WHAT TO EXPECT on Sunday Morning Rides with KCC
As always we’re tweaking the club to make things better for all of us. Some of you are new members, some of you old hands with the club, some of you might be on the fence about joining. Based, in part, on your feedback, here is a summary of what you can expect on our Sunday rides.
In a departure from prior years,and based on feedback from numerous members, we have decided to set aside the pre-arranged riding groups with set speeds. We found that trying to enforce a certain pace for a larger group put too many people in discomfort; either the pace was too fast or too slow. What we have come to realize is that the spectrum of abilities is wider than can be accomodated in 3 groups. Instead, we will allow the group to break up naturally according to those abilities. However, this comes with one important caveat. We’ll employ a sweeper on Sunday to ride with the slower rider(s) and provide a safety-net for anyone that may pop off the back of the faster groups..
We will DEPART from the Victoria Park Armoury 210 Kent Street West PROMPTLY at 9am. Parking is available on Victoria Ave. Allow yourself time to get there and do what you need to do to be rolling for 9am. Don’t be ‘that guy’ who shows up at the departing time expecting everyone to wait while we pretend not to curse under our breath as you pump up your tires and get your bottles ready.
Road bikes highly recommended – In the spirit of being inclusive, we have welcomed any rider of any ability on any type of bike in the past. As a result, the pace at the back was too varied, difficult to manage and create a cohesive experience with. We’re encouraging road bikes only now to help with this; and you wanted an excuse to upgrade anyway, right?
Please use the first 5 km as a warm up – no early heroes please. If members of your group get dropped on the hills outside of town, wait for them at the top to collect.
While we commence our ride in a large group, there are likely as many preferred paces as there are riders. The reality is, we’re all managing the tension between getting a workout and rolling together as a group.
Here are some practices that will help you understand how it all works
- Your pace on a given day will determine what group you ride with. While it’s too hard to predict how many groups we will have out on the road on a given day, you can be assured to find a bunch of riders that will be more than happy to ride together. Not only is it more social to ride in a cooperative group, if everyone works together, it will help everyone increase their overall speed. So, if you feel like testing your mettle with the lead group, go ahead! Try to hang on as long as you can, knowing that the group just behind you will be more than happy to add you to their pace line. The game can then become, ‘how long can I stay with the faster group before having to drop back’ – each week, you’ll likely stick longer. That is the joy of cycling, personal performance, and helping yourself get stronger over time.
- What happens if you are having a really bad day? No worries. We’ll have a designated sweeper on every ride to pick you up. Hey, even the best cyclists in the world periodically join the Gruppetto at the back to conserve their strength and save it for another day. If you fall back far enough to get swept up, you’ll either decide to stick with the Gruppetto or inform them that you’d like to ride alone for the day. No sweat, and we’ll see you out next Sunday that much stronger. The sweeper will maintain a minimum pace of about 23 km/hr, so keep that in mind when you are deciding if you have the legs to join them.
- If you are planning to drop back, communicate your intentions whenever you can. This is a JOINT responsibility between the riders at the back watching for others AND the rider falling off to communicate their situation. The spirit of this is to have us all looking out for each other, ensure everyone stays safe, has the capacity and a plan to make it back safely (not bonking etc).
- Know where you are at all times. Since you can’t predict how the day will unfold, arrive with whatever you may need to navigate back to the start on your own if need be. This could be a cue sheet you’ve written down once you opened the ride details email you received. You can also download the ride directly to your Garmin from Strava. Failing that, always be sure to communicate your worry if you feel that you may have to ride alone. We don’t want anyone getting lost out there in the Greater Kawartha Lakes Region. At least not without enough money for a taxi and a beer.
- Regarding Climbing. There’s usually at least one or two slightly more challenging climbs per ride. Watch the vets or ask about it and show us what you’ve got but don’t sprint up every hill we come across and blow up the group each time – terribly uncool and this will cost you beer. After each of these climbs, we’ll regroup at the top or at the next town if nearby. (A note for the Strava Gods/Goddesses: KCC loves Strava but let’s leave KOM pursuits to our individual training please.)
- The final 20% of the ride is up for grabs. Some riders are beat, some still have gas in the tank. With 80% of the ride distance complete, the group posted average pace is out the window. Its time for you to sharpen your strategy skills and show us what you’ve got. Can you break away? How long can you hang-in for? Can you bridge back up? Let’s find out!As a courtesy, loop back and collect your group before the final warm-down kms. For those that can stay, we invite you to hang out for a cuppa at Tim Horton’s.