Sunday Waterfall rides

Road cycling & upcoming rides
christian
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Postby christian » 28 Aug 2009, 14:51

As the number of riders on the Sunday ride to Waterfall has increased and will continue to increase as spring will be upon us very soon we go over the program for the ride.

In discussion with Lindsay, who was in discussion with Geoff S and Mike C the Cruisers will be split into two bunches. These will be Cruisers tempo and Cruisers coached. As the name may imply the tempo bunch will be the quicker of the two, the new coach bunch will be for new riders with little or no bunch experience and this will be led by Lindsay.

The bunches will be run as follows.

Cruisers coach, mainly for new riders, this will be a no drop bunch run by Lindsay most weeks, on weeks when Lindsay is unavailable one of the other coaches will take this bunch. There is no real target average speed. Will leave Mick Mazza's at 6.20am.

Cruisers tempo, this is what the current Cruisers bunch will become. We will make sure there is always at least one coach on board. This bunch is for new riders and people that want this more as a social ride then a training ride or those just starting out. The average speed of this bunch should be around 27km/h. This is a no drop bunch, but in the event that someone is willing dropped they will be able to be swept up by the Cruisers coach bunch. Leaving Mick Mazza's at 6.20am.

Middies, this bunch seems to be the one with the most inconsistencies. Again we will endeavour to always have a coach in the bunch. This is also a no drop bunch unless the person being dropped requests so. The average speed is to be 30km/h and should not be determined by who is there on the day. This bunch is where you develop your bunch skills and etiquette before moving up to the fast bunch where bad form is tolerated less. On the return leg from Waterfall to Sutherland it is suggested that the pacelines be limited to 10 riders, if there are more then split into groups, it is much safer this way. The average speed of this bunch should be adhered otherwise it will be difficult for people to move up to the fast bunch is they are continuously dropped by people pushing the pace. Leaving Mick Mazza'a at 6.30am.

Fast bunch, this bunch has no predetermined average speed and is determined by who is there on the day. When you ride with this bunch you are expected to be competent in bunch riding. For the majority of the people in this bunch it is a training ride and is treated as so. This bunch does not have a no drop policy and if you are dropped you need to know the way home. Leaving Mick Mazza's at 6.40am.

The club now has a number of people with a Cycle Skill qualification these are

Michael Clemont
James Fowler
James Mabbot
Geoff Semon
Geoff Martin
Lindsay
Belinda
Jo
Weiyun
Christian

If you are ever unsure about any aspect of the ride or riding in general feel free to ask any of the coaches or any other experienced rider.

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weiyun
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Postby weiyun » 28 Aug 2009, 15:11

Great for putting it together Christian!

If I may just suggest that it is not practical for the Middies bunch to be a no drop ride. For the transition up from Cruisers, one will bound to get dropped on some of the hills, or on a bad day. I think that dropping riders on this bunch is reasonable on two conditions,

1) Rider is willing.
2) Middies bunch has gone past Cruisers.

Otherwise I think it's reasonable to say that the Middies don't intend to drop riders while Fasties are. ;)

timyone
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Postby timyone » 28 Aug 2009, 16:16

im thinking we need a hardcore fixie bunch or one that continually puts attacks on :D or maybe one that does the national park every week or some thing :D
Though i kee[p missing the ride for different reasons like races, so probably shouldnt be making requests for crazy ideas :D

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T-Bone
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Postby T-Bone » 28 Aug 2009, 17:49

timyone wrote: or one that continually puts attacks on :D


Feel free to start putting attacks into the fast bunch 8)

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Stuart
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Postby Stuart » 03 Sep 2009, 15:37

I'm back! Is this now club policy? If so I'll update the homepage and the road rides page accordingly

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weiyun
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Postby weiyun » 03 Sep 2009, 16:40

I have two comments before it gets put on the front page.

1) I dislike the wording relating to the Fast Bunch... "For the majority of the people in this bunch it is a training ride". There's a bit of elitist undertone. The fact is, the Waterfall ride is a training ride irrespective of which bunch one joins, just training for riders of differing abilities. Sat Slowies is more of a social ride for the club and even that's a training ride for some.

