road racing information
MMBCC will hold a road race every Thursday from October to March (with a couple of weeks off over Christmas). Most races will be run as Handicap races, so no matter how much you ride, or what you ride, we’ll put you in a group to match your fitness and skill levels and give you a chance to win.
There will also be a few Graded Scratch races. You will be sorted into a bunch (or grade) to suit your ability. Each separate grade will be a mass start and the first one back from that grade is the winner. (Remember, you can only race against the group you started with. If you get dropped by your grade, you can’t join another bunch to catch up again.)
There are also Time Trials (both Individual and Team) which are races against the clock. You’ll either race on your own or with a small team; the best time wins.
Registration at the start of each race will open at 5.30pm; all races start at 6pm! (Unless otherwise stated on the calendar.)
To make sure races start on time, you must enter with the handicapper, John Eisner, by 8pm on the Wednesday before the race. Enter via SMS on 0428 503 437. Make sure you include your name, in case you’re not yet in his phone already. This must be completed by 8pm on the Wednesday before the race or you won’t get a start!
Entry for these races is $5 for Seniors, $2 for Juniors.
For insurance reasons, our races are only open to paid-up Cycling Australia members of the MMBCC or to riders who purchase a CA Day License for $40 or a 3-Race Permit for $55. Members of other Cycling Australia affiliated clubs are also welcome to enter but must have a valid membership card with them.
Beware! You must hold a current CA membership card. You must present your card (or print out of the online receipt) to get a start in any of the January races. No card - no start!
NB: Your CA membership must be a RACE membership... a RIDE membership is NOT valid for racing.
All members who race will be rostered onto Race Duty at some stage. This means either you need to find someone to volunteer (to be a corner marshal, take entries, be a finish marshal, drive a safety car, etc.) OR you need to do the duty yourself! If you are rostered on for duty, it’s YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to organise a volunteer or to do the duty!
This way, everyone in the club does their share of the necessary work involved in holding our races and keeping everyone safe.
Please look ahead at the roster so you are ready to take all the gear at the end of the race the week prior to your week of duty if you are the person listed as in charge
There are usually three names for each race. If your name is first, YOU are in charge of getting the club trailer to the start and making sure all the roles on the checklist are covered for the race. If you organise a replacement marshal so you can race, you still need to take a few minutes to make sure we have enough volunteers to cover all the tasks necessary and that your 'replacement' understands what's invovled.
Here's a brief (ish) rundown on what to do:
- Get the road race trailer to the race start. It's stored inside the club's shipping container behind the Performing Arts Centre at Mansfield Secondary College. And it's locked! Call Wil on 0417 596 288 or Bruce on 0419 533 120 to get the code for the key safe on the outside of the container, so you can open it.
- Within the trailer, in box 1 you'll find the blue satchel with all the Info Sheets.
- The main one for the Chief Marshal is the one with a big 'M' in the corner. This is the main marshal checklist. Read it and follow the instructions;
- Each course has an Info Sheet, with the course number in the top corner. Give every marshal a copy of the relevant Course Info Sheet, whether they're a corner marshal, Lead Car driver, etc. Also hand out the turn marshal sheets: the 'R' sheet if they're doing a right hand turn, a 'U' sheet if they're doing a U-turn;
- Give the Starter the 'S' sheet and make sure they use it;
- The race numbers are also in box 1;
- In box 2 you'll find the marshal flags and yellow flashing car lights;
- In box 3 you'll find all the safety vests which every marshal must wear.
It sounds more complicated than it actually is. But we need you to follow the instructions to keep your fellow club members safe and ensure we can continue to receive race permits from VicRoads and Victoria Police.
(Also, please keep in mind the marshals for the next race. Were you able to find everything you needed to organise the race? Race numbers, Marshal Info sheets, Safety vest, etc. How easy will it be for next week's marshal to find everything after you've put everything away in the trailer? The race boxes are labelled with the content that goes into them... following the labels will make it much easier next week!)
The final names are the Commissaires rostered on for the race.
Winners of these races listed on the results page and receive a prize worth about $50 from a local business sponsor or cash. Look for results in the local newspaper.
Safe road racing
Handicap road races can take a little getting used to. With safety in mind, and with thanks to the Bathurst Cycling Club and Cycling Tips, we've cobbled together a bit of a rundown of what we should all know.
In a handicap road race, each group/bunch should be:
To avoid confusion a senior or more experienced member of the group should take control in dangerous situations or sections where rules should be observed, eg neutral zones, overtaking other groups, etc.
The group should discuss this before the start and decide who will take the role for the race. If there is a problem after the event the senior rider might be asked to assist in the enquiry. Senior rider will also report any wrong doings by any riders in the race (such as crossing centre line, unsafe riding, etc.)
To have any reasonable chance of success in a Handicap Race, each bunch or group needs to work together as a team. Once you get close to the finish, remember the old adage: “Team mates till 200” – is this instance, 200 metres from the finish... THEN you can think about results within the group.
The group should talk together to set some goals (e.g. work hard to get to the hill before the backmarkers) then all members should form a relationship and commit to that goal and look after each other.
The Bunch should work smoothly and communication is really important for this to happen.
It is recommended you ride as a paceline, doing ‘track turns’ - as groups usually aren’t large enough in MMBCC Handicap races to warrant rolling turns.
This link is to a good explanation of sharing the workload in various ways and conditions.
Just as importantly, use correct bunch etiquette, such as minimal braking, no bombing through to do your turn, taking care getting out of the seat and making no unexpected direction changes or rotations is essential! This is really important.
Communication within each group is vital and is required to determine the side to change depending on the wind, and the correct time to change.
Plus, here are a few terms you’ll probably hear and should understand...
Up the road: towards the centre line of the road.
Down the road: towards the left hand edge of the road.
Track turns: see the link above.
Rolling turns: see that link again.
Echelon: and again.
And here’s a good trouble-shooting guide to working as a group.
The Bunch should try to be aware of the race situation and the relative distances to the group/s ahead and behind.
The lead rider of a faster group approaching a slower group should call out to warn the slower that they are approaching; make sure the call is loud enough for the slower group to hear and early enough for them to have time to respond the right way.
The slower group should heed that call, move to the left and allow safe overtaking.
The slower riders can then accelerate and try to get on to the back of the faster moving group, but only when safe to do so. (Veering right towards the faster group before all the group has passed is only asking for trouble!)
The faster group is only allowed to overtake on the right hand side, as the slower riders should be on the left, and ONLY when it is safe to do so!
Remember too, it’s uncool to cut into a rotation spot when you are unsure whether you can maintain the faster pace of the overtaking group.
We all realise, even in social activities, sometimes “things get said”. Any arguments that develop on the bike need to be resolved directly after the race. If not, both parties may be disciplined. Shouting and swearing is a definite no-no and all participants are asked to show a bit of control and decorum.
The MMBCC is ‘the social club with a cycling problem’ and at the end of the day, it is only a club event; as the Starter says at the start line at every race, “We’re not racing for sheep stations!”