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by DavidShort Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:17 pm
First off all a big thank you to the few of the stalwarts of the TT series who turned up to the meeting on Wednesday night. Your contributions and suggestions were much appreciated. It is only through consultation with your good selves that we can improve and evolve the series.

To summarise the 2017 season we had 11 events, 2 of which were on a new course, Wheldrake, in partnership with York Cycleworks. We attracted 77 different competitors over the series including more women and juniors. The increase in fees clearly has not had a negative impact on competitors and the financial contributions to organisers and timekeepers has been well received. All good stuff!

The Wednesday night discussion revolved around a number of issues.
1. There appears to be a view that the Bulmer Bank & Terrington Bank circuits are losing favour. I have my own reservations on the safety of these descents and I for one would not be sorry to see them dropped. They are also the circuits which attract the least numbers of competitors which probably tells us something. That said, one or two members do favour these courses.

2. Concern was expressed at the finish of the Sutton flat 10 in Moxby Lane after a left hand turn at the end of a TT. We have debated this at length and the consensus is that the challenges of bike handling skills negotiating a turn so close to the finish outweighs the risk to rider safety with the previous finish on the straight towards Sheriff Hutton.

3. On the issue of having longer circuits Chris Rowley suggested me might consider a 2 lap event over the Sutton 10 mile circuit. Dr Dave suggested reintroducing the longer Hovingham circuit we dropped last year. This of course brings in Bulmer and Terrington banks as discussed in point 1 above.

The options I propose for consideration then are as follows;

A. No change, format and circuits as per 2017.
B. 4 circuits, Sutton, Brandsby, ( a most popular circuit), Wheldrake and High Stittenham. Each of the three former circuits to be repeated 3 times with the latter, High Stittenham on 1 occasion as a shorter 'Come and try it event'.
C. As B but with a 2 lap event for the Sutton 10 circuit on one occasion.
D. As B but reintroducing the longer Hovingham circuit.
E. As B but reintroducing the Farlington circuit proposed by Dave Cook in 2016.
F.A permutation of the above I have not thought of!

There was also a debate about the perennial problem of organisers not coming forward until the 11th hour. I would like to propose that 'organisers' step forward at the start of the season and if for whatever reason they can't run the event then they should find a stand in organiser.

With these suggestions and options which came out of the meeting I would invite you all to make your views known on this thread as part of the consultation exercise to ensure you have the opportunity to contribute to the running and evolution of the SPOCO TT series.

I have to submit our final decision and series proposals to the CTT governing body by January 2018 after which I then have to compile risk assessments and prepare the statutory notifications to the police etc. The sooner we get this done the better.

In closing I would like once again to thank you for your time reading this and giving the subject some thought. I would also like to thank to organisers, timekeepers, marshals, and of course participating members who made the 2017 series a successful and safe series.

Kind regards David
TT Sec'
by Matt H Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:12 pm
I personally love Bulmer Bank and try to compete at all the hillier events. The introduction of Wheldrake in 2017 was brilliant, however it meant that there was 4 flat 10s in the series.

Therefore my choice would (A) keep the 2017 event calender or (D) to have Hovingham included to add some climbing amongst the flat circuits.

I also like the idea of a longer event, maybe we could do as per 2017 but double up on Sutton one time to create a flat 20?
by Rob Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:22 pm
OK, so I offer my thoughts as part of the team that founded this series in the late 90s, and these days an occasional timekeeper/sign-putter-outerer.

Obviously the longer you make the events, the fewer riders you'll get.
The hillier you make the events, the fewer the riders you'll get.
But if you simply pursue a strategy of maximising bums on saddles you'll end up with 1 mile down hill time trials.
So we have to find a balance between popularity and healthy variety.
The existing series does this. Of course there's no harm in freshening it up a bit, but don't throw the baby out with the bath water....

You've done a fantastic job with it Dave, we'll support you whatever....
by DavidShort Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:38 am
Dear All,
This post has been on the discussion board now for over 2 weeks, long enough to give people the chance to send me their thoughts and feedback. I'm grateful to Matt and Rob for their views which are helpful.

