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The Dynamo Ponders #3

Ref: 670

Posted by: Club Member

Nov

26

2014

The Dynamo Ponders #3

 

Stay up? What the…

 

Jargon, it’s everywhere. Languages made from the words we use every day applied to specific activities with their own exclusive meanings and cycle racing is no exception.

 

Stay up; roll over; up the road; down the road; self- preservation; sit in; rolling turns; sit on a wheel; get dropped; break-away; lead out; attack; surge; crossing wheels, sit up; handicap  it goes on and on. But do we actually know what the terms mean and the context in which they should be used?

 

As human beings, one of our learning processes is through repetition. Sometimes we hear an expression used in a particular context and without actually knowing why it is used, we start to make an association of that expression with a particular circumstance but do we understand the jargon we are using? When we see something that we believe requires an alert to other riders, even though we may know what we are referring to when we sound a warning, perhaps we should not assume that the rider to whom the warning is directed, understands what we are saying. Jargon can be just as vague as it is specific and for it to be effective, the terminology needs to be common knowledge within the parlance in which it is used.

 

It is clear by observing some riders whilst they race, that through their behaviour, they are not familiar with the concepts of the jargon used in cycle racing.

           

In the article The Dynamo Ponders #2 the topic was about being in the right place at the right time; self -preservation. Being aware of the risks and increased possibility of crashing by being in the wrong place are not the only aspects to self-preservation.

How we race has a direct effect on our own results. Self-preservation also refers  to conservation of our energy throughout the race to enable sufficient energy stores for when greater effort is required and not only about arriving at the finish line intact.

 

People often fear the humiliation of seeming stupid for asking a question for which they feel they should already know the answer so they don’t ask. So to save the angst of those who fall in that category, that which follows is an explanation on some of the most common jargon you are likely to encounter in a race and you didn’t even have to ask!

 

When riding on the Casey Fields circuit or Sandown Race Track, the practice is to ride over to the left hand side of the road - this is “Down the road”. Subsequently, moving across toward the right hand side of the circuit is moving “Up the road”.  So if you hear someone in the bunch telling the front runners, having passed another grade, to “Stay up”, they are being told to hold their “line” (to give another grade sufficient space) and stay out toward the line in the middle of the road or beyond until it is safe for the bunch to move over to the left. We must always ride according to the conditions so if a third bunch was to pass, they too would need to “Stay up” which would put them well over to the right hand side of the circuit.

 

When racing on open roads, road rules apply and must be considered but the concepts of “Up the road” and “Down the road” remain constant whether on a closed circuit or open road.

 

The following will be useful when riding a “Handicap” where it is advantageous for the bunch to work together.

 

“Many hands make light work”. An oldie but a goodie. “Rolling turns” is a term used to describe the sequence of riders sharing the work through a collective effort through the race or a stage of the race, being mindful of  “Self-preservation”.

In “Rolling turns” the rider at the front will be providing some shelter from the wind for the rider behind them. If the wind was blowing from the right hand side, then the rider at the front would ride “Up the road” to provide cover or shelter for the riders behind him on the rear left side and so on and so on and so on. When the rider at the front has done their turn, they will peel off the right hand side of the bunch and go to the back to recover and “Sit in” until he reaches the front of the bunch again.

 When riding on a circuit, the direction of travel will change so as a consequence, the wind will be coming from the left hand side so now the bunch will be “Rolling turns down the road” and cover would be provided for the riders behind on the rear right side. The rider at the front when peeling off after their turn, would do so on the left side and go to the back of the bunch and “Sit in” until they reach the front of the bunch again. Sufficient space needs to be considered between wheels when the bunch makes a change from up the road to down the road.

 

To “Sit on a wheel” is to be in close enough proximity to gain the benefits of the shelter from the wind from the rider in front. This might mean riding just off the line directly behind their wheel or depending on the wind direction, off to one side of their wheel but without compromising safety margins or “Crossing wheels”.

 

To “Cross wheels” is to overlap your front wheel with the rear wheel of the rider ahead of you so close that if they were to get out of the saddle, their bike would momentarily thrust backwards and most likely clip your front wheel which would probably cause you to crash. Crossing wheels is one of those instances of wrong place wrong time – an avoidable scenario. We are all human and we all make mistakes but prevention is better than pain.

