It's our responsibility to know
There's been a bit of a thread on the Blackburn Cycling Club facebook page about UCI rules, some of which is ranting, some is not very constructive, some is tilting at windmills and some is complaining about the UCI or CA not doing enough to tell us what the rule changes are. Some is fair comment and it's all well intentioned (or at least, mostly ...). In my role as a moderator on the BBN FB page I've had no need to delete anything, so it's well behaved.
With regards to the dissemination of the rules, in some other equipment-specific sports, for example motorsport (CAMS) it is a requirement that each year competitors purchase a rulebook and adhere to the rules. We don't have to buy a rulebook, we can just download it for free (cheaper!). It is still "our" obligation to read and understand the rules and if in doubt, to discuss the rules with a commissaire to seek clarification. I have had reason to do this recently with the 5cm/aerobar rule change. So whether or not the rules agree with your philosophy, it is OUR (everyone who races under the umbrella of the UCI) obligation to know the rules and keep track of them. In particular, coaches need to be up to date. Yes, this is a little bit of work to do each year when rule changes get published and YES it can be inconsistently applied at races by well intentioned but not necessarily up to date or well informed commissaires, but it is still our obligation to know the rules of our sport. It's a lot easier these days to do so with the advent of social media, websites and so on. The following website may be of use :
And for local variants :
What the rest of the world does
In the UK :
youth A u16..6.93m - ~7m, ~same as us, 1 year offset younger kids
youth B u14..6.45m - bigger than us
youth C u12..6.05m - bigger than us
youth D u10..5.40m - ~same
youth E u8..5.10m - do we have U8's?!
They're not falling apart, in fact, Le Poms seem to do pretty well ...
In the US (not so much a powerhouse anymore, but interesting all the same) :
15-16: 6.78 meters (22'3")(48x15)
13-14: 6.36 meters (20'10.5")(48x16)
10-12: 6.00 meters (19’8”)(48x17)
For Juniors 16 and under who are competing in Championship team sprint, team pursuit, keirin, or Madison the 17-18 (unrestricted) gear limit applies.
I don't have the rules for other countries yet, watch this space ..
Unlike a prominent cycling magazine interview from a few years ago ...
This is full of interesting stuff about Keirin in Japan!
Not everyone's happy
Earlier this week CA announced that J17 gear restrictions would be lifted to a 7.0 meter rollout, which is around 90 gear inches, it was to be lifted to 86" (6.75m), up from the previous limit of 82" (6.5m).
Many of you reading here know I am very much in favour of this, but not everyone is pleased. I hope to calm the storm a little, or at least provide some argument in favour. Note please that this is my opinion, and I am not representing any organisation except for aboc Cycle Coaching (me!) when I write this. Furthermore, I don't have any influence on the people that made the decision that I am aware of. I don't even know who they are.
Enough with the preamble ...
Firstly, the rule change does not mandate that every J17 rider ride 90". It means they are allowed to, which is not at all the same thing. J19's are allowed to ride up to 104" or something, they don't, because they usually can't. I work with J19's who can squat small cars and deadlift your fridge, full ... they're not anywhere near being able to rev out the J19 gear restriction yet,. and managing them through J17's is a challenge (be patient, your time will come, being restricted to 82" sucks, but next year ... repeat and hope the kid buys in to the argument).
If a J17 is a great revver, they will choose smaller gears, if they're a big, strong kid, they will push bigger gears. Up 'til now the rules have biased against strong kids and towards super-revvers, at least in sprint, which is where my attention is focused. I expect it's the same in enduro circles. Big, strong kids can't rev as fast as the hummingbirds (heavy legs, can't move 'em quite as quick, but they can accelerate!). We build kids up to be strong so that they can be competitive as J19's and seniors, and not spend another 6 years trying to get them strong enough, this is an even bigger task with girls than it is with boys - they put muscle on a lot more slowly than boys. One of the causes for the loss of elite sprinters after J19 is the almost insurmountable gulf between a J19 and a senior (hey, kid, race Perko, who is pushing 108" or more and Anna who is superstrong! good luck ...). I've interviewed a number of guys who've given it up after J19's and this is a common theme. They don't want to spend 5 or more years getting smacked before they're even at a level where they can keep up and not be embarrassed.
