Important Info for Riders


Northern Veterans Cycling Club holds approximately 26 club races each year for masters males aged 35 years and over, and masters females aged 30 years and over.

NVCC races are only open to club members. To become a club member simply nominate Northern Veterans Cycling Club as your club via the AusCycling membership portal or if you are a member of another cycling club and already hold an eligible AusCycling race licence, you can join NVCC for an annual fee of $25.

While the annual fee is only a nominal amount, it helps to cover the operational expenses of the club and ensures that we can keep providing great racing for members.

Duty Roster:
A condition of membership is participation in our duty roster. We pride ourselves on our organisation and safety but this requires our members to support the club with a minimum of 1-2 duties a year. Please check the rosters for your week and be at the race by 9:15am to help set up and familiarise yourself with your role for the day. You will require a vehicle.

Qualifying for Feature Races:
We currently run 4 Feature Races a year: Fingal (Feb/Mar); Quamby (Apr/May); Longford to Campbell Town (Sep/Oct); and the Blackwood Creek 70 (Nov/Dec).

These events aim to encourage participation in club races throughout the season, to better promote the fantastic racing we offer and to provide opportunities for exciting and memorable racing. We value the club feel we have at NVCC and recognise that it is the volunteers and riders who turn up regularly, who contribute most to making the club what it is. With this in mind we aim to make sure that riders who turn up week in week out are not disadvantaged by having a more accurate handicapping profile.

To qualify for feature races we require that riders make at least 3 commitments to the club in the 12 months prior to each feature race, including duty, volunteering, or racing in a minimum of 2 non-feature races. If a rider has not raced regularly enough for the handicapper to accurately assess of their form in the month or two leading up to a feature race, it is likely that rider will receive a grade higher than anticipated.

Race Day:
Most of our races are held within 25-35km of Launceston and hence there is often a bunch ride out to the race. This is usually posted on our facebook site in the days leading up to the race, with the bunch commonly leaving from Statewide at either 9.00am for Carrick and Longford races and 8.45am for Bishopsbourne, Whitemore and Hagley races.

Handicapping and grading

Recently on our Facebook page the issue of ‘Handicapping’ was raised and how decisions around this are made.

Handicapping refers to the gaps between groups that are racing in the same race with a view to all groups coming together towards the end, therefore giving everyone a chance of winning. The members of the handicap committee (with Paul Morgan as the Chief Handicapper) calculate the gaps between the grades depending on the riders present in the group. The Handicap committee also meet before feature races to allot groups and calculate gaps. The committee believes that this has been working well with most handicap races resulting in close finishes. This is not an exact science however and those doing the times do the best they can – there will be occasions when a group will not work well or another group will work exceptionally well skewing the result but overall, for the last three years, the results have been within what we would expect. This is evidenced by the spread of winnings across grades. We have years of worth of average speeds etc so there is some logic behind it.

What grade you race is a different issue and this, I feel, is what the majority of comments relate to. What grade you ride is the decision of the committee (with input from the handicapping committee) and where the committee choose to place a rider in is a fluid thing and there is not a set criteria because we are:
• trying to balance the racing groups,
• trying to place people in the grade that best suits their ability that we see
• trying to give people consistency to allow them to develop
• trying to balance the size of the groups
• being conscious of the impost on the volunteers when changes are made

These competing needs means making judgement calls and I can say that the committee discuss the groups and the various riders continuously. We look at:
• How many races they have won or placed in
• The type of winning e.g. an obvious breakaway, winning a tight sprint, how many were in the group etc.
• Current grade in CT races
• Performance in non-NVCC races
• Whether they have been away from racing
• Recovering from illness or injury
• Wanting to stretch themselves by racing in a harder grade
• What others perceive about their racing ability

We also discuss different ways to approach the allocation of grades, for instance reviewing Strava or identifying members within a grade that may move up or down depending on the size of groups on a given race day, but they have proved problematic for one reason or another.
I know that there are people that feel that someone else is the wrong grade (or even that they themselves are in the wrong grade) but unless we get something formal we are not going to operate on rumour. The committee is also not going to make a decision because a particular member feels it is a good idea as they may not be aware of consequences of moving riders.

Often these conversations are around putting someone up a grade but to do this we need to be conscious of how taking riders out of a group is going to affect that group ie moving me from C grade to B grade will take 1/5 of the riders that has been turning up to C grade over the past 5 weeks – and yes I am probably ready to go up but, as best as we can, we need to look at the connotations.
When I put my name forward to be president of the club, and I have articulated this as often as I could, I wanted to build on a culture of friendship while still recognising it is a ‘racing club.’ Most riders I speak with almost see winning as secondary to having an exciting race where you have competed in a safe atmosphere with your ‘mates’.

Finally and most importantly this club is made up of a lot of great people but is run by a relatively small number of volunteers who give their time to provide the racing opportunities you enjoy. We only have conversations around how to improve the racing and keep the club going and we do the best we can. We are open to suggestions but that does not mean we will adopt every suggestion as there may well be reasons to take a different path and as elected representatives we must look at the club as a whole.

We have also decided to formalise what was already happening – there will be a standard agenda item at our regular meetings to discuss rider movement.
If you do have considered suggestions we are happy to hear from you. Arrange a time to discuss it with us or put it in a letter to the club.

Some thoughts on handicap racing….

The best way to approach a handicap race is for everyone to work together to keep your group ahead of the one behind and catch the one ahead and place your bunch to the front of the race (on time) so one of you (your team) can try and win it. It’s a team event until you hit the front.

In contrast, some people ride handicap races the same as graded mass start races, treating others in their group as threats, and sitting in the bunch conserving energy waiting for the sprint, or even attacking their own group. In a handicap event you should not attack your own bunch, or attempt to put them under pressure, as this disrupts the flow and slows things down. You might be the strongest in the group but it is very unlikely that you are stronger than your group combined, you will need them to get to the finish at the front of the race. You should be working with them, not against them. But feel free to attack inside the last few kilometres if you think you can get to the line, and as a group you can attack any other bunch at any time.

In a handicap event there is a clear expectation that everyone who can, should do their share of turns. Even if you are a sprinter thinking of the win, you should still try to do your fair share of the work, so as you can ethically sprint, it’s a team event remember.

Being part of a well-functioning group in a handicap race where everyone is sharing the workload, aiming to close the gap to the group ahead while working hard to stay ahead of chasers behind, can be an exciting and satisfying experience. The focus should be on getting your group working together properly and sometimes if one or two back off a little the group will actually go quicker.

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