 

When a bunch is rolling turns it is generally for the purpose of maintaining as high an average speed as possible. If one rider doing his turn was found to be struggling to maintain the speed required by the bunch he might ask the rider behind him to “Roll over” or he might be told to “Roll over” and go to the back of the bunch to recover. In an ideal world, the stronger riders would do longer turns and the weaker riders shorter turns so that it works out that everyone is contributing to the same extent relative to their ability.

 

A bunch might aggressively pick up the pace or “Surge” and hold that pace for a few minutes. After that surge a rider might stage an “Attack” in an attempt to create a gap between them and the bunch and hopefully “Break-away”. In moments such as these, the weaker riders slip off the back of the bunch and if they are not able to catch up again, they “Get dropped”.

 

When approaching the finish of a race, a rider who is strong might intentionally provide cover for a sprinter. The strong rider provides a “Lead out” and in doing so enables the sprinter to conserve as much of his explosive energy as possible for the last critical moments of a sprint finish.

 

Occasionally a rider does not wish to contest the finish of a race and backs off. This action is to “Sit up”.

 

No doubt, there are many more “jargonistic” terms used in cycle racing. The above however, will hopefully see you in good stead for a better  racing experience.

 

 

See you out there,

 

The Dynamo




Ponderings of The Professor D Grade Report

Ref: 669

Posted by: Club Member

Nov

26

2014

Ponderings of The Professor – D Grade Report

 

It’s been a while since I last put pen to paper, but the unfortunate passing of one of Southern Masters’ true characters, John (Coxy) Cox, convinced me to fire up the old Bic ballpoint pen.

 

Conditions are almost perfect down at Casey Fields and D Grade has a sizeable field. A prerace reflection on Coxy’s life as a Master’s cyclist saw us roll through for a very sedate opening lap. Maybe that was because John Beech was busy having a good chat with me, rather than him attacking before we hit the back straight.

 

Sure enough, just as we complete our first lap, JB decides it’s time to go and has the field scrambling for answers. We soon regroup, but a heavy Saturday morning ride with the Cycling Sledgers sees my legs screaming out to stop. Hmmm, this is going to be a long race!

 

Both Mark Morrison and Tom Sharp decide to follow JB’s example by launching some lethal attacks. Fortunately, the bunch chases them down, however the average speed is heading north and we seem to be getting further ahead of C Grade. Either that, or I’m hallucinating (probably the latter)!

 

With the race finally regaining its sanity, the three female competitors decide to stamp their authority on the race by moving to the pointy end to control the race. The pace picks up again and there is no chance of some rest and relaxation. JB, Mark and Tom are soon attacking again and riders are heading in all directions. JB has opened up a small gap on the field and knowing his time trialling strengths, if we don’t shut him down, he will ride away from us.

 

Tom gives chase and I’m offering words of encouragement. The gap is closing, however Tom has done his share of the chasing; so I take over. One last effort finally dragged me on to JB’s wheel, however I’m struggling to get any words out when JB asks who is on his wheel.

 

With the sandwich boards now starting to appear, the pace slows as everyone decides to save their legs for the final lap. With the specialist sprinters such as Gerald McIver, Andrew Peterson and Andrew Ward all missing from the race, I’ve no idea just which wheel to follow. A quick decision is needed as Lance gives us the bell.

 

A slow last lap sees everyone looking nervously at each other, however no-one blinks and the slow pace continues. As we hit the back straight for the final time, I visualise Coxy launching one of his traditional attacks and I give a glance to my right to acknowledge his once trademark attack.

 

It isn’t until we hit the incline that JB is the first to make a move. For someone who says he can’t sprint, he certainly is showing the bunch a clean pair of heels (or should that be wheels). I’m slow to react and have some work to do; however I’m able to latch onto Rob Feigan’s wheel to get the perfect tow up to the final corner. Richard Partington is making his move and seems to be gaining ground on JB.

 

In the end, JB holds on to record his first win in D Grade – a great ride by him and a well deserved win. Richard holds on to take 2nd place to claim his first podium in D Grade. I somehow found my sprinting legs to take 3rd. The race was contested in good spirits and won by a self-confessed “non sprinter” who found something extra at the end. Coxy would have liked that!

Thanks to the club officials and volunteers who helped make the day’s racing possible. Also, thanks to the photographer who fronts up to all the races and takes and takes all those action shots.