By better preparing J17's to use bigger gears, we hope to lift the standard in J19, and thus, make the transition to senior riders be less daunting. If J17's filters out a lot of the strong kids in favour of super spinners (which, at present, it does), that means J19's are in general, weaker than they could otherwise be as a population, and then less likely to manage the jump into senior ranks. There's loads of examples of this in sprint in recent memory, in particular in the girls, but also many of the boys have failed to make the jump past J19. This is for many reasons, but one is that the jump is too big for most of them to manage in a realistic timeframe.
Some of my colleagues have mentioned that by allowing J17's to push 90", that this will kill the sport and other hyperbole (and a half!), or that we shouldn't change a working formula (hey, it's NOT working! We bleed riders after J19, you haven't noticed?! Where are they all?). Nonsense. The current situation is that strong kids are held back (and they're often some of the best talents, so they go off and play some sport where their talent isn't nobbled), hummingbirds prosper and the less talented kids are off the back on 82". The only difference by allowing bigger gears is that the strong kids will be able to keep up with the hummingbirds. The less talented, or younger, or less developed kids will be off the back no matter what anyway. It happens now, it will continue to happen. I don't think much else will change. If it does, the rules can be changed again.
And this is the rub. Many are suggesting that club racer kids will give it up because 90" is too big and they can't keep up, there'll be no tactical development etc etc. Here's the thing. At club level, clubs are free to introduce their own gear restrictions anyway. You want a race where no-one can push bigger than 82" - NO PROBLEM! Just put it in the race rules. Brunswick did this on Saturday, everyone was on 90" (magic number?!) and it was great. Close races, lots of skill and tactical development. GOOD! We had first year J19's (the ones I trained overgeared last year and got strong and who hated being forced to ride 82" in competition) keeping up with senior sprinters, which made for good training races. But, for opens, state and national championships, the talented kids should be allowed to display their physical talent. It may well keep them in the sport longer and help us find the next group of champions. State and National titles are not "every kid's a winner" races, they're championships and the best kids should be able to win them.
I'm sure there will be people who will cite examples of successful riders who came through our current system, they do exist, and this is good (look closely at their development path before you cite them though, some will surprise you at how they got into the system, Cadel rode MTB, Matthew Glaetzer was a pole vaulter and did not come through gear restricted juniors etc), but we can do better (we have to, everyone else is!) and we can't say everything is great because some physiological freaks have survived it, if they even came through it. Our rules and development programs should not be judged by the success of the very rare genetically gifted athletes that pop up, but rather by the health of the whole ecosystem.
Finally, the knee injury furphy. Where's the corpses? We train our guys overgeared ALL the time, putting out much greater torque and power numbers than anyone else in the state (wanna bet?! I have data ... ), I have not seen a single knee injury. Not one. If a kid isn't strong enough to push a gear (86, 90, whatever) they simply won't be able to push it. They can grind at 60rpm up a hill (that's ok ...) in a road race out at Eildon or the 1:20 etc already if they want or have to. Knee overuse injuries come from throwing kids at huge miles and on badly fitted bikes, not from pushing a gear that's too big for them.
So there you go. I don't think it will kill anything, I think it's for the long term good of developing better senior riders
Thank you Brunswick!
Last Saturday afternoon (juniors) and evening (J19's and seniors) Brunswick ran the first of their "DISC-O" night Saturday racing. I'd had a little input into their race format. As anyone reading this knows, my big beef (apart from actual beef!) is that there's never enough racing for sprinters and we wanted to redress that a little.
The format had some of the usual enduro stuff, but it had abbreviated flying 200's (two lap windup) and lots of baby keirins. This is a format that I nagged Max Stevens about until he capitulated for the NJTS for this summer, and I can say, it works! It works really well. The baby keirins were 3 laps (kids) and 4 laps for the seniors (and we'll make them 4 laps for everyone from now on I think), with the bike swinging off with 1.5 laps to go. This is a pure sprinters keirin on little gears. Seniors were restricted to 90". Just about everyone was buzzing about how much fun it was, and how close most of the racing was (and no crashes in any of the sprint events). It was great to see how many of the guys learned and practiced keirin tactics in a low pressure, but very close and intense, format. Everyone got three keirins in the racing.
