Archives for November 2013

All the best for Taupo and Huka!

This weekend Taupo hosts Taupo and Huka Cycle challenges and Department of Cycling have a large contingent taking part. The road to the Great Lake is already full of cars with bikes mounted on the boot/roof/towbar racks with drivers and passengers full of anticipation for a great day of cycling.

With many months of saddle time in preparation finely tuned bodies are ready to sit in the peloton and take on the single track. They are ready!

All the best to our DoC crew, friends and family. We are thinking of you.

For those driving down, just think, our man Ron Skelton is on his 6th of 8 laps of the course with each one taking in 1308m of climbing. Most of you will only take that on once. Easy when you put it like that isn’t it.

Also best of luck to Coach Darrall Castle (The Colonel) who will start his 320km journey at 1am in the morning, it’s thanks to him we have been riding the courses we have over the last 12 weeks.

Have a great weekend and we look forward to hearing all about it on your return.

Rule #5!

Thursday Race report 21st November

At the bottom of this report there are some important notes to be aware of before you next race!!

Wow!  What a great night for it.  Looking out of the shop today I could see rain and it concerned me for about a second until I applied rule #9.  Luckily it cleared up to be a fine night with a hint of a an easterly breeze.
I made it up there just after the briefing in time to see the first group leave (after Harvey’s head start obviously) before heading out on a short, fast warm up. It was great to see so many people out on the warm up circuit, some chatting as they rode side by side and others waving as they rode past each other.  It struck me how friendly this race really is!
Oldest Harvey and Youngest Benjamin.

Oldest Harvey and Youngest Benjamin.

I was in break today which had been set according to my time on the individual TT last week and we were second to last to leave, 21 minutes after the first group to go.  As we gathered at the start line I noticed a few new faces in the group and my nerves started to show themselves.
Catherine and Rochelle, our starters, kept everyone in order until it was time to start and when we we’re let off the and the pace was on instantly.  I thought to myself that if this kept up I would be off the back before we even hit the first hill;-( luckily thought he pace settled a little and we got into our work.  It was great to have someone in our group who took charge.  It started out there were 3 people giving instruction (including me) but soon it was clear Alistair (I think that was his name) had the loudest voice and seemed to have more control of the situation so we left it to him.  Great job by the way, thank you.
Over the first climb we all stuck together with one dropping off the group just before the last lip to the “Postance Corner” (corner Tawa and Hanham) and the work carried on well all the way down the back straight.   We rounded the corner back onto access which was a little tight but something we will all need to get used to this season as they have  added a path on the left.  Safely negotiated we passed the start finish ending our first lap Ina time of 17minutes.  Wowzer, no wonder the legs were hurting.
Starting the second long incline one rider (dedicated Cyclist) jumped off the front.  This seems a bit early to me to take a punt and the others seemed to agree as the call came from the back (Alistair again) “let him go” which was a blessing to hear as I couldn’t have jumped the gap, even if I tried.
It wasn’t long after this at the start of the second incline, after Pomona, that my body (and mind) decided they had enough and I let the bunch go.   I felt terrible for letting them go but tried to enjoy the rest of the ride.  “UP” I heard from behind which was the familiar call of Morgan Smith coming through and letting me know to jump on his wheel for a tow, which I did until the legs couldn’t even handle that.  (Really, I think my mind had given up)
Dragging my butt up the hill I rounded Postance corner for the last time with relief knowing the rest was down hill.  I tried to think about my breathing and stuck my head down to keep out of the wind while I kept my legs pumping, passing a few riders and greeting (grunting) as I went past.  It was half way down the back straight that the first part of scratch caught me.  Steve Furminger, an absolute machine on the bike, tapped my back as he went past but I don’t think he realised how slow I was actually moving because I got a bit of a boost from the push.
3/4 down the back, the next part of scratch caught me along with Andrew Fletcher, one of my fellow droppees from break and this looked like a speed I might be able to hold on to so I jumped on the back of the three riders.  Another 300m and I saw second wheel looking around.  I glanced back and gave the “pull the throttle” sign and we jumped.  Round the last corner, I could see Benjamin, Jeff and one other rider ahead.   “ON YOUR RIGHT” I shouted as I pounced on the pedals to pass the riders and push for the finish line.
I finished about 45 seconds behind the rest of break which I wasn’t displeased about considering how bad I felt on the last climb.  A small loop warm down off the main road was awesome as we got to see so many riders from other groups and have a. Quick yarn and tell tail of the ride we had just done.

Jim Denton Crossing the line in first place

Top ten will be posted soon.
Later, a beer and chippies at The Fireplace and more tails added to the whole experience .
All in all a great ride, all be it not my best, an awesome night and the best bunch of people out on the road.  Thank you to the team of volunteers and the Thursday race sub committee for making it all happen.
Looking forward to next week and hopefully able to hang on to the bunch for a little longer;-)

Some things to point out as part of my official capacity as race director.

