be dropped often, I have a teaspoon and some cement in a little container at the cafe if you need it.

Regardless of the bunch you start with, when dropped either pick up the bunch following or form a new one with fellow dropees. It's not rocket surgery.

It would be good if some of the top half riders experimented with this and report back. Strava - Latin for Stalking. I'll be watching :shock:

Strawburger
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Postby Strawburger » 19 Feb 2013, 04:43

To support Christian and Dougie, this is the exact reason why the bunches reversed their order a few years ago, to support those riders who get dropped and to encourage riders to transition to the faster group. Not long ago we had 3 groups, fasties went first and there was hesitation from stronger riders to go up one bunch. We now have a luxury of many riders with more bunches.

If you get dropped after stepping up, learn a few new skills :

1. find out your breaking point,
2. when close to being dropped pick a point where you know others will too, and
3. take control of the situation & form a bunch until the next group catches you.

For those who race or are thinking of racing or doing sportifs, these are no doubt important skills that take time to develop!

Anthony K
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Postby Anthony K » 19 Feb 2013, 06:31

I think Christian has hit the nail on the head. We don't need more bunches, we just need to even out the numbers across the bunches we have.
If you you are in the first 4 or 6 of your bunch into waterfall only to find there is hardly anyone on your wheel then it is time to move up!

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JoTheBuilder
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Postby JoTheBuilder » 19 Feb 2013, 07:21

I agree with those above that additional bunches is not necessarily the right answer but a more consistent spread is.

I am one of those pushing up into the middies and am aware I will get dropped in the short term but hopefully at later and later points on the ride until I can finish the whole thing.

The conversation on Sunday afternoon went something like this:
Jo: "I rode Middies and didn't get dropped until Sutherland AND averaged 41.2km/h on Grand Pde AND I had a backpack on AND John was in the group!"
Christian: "John was in the group?!"

I also noticed on my way back that there were only 8-10 riders or so in the 25's? And the last time I was ride leader for the 25's I also only had 7-8 riders. So I don't think the issue is people pushing up into the 28's. I think the issue is 28's - Middies and Middies - Fasties.

Is there any feedback from the fast middies out there about why they don't ride with the fasties? Too fast? Too intimidating?

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Colin Campbell
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Postby Colin Campbell » 19 Feb 2013, 07:51

Having just ridden my first 2 Waterfall C25's I can't comment on the phase shifts, power failures and surges of those before me, but I would like to suggest another (once a month?) Sunday bunch ride: Kurnell C25. For the new (and older in my case) rider it is a vast and daunting chasm to cross from Saturday Slowies to 80 odd kms out on the highway with uphill stretches! I leapt at the chance offered by Jessica last month to ride with 30 others to Kurnell and it gave me the confidence to attempt Waterfall. The numbers on that ride suggest it has appeal, and the view at Solander Point easily out-points the servo stop!

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Postby Strawburger » 19 Feb 2013, 09:13


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Philip
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Postby Philip » 19 Feb 2013, 09:25

I've been riding with the middies for over a year and have tried to step up to the fasties on a few occasions... I got dropped. No big deal, getting dropped is fine as I like solo riding as much as I like the bunch riding.
Now though, I don't need to step up to the fasties as I regularly get dropped from the middies. This week I got as far as Engadine... it was a good day.

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Postby wallman » 19 Feb 2013, 09:29


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Nozzle
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Postby Nozzle » 19 Feb 2013, 10:27

I agree with Christian that there is no real need for an additional bunch. My fitness is coming back now and I'll be riding with the fast bunch (or try to) in coming weeks. No issue with getting dropped as I'm used to it from last years efforts. Rhys and I almost had a regular duo ride from Sutho to Waterfall and tag on the RBCC bunch on the return as we always got dropped on the way out with the fast bunch.

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Postby Strawburger » 19 Feb 2013, 12:12


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Stuart
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Postby Stuart » 19 Feb 2013, 12:29

Christian is right. Move up people.

Is anyone even riding the 6:00am RNP ride? Wouldn't this be better as a once month, first Sunday ride?

Great idea for a Sun Kurnell bunch from Colin C BUT we need ride leaders for that so its difficult so how about an alternative Saturday Slowies Kurnell bunch once a month or so using one of the allocated ride leaders? It would also help to reduce numbers on Slowies and some riders can only do one day a weekend. I'd be happy to kick this off on my next allocated 5th weekend (30th March). Thoughts oh wise ones?

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jonboy
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Postby jonboy » 19 Feb 2013, 13:12

A feeling of déjà vu here. I’d echo the comments that more middies need to step up to fasties. I was keen for a go at the fasties but last week there wasn’t a fasties bunch due to a lack of a quorum.

I know that I will be dropped regularly but I do find the middies pace a bit slow at times. It really depends whose on the front. I’m guilty of getting on the front at times and pushing too hard which can upset people. The trick is to have a consistent speed in the bunches to manage fatigue.

Going from the current middies pace to fasties is much less painful for new graduates than going from C28 to middies (current average around 33kph).

On the odd occasions that I have tried fasties I’ve probably been dropped as many times as I have completed rides. On occasions it has felt like they were on a mission to drop me as soon as they could. At times I have bailed out as quickly as Brighton Le-Sands, gasping for air. Maybe that’s part of the ‘initiation process’ but it could impede the flow of new graduates.

I think the outcome we’re all seeking is a training ride that is safe but one which pushes your limits a bit.

J

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Postby andrewm » 19 Feb 2013, 13:18


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paul
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Postby paul » 19 Feb 2013, 13:24

I've done the RNP, once.