The consensus, based on the two comments I have received on this thread, together with the discussions held at the post series meeting, is that there isn't much people disagree with regarding the series as it stands. The new Wheldrake circuit, run in partnership with Cycleworks, has been well received. The flatter courses do tend to attract more entrants, especially juniors and women, which I think, from an inclusivivity club perspective, has to be a good thing. Nevertheless, I respect the views of the well established TT competitors that SPOCO courses by their very nature need to be challenging, encompassing bike handling skills as well as speed over challenging terrain.

I therefore propose to retain the series as run in 2017 for the 2018 season. The good news is that Cycleworks are very keen to continue 'organising' the Wheldrake circuit and would be happy to run more on this circuit.I had hoped to organise an 'open' event in 2018 but unfortunately I could not get all the ducks lined up to meet the CTT deadline of the 1st September. I will endeavour to iron out these 'slippages' next year so that we can run an open TT in 2019. The year of the worlds!

I'll hang fire from finalising the schedule for 2018 for another week to give anyone else the opportunity to chip in to the debate. I will then start the process of formalising the series re statutory notifications, CTT, etc which I need to complete by the end of December. Being a belt and braces sort of a chap I like to get these things done sooner rather than later.

Once again thank you for your considerations in these matters, especially Rob, Matt and those who attended the meeting at the Knavesmire pub.

Here's to what I'm sure will be a great series in 2018. Onwards and upwards!

Kind regards David
TT Sec'
by ChrisR Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:24 am
Hi All

Firstly to state my association with the Time Trials, I am not particularly interested in competing in all, or my place in a league, just want to test myself, against mainly myself a few times a year.

As a club series of events, the most important feature of the series, and measure of its success, in my opinion is inclusivity and participation numbers especially of those people new to the sport, which by definition may include a number of juniors.

On a flat course, your speed is dictated by fitness and strength and you are unlikely to have much of either of these without gaining a bit of technical experience and ability in the process. In contrast, and I am thinking of Terrington bank here, speeds of 30 to 50mph are achievable with little or no experience or ability. It's not the greatest of road surfaces and should your result on a time trial course really be dictated by the amount of risk you are prepared to take? As a club trying to encourage young and inexperienced riders to come and have a go, which I presume we are, I feel safe courses should be a priority? I appreciate these will exclude the thrill of high speed riding but there are plenty of regional/ national TT events that can provide this? Some may feel this is dull and I accept that. We could always have lumpy courses that stop at the top of the hill!
by dave c Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:13 am
My suggestion for the courses;

Sutton x 3
Whenby x 2
Stittenham x 1
Coneysthorpe x 2
Ganthorpe x 1
Stillington x 1
Weldrake x 2

This gives a good cross section of courses.

Cheers

Dave
by Matt H Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:51 am
That schedule looks a good mix to me Dave, I think you've provided something for everyone, and any courses which don't suit particular riders are always good opportunities to marshall or organise.

Thank you for organising the series for another year, it is much appreciated.
by pete p Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:35 pm
I'd vote to leave it as it was this year.

Good selection of challenging courses.

The introduction of York Cycleworks this year & the shorter come & try it event a couple of years back was a good idea.

Thanks to everyone involved with the series & I look forward to the 2018 version

Regards
Pete
by Graham R Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:21 pm
Hi All,
as a newcomer to the club I did enjoy marshalling and watching the time trials, my intention is to try it next year. In regards to Bulmer and Terrington banks I don't mind going up them all be it slowly but coming down is another thing age and thinking of the pain slows me down as I don't like the road surface, my aim would be to race myself with the grand hopes of improving over the series.
I thought the series was run well and hats off to all the people involved and look forward to 2018.
by Dr Dave Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:59 pm
As discussed in the pub, I think that the hillier courses discourage too many participants and regretfully should therefore be kept to a minimum - although Rob makes a valid point and having a longer more challenging course that tests stamina and endurance is worthwhile I agree. The popular courses e.g. Sutton and Whenby are perennial favourites and I would suggest they feature more often. My views on the descent before Bulmer bank are well-known: the high speed, undulating surface and gravel at the bottom make this a hazard that isn't justified IMO. Terrington, being a straight piece of road with no gravel is less of a concern for me personally but I think Chris make a valid point especially when the prevailing westerly means a strong cross-wind, ergo I would suggest no more than 2 events incorporating the Bulmer/Terrington combo.