2) I disagree with the assessment relating to the Middies Bunch... "The average speed of this bunch should be adhered otherwise it will be difficult for people to move up to the fast bunch is they are continuously dropped by people pushing the pace.".

The average speed of the Middies bunch is similarly controlled as other bunches and will depend on who are in on the day and weather condition amongst other factors. The resultant speed tend to be at the level and limited by the ability of the participants. Based on experience, the Middies bunch tend to get broken up badly when regular strong Fasties drop in for their "recovery ride" and then couldn't control their urge to go fast half way along, leading to unplanned splits. So I think this particular issues should be made clear to those members. If you drop into a bunch, then ride for the bunch. If you want to split, then make it a clean split and at a safe location.

Further, getting dropped (Middies or any other) does not stop one from jumping up to the Fasties. Based on personal experience, I was dropped for many many months on the way up to Waterfall before I gained the fitness to stay with the Fast bunch. Getting dropped at expected points along the route is just part of the training process. But more to the issue, being dropped isn't so much the root cause as competent Middies riders needing to move up to Fasties. I think that the "coaches" can play a role here by guiding maturing riders to the next level of challenge. And in situations where there's a split, making the call to reform the bunch.

I think that at the end of the day, the club can only have loose guidelines for these rides and permit challenges to be available in all the training bunches, with safety of the bunches being the only hard guidance.

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Stuart
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Postby Stuart » 03 Sep 2009, 18:28

oh, and I'll change the cruisers tempo average to 25kph as that's the real speed ignoring the somewhat chaotic piece from Waterfall to Sutherland.

orphic
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Postby orphic » 06 Sep 2009, 10:55

The middies bunch was brilliant today. Stayed on a good pace and the group was very smooth. If that continues I think the transition to the fasties will happen much sooner for those who are ready (a pipe dream for me).

The other times I have ridden with the group there tends to be people that surge up hills/crests on Kingsway - which breaks the group apart and kind of puts everyone into panic mode. The absence of that today made a big difference in my opinion.

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Trouty
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Postby Trouty » 06 Sep 2009, 13:49

Stuart wrote:oh, and I'll change the cruisers tempo average to 25kph as that's the real speed ignoring the somewhat chaotic piece from Waterfall to Sutherland.


Having not ridden waterfall for a while, and having not ridden with the cruisers group for even longer - I found it was a really pleasant ride, quite unlike some of rides I'd done with them where we had this many people. Today I would say there were at least 30 - that is quite a hard number to manage. The guys on front (Miguel and Anthony) kept the pace consistant and every one was quite disciplined on the mad mile to not do a paceline considering the numbers. Doing it on Marian's flat bar commuter that was as heavy as a tank was interesting, although made for a harder workout.

So thanks again Cruisers - a nice change from having to smash myself in the middies a month ago...and a very safe ride except for my small altercation with Miguels wheel. I blame Miguel as nothing is ever my fault.

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fenn_paddler
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Postby fenn_paddler » 06 Sep 2009, 14:28

orphic wrote:The other times I have ridden with the group there tends to be people that surge up hills/crests on Kingsway - which breaks the group apart and kind of puts everyone into panic mode. The absence of that today made a big difference in my opinion.


Good feedback - I'm sure I've been guilty of that in the past. Maybe in the interests of bunch harmony it would be a good idea for those that surge (or more accurately don't slow down as much on the hills) to sit in the middle or the back of the bunch on some of the bumps on the way to waterfall.

I don't always like the alternative of riding with fasties, because 1. if you wait around until 6:40 you don't know if anyone is going to turn up, 2. the pace can be tough right from the get go and that is hard on middle-aged muscles that take a while to warm up and 3. if there's only a couple of fasties it's too hard to bludge!

Cheers,
Alan W

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weiyun
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Postby weiyun » 06 Sep 2009, 16:01

Trouty wrote:...and a very safe ride except for my small altercation with Miguels wheel. I blame Miguel as nothing is ever my fault.

