Summer Season

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Summer Season

Postby Mooshy Mooshy Ridee Pushy » Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:02 am

I wanted to raise the question of why we race in winter in Australia. I fully understand the fact that we mirror the European season but why does this bind us? I have raised the question in the past but the above reason coupled with ‘so our pros can go over and race’ is about as close to a rational explanation as I can get.

I started to question the winter season having competed of and on for two decades in both MTB and road events and seeing continual growth of MTB, organised rides (Round the Bay in a Day etc etc) and the summer crits we see in most areas and yet the numbers (both participants and spectators) of road racing seems stagnant by comparison.

Two of the first benefits of a summer season that come into my mind include;
· The potential decrease of incidents and accidents due to better weather, visibility, road conditions and extended daylight hours, which would lead to;
· Increase in participation rates, with flow on effects for clubs, associations, retailers amongst the myriad of others who would directly or indirectly benefit

Understandably the calendar would need a reshuffle but I would think that would be a small price to pay for the potential benefits. It’s important for the governing associations to govern for the majority, that means 99% of the racing public that has a family, works, loves the sport and want to see healthy levels of safe participation – for the young ones starting out in particular. Having recently become a father I would hate to see my kids starting out training (let alone racing) in the conditions I rode in.
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by BNA » Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:16 am

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Postby mikesbytes » Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:16 am

Racing is all year around in Sydney
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Postby europa » Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:20 am

But we do race in summer - criteriums and track.

You haven't mentioned the effect of heat on long races - even Tassie has some moderately warm weather in Jan and Feb.

Athletes who are looking at international competition do need to tie their training into the major circuits.

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Postby toolonglegs » Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:29 pm

Summer is murder!!! bring on a the rain sleet and snow...Belgium here I come...might have something to do with the 30kilos wetsuit i am wearing.
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Postby Mooshy Mooshy Ridee Pushy » Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:44 pm

My original gripe is running the road season in winter, and I understand fully the need for riders aiming at OS competition but in all seriousness, what percentage of the racing population in Australia would that cover? And if this is truly the reason for a winter road season in Oz, I believe that for the sake of a VERY few, the sport is being held back from the possibility of some major growth.

We've seen the sales of bicycles eclipse the car in the past few years in this country, our Aussies OS are doing us all proud, so why is this not translating to increases in participation rates at the local Saturday club race?

The heat effect of longer races could easily be mitigated through sensible race times.

Moosh
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Postby MichaelB » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:00 pm

Mooshy Mooshy Ridee Pushy wrote:My original gripe is running the road season in winter, and I understand fully the need for riders aiming at OS competition but in all seriousness, what percentage of the racing population in Australia would that cover? And if this is truly the reason for a winter road season in Oz, I believe that for the sake of a VERY few, the sport is being held back from the possibility of some major growth.

We've seen the sales of bicycles eclipse the car in the past few years in this country, our Aussies OS are doing us all proud, so why is this not translating to increases in participation rates at the local Saturday club race?

The heat effect of longer races could easily be mitigated through sensible race times.

Moosh


Keh ?

People race/participate because they want to, not due to the season. I am sort of interested, but for a variety of reasons will not be "competing" but rather "participating" in community based events for enjoyment.

In my opinion, racing "only" in summer restricts the participation even more, and makes even less sense. If you don't comperte over winter, you still need to maintain some sort of fitness level, and that entails riding, so why not compete ?

It still gets cold & wet OS at times - just look at some of the Paris-Roubaix races

I ride because I enjoy it, and at the moment, if I want to ride in winter, I rug up and pray for no rain.

Oh well, each to their own 8)
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Postby Mooshy Mooshy Ridee Pushy » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:48 pm

Perhaps my original post is a tad misunderstood as it seems that some of the readers don't/haven't raced before. In most smaller clubs, ie. many out of the major metro areas the ROAD racing season is in winter. Many clubs have moved to introducing criterium races during the summer months and these in my experience have been growing in numbers. If you frequent club races over the season you will see a direct correlation between weather and volume of participants (amongst other things), just as you see group bunch rides, running groups, and pretty much every other activity performed outside.
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Postby MichaelB » Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:17 pm

Mooshy Mooshy Ridee Pushy wrote:Perhaps my original post is a tad misunderstood as it seems that some of the readers don't/haven't raced before. In most smaller clubs, ie. many out of the major metro areas the ROAD racing season is in winter. Many clubs have moved to introducing criterium races during the summer months and these in my experience have been growing in numbers. If you frequent club races over the season you will see a direct correlation between weather and volume of participants (amongst other things), just as you see group bunch rides, running groups, and pretty much every other activity performed outside.


And ?

Longer races in hotter weather - umm, no thanks. Hence why the ROAD season is in winter. Sometimes, the weather sucks, but so does life.

From what I can understand with your post, the Australian season is tailored to suit the weather, and I think this is common sense.
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Postby Mooshy Mooshy Ridee Pushy » Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:47 pm

MichaelB, the road season is situated on the calendar where it is due to mirroring the Euro season, it has nothing to do with weather. My concern is not with life or weather sucking but the betterment of the sport in Australia, including the safety of its participants.
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Postby LuckyPierre » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:22 pm

Mooshy Mooshy Ridee Pushy wrote: ... the road season is situated on the calendar where it is due to mirroring the Euro season, it has nothing to do with weather ...