I got to have a bit of a look at some of the juniors and see if any showed any spark too, so that was handy.
Tick that one off as a win, a big thanks to the guys at BWK for having the courage to run it, in particular Cam McFarlane and David Morgan who made it entertaining and kept everything moving along well.
There's a new national junior series ...
From the rules :
It’s desirable that riders competing in this series are not focused on one particular facet or event of
track cycling. We suggest riders mix it up and compete in both sprint and endurance events at this
There's one pure sprint event on the program, a keirin, that according to the rules, you get graded on by your performance in .. enduro races!
Event-13 Women Under-15 (6 Laps) Heats based on points totals from earlier events
Event-14 Men Under-15 (6 Laps) Heats based on points totals from earlier events
Event-15 Women Under-17 (6 Laps) Heats based on points totals from earlier events
Event-16 Men Under-17 (6 laps) Heats based on points totals from earlier events
Full rules here.
I'm not going to say anything more about this.
It's a really big step ...
For those of you who don't know, here in Australia juniors are limited in the gears that they can use. Under 15s are restricted to no greater than 6 meters of rollout (~76") and under 17s to 6.5m (~82"). Under 19's are, to all intents, unrestricted.
This is not a rule without its detractors. It is my understanding that the rule is designed for a couple of reasons - firstly, to protect the kids from hurting their knees and secondly to level the playing field to encourage and support participation. It may also be designed to teach the kids to spin high revs (how else can you go fast on a little gear?!).
There are some consequences of this rule which I think (and I am not alone here, it was discussed at a recent sprint coaching forum at the Junior Aussies and my voice was not the only one) are inhibiting the development of some potential elite athletes.
The rule as it stands means that J15 and J17 sprinters have to be able to rev to very high cadences - we're talking in excess of 160rpm for the boys, for the girls it's around 150rpm to be competitive nationally. In elite level senior competition, that is not a requirement and stronger guys who can push bigger gears prosper with peak cadences nowdays around 145-150rpm for the men. But the rule discriminates against the stronger kids in favour of the super-spinners. The stronger kids can create greater force (torque) and potentially greater power, but if they're limited by cadence they don't get to benefit from this strength as much as they should be able to. We don't handicap the big kids in athletics, football or any other sport. We don't tell the big kids in football that they're not allowed to jump higher than the littler kids to win the ball or tell them not to kick a goal from 45 metres out because that's not fair to the littler kids who can't do it yet.
The super-spinners then, at the end of J17's (and the bleed through of this into J19's) run into the stronger riders and it's a big shock. This is when we lose a lot of them. There's other things going on too at that age, school gets harder, alcohol, cars, relationships and so on become bigger deals, but I suspect that the transition to the open playing field from the shelter of the J17 and below gearing rule is brutally hard and breaks the spirit of the super-spinners, who may have already broken the spirit of the stronger and heavier kids who may well be better in unrestricted competition but got sick of being beaten by the kids who the rules favour when they were younger. This ultimatly doesn't help the super-spinners either because they're playing on a field that's made to suit them, but it's going to change when they get older and they may be so addicted to winning by revving that they can't cope emotionally when it's time to play with the big kids, especially if they're convinced through their own limited experience that all they need is revs and they'll win everything.
So if this is a problem, what should we do about it? I don't buy into the "save their knees" issue - I'm yet to see any evidence in support of it. We overgear the kids all the time in training and I've never seen a problem. Even on big gears the peak torque the kids can put out is no-where near what they'd do on the school playground jumping on a football field or doing gymnastics or anything else we think nothing of all the time. Assuming that's the case, I think the rule should change. I think J17's, at least, should be allowed to ride bigger gears. Because you can ride a bigger gear doesn't mean you have to, and I know at least one junior who is so amazingly quick on tiny gears that they would not go up a gear even if they had the choice. It would be a rider's choice to use a bigger gear and a smart rider wouild choose the gear that worked best for them, just like they get to do in J19's and above. The transition to J19 would be less harsh for those who were thinking ahead to it, especially the girls, who need to get strong early because otherwise it's very hard for them to get strength later in life.
