There were some ‘interesting’ happenings at this mornings Stage 1 Individual Time Trial for the National Capital Tour. This race is a part of Cycling Australia’s National Road Series (NRS), so one of the premier races in the country this year. However, as will all new events there can be teething problems but this morning’s issues were a little out of the ordinary and lead to some ‘interesting’ outcomes.
Without going into too much details, there was a traffic accident that lead to problems getting the course properly marked and marshals in place. As a possible result of this a number of riders went off course and lost valuable time. The end result was that a decision was made to nullify the times for GC and everyone would start stage 2 on equal time. Some people will question whether that is a fair decision and while I have my own opinion, the purpose of this ‘brief’ post is to draw your attention to a different fact. One that is paramount in success in any racing and that’s the importance of knowing the course.
For this morning’s race. It was a NRS race will the countries top riders. Now while some of these riders are still developing and finding their feet at this level, detailed course information is provided online well in advance of race day. Cycling Australia, race organisers and Cycling Profiles all do a fantastic job of providing this information and they do if for one reason – so that everyone knows where to go!
As a coach I make it a point of ensuring all my riders know the course and when I race I make it my personal responsibility for knowing the route. Far too often I have encountered marshals that are either not in place, not providing an indication of the route or just plain don’t know what’s going on. So, I learnt my lesson long ago, but for today – for all those riders that got lucky with the decision to annul the race times, I hope they take a moment to consider whether they well and truly studied the course before hand and whether next time they would pay more attention to the maps that are provided.
It’s worth remembering that had this been a national championship or perhaps another significant event then a rider who ‘just happened to go off course’ would have to live with their additional time, or worse a disqualification.
So, next time you have a time trial (or even a road race on an unfamiliar course) check out the race maps that are provided. Have a printed copy with you on race day and study it in detail. If you truly care about your results then care about the course!
Nb: I am aware of several instances today where traffic on course played a major role in a rider either being lead off course or from being prevented from following the course proper. Those riders will know who they are and obviously my comments above do not apply to them