Saturday, 25 June 2011

NCC Club Road Riding Skill Session 18 June 2011

The North Cheshire Clarion has 3 recently qualified British Cycling Go-Ride level 2 coaches amongst its ranks Geoff, Paul and James and today all club members were given the opportunity to participate in some road riding skill sessions held on a near empty car park in Birchwood, Warrington.  A good turnout with 25 present all looking forward to who knows what. After the coaches had set up all those little cones and a few flags here and there on the car park we were split into three groups, one group for each coach. I was in Coach James' group and it wasn't soon before he was barking orders as he had us go through a few simple exercises aimed at getting us working better as a group around a square of cones firstly individually and then in pairs. Next a narrow chicane of cones which was navigated in pairs. All the exercises are designed to make us work better together, to get us communicating as we worked around 90' turns, to have us more observant as we attempted tight turns.

The last couple of exercises were really fun but hard work, firstly we were split into five groups IIRC, each group was paired off against another in a team pursuit as shown in the piccy below. I think it was a race of 5 laps but the group I was in was at a disadvantage as our very first race was against the winners of the first pairing, that first winning group had had a practice round, we didn't so it's no wonder we were well and truly beaten, that's my excuse as to why we were battered and I'm sticking to it....

The last exercise was was another team pursuit but this time 12 v 12 and I thought that this race wasn't going to last long as the long line of riders from each team stretched around half the track but this isn't how it all panned out. Initially after a few minutes we were gaining on the other group and was within a few bike lengths but one of the 'rules' is that there should be less than a bike length between each rider and after a while we were getting a little stretched so had to back off the pace slightly. This went on for a few minutes before we started again to gain on the tiring back riders of the opposing group and finally, finally, at last we caught them - not before time as I was seriously starting to tire and wondered if I was to be first to pull out, didn't happen I lasted the distance but was really puffed!!!

My thoughts on these last two pursuits was that whoever was on the front gave it some welly coming out of the bend onto the straight resulting in the line stretching and working hard to catch up before having to slam on the brakes as we entered the bend, repeat, repeat over and over for 10 minutes and you have seriously stretched and knackered riders, give everyone their credit though despite it being hard work, no one gave in and everyone lasted the distance...

 (YouTube video courtesy of North Cheshire Clarions News Blog link)

The last exercise of the day was a bit of fun with a bit of bike limbo, we all lined up and went under the bar one by one. At the end of each round the bar went down a few inches, the first couple of rounds caught the taller riders out and I lasted until round three when stuff I had in my back pockets caught the bar. It was fun though as the bar got lower and lower to see some riders hanging onto the sides of their bikes in order to get through. We are now down to two riders but the bar is now so low that the bikes cannot physically get through catching the bars or a shifter on the horizontal bar.

A fun day of the type of riding that inspires confidence of riding closely within a group and placing trust in your fellow riders, it was well worth the effort that went into the smooth running of todays training.

Photos from todays fun link

Lastly, you are probably wondering why this report is a week late, well I had other things on my mind as I was officially given the diagnosis of osteoporosis last week and even though I was expecting it because I did my research into the figures I received a couple of months ago from my DEXA scan, it was still depressing to to be told officially. Since that time I have been in a bit of a daze as to how to proceed with my cycling, do I give it up because of the risk of falling off and breaking more bones or do I stick two fingers up to the risk and do the que sera sera thing? as a result of this pondering I have done no cycling and for the moment have decided to enjoy cycling for fun in the sun (when its out). How this will all pan out I will just have to wait and see but I'm at a crossroads of sorts, of which road will I take, I have no idea.....

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