Nov
19
2016

Saturday Cycle Report

nenagh-cc-logo** Sunday cycle now starting at 9:00 at Tescos tomorrow due to expected low temps tonight. Route depends on road conditions – lake or stick to main road.

The sun might have been shining but the only heat to be found on a freezingly cold day was  self-generated from another good session on the bike. A surprisingly good crowd turned up this morning. I would have thought a warm bed would have been more appealing but clearly our members are made of sterner stuff. The fear of falling behind after missing one training session is strong at the moment and who can blame them? Some people are just clinging onto their current groups for dear life. Is going in Group 1 that awful? It’s good enough for our ex rás rider but not everyone else. Strange that. It’s November for Pete’s sake why are you all killing yourselves?

The route this week was a mix of old and new. We have cycled most of that route but there were some new sections included. In the end all 3 groups came together perfectly right at the end so the gaps and overall pacing weren’t too bad. The inbetween bits were less than ideal with a bit of squabbling being the order of the day. I heard 6 or 7 different explanations as to what is going wrong. Not one of those is hitting the right answer. It’s simple – it always stems from the fact that everyone thinks they are too good for Group 1.

At the moment we have a lot of upward pressure on our cycles. What I mean by this is that everyone is looking to move up into the next group. Making the jump up to the next group is tough and you need to work hard to deserve to be in the next group. Will Rymer is a classic example of how to do it right. He is now comfortable in G3. How did this happen? Take a look at his Strava account and it is obvious. He is putting in the hard work required. Plenty of people have asked me can they go into a higher group and when there they struggle badly. Why? usually one look at their Strava account tells the story = not training enough to make the jump.

It is obvious what way this is all going – G2 and G3 are going to have 15 riders in them each week and there will be no G1. Only 4 or 5 cyclists turned with G1 today – should have been 10 or 11 and 2 of those in G1 are stronger then everyone in G2 and will likely move up next week. With such a small group on the road it is only a matter of time before those remaining riders in G1 will refuse to cycle in such a small group and then a new super group 2 will form. The strong members from this group will then feel the pace is too slow and will look to move into G3. The overall quality of cycle in the remaining two bunches will decline steeply.

Remember: the ideal scenario is for there to be an even number in each group. So with 30 out today it should have been 10, 10 and 10. Just because you normally go in a certain group that doesn’t mean you are always going to be in that group. If numbers drop a lot in another group then the best or worst in a group get moved up or down. We need to have 3 good groups on the road.

Is it time to once again sort who is going in each group at the very start? I am reluctant to do that as simply advising some people to go in G1 seems to be enough of an insult for them to quit the club!

G1: well organised. Single line pacing with 1 minute turns up front. Everyone got through it and everyone was well able for it.

G2: 5 or 6 people clinging on after just a few miles on the road. Pacing issues throughout. Lots of disgruntled cyclists at the end. Everyone blaming each other. This group contains a lot of good cyclists so the pace should be strong. For today’s cycle, there was roughly a 2.4km per hour speed difference between G2 and G3 (and the speed for G3 was slower than usual today on a pan flat route). That means G3 are able to cover an extra 7.5km over the total cycling time = a handicap of 15 minutes is needed. Looking at it this way you can see that slowing down further is not an option for G2. Pace needs to stay high but rolling more smoothly is a top priority too.

G3: this is the racing group. The speed is supposed to be high. Big lull in the middle of the session where the speed went down to nothing. When attempts were made to increase the pace = multiple roars to slow down. The group travels at a certain pace. If you can’t handle it then move down to G2 or try to get out training more during the week. We are not lowering standards for new people to the group. The speed in this group is already a little down on previous years.

If the groups are formed correctly….

  • the speed of G1 will increase so the time difference between G1 and G2 will be smaller. Those that are hanging on the back of G2 will get just as good a workout from rolling through every time from start to finish in G1.
  • rolling over in G2 will be a lot smoother as the bunch size will be more manageable and the difference in ability between the best and worst rider in that group will be small. Less people will be hanging on the back disrupting the cycle, then joining back in and surging through. It will be easier to stay nice and tidy on the road.
  • there will be less people feeling the need to leave G2 to jump in with G3. It is a very tough jump and already we have half of G3 unable to roll through for the last 1/4 of the cycle.

This is genuinely the last time I am going to mention all this on the website. It is the last thing I want to be focusing on and it’s a huge waste of my time. I am blue in the face from repeating the same thing every week. Our reports should be positive because we have a great thing going here. Make the right group decisions at the start of the cycle and these problems will mostly disappear. We can then get back to enjoying our Saturday cycles and leave the bitterness behind.

Two questions to ponder

  1. Am I able to roll through every time from start to finish?
  2. Do I really need to be pushing myself this hard in November?
 

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