The Ganthorpe and Coneysthorpe courses are very similar and although (as David S has mentioned) I would personally prefer the reintroduction of the Hovingham course to provide a properly challenging hilly route, if we are to drop it for good I'd suggest we settle on either Ganthorpe or Coneysthorpe but not both. Given that Coneysthorpe is more of a contrast to the flatter routes I'd personally go for this and drop Ganthorpe. I also don't particularly favour using a route once only each year as this prevents riders from setting and then try to beat their PB on a given course. Familiarity also makes the routes safer?

Finally the Wheldrake course is worth persisting with as already discussed...

In summary:
Sutton x3
Whenby x3
Wheldrake x3
Hovingham/Coneysthorpe x2 :D

Keep pedalling!
by dave c Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:28 pm
There are some great comments/suggestions above. The courses I proposed previously, I feel, give a good cross section of courses/challenges. I have found that it is good to compare one's own times but due to varying conditions, wind direction/intensity, wet/dry times can vary considerably. I find comparing my times with other riders on the night is more representative of my improvement or otherwise, it is a race against other competitors after all. The Stittenham circuit is popular as a come and try it as well as regular competitors and the Stillington circuit is an interesting change to the regular one's. All the circuits are a challenge when on the maximum.

Cheers

Dave
by Matt H Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:57 am
Would it be possible to look again at extending the Sutton 9.7 to a full 10 miles. I always feel a bit cheated when I don’t achieve a valid flat 10 time after this event.

I know the finish was moved for safety reasons but is there anywhere else on the circuit where we could safely start and finish with a 500m overlap to make up the distance?

Apologies if this suggestion is late in the day... 8)
by Graham R Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:40 am
With regards to the Sutton start, has anyone asked Stittenham farms whether you could have the start at their workshops/Potato store on the straight they have lots of land for parking which i am sure would be suitable for all the parking providing it does not hamper their work and would also provide a straight for a flying finish.
by Dr Dave Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:42 am
The problem with any overlap is that if we have more than 20 or so starters people are finishing before others have started and this makes the start/finish area crowded with overlapping riders, pushers off, parked cars etc

Keep pedalling!
by DavidShort Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:32 am
Dear All,

Many thanks for all the suggestions, much food for thought. There are some common denominators. Firstly Bulmer and Terrington Bank descents are problematic from a H&S perspective. Ok, they are liked by the hardened campaigners but I'm not prepared to exclude less experienced riders through some sort of qualification criteria which would be impossible to decide on and enforce.

CTT are getting very critical of risk management. As a case in point I was 'tugged' by their Risk management officer because we ran an event which required red flags, ( Bulmer Bank, Terrington) and we did not have red flags out, (they have walked somewhere during the year following road race events). I dodged that one by explaining that riders were made aware at the pre event briefing which was reinforced to each rider before setting off. I'm sure we did :wink:

In view of the comments raised on this thread, conversations I have had with experienced riders and my own reservations in trying to mitigate the risk posed by these descents I have decided to withdraw circuits which involve these descents from the series. My apologies to those of you that find this disappointing.

I have however devised a circuit which combines challenging climbs, avoids dangerous descents and is of 19.5 miles, starting in Sheriff Hutton and finishing at the same place as the Whenby circuit. The circuit is here;

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/26361454

I therefore propose that the 2018 SPOCO series is as follows, ( dates to be fixed)

3 x Sutton flat almost 10.
3 x Whenby
3 x Wheldrake
1 x high Stittenham come and try it event which I propose to run as the second event of the series.
2 x New Hovingham circuit.

Kind regards David
TT Sec'

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