For those that know the form 1830 from Brockenhurst. For those that don't the long version below:
Now that the evenings are getting brighter and we’re turning up the intensity of our training the Chain Gang training ride will re-start on Thursday evenings. Thursday has been chosen as to best fit between Tuesday night TT’s and weekend racing / long rides. The rides will involve a 45 minute loop around Brockenhurst and Burley riding at speed and effecting smooth and safe changes of riders on the front. The rules of the chain gang are harsh but fair. If you’re dropped or have a simple puncture it is up to you to find your own way home, if you crash, are ill or have a serious mechanical the group will stop.
For those of you not familiar with the Chain Gang it can best be described as a road version of a team pursuit or a team time trial. Each rider takes a short turn riding on the front and then moves to the back and takes shelter from the wind. Riding this way enables the group to travel faster than individuals and also practices skills needed for road / circuit racing. Newbies welcome, guidance will be given for those new to the discipline. Those that rode previous years have certainly improved their skills and fitness over the summer.
There are, however ways in which different abilities are catered for in a chain gang, the stronger riders will take longer turns at the front. Depending on the groups we have I would think that the initial training rides will be running at around 20MPH and in a month or so towards 22-23MPH. If numbers are high we will split into smaller groups so that we are not a hazard to other road users. In such cases we will try and match the fitness of riders as best as possible.
We have practiced this drill a number of times on the Saturday endurance rides and previous years. Those that ride on the track are well experienced in this discipline and those of you that rode the 2-up also. I propose to run the first couple of rides as training rides at a slightly slower pace so everybody can practice the drill and become familiar with the course. I would also appreciate riders who are experienced at riding in pace lines to join in and improve the quality of the group with their experience. On those early rides we will practice the drills for riding in single and double pace lines so that we can ride hard but safely through the summer.
These rides will require a high level of discipline so please read below what is expected of you:
What to bring:
Road bike, riding on tri bars is not allowed and being late on the brakes will not be appreciated by other riders. Remember you are responsible for your safety and those around you.
Tubes / pump / multi tool. If you puncture, hard luck. You are responsible for your own repairs.
Mobile phone. If you have a serious problem please call ride leader. If you drop off please text ride leader so we don’t have to turn back fearing the worst.
Lights / reflective clothing. We will be out near dusk on the early rides.
Drink / energy food.
Do’s and Dont’s
Be aware that everything you do has a knock-on effect on everyone behind and beside you. If you brake out of turn this will have a concertina effect and disrupt the whole group.
Never half wheel. When you hit the front, keep the pace consistent, if climbing keep the effort consistent.
When you come through for your turn and move over to the recovering line, do so smoothly and close to the rider you are taking over from. Don’t leave them with a massive gap.
Don’t leave gaps. If you are struggling to close a gap, wave the rider behind you through.
Don’t nail yourself trying to do super-hard turns if the pace is above what you are capable of or you know you are tiring. If you start to get dropped, the group will have to slow down to look after you, or in some cases you will be dropped. Or you may be able to follow the group whilst you recover.
Show your respect for other cyclists and the drivers with whom we share the road. Remember we represent cycling in the New Forest and want to enhance the reputation of cyclists not hinder it.
If you need to spit, makes sure you’re at the back of the line!
We learned last year that having one course that we all knew well worked best. So, the meeting point will be outside St Saviours Church in Brockenhurst each week. The ride will start promptly without a warm up so please do your own warm up routine before the prescribed start time.
The course will run anti-clockwise, up Rhinefield Road to the A35, then ride easy and single file to the Burley turning, re-start at the top of the first rise and continue to the Queens Head, re-group at the top of the hill by Burley Cricket Club and then continue to Brockenhurst or maybe a little beyond up the Rhinefield Road if we want a longer turn.
We will have to navigate the pinch points between Hincheslea and Brock but hopefully at the time of day we're riding they will be quiet. If you're on the front try and anticipate well in advance whether we should go or ease off.
The first rides will start at 1830 during April, 1845 in May, 1900 in June and July, 1845 in August and 1830 in September. Details each week will be posted at http://nfcc-training.blogspot.co.uk/ and the club Facebook page as will any cancellations for bad weather.
Look forward to seeing you out on Thursday evenings.