What I'd like to do next time
As I mentioned in a blog entry last week, I only did the flying 200 (rode a reasonable time, considering, 13.05, not that far off my PB), the team sprints and the keirin (I was rubbish in the keirin! Totally pissweak effort! anyway ....)
At the end of the night I was asked for some feedback. Here it is :
Do flyng 200's every time to start and grade everyone - these are an important sprint discipline and practicing them (and racing them!) is important. Do them over the full 3.5 lap distance, not 2.5 laps. It's what we train for, and how we race. The juniors whop are along to have fun should get exposed to this properly.
Team sprints - we did them in teams of 2 (good) but with the fastest and slowest combined, second fastest with second slowest and so on. This meant that it wasn't really a race and the kids felt bad for holding up the seniors they were teamed with, despite our best efforts to encourage them. They did learn, but I'd suggest we do two team sprints - one like this, and one graded with nominated teams that we can be a bit more serious about.
Keep the keirins, and keep them at the end of the night. To give the sprinters time to recover, run scratch races between the sprints for enduros (or enduros that want to also sprint, go for it guys ... who needs recovery?!).
If numbers are low, match sprints, if numbers are high, more keirins.
Or, some days you're the hammer, other days, the nail.
Saturday, Blackburn club championships sprint day. It's blowing a healthy nor-westerly (fast if you know how to use it). 500m ITT first, I use 90". Held starts (we HAVE GATES FFS! USE THE DAMN THINGS!). I ride a 40.03 (hand timed) which I think is a PB. It's fast enough to win MMAS3 and would have gotten me a bronze in JM17(!). Good-o, one in the bag, big fish in a little pond, the other guys I'm racing against are enduros. The Wizard rides 38.something to win MMAS2. Dino wins the 750 at DISC at the Vic Masters on the same day (clashes with BBN's club champs). This will be the last bit of really good news for Dino, who is clearly the fastest MMAS4 in the state of Victoria (big fish, big pond). Emily has no competition, not a single JW17 has shown up to race with her. She rides a pretty good 500 in the circumstances. I'm pleased both for her (win, you can only beat the people that show up to race) and also proud of her. I believe strongly that elite riders should make the effort to race club races when possible, especially things like club championships. It shows the younger kids where they can go and they're part of something and it keeps the elites grounded. Likewise I'm proud of Emerson Harwood (NTID) who also raced.
Next up, flying 200's. It's still blowing a gale, I keep the 90" on. I ride a 13.20, another PB (by 0.1s). That'll do, I'm 0.4s faster than the second qualifier, Richard Stringer, in MMAS3. Emerson breaks Andrew Steel's long-standing track record, with no aero fruit. He rides 11.8 seconds. At Blackburn, that's very fast. Emily rides a much better time than she rode last week at round 4 of the SSS. James Dann rides another PB and qualifies third in JM17.
Race time, I get to watch as Alan Dorin and Ben Schofiled fight it out for the chance to race me (4v5). Alan wins that, has a rest and then I race him. I've raced Alan many times over the years, almost always in endurance races and he has almost always been able to beat me. Not today. Sprint is my game and he goes later than I expected him to, gets a small gap which I use as a lay off and I zip past him to take an easy win. Easier than I thought it would be, the standard mode of attack is for these guys to go early and keep jumping (how to beat a sprinter in one easy lesson). Maybe he wasn't 100% fit? I don't know. I'm though to the final. Richard Stringer races Rob Monteath for the other chance to race for first, Richard wins it. So I'm up against Richard in a best of three for the gold.
The first one, I have the lead (I think!), Richard takes it at a jump, gets a small gap but I catch and pass him. One down, that wasn't too bad. He can accelerate and handle the bike well, but doesn't have the top speed to pass me. Good to know ...
Round two and he's got the lead, and jams me right up hard into the fence at 2.5 to go. Jammed so hard I had to grab the fence to avoid falling over! As I grab the rail he jumps and is gone. I chase (it's now a 700m ITT!), wind him back a little, while watching him swerving around a few times (huh?! he's 40m in front and almost in the grass?!) but the gap is just too big and I can't reel him in, I concede and it's 1:1. I'm not pleased about it, but this is club racing and I don't think he meant to jam me so hard into the railing. I'm not going to protest, I do mention it to Doug but he didn't see it, no-one did, it was at the far end of the track and obscured by how we were positioned. I don't think even Richard realised what he'd done.
