There was another fine turn out at our 2nd Saturday cycle of the off season. This one didn’t go quite as smoothly as the first week but we hope everyone got something out of it. The route was the same loop route between Moneygall and Nenagh that we used the previous week. However, only a relatively small number of cyclists actually completed the whole route so that tells you that something went wrong somewhere.
Next cycle: tomorrow at 8:00am from Tescos. Long one over to Kinnitty and hills.
If we want these cycles to run smoothly then we need to tighten up on a few things…….
As a team, we train harder than most over the winter. This is on purpose, but there has to be limits. We also have Rás riders cycling with beginners and improvers so getting things right on the road is difficult. There will always be days where we get it wrong but the aim is to keep those days to a minimum.
The main issue is between groups 2 & 3 (racing cyclists). The aim is for group 3 to chase group 2 on the road and try to catch them. The objective is not for group 2 to try their hardest to stay away. Group 2 ride at a pace where the group stays together to the end (within reason – you are always going to get 2 or 3 who are just having a bad day). This should be a relatively comfortable pace for most. The size of the finishing bunch in group 2 is a comment on the pace and quality of the cycle. Big bunch = job done. Small bunch = too fast.
You might say that this is not fair on those in group 2 that want a good workout – if you want to go faster, jump in with the racing group. What ended up happening today was that group 2 had extended their lead on the road (from the previous week) by the half way point and this resulted in the racing group having to chase even harder to make any sort of inroads into the gap. The racing group ended up having to go 2km per hour faster this week just to keep things respectable. This then had the knock on effect of making things too tough for those that were brave enough to opt for the racing group at the start. Group 2 were never caught and that was with a smaller handicap at the start too. An average pace of 34km per hour for the full cycle (including warm up and cool down) tells you all you need to know.
Key point: if you want to push it hard then go in the racing group.
Save your energy: the total roll over time of the two loops is close to two hours. This is a long time at an increased pace. Too many people are only seeing 5 mins down the road i.e. I feel great now at the start so I am going to hammer it. Strangely enough, it is always the Rás riders that have to tell the other riders in the race group to ease off the pace – roll through steady – this is not the Summer League. The first half hour of the main set should feel comfortable. You should be wondering to yourself – is this going a little too slow? The answer = probably not.
Starting time: another area that we need to tighten up on is the starting time. Please turn up on time in future. The main bunch didn’t pull out until almost quarter past nine today. Don’t pull up in your car at 9:00am – that is the time we are leaving at. Pull into the car park at 8:50am and make sure you are ready to go on time.
Next week, we will be doing the loop course again (with a slight change in the route). The starting time will be 9:00am SHARP for the first group, who will get a 5 min head start on the main bunch. 9:05am is when the main bunch will pull out. If you are still in the car park at that time then you will have to catch us on the road.
Apologies also to the first group on the road today. We misjudged the head start you got on the road and had ye caught way too early. Sorry about that but fair play to Pat, Brian etc for looking after that bunch today, we will try and come up with a better solution next week.
For those that found it tough today, don’t get too disheartened. Keep putting in the effort and you will improve. The only way you will fail is by giving up now. Stick with it. The above post focuses on areas where we as a club can improve, but it doesn’t comment on the many things we are doing very well. The standard of cyling out there is excellent and the enthusiasm for cycling and pushing yourself is great to see. Think about joining us for a cycle tomorrow or try and make it in to our turbo session on Tuesday. If they don’t suit, we will see ye all again next week.