Oh no! Not those beautiful AC wheels. :shock:

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weiyun
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Postby weiyun » 06 Sep 2009, 16:15

fenn_paddler wrote:Good feedback - I'm sure I've been guilty of that in the past. Maybe in the interests of bunch harmony it would be a good idea for those that surge (or more accurately don't slow down as much on the hills) to sit in the middle or the back of the bunch on some of the bumps on the way to waterfall.

I think one technique that can be applied is to just regularly take a peek of the bunch you are leading. If your pace is dropping riders, then throttle back a bit. Otherwise stay at the front more and earn that extra 30% in training credit.

If you are at the back and feels the pace is a tad low, then either break to one side and sprint clear of the bunch and ride away, or swing around to the front and pull. In my mind, repeated surges that take the bunch to its limit is fine if one backs off and allow the bunch to reform. Effectively, this is Level 6 or 7 short interval training mixed in a long endurance ride... Good stuff!

christian
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Postby christian » 06 Sep 2009, 16:34

My wording about the fast bunch does sound a little elitist, what I mean is that the fast bunch consists mainly of people who race, where as the middies consists of racing and non-racing cyclists. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Orphic's comment drives home what I'm on about with the middies maintaining the correct pace, which in reality can be determined by who is there on the day. When its consistant than people don't get dropped as much.

And Allan, you tend to blow the fast bunch apart as well, you were killing us this morning on the way to RNP. Your comment about waiting till 6.40 I'm sure is shared by others, some of us don't show up till after 6.30 so you never know if there is going to be a bunch. I've had to ride it solo before and I know Simon has as well.

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weiyun
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Postby weiyun » 06 Sep 2009, 19:35

I fully understand your point Christian.

As for there being fewer "racers" in the Middies bunch. I think that's true by proportion, but at the same time, it does not mean there are no racers or intending racers. Middies bunch's speed correlates to Heffron D or C's expected abilities at best. As for country road races, there's few that's well catered for this group. Further, the higher percentage of Masters riders in this bunch also typically means there's less spare time for riding and racing. And don't forget, there are always riders moving up the rank in Middies in preparation for serious racing and training remains a major part of Middies bunch.

I think the key point about bunch riding is that one should ride for the bunch. If the bunch is unsuitable for one's training objectives, then ride solo. As a matter of fact, solo riding gives much greater bang for the buck.

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weiyun
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Postby weiyun » 06 Sep 2009, 22:38

As an observation of other club's bunches, I note that they don't force the pace and is generally quite good at keeping their bunches together. The only time where riders are dropped is on the Waterfall return leg. I guess that we don't have to follow and can design our own "itinerary".

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geoff m
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Postby geoff m » 06 Sep 2009, 23:33

orphic wrote:The middies bunch was brilliant today. Stayed on a good pace and the group was very smooth.


Interesting enough, we still managed to average 31.5km/ph which is not a bad pace. The difference was that we kept a good regular pace as a bunch.

Weiyun and I discussed the paceline back. At times it worked really well and was very smooth, and some of the newbies did some fantastic moves from right to left. We had about 12 to 14 riders, which is as big as it should get.

Next time we will probably break the return 'mad dash' into two groups for bunches of 12 or more - a faster one of more experienced riders, wanting to put their head down and go, and a slower one for the less experienced, on nice smooth turns. Where practical, we will try to get a Cycle Skills Accredited Coach in the back bunch (including myself or Weiyun).

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Stuart
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Postby Stuart » 28 Sep 2009, 17:48

christian wrote:In discussion with Lindsay, who was in discussion with Geoff S and Mike C the Cruisers will be split into two bunches. These will be Cruisers tempo and Cruisers coached. ~ snip ~

Cruisers tempo, this is what the current Cruisers bunch will become. We will make sure there is always at least one coach on board. This bunch is for new riders and people that want this more as a social ride then a training ride or those just starting out. The average speed of this bunch should be around 27km/h. This is a no drop bunch, but in the event that someone is willing dropped they will be able to be swept up by the Cruisers coach bunch. Leaving Mick Mazza's at 6.20am. ~snip ~