Round three, this time I resolve to take this one from the front. I have speed on Richard, I don't think he'd be able to pass me at full gas. I have the lead, every time he moves I ramp it up a little, pulling him down off the bank and keeping him under control. No low speed, sudden jumps this time and no way I'm letting him in front to push me around this time. With a bit over a lap to go I accelerate, not 100%, but around 80% or so, not looking back any more, but I will kick up the back straight and again around the final bend, that's the plan anyway. I know he's hard on my wheel but I'll break his timing by changing pace. Up the final straight and I kick again with 40m to go and just wobble a fraction out of the sprinters lane for a brief moment, it's entirely accidental, I think (I didn't see it) it made Richard move off his passing line, I cross first and record a win. There's some discussion about it, I did leave the lane, if the judges think it affected the results I will not be upset and I tell Richard if he wants to protest I will not be upset with him about it (I didn't see if it made any difference but I did do it). He decides not to protest and the result stands.
Ok, club champion for MMAS3 in the TT and the sprint. My first ever. I am pleased!
Sunday, different story. Vic Masters. I'm now the little fish. Here be real sprinters. One guy in our division is a masters world champion and has come down from Sydney to teach us all a lesson. In my opinion, DFL trumps DNS every day. I'm going to put that to the test. My flying 200 is a PB again on 96", at DISC, I ride 12.8something. Beats my previous best by a whole 0.1s! Heh! Anyway, I'm pleased with that, but Gavin (the guy from NSW) rides 11.1 Uhuh .. and He's qualified 1st, I've qualified last (8th) - 1v8. Good-o. This will be ... entertaining ... I have the lead, tactically I do it all as well as could be expected, I keep watching him the whole time, using the bank and speed changes to control position, do the hook-and-drop at turn three with one to go, but Gavin just hits the accelerator and goes whoosh past me. He did everything right, was patient. I'm out 'til the keirin in the afternoon. Still, one better than last year when I didn't get a ride except for the flying 200.
Dino's on fire, he's qualifed fastest and is up against a bloke who's flying 200 suggested his experience at this track was marginal. Dino's lined him up to pass on the finishing straight when he (the guy Dino's racing, loses control and turns right, straight up into Dino with 40m to go. WTF?! Dino comes down hard and breaks his collarbone. I'd like to remind everyone reading of a rule, an important rule. These things happen but that should not have. Dino's put his heart and soul into training for this event and this was just horribly cruel. He gets bundled off in an ambulance with lots of strong drugs.
Chris Ray wins his sprints and wins Gold. Dino gets a silver by virtue of a disqualification. Not what he wanted and it's awful. Emily collects his medal for him later.
Keirins, I've drawn number 1, I get the motorbike. I'm on 96". Safely on the bike, I lead it out, with one to go the boys behind me kick and I don't have the legs to go with it, first three (of the four in our heat) go through to the final, and they all cruise over the line. Outgunned? uhuh ... anyway, DFL trumps DNS.
Mick Thomas wins the MMAS4 (or 5? Mick?) scratch race AND the keirin!
After some running around with Emily (Dino's not driving anywhere today!) and a solid state team training session in the evening it's time to go home. Phew. A big big weekend ...
A huge weekend
Last week I had a bit of a cold, which meant I stayed away from the NTID training session on Wednesday (didn't want to give anyone my bugs) but by Thursday I felt ok. By Friday, my voice was getting pretty croaky, and by Saturday I'd almost totally lost my voice. Now, I'm not a shouter like Hilton, but I do shout at my riders, and every attempt I made to shout encouragement was a feeble squeak! Not ideal for coaching at a championship ... Quite amusing for everyone there though, I'm sure!
The Metros ...
