There is just the mildest hint of Spring in the air with a subtle stretch in the evenings, so it must be that time of year again where cyclists all over the country start to think about the warm Summer months and are getting out on the road again after another winter. Some have been in hibernation for the last few months, while the more hardcore have been battling with the elements to get in those base miles in the hope of starting the season with some kind of form. Most clubs have pumped the tyres, oiled the chains and are back out on the roads again. Barry from Worldwide Cycles (Clonmel) blogged about his Sunday spin last weekend with the Carrick Wheelers where he states they were out in notable numbers, a “35 man train” according to Barry! He also describes the large number of cyclists they met on the road heading to the meeting place to join Clonmel CC on their Sunday morning spin (see www.worldwidecyclesblog.com/2012/01/23/the-roar-of-the-big-ring). One of our own Tipp Wheelers was back in his hometown of Wexford for the weekend and joined up with the Wexford Wheelers for their 100km Sunday morning training ride. The Limerick based 2011 cycling club of the year, Cycle For Sick Children also reported good numbers on their Sunday morning spin.
While a number of our dedicated Triathletes were on their way to their first event of the new season, a Duathlon in Naas, where they put together a very impressive set of results, our cyclists were also out on their Sunday morning training ride. They wisely chose to ride into a strong headwind while they were fresh and so rode from the Sports Complex in Tipperary, all the way into Limerick, where they turned right to Annacotty. The pace increased significantly as the tailwind swept the riders back to Doon and home again.
This week saw another number of organised rides. Having been driven into submission by Darren during an intense 45 minute spinning class followed by 15 minutes of core work on Tuesday night at the Cannon Hayes Sports Complex, a few members will be out night time mountain biking in the Bansha Woods on Wednesday night, and on Thursday night there was a leisurely urban mountain bike spin. This is essentially a road spin done on mountain bikes, where we do not care about the quality of the road surface! The average speed of this ride was 20kph. On Saturday there will be a road training ride of approximately 50 to 65km with an average speed of 25kph and on Sunday morning the distance and speed will be increased to approximately 100km and the average speed will be 30 – 32kph.
Currently we have something to suit everybody except the beginner, so if you see something that might interest you then why not join us. We will be catering for beginners in the coming months with the commencement of a leisure ride. Contact email@example.com for further information on any of our activities.
Shown below are the results from the first multi-sport race of the triathlon Ireland race year. The club was represented by 5 athletes in a field of over 200, Tommy Byrnes put in a superb performance to break into the top ten coming in 9th place and leading the club home. Clare Devitt and Martina Byrnes put in excellent performances to come 6th and 10th places in the ladys Category. Brian Devitt and Johnny Forester both got what they felt were very harsh and unfair 1 min penalty’s added to their bike splits knocking both lads back a number of positions. Overall a great day for Tipperary Triathlon Club at our first official race as a club. The next Duathlon is on in the 4th of February in Fingal Dublin with some club members attending. The limerick duathlon will be the 19th of February which we expect a large number of club members to attend as a result of it being such a local event..
9 Tommy Byrnes 1:03:25 40-44 Male 9 0:12:12 0:01:11 0:35:28 0:01:16 0:13:17
24 Brian Devitt 1:06:11 25-29 Male 23 0:12:59 0:00:54 0:36:11 0:01:07 0:13:58
31 Johnny Forrester 1:07:47 25-29 Male 30 0:12:11 0:01:15 0:38:12 0:01:26 0:13:41
96 claire Devitt 1:16:45 25-29 Female 6 0:14:46 0:01:16 0:43:33 0:01:14 0:15:53
124 Martina Byrnes 1:20:53 45-49 Female 10 0:16:10 0:01:36 0:42:38 0:01:35 0:18:50
The weekend saw a good group of cyclists taking to the road on Saturday morning and a more advanced group with those training for racing on Sunday morning. The speed and distance were greater for the advanced group on Sunday morning; however the most noticeable difference between Saturday and Sunday was in the discipline of the riders in adhering to good group formation. The following diagram depicts proper group formation on the road.
Once out on the road after starting, the group should take the formation depicted above (called a paceline). After approximately 5 minutes Rider 1 should slow the pace slightly and the outside line of riders should move forward by one place as Rider 2 takes Rider 1’s original position. Note that the outside line of riders do not increase speed, they maintain the same effort and it is the inside line that slows slightly. This method means that no additional energy is used by the outside line by increasing speed.
This results in riders on the inside line moving back one place, Rider 7 moves to the outside line at the back of the group and the outside line also moves up one place with Rider 2 moving to the inside line at the front of the group.
Rider 2 and 4 are now on the front. The rotation should happen approximately every 5 minutes (depending on group numbers, average speeds, etc); therefore each rider will spend approximately 10 minutes on the front of the group.
