Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

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John D
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Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by John D » Thu Oct 08, 2015 8:01 pm

If you grew up in the hair-metal days of the 1980s you will get the joke in the subject line. The rest of you can JFGI. Anyhow....

In light of this week's crash, a number of us have been hashing over the merits (or stupidity) of sprinting along Cedar Hill X-Road on Tuesdays during the winter....in the dark, often in the rain and/or with frost, and in an area where there are lots of deer, dog walkers, and more than the occasional car.

My gut instinct is that it's just dumb (certainly not worth someone else getting hurt), and that we should just ban it during the winter - the same way we have an unwritten rule to not ride Blenkinsop on frosty, dark, winter Fridays.

Anyhow, that's my two cents worth, so bring it on....

J.
"Talk - Action = Zero" - Joe Keithley

trevor
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by trevor » Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:57 am

Great post John and a much needed conversation for us all to have.
My thoughts in order of importance...
First, we really need to be mindful that when we are at the front we are riding with the group in our hands. Whether it's deer, cars, peacocks, raccoons, walkers, other riders, obstructions on the route, yellow lights, turns, the delicate space between making a left turn before an approaching car closes the gap...the lead rider/s MUST cool the jets of the group and err on the side of caution. It is your most important responsibility. MUCH more important than driving the pace or getting in a workout.
Second, everyone in the group needs to be aware of the ebb and flow of the ride. Don't be like Froomy and chew on your stem. Aero is great, but not at the expense of not knowing your surroundings. Have a glance up the road. On your laps of the box have a go at soaking in the terrain and remember any obstructions for your next lap. Know who pulls off the front of the paceline sharply or in contrast, who hits the pedals and hangs you out to dry. And most importantly, no sudden movements. Any "close call" I've had over the past few years on the bike was salvaged because no one jammed the brakes or swerved suddenly. Everyone is aware of their surroundings and what a sudden reaction could do to the group. Be smooth.
And third, lights. Please don't buy a light "to be seen". Buy a light "to see". In fact, TS should post a minimum lumen demand on the website and send riders home if they don't oblige.
I don't want to see a ban on the sprints. I think if we try our best to ride by these 3 points, we have a pretty good chance of staying upright.
Cheers,
Trevor

Marc
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by Marc » Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:34 am

Subectively, I think there's a higher population of deer this year compared to previous years. I also think that the woods around UVic likely have a higher density of deer than other points around the Henderson loop. Maybe a happy middle ground instead of banning the sprints is to pick a different end point less likely to have deer dart out? Maybe by Uplands school?

owen
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by owen » Fri Oct 09, 2015 10:03 am

I haven't been out lately because I'm a big wimp, I don't like riding in the dark nor the rain. Hopefully I find the will to HTFU and overcome my wimpyness, but after being wiped out by someone who couldn't hold their line in the VCX start on Wednesday, it makes me even more nervous.

That said, I think taking the sprint away from A's and B1's is silly... everyone there is a decent bike handler, knows the route, and the numbers are smaller. Shit happens and risks can be mitigated somewhat.

For B2's and C's, we could just use the climb up Henderson as a solid, steady 90sec-2min vo2max effort every lap. The most watts I've ever put down on a Tuesday was where someone much stronger than I was on the front and hammered from the corner to the top of the hill, I had no desire to sprint after just trying to hold a wheel.

Everyone comfortable with the sprint can go up to B1, everyone not can go B2. Everyone still gets some good strong efforts in. Everything else trevor said is very true and important sprinting or not.

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leftcoaster
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by leftcoaster » Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:19 pm

I tend to avoid the Tuesday ride in the winter because the crosswalks entering and leaving Cedar Hill X Road can be slick and I have seen a couple of accidents there (Alan), and Cedar Hill X Road just off Henderson is dark with woods on both sides of the road (where Tuesday's accident occured). We used to do the Tuesday ride at UVic on the ring road until the rabbits became too numerous. Maybe we should re-visit that idea - no sharp corners, less traffic, and better lighting.

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John D
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by John D » Sun Oct 11, 2015 12:31 pm

We used to do the Tuesday ride at UVic on the ring road until the rabbits became too numerous. Maybe we should re-visit that idea - no sharp corners, less traffic, and better lighting.
Good point. It's certainly a rabbit-free zone these days, althought there are still deer to contend with. On the flip side, however, there is no oncoming traffic and two lanes for "evasive manoeuvres", if necessary. The buses don't really become very frequent until close to 7:00, either.
"Talk - Action = Zero" - Joe Keithley

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JohnT
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by JohnT » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:46 pm

I think we're too big for the ring road. I've been trying to come up with a better idea, and can't. Some suggestions: Maybe sprinting to one of the cross-walks on Henderson. But, that means it could be fast and furious at the merge/yield at the top of the short climb. Short of not sprinting, something that helps is to have a commitment from whoever finds themselves leading out at the afore-mentioned yield, to really run a lead out. Then the sprint becomes a single line of survivors, which is safer. We'd have to do a proper steady-up afterward, which is also good, creating more of a interval format than we tend to have these days.

I drove Cedar Hill X between the university and rec center this evening and two deer ram across in front of me (at two separate spots). Once passed I saw a car version of what it sounds like happened last week. One driver, seeing the deer, drove at about 5 km/hr with four-way flashers. The car behind decided that was too much and pulled out to pass, so they were side by side heading into deer. I hope they killed a few....... Ah! A better idea after all!

mfarnham
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by mfarnham » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:08 am

Sprinting on Henderson makes me nervous. We're not always good about yielding to traffic on Foul Bay, which has the right of way. There's no bike lane at the merge point to claim is "our lane" and we don't always stay in bike lanes anyway. I think competitive juices could make our merge etiquette worse.