I'm happy to confirm this within my club, but I don't think that your statement is going to hold up. In Canberra, we (Canberra Cycling Club, ACT Vets and Vikings Cycling Club) have summer and winter seasons, with road racing in both. During winter, we drop the track and criterium evening series because the days are too short - it's got nothing to do with what's happening in Europe at the same time. For our road racing, we deal with the weather by racing in the afternoon during winter and morning during summer. Again, that's due to the weather - what's happening in Europe at the time has got nothing to do with it.
On a broader level, Australia's big road races (and participation events for that matter) are in summer - again, that's not mirroring the European season.
That said
Mooshy Mooshy Ridee Pushy wrote:If you frequent club races over the season you will see a direct correlation between weather and volume of participants (amongst other things), just as you see with [sic] group bunch rides, running groups, and pretty much every other activity performed outside.

I can't disagree with that - that's just normal behaviour. But, both heat and a lack of it have an impact - you should have heard the whinging before the start of our race at Honeysuckle Creek the other week! In our defence, we were at an altitude of about 1100 metres, with snow in the car park at the time.

I think that increasing restrictions on road racing are a bigger threat to increasing participation than the weather. The ACT Vets work very hard to maintain their relationships with the Police and roads authorities in both the ACT and NSW, but are finding it increasingly difficult to comply with increasing regulation (particularly in NSW). We are lucky that the Club membership (in reality its leadership group) is still strong enough to to so. There was a thinly veiled lament from members of the other clubs in a cross-club forum recently hoping that we (the Vets) will re-affiliate with Cycling Australia and participate in 'open' events - but the veil barely disguised an under-current of hoping that we re-affilaite with them and organise their racing programs.
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Postby Kalgrm » Thu Aug 16, 2007 10:16 pm

..... finding it increasingly difficult to comply with increasing regulation (particularly in NSW).

What regulations are creeping in? I am not up with the NSW rule makers, so I'd like to hear about this.

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Postby mikesbytes » Thu Aug 16, 2007 10:35 pm

Kalgrm wrote:
..... finding it increasingly difficult to comply with increasing regulation (particularly in NSW).

What regulations are creeping in? I am not up with the NSW rule makers, so I'd like to hear about this.

Cheers,
Graeme


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Postby Mooshy Mooshy Ridee Pushy » Fri Aug 17, 2007 9:36 am

LuckyPierre, I think that situation you described with the Vets and regular clubs plays itself out a fair bit. In my experience Vet clubs are generally very good at organising themselves and have excellent levels of communication with all stakeholders.

The 'traditional' road season in Oz is May to Sept or Oct depending where you are, and by road season I'm excluding crits. I'm yet to find a club racing calendar that holds regular (ie. weekly) road races (not crits) in summer. If anyone has any leads please shoot them my way, 'cause I'm moving there :wink:
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Postby LuckyPierre » Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:11 am

Mooshy Mooshy Ridee Pushy wrote: The 'traditional' road season in Oz is May to Sept or Oct depending where you are, and by road season I'm excluding crits. I'm yet to find a club racing calendar that holds regular (ie. weekly) road races (not crits) in summer. If anyone has any leads please shoot them my way, 'cause I'm moving there :wink:

I was going to triumphantly shoot www.actvets.cc your way and say: "Just follow the links to the Events page". But, if I did that you would equally triumphantly claim: "See, I told you so!" That's because the early part of our summer program (the November - December part of summer is published now and the 2008 part will be published later in the year) is dominated by crits. Why? Because that period is also the most active in 'non-Club' terms - we have Fitz's Challenge, the Hartley Challenge, the Tour de Femme, the Brindabella Classic ... And, that's just the local stuff. Don't forget the 'Gong Ride (NSW), Round the Bay (Vic) and TdU (SA). Even us organised oldies cop out sometimes - crits don't need as many marshals, lead / tail cars etc. and, many of us want to do the 'big' events too. Looking back to last year's program, we did a road race nearly every week during the January - March period - but there were a couple of longer crits included in the weekend road program.
That's on top of our regular Tuesday evening crit program and our Thursday evening track program. And we aren't the only Club in Canberra, after all.
Hopefully, I'll see you here soon. :wink:
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Postby MichaelB » Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:56 am

Mooshy Mooshy Ridee Pushy wrote: I'm yet to find a club racing calendar that holds regular (ie. weekly) road races (not crits) in summer. If anyone has any leads please shoot them my way, 'cause I'm moving there :wink:


The VLCC (Veterans & Ladies CC) holds weekly races at the monet. They consist of 10km loops near Outer harbour and the distance depends on the cataegory. Typically 4 - 5 laps.

They also have road races with other clubs as well.
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Postby Mooshy Mooshy Ridee Pushy » Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:19 am

MichaelB wrote:
Mooshy Mooshy Ridee Pushy wrote: I'm yet to find a club racing calendar that holds regular (ie. weekly) road races (not crits) in summer. If anyone has any leads please shoot them my way, 'cause I'm moving there :wink:


The VLCC (Veterans & Ladies CC) holds weekly races at the monet. They consist of 10km loops near Outer harbour and the distance depends on the cataegory. Typically 4 - 5 laps.

They also have road races with other clubs as well.


Had a quick squiz, looks like a great, well balanced calender with lots of scratch races and importantly - sensible start times. Looks like I'm moving..
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