It was a hectic weekend, I had the aboc'ers to look after as well as the VIS and NTID riders. Saturday morning was pursuits and I didn't have too much work to do then, I did walk the line for a couple of riders, including aboc'er Cam Woolcock who got himself a medal, Liz Randall (also a medal, gold!) and Emy Huntsman (NTID endurance) - I made a mistake while giving Emy her pacing, a bad one that may have cost her a gold medal. I need more practice if I'm to do this again at a championship - In my defence, it's not what I'm concentrating on, but I probably shouldn't have done it for Emy. Emy, if you're reading this, again, I'm sorry.
In the afternoon it was time trial time (sprint!) - the aboc Sprint Squad was there in force, Dino, Emily, James, Chris, Cam, Yasmin. All of them rode well, we got a couple of gold medals, a silver or two and a load of PBs on a slow day (thick air and cold). The NTID and VIS girls I was also looking after (although mainly just carrying bikes, Hilton had the floor) rode solid races and as you'd expect, won or placed in everything. That sounds like a big deal, but it is what we expect. The NTID and VIS program cherry picks the best talent, if they don't win everything we're not doing our job.
Sunday ... Sunday's the biggie for me. I love match sprinting. Also coaching the 500 (Emily & Yas, don't worry, the 500 is a very high priority!) but match sprinting stuff is where there's actually something to do on race day, the TT's are all won in the weeks and months leading up to them from the point of view of a coach, match sprinting has a lot more on the spot coach involvement, at junior level in particular. For the TT, all a coach has to do is make sure the rider is at the right brain-space at the start and warmed up well. Match sprinting is another level.
Hilton was going to be busy loading vans to take over to Adelaide, so I was left on the floor to run the show for all the guys. I think I had about 15 or more riders in my care : Dino, Emily, Ruby, Courtney, Madeline, Adele, Caitlin, Yasmin, Stuart (V-Train!), Clint, Emerson, Jacob, Luke, James, Chris. I think that's it? Anyway, Hilts had the NTID and VIS guys do their warmup, I had the aboc'er do theirs (different! but all coaches do things differently).
Then things got messy. It started when the organisers decided (but didn't tell us) that they'd changed the flying 200 from 3 laps to 2. This is a big deal for the 15's and up, they train for 3 laps and last minute changes like this are simply not acceptable, it stuffs up their timing. We made a fuss about it and Hilts managed to get them to change it back for the 19's and above, but it was unfair and caused a lot of angst and slow times by our riders, save for Courtney, who unofficially (the electronic timing didn't work ... I'm not joking, it was a bloody disaster) smashed the JW15 Australian record.
Then some of the races got dropped from the program. I'm not going to mince with words, this is unacceptable. The kids that show up to race care about their racing. They train and they work hard. To have their races chopped from the program to save a few minutes is not on. I'm still very angry about this. One of my guys was heartbroken and there was nothing I could do about it.
After that, the rest of the day went well. My job was to council the guys on tactical decisions and hold them on the line. It looks like I have a conflict of interest when I'm involved in coaching multiple riders who are racing eachother, but I'm careful not to tell one rider anything confidential about the other and I think they all trust me to be ethical in this area - it's important that they do, and that I am 100% on this. If any of you read this, I assure you I will never tell your competion anything about you and I will never tell you anything you don't already know about them either. My main job while in the thick of it is to get the riders feeling confident and motivated (a challenge indeed sometimes!) and to encourage them to be assertive and aggressive on the track, to make their move and commit to it. The older, more experienced sprinters need less tactical guidance and I mostly left them to themselves except to check if they needed anything and give them an ear to talk to if they needed it.
Again, everyone rode well and the NTID/VIS combo swept the field, as they should. My aboc'er did well, with another bootload of medals and a lot of very valuable experience gained for the Vic titles coming up soon.
At the end of the day, Speed is the best tactic. 90% of the races will go to the faster rider, but the thrill is in getting a slower rider over the line first. It happens, and we did it a few times on Sunday.
Leanne Cole got some good photos, go have a look.
Phew .. that's done. I'm off to the Oceanias tomorrow, back on Sunday. More of the same. Bring it on!