The clip above shows how this paceline works, though at a much quicker rate (as in racing). For group training purposes on longer rides the group rotates in the same way, just at a much slower rate.Difference in fitness and abilitiesSome riders are stronger than others and are better able to sit on the front of the group for longer periods of time. In these situations, the stronger riders should still rotate every 5 minutes; however those that do not want to take a turn on the front should rotate after anything from 15 seconds to 1 minute. In order to maintain proper formation those not wanting to take a turn on the front should still rotate so that the dynamics of the rotating group is maintained at all times.GapsIt is each rider’s responsibility to hold the wheel in front of them and not allow gaps to open up as such gaps break up the formation and causes unnecessary expenditure of energy in closing gaps again as well as being subject to more wind resistance. Also, in order for a gap to open, both side-by-side riders would allow the gap to form. Such gaps should be closed immediately and if the riders behind see it forming they should give those in front a shout.HillsWhen climbing small hills on rolling roads, those in front should maintain the same effort, keeping the same heart rate and power (the speed will drop significantly, depending on gradient) and should not increase output as the formation will break up. If some riders begin to struggle they should shout to the front of the group to ease off and the 2 riders on front should back off a little.If there are long or steep hills then the group can break up, however once at the top the riders in front should ease off completely until the entire group is back together and reformed. Eating and Drinking in Group FormationWhen riding in a disciplined group the time to eat is when on the back of the group, therefore time the food intake accordingly. It is also safer to finish eating as the rider moves up the outside of the group rather than when on the inside. Drinking from a bottle can be done at any time for experienced riders; however it is safer to reach for a bottle when on the back of the group or on the outside line of riders. Practice pulling a bottle from the cage, drinking and replacing it again without looking down. Place the bottle to the side of the mouth so that the head does not have to move and the eyes can keep looking forward.Advantages of Proper Group FormationGroup riding in proper formation comes with many advantages and very few disadvantages. A proper, rolling group will improve everybody’s fitness as the speed will be higher because the workload is shared, allowing for adequate recovery between turns on the front. It is also far more sociable as all the riders get an opportunity to chat to each other. SafetyRiding in a proper group formation requires more concentration and awareness of others in the group. In order to ride safely there are a few things to consider at all times:
There is much to be gained by riding in this manner now that the numbers turning up on our group spins have increased. Hopefully we can all benefit from a more disciplined riding approach as described here and the result will be a very enjoyable session and an increase in fitness for everybody.
- Very few of us have the skills of a pro cyclist and therefore should keep our hands on the bars at all times. Remember that if you go down in a closely pack group you will also take others down too. If you take your hands of the bars then you are risking those behind you.
- Never overlap your front wheel with the back wheel of the rider in front of you; if one of you swerves then it will be you who will go down.
- Pot holes, large bumps, loose grit and gravel should be called by the front rider and repeated down through the entire line. If calling, indicate the obstacle (holes/gravel/etc) and side (left/right/middle) where the obstacle is. Alternatively hand signals can be used to point out obstacles however adequate notice should be given to allow those behind to see the signal.
- Obstructions should be called or signalled as per obstacles above. Such obstructions can be parked cars, pedestrians, dogs, cars pulling out of gateways, etc.
- Turns should be clearly signalled together with a call to indicate the direction of the turn.
- Due consideration should be given to other road users and in particular vehicles. If traffic has built up behind then the group should temporarily move into a single line until the traffic has passed and afterwards should immediately reform again.
Before I start, I wish to thank everyone who turned out for the annual Ride of the Turkeys this year. I would also like to thank Brian Devitt for volunteering to marshal, “Shepard his herd” along with his little amber light and his audio book. We had a huge number of riders and fair play to him for hanging in there with us. What made it more enjoyable was the weather. It was sunny, cool and dry with a gentle breeze…perfect! It seems the “word” spread like wild fire and the numbers appeared, as the picture shows. We had a few colourful characters too. The guy (Mr Coyle) in the Santa hat, who still believes in Santa…and a turkey on a bike with a turkey on the Bike (Mr Stokes), you can’t see him but he is in there, gobble, gobble. We had two students with us for the day, Robert, daddy Tadgh Murphy and Darren, mammy Phyllis Richardsons.
We set off from the Canon Hayes just after noon, turning left heading into town. It was a mass, two wheeled invasion! Brilliant! Through the town and out the Galbally Road with the amber light in tow. We didn’t head far when we had to stop for a regroup just after the Co-op. As I looked down the road, just beyond the group, I saw one of the riders just “fall over” while still on their bike!!! Didn’t get his/her name but it was funny! You know who you are. Anyway, we set off, again. It was a great cruise, holding up traffic and more traffic. The banter was good, catching up with people whom you haven’t seen since the Summer /Autum.
About 10k into the spin we stopped again for a regroup at the Shamrock Lounge. At this stage the group had split into three or four packs. Spirits were high and the cycle was making a steady progress out into Limerick. The breeze picked up into a cross wind, made pumping the legs a little tougher! 6k on we hit Galbally, we regrouped again and headed off into Lisvernane. Coming into Lisvernane and nearing the halfway point of our spin we came upon a convoy of over 200 tractors (you read this correctly) out for their post Christmas joy ride through the county. A couple of question came out of this, 1. why? And 2. who sent the teamer out for that event??? I have full respect for agri, but isn’t that what the Ploughing Champs are for? Anyway up and over the hill we all cycled tipping along nicely heading for our rendez vue in the Coach Road Inn for light refreshments.
Sambos, tea, coffee, some light chat and little did we know that the Coach served alcohol. To our horror a number of cyclist who will not be named Keith Coyle, Michael Looby, Martin Hickey, James Beston, Dinny “bike breaker” Lynch, Maurice Crowe, partook in sampling these beverages. So anyway, 45mins later, all watered and fed, we headed off on the return leg of the cycle back to base, the Canon Hayes. Not long after leaving we had a punchture. The damsel in distress Mrs Daly, the heroes to the rescue Tommy Byrnes (camera man) and Martin Breen (the pump guy). The sober spectators Martin Hickey and Keith Coyle did offer their services but the hero’s had the job in hand. What is that clown like with the hat??
From this point the cyclist broke into groups again. The main bunch heading on into Tipperary Town, a small bunch of rogue bikers that were very dehydrated ended up in O’Heneys in Bansha, after all it was a very warm, humid December day and lastly the two heroes and the damsel. We all made it back to the Canon Hayes before dark and without incident. It was a great day out for everyone, with only one puncture. Roll on the 2012 Turkeys…Again I would like to thank everyone who took part in the event and wish you and all your families a very happy new year.