 

Hope to see you all (and the Tail Gunner – where is he?) next week.

 

Editor's Note: The TG is currently working on a collaborative essay with the Dynamo.

 

 

The Professor

 

 




Sandown Racing cancelled for 20 Nov 2014

Ref: 668

Posted by: SMCC Webmaster

Nov

20

2014

Sandown Racing cancelled for 20 Nov 2014

Sandown Racing cancelled for 20 Nov 2014




Vale John Cox

Ref: 667

Posted by: Club Member

Nov

17

2014

It is with a heavy heart to advise you that John (Coxy) Cox passed away on Thursday 13th November 2014 after a short battle with cancer aged 58

 

He leaves behind his wife Annmaree and their children and partners Jacinta and Adam, Elise and Nick, Jarrod and Jules and his beloved grandchild Bailey

 

The terror of E and D grade always found chasing breakaways and putting in final sprints on the back straight if you were going to win you had to earn it.  

 

His pet hates were hills and wet roads and often stated

 

“Hills are like ex-wives, to be avoided at all costs!”

 

We will all sadly miss his friendship and sense of humour our coffee sessions will never be the same

 

His funeral is to be held at

Springvale Botanical Cemetery

600 Princes Hwy Springvale

On Wednesday 19th November at 10.30am

Boyd Chapel

 

 

 

 




The Dynamo Ponders #2

Ref: 666

Posted by: Club Member

Nov

15

2014

 

 

Self -preservation.

 

When was the last time that you put yourself in immediate danger where the consequences of your actions were going to be such that shredded skin, broken bones and/or worse was a very real possibility? Would you risk your neck just to gain a superficial and insignificant short term gain with an action such as crossing in front of train that was more than likely to hit you than miss? Would you do it?

 

Cycle racing can be more so a quest for self-preservation than a contest to decide the winner of a race. If none of the competitors survive the race, there is no winner. As racing cyclists we accept the risks associated with racing but that does not mean that we should ignore the need to ride predictably and race safely.

 

Frequently it is heard in general conversation “wrong place, wrong time”. This can be easily misconstrued that it was just circumstantial bad luck. One of the important things to observe in cycle racing is not to be in the wrong place in the first instance.

 

During a race, the dynamics can change very quickly. The pace pick up or slows down; the grade is about to be passed by an approaching bunch; the wind prevails from a different direction; someone gets out of the saddle and their bike momentarily retards and almost takes out your front wheel; someone attacks aggressively; someone changes their line; riders fatiguing after a surge and so on. These are just some of many different possibilities which are moments in which a rider needs to be in the right place at the right time. There is far more to racing than just having the highest average speed and crossing the line first.

 

“The harder I work, the luckier I get”, is a phrase which applies to cycle racing too.

Honing our skills and ability to read the bunch and the race, will lead us to improved performance where we will find ourselves being in the right place at the right time due to deliberate actions. How about that, it seems that we can make our own luck!

 

Self-preservation refers not only to our own safety but also the safety of our fellow competitors including those in other grades. Given the potential for catastrophic outcomes, it is imperative that courtesy is extended whilst racing and communications are passed up through the bunch to inform the front runners of what is happening behind them.

 

Consider this: When driving a car with a trailer in tow, is it appropriate to cut in front of the overtaken vehicle when only the tow vehicle has cleared them, ignoring the length of the trailer connected at the rear? Definitely not. When riding at the front of a bunch and passing another grade, the bunch trailing behind will probably be longer than two “B Double” trucks. When next you see a flock of birds in flight, watch how instantly the birds at the rear change direction compared to the birds at the front; there is practically no time lag. A bunch of cyclists will move similarly to the behaviour of a flock of birds (OK, with just a little more time lag!). So when passing another grade, make sure the rearmost trailer of those “B Doubles” doesn’t side swipe the overtaken grade off the track and into an ambulance.

 

 When you next see aerial footage of one of the Grand Tours, watch the fluidity of how the bunch moves, it’s like a mass of small particles moving collectively with the characteristics of a flowing liquid. Using the similes above hopefully provides a means to demonstrate how the bunch moves as it may seem quiet random to someone who is unaware or very keen and fit but new to cycle racing.