OK - Clearly this is not working as intended. Be assured this is not a "grump post" but an observation from the slow end of cruisers.
Last Sun 27/9 cruisers was way too fast, as seems to be the norm these days. I got dropped for the 2nd time since July on Kingsway - so did 3 other riders. Then 2 more got dropped further on. Cruisers is going TOO FAST, pushed by riders who, IMHO should be in middies. The bunch was pushed way too hard going out, averaging > 26kph before we got to Taren Point hill and we were going about 33kph along Grand Parade - this is TOO FAST - in the Lindsay days we would be doing 25kph on Grand Parade. Fast riders were on the front and going too hard. If you can do those speeds you should be in middies. It shouldn't matter that you are on your fixie or feeling a bit tired. I find that faster riders are quite naturally competitive and have forgotten how to go slow - if somebody else ups the pace they will try to match it - or actually go faster.

I started riding to waterfall in Feb 2008 and I had never been dropped until this August. Riders need to decide if they are prepared to ride at 23-25kph on the ride south and if not then they belong in middies - where they may get dropped themsleves but cruisers is just that and should be treated accordingly. If you want to ride on the front of cruisers you need to ride SLOWLY. There has also NOT been a "coach" on the front of cruisers tempo most weeks I've been there and there is effectively no beginners bunch at all.

The one Sunday I haven't been dropped recently is when I and other slower riders were on the front because there was a real beginners bunch that Lindsay led and there were no foxers in cruisers.

So, I think that the faster riders who are currently "foxing it" in cruisers need to step up to middies and leave the cruisers to cruise - or accept that cruisers is SLOW and ride accordingly - have a look around and see that riders are being dropped and slow the pace, don't expect us to shout out slow down.

or maybe I need to start another bunch - the fat, slow and happy bunch that really does cruise.

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weiyun
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Postby weiyun » 28 Sep 2009, 18:31

The pace of the bunch can be controlled by the nominated coaches as well as any of the long time clubbies. Jump to the front and bring the pace down but just don't leave it too late or you won't be able to jump to the front. ;)

Otherwise riders who are showing signs of significant improvements should be encouraged to move up and I think it is a good thing that riders are making improvements.

Given normal distribution, I predict our Middies bunch will in due course to be the largest and become the hardest to manage.

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micklan
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Postby micklan » 28 Sep 2009, 20:38

Middies went well on Sunday - in increasingly windy conditions. We actually picked up two Crusiers at Taren Point who could not find the Cruisier pod - that is Anthony (& other rider), who perhaps planned to latch onto cruisers further into the ride - they couldn't find them on Sunday and we attempted to accomodate - the middies only caught Cruisers at mad mile... :oops:

Having folks (no club?) in our paceline we didn't know, listening to music, complicated things...

(I saw an RBCC rider pull a pedal on the mad mile, now that is a worry)

Moreover, we all miraculously were not taken out by the Maxi Cab turning left in front of us into the Engadine servo on way back...that was close

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weiyun
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Postby weiyun » 28 Sep 2009, 20:46

micklan wrote:Having folks (no club?) in our paceline we didn't know, listening to music, complicated things...

In the interest of safety, were you prepared to be vocal about it? I think we have every right to do so. In my experience, all the non-DHBC riders who joined our pacelines have been fairly experienced and know how to handle it safely.

Well, looks like I missed all the fun by staying away from the gale forced wind. :oops:

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Postby micklan » 28 Sep 2009, 20:51

weiyun wrote:
micklan wrote:Having folks (no club?) in our paceline we didn't know, listening to music, complicated things...

In the interest of safety, were you prepared to be vocal about it? I think we have every right to do so. In my experience, all the non-DHBC riders who joined our pacelines have been fairly experienced and know how to handle it safely.


Did discuss with Geoff, we kind of got some riders who were dropped from a bunch and they were tired, it became problematic, and we tried to diplomatically let them go ahead a couple of times without saying anything - just one of those days

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geoff m
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Postby geoff m » 28 Sep 2009, 22:06

I think Stuart might be right....

