In your second paragraph I think you've absolutely nailed the dilemma that folk at the top end of tempo have, and consequently a major barrier to folk moving to the fast group.
There should be no stigma associated with missing spells (particularly late on in a ride), or indeed taking a spell noticeably easier than preceding ones.
Group leaders can manage fast and steady group speeds by getting the strongest riders to do longer (but not harder) spells on the front, and newer/slower fast group riders to keep their turns short so that they eke out there energy reserves optimally to survive (and enjoy!) the ride.
With regard to sharing fast group leadership round more, the plan would be to get 4-6 folk who can do it, and alternating from week to week and as per folk are available as the other groups do. I've spoken to several folk about this (and have a few others in mind!).
The following user(s) said Thank You: Andrew Scobie (Scoobs)
Graeme - I agree with your assessment of the issues and suggestions to fix them. I know it's easier said than done though, as there always seems to be a reluctance to join a faster group among faster tempo riders, and I include myself in that.
Speaking from my own perspective, it's a bit chicken and egg, because I wouldn't join a fast group that only had 4 or 5 of the fastest riders. However, if there were 10 riders, half of whom are about the same ability as me, I'd be happy to join.
It's a difficult one to resolve because I'd want the fast group to slow down a touch, but that's not fair on the fastest riders who also want a challenge. Maybe a greater acceptance of slower fast group riders not taking spells on the front in the second half of rides would help.
On the point of ride leaders, it would be great if that could be shared around more. All the ride leaders make a great commitment and usually don't get the thanks they deserve (so - thank you!). But I'd be among the first to say I couldn't make that commitment and in any case don't have the level of experience needed.
One thing I think we could do better as a group is making clear decisions before we start riding about how the group is splitting up, who is going in which group, and if necessary any route alterations.
There's been a bit of an issue of late with big tempo groups and no fast group.
Tempo groups have, on occasion, be quite large, and varied in ability - which has lead to splitting of groups for a few weeks now
Furthermore, because we don't have numbers for a fast group (and probably also because I've been under the weather Jan-March and away from weekend rides), we've not had a fast group and instead had fast group riders joining tempo - but perhaps being a bit too nippy at times.
These factors have lead to some discontent - and last weekend we had a mini-pileup where group size was probably a contributory factor
The tempo / fast group leaders are looking to remedy these wee issues.
I'm keen to get a fast group going again - but this relies on getting together a sufficiently large nucleus of regularly attending folk who are happy to ride at 19-20+ mph for 60-70 miles each weekend. It also relies upon getting some more folk to help me out with fast group duties (i'm a busy man these days with the recent arrival of baby no 2, and can't guarantee i'll be around every weekend). A lot of folk who ride tempo presently would be more than capable of moving up to a fast group (but equally i realise that folks might not want that kind of intensity for their saturday rides - so prefer to stay tempo -which is also cool).
Tempo groups are getting pretty big too (there were over 25 tempo folk last weekend) - as a consequence, unless lots of folk are happy to move to a fast group - then it looks to me like multiple tempo groups might be required... (ideally doing different routes so there isn't the potential for them to merge if one group catches the other during the route).
What do tempo and would be fast group riders think of these ideas?
Who’d be happy to come out with a fast group (i.e will there be sufficient numbers for this) – and would anyone else (beyond Chris P and I) fancy leading these rides?
Are folks happy to split the tempo rides when numbers exceed a certain limit?
Any other ideas?
For this coming weekend I’m thinking it’s highly likely there’ll be a big tempo group again and no fast group.
As such myself and or Chris P would be happy to take the faster half of tempo on a separate route. (prob c. 65 miles at c.19mph av – if that suits?)
During that, and also during the other tempo ride (which Christina is due to lead), it’d be great if folk spoke among themselves and to group leaders about what we want to do with tempo/fast groups over the coming summer months.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Christine Fischer, Douglas Telfer, Nik Arestis, David Anthony, Paul Milligan