 

Racing aggressively does not mean riding aggressively. A competent racing cyclist has the ability to distinguish between racing aggressively and riding aggressively. A rider should take all measures to ensure that they are not creating or exposing themselves and others to avoidable situations which could result in a crash. To ride aggressively in an unpredictable manner is reckless and dangerous and will more than likely end in pain for someone. This is cycle racing not “Roller Derby”. A rider should be aware of their limitations and ride within them. Given that the racing cyclist has practically no safety gear apart from a helmet, it is clear that the intention of the discipline is to remain upright.

 

Riders racing at a club level do so for a range of reasons but primarily for enjoyment. So enjoy your racing and be as competitive as you like but race with safety in mind. You will be tired after the race whether you have crashed or finish the race in one piece, but be assured, you will sleep better in one piece.

 

See you out there,

 

The Dynamo

 

 

The Dynamo Ponders #2

 

Self -preservation.

 

When was the last time that you put yourself in immediate danger where the consequences of your actions were going to be such that shredded skin, broken bones and/or worse was a very real possibility? Would you risk your neck just to gain a superficial and insignificant short term gain with an action such as crossing in front of train that was more than likely to hit you than miss? Would you do it?

 

Cycle racing can be more so a quest for self-preservation than a contest to decide the winner of a race. If none of the competitors survive the race, there is no winner. As racing cyclists we accept the risks associated with racing but that does not mean that we should ignore the need to ride predictably and race safely.

 

Frequently it is heard in general conversation “wrong place, wrong time”. This can be easily misconstrued that it was just circumstantial bad luck. One of the important things to observe in cycle racing is not to be in the wrong place in the first instance.

 

During a race, the dynamics can change very quickly. The pace pick up or slows down; the grade is about to be passed by an approaching bunch; the wind prevails from a different direction; someone gets out of the saddle and their bike momentarily retards and almost takes out your front wheel; someone attacks aggressively; someone changes their line; riders fatiguing after a surge and so on. These are just some of many different possibilities which are moments in which a rider needs to be in the right place at the right time. There is far more to racing than just having the highest average speed and crossing the line first.

 

“The harder I work, the luckier I get”, is a phrase which applies to cycle racing too.

Honing our skills and ability to read the bunch and the race, will lead us to improved performance where we will find ourselves being in the right place at the right time due to deliberate actions. How about that, it seems that we can make our own luck!

 

Self-preservation refers not only to our own safety but also the safety of our fellow competitors including those in other grades. Given the potential for catastrophic outcomes, it is imperative that courtesy is extended whilst racing and communications are passed up through the bunch to inform the front runners of what is happening behind them.

 

Consider this: When driving a car with a trailer in tow, is it appropriate to cut in front of the overtaken vehicle when only the tow vehicle has cleared them, ignoring the length of the trailer connected at the rear? Definitely not. When riding at the front of a bunch and passing another grade, the bunch trailing behind will probably be longer than two “B Double” trucks. When next you see a flock of birds in flight, watch how instantly the birds at the rear change direction compared to the birds at the front; there is practically no time lag. A bunch of cyclists will move similarly to the behaviour of a flock of birds (OK, with just a little more time lag!). So when passing another grade, make sure the rearmost trailer of those “B Doubles” doesn’t side swipe the overtaken grade off the track and into an ambulance.

 

 When you next see aerial footage of one of the Grand Tours, watch the fluidity of how the bunch moves, it’s like a mass of small particles moving collectively with the characteristics of a flowing liquid. Using the similes above hopefully provides a means to demonstrate how the bunch moves as it may seem quiet random to someone who is unaware or very keen and fit but new to cycle racing.

 

Racing aggressively does not mean riding aggressively. A competent racing cyclist has the ability to distinguish between racing aggressively and riding aggressively. A rider should take all measures to ensure that they are not creating or exposing themselves and others to avoidable situations which could result in a crash. To ride aggressively in an unpredictable manner is reckless and dangerous and will more than likely end in pain for someone. This is cycle racing not “Roller Derby”. A rider should be aware of their limitations and ride within them. Given that the racing cyclist has practically no safety gear apart from a helmet, it is clear that the intention of the discipline is to remain upright.

 

Riders racing at a club level do so for a range of reasons but primarily for enjoyment. So enjoy your racing and be as competitive as you like but race with safety in mind. You will be tired after the race whether you have crashed or finish the race in one piece, but be assured, you will sleep better in one piece.

 

See you out there,

 

The Dynamo

 

 


            
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