We saw quite a few cruisers who had been dropped. About 5 or six from Capt Cook's bridge all the way to Waterfall. Kept looking up to see where the bunch was, but we only caught them at Loftus right before the servo. Middies were doing a reasonable pace in the wind.

For those who can go much harder in Cruisers, don't go up a bunch until you've talked to one of the coaches. Bunch etiquette, and safety riding in bunches is more important that power. So you might have to ride a few times getting the skills, even though instictively you may wish to go much harder.

Would all coaches riding on Sundays please introduce themselves each time.

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weiyun
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Postby weiyun » 28 Sep 2009, 22:30

Guess the question is, were there coaches in the cruiser bunch? Who was in control of the bunch? Were the lead riders being told to look after the bunch?

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over the hill
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Postby over the hill » 28 Sep 2009, 23:20

sunday was a difficult ride into the wind on the way to waterfall- sometimes if you're on the front in difficult conditions, you go into a 'zone' and cycle at your own pace- probably in-experience.

that said, how do you go from being a "slowie' to a "middie" - is it a nudge and a wink at the cafe or are there other criteria- i think there are riders particularly some of the younger blokes who could ride "middies'- not just ave speed presumably- maybe good up hills. or can easily re-join a bunch if dropped for gear mis-changing, etc.

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weiyun
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Postby weiyun » 29 Sep 2009, 09:34

over the hill wrote:how do you go from being a "slowie' to a "middie" - is it a nudge and a wink at the cafe or are there other criteria- i think there are riders particularly some of the younger blokes who could ride "middies'- not just ave speed presumably- maybe good up hills. or can easily re-join a bunch if dropped for gear mis-changing, etc.

Two criteria in my mind,

1) Familiarity with bunch riding in terms of skill and awareness of responsibilities.
2) Fitness.

Many younger riders are fit but lacked bunch skill and it's much safer (to the rider and the bunch) to learn those in a slower bunch than moving straight up. Otherwise, moving to a higher bunch will always be associated with a higher level of physical demand and being dropped is part of it. Despite the Middies being a no drop ride, there will be situations where one would crack. The fall back is to rejoin the Cruisers behind or try another day. As a matter of fact, solo ITT gives more training benefits than bludging in the bunch.

So have a word with one of the coaches/old hands and then just set a higher target and move up.

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Toff
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Postby Toff » 29 Sep 2009, 09:47

Let's not judge anything by last weekend's bunches. The wind was atrocious. People were going to get dropped no matter what the pace was.

At one point, when I was on the front, going uphill into the wind, I was amazed that I was actually going forward. Then the crosswinds came in, and there was nowhere for anyone to hide from the wind. You can't really form echelons when you only have a narrow bike lane to work with...

I'm sure next week will be better.

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Postby christian » 29 Sep 2009, 09:55

Were there no coaches in the Cruisers on Sunday? If this continues to happen then we will have to implement a roster. What happens is a few of the coaches ride in the fast bunch, where they are not really needed, we had three last Sunday.

Ideally the coach in the bunch needs to be stronger then the rest of the riders in the bunch. They need to be able to ride up the side and instruct the people on the front, as this is more often then not where the problem is. There job is not to just sit on the front as everyone needs experience on the front. Its best if you don't get someone on the front that just sits there the entire way, roll off after a couple of kms. In the fast bunch the first two rolls of the front always occur in the same place, the end of Bestic St and the turn off to Dolls Point. Perhaps a similar thing needs to be in place in all the bunches, just maybe not those points. Also what I have seen happen in the cruisers when I have taken them is that when people are told to roll off the front then just go back a few places, you are meant to go to the back, give everyone a turn and make them do some work.

As Stuart has pointed out, the bunch is meant to be slow, its not a race. If you are strong enough to go up the middies and have the required bike skills then you should go up. Keeping in mind that its better to get dropped by a bunch where you are pushed then to just bludge the entire way.

