Another successful novice program

The novice racing program - particularly in spring - is aimed at getting people safely into the criterium races that go on all summer long. At the Stromlo criterium circuit there is racing 3 nights a week (Tues for Vets, Wed for Canberra Cycling Club and Thurs for the Vikings “Super” Crits). If you are vets-eligible and eager you could race all three nights almost every week of summer.

The first and most critical part of the novice class is getting people comfortable and safe with riding in a bunch. The 9-week series (there were enough students to have 2 sessions per week) spent 6 weeks just practicing bunch riding skills. The final 3 weeks were spent looking at racing drills, racing skills and we concluded with a short race on the circuit.
Students made good progress. A few people - all in the Tuesday bunch for some reason - dropped out along the way, but the rest looked quite bunch ready by the end. Vikings Friday ride (The Norman) accepted them into its ranks for the final few weeks as well - more practice!

Sure, each of these people could have gleaned the same knowledge if they’d started bunch riding and racing without the course. I think it would probably take most of them a year or more to get up to the same level that they got in just 2 months working together. Each session saw several experienced Vikings members come along to help out.
I did a similar program for novice track racers when I was 14 years old and wanted to race on the velodrome. That class was about half teens and about half adults.

I encourage everyone who is interested in joining a bunch; social, training or competitive to seek out their local clubs for something similar. It is a great way to short-cut the steep learning curves, make friends and have some fun too.