Are not made to be broken
I take my responsibility as a coach pretty seriously. I believe that the example set by a coach and the culture that a squad adopts is pretty important. I haven't been coaching kids for long. For a long time I swore off coaching kids, this junior thing is pretty recent for me. So perhaps I'm off the track here, but I want to draw your attention, my reader, to the tech regs of racing in Australia. In particular, to this section :
3.6.01 Gearing - roll out distances
For all junior categories, male and female, the following maximum roll out
distances shall apply for:
Road Events Track Events
1. Junior U19 7.930 metres
2. Junior U17 6.5 metres Junior U17 6.5 metres
3. Junior U15 6.0 metres Junior U15 6.0 metres
4. Junior U13 5.5 metres Junior U13 5.5 metres
5. Junior U11 5.5 metres Junior U11 5.5 metres
3.6.02 If, for what ever reason, a junior rider has been granted approval to
compete in a higher age division event, the maximum roll out distance
applicable to the rider’s age division must be maintained (06/09/08)
The emphasis (bold face) of 3.6.02 is not mine, it's in the document.
What does this mean? It means, any junior MUST RIDE THEIR JUNIOR GEAR IN COMPETITION. No matter what the race is. If it's Glenvale, or Sandown, or the Saturday night spring sprinting at DISC tonight. We as coaches, and the race organisers, don't have a choice. The rule is clear. We can campaign to the rule makers to change it, but we can not encourage our riders to break it and if we see it being broken we have a duty to see that it's enforced.
The culture I'm concerned about is one of selectively breaking rules. If we, as coaches, commissaires and parents, say to the juniors in our care that it's ok to break some rules that we find inconvenient, then we set a pretty poor example and we foster a culture that encourages rule breaking. The junior riders I'm working with now are on the cusp of elite programs and will be exposed to doping and other rule breaking in the near future. If we want them to play fair and stay clean, we know what we have to do. We have to treat the rules with respect.
Congrats to CCCC
I see on the Interpipes that Carnegie-Caulfield have cancelled the Modella road race today due to concerns about high winds. I commend them for this decision. Organisers have a duty of care. I wonder what conditions are like out at Eildon today for the Junior Tour? Weatherzone suggests 72km/h wind gusts. I hope we have the same level of commitment to rider safety that CCCC have shown.
And other stuff
Hilton Clarke had his knee replaced on Thursday last week, and while he's away I'm looking after his NTID and VIS sprint squads (and a couple of CCCC ringins), we had our first completely Hilton-Free-Day on Saturday afternoon. The session was all K1's which is basically a load of gate starts over short distances, the format being 3 sets of 3 reps of starts, each set has reps going up quarter, half and three quarter lap, and each set goes up a gear.
Generally they all did pretty well, I had to get a little bit cranky at the end, as the drill usually finishes with a small gear quarter lap effort, and some of the lads mucked about during it, it was pretty funny, but at the same time, they're there to train and I had to make sure they did their efforts properly. Guys, if any of you are reading this, you can horse around between efforts, but you do your efforts at 100%, or you're wasting your time and mine.
In other news, Nathan's taking a bigger role in the DISC sessions now, he's looking after the enduro stream including programming for them, and is also doing more of that at Spin. I'm happy that this is happening, Nathan's almost finished his level 1 and he's ready to take more responsibility for that side of things.
And we had a time trial on Sunday, run by Blackburn and with CSV looking after part of it. I was the announcer, but didn't have much of a job to do except call riders to the start, which was ok for the CSV Open, but the combine part was a mess, no-one's numbers matched what was on the starting list and the on-the-day entries didn't fit anywhere. We need to stop the on-the-day entries altogether for TT's.
I'm glad I wasn't riding the CSV Open part of it - not because I don't like TT's (which is true!) but because the CSV guys just packed up and left with no results. WTF?! The results are up now, which is good, but at the time they just left. Not good enough. I don't know if Blackburn ended up getting the results done and having a presentation for the combine event because I had to get going, but they're not currently on the Blackburn website. It's not good enough these days. It's embarrasing to be a part of when this happens, and more importantly, keeps happening over and over.
But .. We did run a good session at DISC on Sunday afternoon, Nathan had the enduros doing handicap starts and then some brutal efforts while the sprinters did powerjumps and then chased the motorbike around and around. We all left well fried. Today I was at Blackburn again coaching the DUCCs but only three showed up, so instead of doing blocking practice, we did flying 200s and match sprints. The guys enjoyed that and learned a bit so it wasn't a waste of their time.