The nice thing about Cedar Hill X is that it's very wide and pretty empty (more so than Henderson). Forests and lighting are a problem, though with better headlights we might be able to keep deer risk down more than we have been.

I don't see an easy answer, though some common sense Winter reminders would probably help. Be less aggressive when it's wet. It's a bad idea to ramp up the speed (or start the sprint) before the corner (slick paint on the crosswalk turning from Henderson onto CHX). Perhaps we should have a rule that any deer that looks vaguely threatening to the group should prompt a yell of "Neutral!" Then sprint on the next lap. Those who ignore the call are to be shunned and scorned. ;)

No sprint seems like an unhappy solution and maybe difficult to enforce. Some no sprint groups might be good for those who'd rather not contend with falling back from a feisty bunch coming onto CHX.

Martin

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David Hill
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by David Hill » Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:01 pm

I think it makes sense to continue to have our "recreational" (i.e., not for money or glory) sprint along Cedar Hill X-road, with some suggested safety caveats:

1) we don't overtake cars, unless in emergency. If we see a car ahead, we yell "car up", and control our speed accordingly. If they're stopped, it's probably for a good reason. IF they're going painfully slow, remember that we're in Oak Bay, or perhaps they're looking for an address, or - maybe - there is a pack of killer deer sauntering past. In any event, there's no good reason to swarm a car, causing panic and fear in the driver, and a general feeling of pissed-off-ness at the spandex class

2) We don't start our sprint until we've cleared the corner, and can see that the roadway is clear. This means that ramping up the sprint 3/4 of the way up Henderson will have to wait, and there may be more people still "in" the sprint. The lead riders will be able to see that the roadway is clear and the rest of the group can also look ahead and start moving accordingly. It's good practice to look further ahead than the wheel in front of you, and we may have a safer but still fun and exciting sprint.

And one add-on:

3) Please, front riders (and those following), call "clear" on the corner heading onto Cadboro Bay Rd. It's a dicey corner at best, and I would love it if all the riders heading into the corner had a sense of whether there's a car or truck coming up the hill before we head into the corner. (The same could go for any corner, but that one for some reason is particularly nasty)


And of course LIGHTS, front and back, with the front ones bright enough that you can see the road!

I think with these common sense adjustments, we can enjoy all the fun and fitness of a Tuesday speed ride...

bikehart
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by bikehart » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:03 pm

I like big groups but in the dark smaller is safer. think 8-10 not 14-18 this time of year....

Hugh

Andrew
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by Andrew » Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:07 am

I think a no sprint option for those in non race winter mode is a great idea, likely in B-2 and on.
The A's and B's are still racing cross and getting ready for the first Caleb in March thereafter, so many A's want to sprint all winter. Waiting until the straight makes a lot of sense in winter.
The rest of the A/B-1 groups can quickly and safely trail up and catch back on.
We need to wait longer for everybody to get back on as this is often no more than a pause.
I don't think that UVic is safer and we may wear out our welcome being there twice a week.
There is no safer place to sprint than Cedar Hill X Road, it is long wide and straight.
Never sprint into danger or an uncertain situation. Never pass a slowing or stopped car. The defUlt is to neutralize.
Everybody needs good lights, good enough to see in the dark far enough ahead to stop, turn, avoid at 50-60kmh. This is essential.
Andrew

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John D
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by John D » Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:55 pm

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on this thread. The sense I'm getting that while most people do not want to ban the Tuesday spring along Cedar Hill X-Road during the dark winter months, there is also consensus that we need to be more careful about how we sprint.

I would therefore propose that we adopt the suggestion of not starting the winter sprint until after the right hand turn onto Cedar Hill X-Road. At that point, if the people on the front of the group call clear, then the sprint can begin. If there are either cars or deer visible, however, the sprint will be neutralized. The group can then decide whether to sprint on the next lap instead.

I would STRONGLY encourage everyone to take a good look at their winter lights and see if they are really up to the task at hand. Specifically, considering the conditions we ride in, and the prevalence of deer along the routes, we all need lights that do more than just let us be seen by cars. As Ritchie put last week, we don't need "Do You See Me?" lights, we need "Show Me What's Out There" lights.

Cheers,
John
"Talk - Action = Zero" - Joe Keithley

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roadflasj
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by roadflasj » Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:22 pm

No excuses for a bright light. Combining my 480 lumen MEC model with this one, http://www.ebay.ca/itm/171757468197?_tr ... EBIDX%3AIT. About a month to deliver but around $25 shipped.
Kenji Jackson

Andrew
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by Andrew » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:23 pm

I ordered two of the first lot here and four of the second. If you would like a set let me know. They should be here in the next 1-2 weeks.

http://www.dx.com/p/y-002-5-x-cree-xm-l ... iCW00uArLQ

http://www.dx.com/p/t6-assault-crown-wa ... iCXDEuArLQ

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Rolf
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by Rolf » Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:48 am

PM sent, Andrew.

Andrew
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by Andrew » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:16 am

Quite a few people wanting lights. Post up here and I will send in a group order tonight. Most people are leaning to the 2500 lumen version which I have not tried yet but should be the same as the others (and will likely warm the riders riding infront and behind you).

Andrew
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by Andrew » Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:42 am

order done

POC
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by POC » Sun Oct 18, 2015 2:05 pm

I would like one of these. Can I please be added to the list.
POC.

Andrew
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by Andrew » Tue Oct 20, 2015 9:42 pm

Got you POC

Greg F
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Re: Sprinting in the dark, dark, dark, dark, dark....

Post by Greg F » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:06 pm

Can I join the light order (or am I too late)? Thanks!

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