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Stuart
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Postby Stuart » 29 Sep 2009, 11:00

geoff m wrote:We saw quite a few cruisers who had been dropped. About 5 or six from Capt Cook's bridge all the way to Waterfall. Kept looking up to see where the bunch was, but we only caught them at Loftus right before the servo. Middies were doing a reasonable pace in the wind.

I think this sums it up nicely - middies didn't catch cruisers till Loftus- On the RETURN leg where as we are normally caught anywhere between Captain Cook Bridge and the top of Kingsway or at a stretch at Loftus on the way south - not the way north! BTW, you didn't see me 'cause Simon S, Ron, Anthony and I all turned at Sutherland after getting dropped.

I try to ride on the front of cruisers for at least 2-3 sections because as both Weiyun and Christian have pointed out it's better for my fitness and will improve my riding but I can't ride 80k's on the front and especially last Sun when I had a massive hangover it was difficult but I've been there before (hangover wise) and I would normally be able to follow the bunch, but not this week - 22kph up Kingsway into the wind was way too hard. I'm not meaning to sound critical of other riders as I'm trying to turn over an on-line leaf so lets just hope we can get prepared better in future.

The only qualified coach in the bunch was Lindsay and he was hanging at the back with a couple of the newer riders.

I agree we need to have a formal briefing pre-ride. Normally we just roll out. In the past Lindsay would always roll out on the front and set the pace. This has not been happening since I came back to Waterfall rides in late August. I acknowledge that I've lost some fitness after 6 weeks away from this ride but I'm certainly fitter than I was in Feb 08 so should be able to stay on no worries.

So, as soon as BNSW have another course I'll be on it and can be a coach in the cruisers. Until then, we really need to get this sorted and we also need some stronger direction during the ride around changes on the front and taking turns to lead, if the person has the strength and skills, otherwise they should roll off immediately and as Christian pointed out - go all the way to the back, not try to slot in at 3rd or 4th wheel (which I am guilty of too to try to avoid some of the less experienced bike handlers in the bunch!).

It's likely I won't be at cruisers next Sun as we have an OS visitor staying the weekend but hopefully we can get this sorted. I'm up to be a longer term cruisers coach / captain / whatever but in the shorter term we need a solution and maybe somebody needs to prod the faster guys to go up to middies.

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geoff m
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Postby geoff m » 29 Sep 2009, 14:12

OK - some good feedback, to work through.

Let's close this discussion out, as its up to the club execs to discuss next steps and come back.

Thanks for everyone's feedback.

Christian, we should speak. I'll PM you my mobile.

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Trouty
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Postby Trouty » 29 Sep 2009, 17:41

stuart wrote:The only qualified coach in the bunch was Lindsay and he was hanging at the back with a couple of the newer riders. .


Stuart seems to forget I did the coaching course (remember me Stu!). Ok I was there on Sunday. Toff and I rode up the front till Dolls point turn off, at what we thought was an ok pace and every one seemed to hang on without issue up the grand parade. I assumed Lindsay was at the back sweeping as usual and we didn't hear any problems. That said I could have been a bit more intuitive.

As Toff said Sunday was a hard day to judge with the wind, but where I see alot of the regular slowies dropping off - is at the start of the hills. If we split the cruisers bunch in 2 as Christians original post (Cruisers and Tempo), we probably wouldn't have had this problem. We then need to have a bit of a conversation in the beginning of the ride - and then delegate riders to lead and control the pace in each group. This may mean a roster system as Lindsay can't be expected to do this every week.

There were 2 guys not from the club (Mr Astana and another bloke) who lead the slowies up the hills after Taren point. These guys were on the front for ages and kept a nice steady pace. I don't believe they were going too hard, but the fact they stayed at the front so long in the wind proves they are much stronger than a "regular" slowy. These guys along with Ian, Anthony, Rodney, myself, and a few others could easily form this faster "Cruisers" group. They don't necessarily have to move up to middies, and there is enough strong riders in that group to all supervise.

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geoff m
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Postby geoff m » 29 Sep 2009, 20:11

geoff m wrote:OK - some good feedback, to work through.

Let's close this discussion out, as its up to the club execs to discuss next steps and come back.




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