I did get a small bit of time to speak with Mal Sawford (CCCC president) about some inter-club stuff and in particular volunteer management, but we didn't get a chance to reach any conclusion, he had to race! At least the ideas are on the table. I still think that the northern combine model is worth trialing. Here's more about how they do it. Mal is skeptical about its effectiveness in our combine because he is of the opinion that the NC races require a lot less manpower to run, but I think it's worth a try. I guess that's up to the race committee people to sort out, but there is goodwill between the clubs and that's the main thing.
Not the men, the boys
Revolution is back (after the cancelled round this winter due to some sponsor pulling out at the last minute ...). If you haven't been to one, it's a track race night, at Melbourne Park (sometimes called Vodafone, or Hisense). It's like a world cup but all rolled into one evening, with, so far, an emphasis on sprint events (ace!). It's a bloody good night's entertainment if you're into track sprint events.
It's not strict UCI format, which can make for a more entertaining format at times (like the Summer Sprint Series isn't UCI format either). There's a keirin being run there, not unusual .. what's unusual is that this time, it'll be mixed.
Mixed. Girls and boys. Sprinters.
Hold on a minute, how does that work?
Elite female sprinters do flying 200's in low 11 seconds, elite men are breaking 10's (Hoy rode 9.8s in Manchester recently). So the women can't race the men, but they can race the boys. There's not a lot of depth in the female sprint ranks. At the recent UCI world cup there was 4 or 5 women who were competitive, the rest were a lot slower, so the women don't have a lot to race against. Until they race junior men, who are also doing low to mid 11s flying 200's. There's a bold thought (we do it at the SSS ... no gender seperation, grading on performance and we're not the only ones). So at Revolution 5, Anna Meares and co will be racing 17 boys in a Keirin.
Good on 'em.
Somewhat delayed, but I got some feedback about a racing incident I wrote about way back in 2007
Some of you who read this might remember that I wrote a blog entry a while back about racing at Crib Point, and how I mentioned to the commissaire at the race that if they had noticed and were planning to speak to a rider for a breach of the white line rule, I saw the incident and was prepared to back up any report by the follow car. It got a little ugly at the time as one of the rider's teammates/friends took offence and got a bit stroppy, but that was the last I heard of it. Until tonight!
Another one of the group (www.6am-ers.com) who is also a Blackburn member and a racer of some repute sent me a long and sarcastic email tonight which he must have spent a bit of time drafting (it was quite good, entertaining in a way and oddly flattering that he'd go to so much effort), which he Cc'd to his group's mailing list. I'm not going to publish it, but you can probably sign up to their site if you're interested, it's probably doing the rounds there on their forum and mailing list. I guess one of them stumbled onto this blog somehow and the tribe must stick together, even if the rider in question didn't get in any real trouble and it was just a reminder that the rules of racing apply to us all. Tom Leaper got his result for the 1:20 ITT at the Dougherty Tour last year binned for crossing the white line, riders I coach have been fined for doing it too. If I got caught doing it, I'd hope I'd have the grace to accept that I did something against the rules and I'd cop it sweet and learn from it. If anyone does it by accident and gets caught they get to learn from the experience. I don't quite know what makes this case different, except for one thing, it wasn't accidental, or at least, that's what the rider told me at the time and maybe that's why he got so worked up about it?
Perhaps a case of The Lady doth protest too much?
I suspect I'll get another reply to my reply to him, with hopefully less sarcasm and more explaining exactly why he set out to defend something that should have been accepted at the time as a slap on the wrist and then done with. I have nothing against the 6am-ers as a group, every one I've met has been a decent person and a keen cyclist, and one of them shares a house with me. I admire their enthusiasm and their culture, it's similar in some ways to what I've been trying to build with aboc from day 1 and I like them, if I'd known of their existance when I started racing, I'd probably have wanted to join up with them and if we race together again, I'd cheerfully form an alliance if in a break or chasing etc with them. That doesn't put individual riders wearing their colours above the rules we race by, and the person who wrote to me I would have expected to know that.