1- safety is foremost priority of the Thursday race crew and we were informed of a potentially unsafe helmet in the race tonight.  In this race you are responsible for your own equipment and making sure it is safe and road worthy.
The plastic covering on the outside of the helmet is there to allow the helmet to slide on the Tarmac if, god forbid, you fall off and hit your head.  If it were bare polystyrene the rough chip would grip the helmet and cause neck injury along with any other injuries that may be sustained.  Please check your equipment and don’t be upset if you are pulled aside and asked to make your equipment safe before you race.
2- before the race started a concern was brought forward about the location of the start finish line and it’s proximity to the last corner.  The concern was that too many people may try to get good position at the corner and forget about safety as the finish was so close.
This was monitored tonight by Marshall’s and bystanders and feedback will be taken.  We did mention that this would be trialled for 2 races and then a decision will be made about the location from there.
Thank you everyone for your feedback and we are happy to hear any other comments you may have.  You are more than welcome to email me at
3- Warm down area.  Once finished traffic was directed into a side street.  You are asked to make your way round the the warm down loop then u-turn before you reach access again.  Make your way back round the loop to where you entered then you can carry on on access opposite race finish traffic.  See diagram below.
Warm down map
4- Race Groups.  Race officials put the groups together on average speed of the riders.  This is worked on a few pieces of information but mainly from the individual TT.
It is a race and you will be placed in a group to make the group work well together to get to the finish first.   If you would prefer to be in another group the next race there are forms you can fill out and hand in to officials to deliberate for the next week. Your race group will not be adjusted on the night unless there are extreme circumstances.    This does not include the fact that you are using the race as a light training ride and would prefer and easier group.
An example of asking to be changed through filling out the form would be  “I was dropped from break on the first hill and spent most of the rest of the race by myself so would prefer a slower start.”  or   “I felt I was dropping the bunch and putting it under pressure for the ride and would like to try the faster bunch”
Your bunch may be changed by officials because they notice you would work better in a different bunch.
The officials are there as volunteers to make it an enjoyable ride so lets make it as enjoyable as possible for them please.

Sunday Rides 24th November 2013

1 Ride fits all

Phase 1 – 98km

Triangle, Red Hills, Old North, Riverhead Coatesville, Ridge, Obrien, Dairy Flat Hwy, Kahikatea Flats, Peak, Taylor, Waikaukau, Old North, Taupaki, Waitakere, tunnel, Swanson Home.

Alan will be doing normal 5okm if anyone wants a shorter ride.

Pre Taupo / Huka Challenge Briefing

Monday 25th November 2013
Avantiplus Waitakere

November is upon us already and that means Taupo / Huka Time!!!

Department of Cycling are once again supporting its members in both the challenges this year.

  • Bottle drop for the road race
  • Post race BBQ and refreshments for both races
  • Designated area and Marquee on the green for post race recovery.

All of these require a ticket on the day so must be pre-paid.

  • Bottle drop $20
  • BBQ and refreshments $20


You will also have the opportunity to pay for your next years membership.  If you pay by this day you will go into a draw for a DoC T-shirt.



Tips for first Thursday Race

Tonight is the first full race night of the Department of Cycling Thursday Night Race series and being the first for the season also means it’s a first race for a lot of riders. (Last season was my first racing in a bunch ever)

Here are some tips that I got from last season.

1. Be safe.
Like the Rules of Cycling, tip number 1 is the one to rule them all.
If you don’t think a pass is safe for you or another person then don’t make the pass. If you need to cross the centre line to make a pass, find find another option (riders will be disqualified for crossing centre line)
Let riders around you know what you are doing, if you need to pull over or slow down shout out what you are doing, if everyone knows there will be no issues.
Normal bunch riding signals apply so if you are on the front it is your responsibility to point dangers out to the rest, if you are at the back of the bunch call out cars or cyclists passing. If you are in the middle it is your responsibility to pass the message forward or back.

20131121-003454.jpg2. Enjoy the ride
Yes, it is a race but it’s also meant to be a fun race. Enjoy the experience. I found riding in the bunch exhilarating as we were all working as a team and the noise coming from a group of bikes riding at speed was was amazing. A little nerving to begin with but once you are used to it you will love it

3. Call out to slower riders
If you are lucky enough to be flying along in a bunch and happen to be on the front as you are catching slower riders on the course call out and let them know. Thiings like “On your right” or “rider up” and please be loud. There is nothing more frightening (especially to a young inexperienced rider) than a massive group of cyclists rushing passed and being caught off guard.

4. Listen to instruction
Listen to Marshall’s and organizers. They are all volunteers and there to make it a good, safe nights cycling. If they give you a group to go in there is a reason for it so go in that group. (There will be opportunity to fill in a request for the next race to change groups). If a Marshall tells you to stop….. you STOP. They are there for yours and others safety.

5. Watch and learn how the bunch works
After about 30 seconds of riding the bunch normally ‘gets organised’. This means the start of a pace-line. Click here for some great pace-line tips20131121-003740.jpg

Normally there is at least one experienced person in the bunch who will voice some direction. Here are a few terms to listen out for
“Roll off the front” – pull off the front into the slower side of the pace line. This will only be directed to front of the line so if you are struggling and need to
“Hold your line” – if you are in the bunch swerving or moving off line without signalling this is directed at you. Remember if riders are coming past you at pace there could be more behind so look before you shift.
“Keep it steady” if you have just been to the front and you hear this it meant you may have pushed a little too hard on the front. The aim of the bunch is to work together to stay away from the bunch behind and hopefully catch the bunch in front and working together well will make this happen. Boosting off the front starts to string your bunch out and therefore not work well together.
Last season I learned to stay with the bunch and work hard until the last quarter of the race then put pressure in to try and get a smaller group working faster to the end.

6. Go to the pub!
Stop in at the Fireplace afterwards to discuss your race. Not only will you enjoy bragging to everyone about your amazing race but you will get some great advice from some really experienced riders. This will really help for your next race.
As I said before, last year was my first racing on a bike and I loved every second of it. This is all thanks to the organisers and competitors in this fantastic event. Looking forward to race 1 of 2013/2014 season!