More than most of the 30-40 SKCC riders attacked the Alpine giants with the Ridewiser team to successfully reach all the summits. Is this more than ever before?
This kind of high quality training ‘tidal wave’ has no precedent in club training rides to date in my experience – normally over half of the registered peleton will retire before reaching all summits in the 3 days. But not this lot in 2014.
We offered a daily ride briefing, a fancy support driver in a big van, some fruit and water, a handful of on-road Ridewiser Instructors and an invitation to ALL SKCC member ability levels from A down to E grade to attend this year’s annual alpine assault in Bright.
Well – PRESTO!!!
There were riders doing it all this year – and like never before D and even E grade level cyclists were reaching the top of the climbs. You might say the people were a little crazy – climbing for over 3hrs, standing on the roadside in cheering squads, dropping back and pacing friends like they were protecting a Tour de France G.C. spot!
Riders were having such a great time, I think they forgot about how hard the hills were, and how hot the temperatures were too – it was fantastic weather.
Feedback and photos came pouring in, giving thanks for organising and supporting and just being there all day out on the climbs, but I don’t think it was about the support infrastructure at all. We’ve been doing this on-road training support stuff for over 10 years now, and you have to admit it when you take a look at the stats -> the lower the average rider ability of the group is, the higher the stakes are to try and finish, and the bigger the hearts and commitments become.
I’m afraid it’s really about the riders themselves that makes it all work out.
I say ‘afraid’ because anyone who knows the game of ‘road-training support’ knows this bottom line – the lower end C, D, E rider types are generally the hardest to manage.
They have the widest range of problems (from the wrong colored knicks to entirely unprogrammed Di2 ensembles); they can create the broadest field spreads (like a bunch detonation at the first sign of a rise into a full blown 2-hour ‘wait-window’ at the summit); and they can be the least predictable rider types (like a D graded guy cracking the hour on Buffalo to a totally exhausted lady lying beside her racing bike in the sticks and stones saying “I’m not going home until I see the view on top of it”?
However, they inspire you, impress the hell out of you, and sometimes nearly break your heart when they finally get there in the end too.
No good bike rider ever complained about being reminded of the hard times they once went through themselves to reach the big summits. We had one rider who pressed on to the top even though he had blown his previous year’s climbing time by over 30mins. Another girl climbing Hotham for the first time ever burst into tears at hearing there was just 2km to go – then laughed her head off later in the pub at thoughts of quitting the sport as soon as she got back to the hotel!
One of the other SKCC women on Hotham managed to commandier 2 of the 4 Ridewiser Instructors into her own personal climbing skills session for over 30km and then learned several new descending tips too – just specific to her!
We all had a ball on the alps, and were lucky again to have a super group of SKCC riders, and some very skilled and tireless support staff.
Special thanks to Lizzy McDizzy, Big Jamie Kelly, Andy Quickdraw McGrath and the charming Leanne Sutton-Crowe at the helm of the Ridewiser Support Team.
In the end, everyone knows that this was a special training experience, but it was also just another great edition of the annual SKCC Bright Alps Training Weekend.
Looking forward to seeing you again next year – on the alps!
SKCC Club PRO & Ridewiser Road-Support Team
“There’s no better cycling memories than the ones you have with everyone else!”
Check out the amazing set of photographs taken by Georgie Knight Alps Photographer and some riders on tour > Ridewiser-SKCC Bright Alps 2014 Facebook Photoset
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