ERC Weekend Round-Up
15 March 2022
ERC riders, coaches and ride leaders had a busy weekend, certainly much busier than this time last year, or the year before.
The club’s objective is to provide competitive and social activities for members in connection with cycling and other related sport. And we cover a lot of this on specific Facebook groups, and the What’s On page of the website gives a bit of an overview. But sometimes, its’ worth ‘sitting back’ to see just how many diverse events the club is running or supporting. So here’s a brief (?) rundown of over a dozen events from this weekend.
FRIDAY 11 MARCH
Fife Cycle Park We had nine riders turning up at Fife Cycle Park on Friday evening in cold blustery conditions for a tough training session building strength and speed. Ten of our thirteen riders have been selected for the Youth Tour of Scotland and so our FCP sessions have concentrated on the strengths and skills required for this. The session focused on hard sprint efforts, and attacking, establishing, and maintaining a break. This required explosive, above-threshold efforts followed by three of four minutes of threshold riding. We also looked at team tactics for establishing a break and bridging over without dragging the bunch up to the teammate. We finished the session, as always, with an Australian Pursuit Race with three groups set off at intervals. The scratch group managed to make the catch with half a lap to go - strong performances from Jamie, Struan, and Ahron. Great resilience on display from Kasey Park who put in a strong effort whilst recovering from a track crash earlier in the week. Most of our riders attended the R.A.C.E National the next morning back at Fife Cycle Park for a further 4 hours of training on the same circuit.
Youth Go-Ride The youth section held its usual Go-Ride session at Inch Park. This is represented by the youngest group of club members with 13 riders ranging from 6 to 13 years old. Riders learned basic skills such as putting their bikes down (gear side up), descending (stand up), and practiced starts in a Le Mans style relay. As ever the sessions ended with the 'box game' in which the winner is the rider who can keep within a zone without putting a foot down. The sun shone, following a short burst of rain before kick-off, and they had fun on their bikes.
Our slightly older Go-Ride group were busy honing their cornering skills on the flat, ascending, and descending, taking advantage of the different terrain available across our Inch Park base. Now that we are settling back into more established groups, we are really noticing our young riders developing their skills and building confidence. After a final spin around the “whoops” we also finished off with our new favourite cool-down “box” game. Riders must avoid putting their feet down or leaving the box whilst being boxed-in by other riders, a great game for developing balance and co-ordination.
SATURDAY 12 MARCH
R.A.C.E. National Programme. Most of our youth team riders from the road and mtb squads attended the R.A.C.E National (see https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/scotland/article/20210924-R-A-C-E-National-2021-2022-Applications-Now-Open--0) the next morning back at Fife Cycle Park for a further 4 hours of training. This was further preparation for YToS which brought together 50 of the best young Scottish riders under Scottish Cycling's coaches Evan Oliphant and Paul Newnam. They were assisted by others including ERC's Eric and Archie. YToS is a major race in the British youth cycling calendar with past winners including Tom Pidcock and Zoe Backstedt. This year's 4-stage event in Perthsire will contain the most talented riders in Britain who will undoubtedly become top British riders.
Commonwealth Pool Group Rides. Whilst Covid restrictions hanging on (at least until last Saturday) the club again ran a number of organised led rides. This takes volunteers (admin & ride leaders) significant effort to make it happen, and it has been great to have these rides during restrictions over the last year or so. This weekend we would the Development ride as well as Team GB, Fast Coastal and Hilly options with 24 riders out enjoying East Lothian
SUNDAY 13 MARCH
Women's Circuit Skill Training. Again the Fife Cycle Park was a venue for 3 sessions organised by ERC. Ten women from the east of Scotland attended a session coached by Olympian Shani and Phil. The session was aimed at improving their group riding skills, a video shows how they succeeded. They achieved this by starting with individual skills; negotiating dead turns and controlled braking. This was followed by riding side by side in contact to become comfortable riding close together without panicking. Over several laps these ideas were brought together until they formed an impressive compact unit riding comfortably around the track. The session concluded by taking part in a handicap race incorporating youth riders from a parallel session.
Youth Circuit Training. Twelve under 12’s roadies shared the circuit with the women's session by staying on the banjo loop. This was the first time on this tarmac for many of the riders, several whom came across from Paisley where they ride for the Johnson Jets. Coaches Simon and Archie (second time this weekend) put the riders through their paces. They gained further practice on bike handling and group riding. The youth riders were most pleased to hold off the women’s' groups off in the final handicap race.
All four coaches were delighted that neither skin nor lycra hit the tarmac, so first aid kits remained unused and incident forms remained blank, RESULT.
Junior & Senior Race Team Circuit Training. After the youth and women had finished at the FCP, the ERC senior and junior road race squads gathered for a session coached by Jarlath Flynn. After a few warmup laps, the riders started with a 3 up TTT session with particular focus on communication, re-joining the pace line and echelon formation.
The riders then had a rear wheel removal and re-fit competition with Colin Jackson coming out on top with a very fast time. Next up was some cornering practice where braking points, brake release points, gear changing, and leg positioning were practiced. Clipping in practice was next up and this session showed a wide variety of clip in techniques from the riders.
Finally, it would not be a coaching session without some bunch riding practice. While riding, the bunch played a few games with pass the bottle coming out on top as the favourite.
R.A.C.E. National Program. From the mountain bikers, five ERC Youth A/B riders were supported by two ERC volunteer coaches (Martin and Chris) at the Scottish Cycling R.A.C.E. National MTB training session at Lochore Meadows on Sunday. With the XC season starting next week, focus was on race starts, riding in groups and commanding space.
Youth MTB Skills. BASE led mtb coaching at Corstorphine Hill. This is an initiative with the Borders College (https://edinburghrc.co.uk/news/erc-youths-team-up-with-borders-college-for-mtb-coaching). One student has already been helping our more experienced riders with coaching sessions at Glentress. This weekend we welcomed 3 BASE students to Corstorphine Hill to run three groups of MTB skills work, with volunteers & club coaches on hand to help prevent dogs stealing cones or rucksacks.
Group Gravel Ride. Our led Gravel ride went ‘out west’ on a 40 mile ‘trial mix’ loop consisting of gravel and tarmac paths, farm roads, dirt singletrack, grassy trails and 3 or 4 big stair climbs! We started by riding the coastal trails to South Queensferry and onto Blackness. Then, headed south on a mix of roads (including King’s Cavil climb) and trails through Uphall. We then connected to the River Almond trail network at Almondell and Calder Wood Country Park and followed a trail to the Union Canal aqueduct at Lins Mill. We then rode the canal path to the Sighthill area where we exited the canal path dropping down to the tram path from and road the tram path to the finish in Roseburn Park. Although we only had 4 riders, it was a good day out and the weather was cooperative.
Triathlon. Last, but not least, our triathletes got a lie-in as their 7.30 swim session was cancelled as the Royal Commonwealth pool was being used for the International Swim Meet with the likes of Duncan Scott performing a life time best for 400 IM- just to inspire us all for next Sunday!