I've tried fasties a few times, and it is just too fast for me. Last time I was dropped on Captain Cook bridge and rode the rest of the way solo, without being caught by middies.

It seems to me that the fasties pace is set by a few, very strong riders. As someone past 50, I'll never match those blokes when they choose to drop me. So I will keep trying with the fasties, but still might do middies from time to time.

Paul
Last edited by paul on 19 Feb 2013, 13:29, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby andrewm » 19 Feb 2013, 13:26


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Trouty
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Postby Trouty » 19 Feb 2013, 19:38

We don't need another bunch definitely. A heap of 28s have gone up and now the middies group is quiet large. Sure a few strong riders will break away, but the group does seem to naturally split anyway. If your good enough to ride in this bunch you are good enough to find your way home solo or otherwise. Emphasis and leadership should be more on 25's and 28s as this has the widest variation of riders with new or little experience.

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Postby JJM_1 » 19 Feb 2013, 20:43

I'm probably one of the faster middies. I've tried the fasties a few times & the furthest I made it with the group was near Heathcote.

When I'm feeling strong I'll tend to get up earlier & look for someone to do the RNP 6.00 run with, & each time I've really enjoyed this. When not so strong its a toss up between the middies & the fasties.

Overall, I'm happy to make it a habit to try & go with the fasties, & if others in my situation follow suit then at least I'll be dropped with other riders.

I reckon lets make the fasties a larger group by more people having a go at shifting up

John Mason

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geoff m
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Postby geoff m » 19 Feb 2013, 22:20

Middies is not meant for 33kms per hour. It should be about 31 or 32 max. Furthermore Middies riders can benefit by:
1. Front riders checking from time to time if everyone is on at the one or two toughest points. It is generally a 'drop' ride, but at the Loftus climb it doesn't hurt to look behind and ease up for just 20 secs whilst everyone regroups as we scramble from the crappy bike lane and road, across to the shoulder. That's the one spot where quite a few get dropped, most of whom would hang on easily for the rest of the ride, if we just ease up a bit to get back into sync.
2. Riders at the front waiting for lights to change continue to stand up in the saddle and take off like Mark Cavendish coming off the sprint train. 10 rows of riders back, the impact is devastating, stretching, stop and start, with about 800 metres of closing the gap each time. This is not necessary. Please commence your start in the saddle, and do not half wheel your front partner.
3. I'm a good level of fitness barometer for middies. If I'm hanging in there but doing a good work out, its the perfect speed. If I get dropped, its going too fast. 33kms per hour is just above my threshold.

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geoff m
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Postby geoff m » 19 Feb 2013, 22:22

Oops. I meant 33kms per hour overall average.......

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Postby marc2131 » 20 Feb 2013, 10:05

Barometers? I think that is part of the problem.
As the late Eric Idle says in the 'Life of Brian' - You are all individuals.

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Postby shrubb face » 20 Feb 2013, 10:27

Its been suggested that the only way to solve the problem is to create 11 bunches, one for each increment of 1km/h from 25 to 35km/h. Maxiumum acceleration that is allowed is a exponential scale a=2e^t where t is represented by your increment over 25 and a is your max accelleration in mS^-2.

I also propose that the average heart rate of the bunch is monitered and cannot exceed a predetermined number which is a function of the medium of the bunches age.

This seems like the only solution which should keep everyone satisfied and ensure complete bunch happiness.

timyone
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Postby timyone » 20 Feb 2013, 13:00

I would like a bunch that cruises to waterfall, then smashes it back to Sutherland, then back to cruisy. But yeah, not sure what speed would be cruisy or smashing it

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Postby christian » 20 Feb 2013, 13:43


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Postby weiyun » 20 Feb 2013, 14:31


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Postby AndrewBurns » 20 Feb 2013, 17:05

I've only done waterfall maybe 4 times now and I've only ever rolled out in the fasties (except once when I accidentally rolled out in middies and got towed to the fasties bunch by a much stronger rider who's name escapes me now). It's damn hard but I usually manage to hold on, once on the way out some people blew off the front and some off the back and I was left in the middle, I waited for the middies at waterfall and hitched a ride back. The only difference I noticed between the middies and fasties was it was a larger group but nowhere near as good riding the pace line. The middies are often nearly as fast as the fasties it seems except they probably don't actively try to break people off the back like the fasties do (it feels good to survive the pace attacks). More people should attempt the fasties, you'll probably hold until a hard surge up one of the hills but so what, middies will clean you up.

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Stuart
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Postby Stuart » 20 Feb 2013, 17:10


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geoff m
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Postby geoff m » 20 Feb 2013, 18:34

Nice closing summary Christian as per your first post. Sorry everyone to put out a complicated option. Got some good debate but it's now pretty obvious that its time for the stronger and technically sound riders all to go up one. Congratulations.

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Eleri
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Postby Eleri » 20 Feb 2013, 18:56

Good outcome I reckon.

(Mind you I was rather keen on the complicated data collection options. Because then we could have a fine old argument about the algorithms we needed to run the analysis. Because, dammit, we'd be running it every weekend. But it would certainly fix up handicapping advice to race directors. We'd have SO MUCH data.)

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Postby timothy_clifford » 20 Feb 2013, 19:24


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Postby andrewb » 20 Feb 2013, 21:03

Everyone can go as hard as they like, and nobody gets dropped!


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Postby weiyun » 20 Feb 2013, 21:18

Choose your chainring wisely, but it matters not!

Anthony K
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Postby Anthony K » 20 Feb 2013, 22:10

Once again I am agreeing with Christian. Andrew M has summed it up nicely.


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