Guns for hire

Sadly, we had a couple of resignations this week. One of our racers who, with another of his clubmates, was leading a race last week end, felt somewhat aggrieved when a third clubmate led the peloton up to them thereby enabling someone else to nip off the front of the bunch and win the race. To complicate matters, the winner was a former teammate of our guy doing the leading.

I must confess, I can see his point of view. Instead of occupying top spot on the podium (the only place that counts) the club took the next four places. This is a situation I am never likely to have to deal with. If I were leading  a race, it would be safe to assume that the only other entrants had either punctured, had mechanicals or fallen off and given up. 

Unfortunately, there was no Directeur Sportif to articulate the race strategy. He was working, no one assumed his place, and clearly a free for all ensued. It’s also quite difficult to have a coherent team strategy when there are different levels racing together. Does one race for the scratch or individual categories? As a consequence, we have lost two racers who generally collect quite a few podium wins and, more importantly, column inches and photos in the local press. Manna from heaven for our sponsors.

The club experiences a surprising turnover of members although, in the past two years, we have gained a large number of new members. Often, these are the result of people just moving around the area. Sometimes it’s riders getting back into cycling after a layoff  or they join us because a number of their friends or family are members. Our reputation, has also attracted many  racers but it’s sometimes difficult to accommodate everyone, particularly the younger ones, even though they span a large number of race categories.

I have tried to ascertain why riders join us one year only to leave the next. For some it’s a case of what one might call “New Year Gym Syndrome” for others they’re looking for more sociable group rides. We don’t do coffee stops, nor do we wait for laggards, I should know.  Fortunately, we seem to attract more than we repel and so membership is growing. 

Our biggest current challenge is finding enough volunteers to staff the Kivilev. Adding the cyclosportif this year requires more road marshalls and members who might normally have volunteered want to ride. I’m suggesting that every club member who does ride has to provide at least one volunteer: wife, mother, father, brother. We don’t mind. They’ll get a goodie bag, a ticket for the tombola and invites to the pre and post-event  BBQs.

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