Roll Your Own Training Group (Part Two)
Building your own training group can be extremely rewarding and a whole lot of fun. In Part One I covered how to find fellow riders and how to plan your season. In this part I’ll share some tools and techniques I’ve discovered that have helped my group, Team Fartlek, endure.
Set Objectives and Ground Rules – The goal of my group to prepare for Cycle Oregon and have a good time doing it. It’s as organized as it has to be to keep going, but disorganized enough that it doesn’t start to feel like a job. We’ve reached a common understanding on things like:
- How long at the start we will wait for stragglers
- How we deal with people who ride at different speeds
- What is expected of each rider (self-sufficiency)
- How we deal with breakdowns
- What is expected of the organizer
- What to do when the weather doesn’t cooperate
Everyone who rides with us knows this isn’t a club or an “official” organization, and that everyone is more or less on his or her own. That has worked well for us. If you feel ambitious and want to eventually grow your group into a club, there are other things to consider such as dues, waivers, service and support, etc.
Maps – Everyone in the group needs to know where they’re going. We started out with simple cue sheets but quickly graduated to printed maps created with mapping software. After a year of occasional wrong turns and confusion I discovered the wonders of the GPS bike computer, which provides turn-by-turn directions and other useful information – PROVIDED you know how to use one and understand its idiosyncrasies.
Now we that have several riders with GPS computers and others with maps, we rarely get lost and are able to keep moving with very few stops.
If you want to take it to the next level, you can map the rides using programs such as www.mapmyride.com or www.ridewithgps.com. Those maps can be printed and shared, OR downloaded on to GPS bike computers. Getting it all set up is a TREMENDOUS amount of work, but once you get it all done planning for future seasons is really, really simple. If you’re in it for the long haul this is a great way to go.