First Sportive nervous about mass start.

Banjo

Fuelled with Jelly Babies
Location
South Wales
I am doing my first Sportive this summer,It is a mass start of 1000 riders .

My general idea is to start right at the back ,maybe even wait 5 or 10 minutes and hope to pick off one or two slower ones on the way round.

The thought of being stuck in the middle of a bunch that big frightens me.

Any suggestions or is my let them all go first idea the best?
 

dodgy

Legendary Member
Location
Wirral
Are you sure it's a mass start? They very seldom are, usually there is a starting time of between say 07:00 - 09:00 or thereabouts.
 
OP
Banjo

Banjo

Fuelled with Jelly Babies
Location
South Wales
I wish it were but it doesnt sound as if it is staggered. this is a quote from the Merlin webpage
"
The Merlin, 104 route is now very demanding with a total of 7,399 feet of ascent. From Llanybyther to Llandysul (A.475) there are several short steep climbs and fast descents which are going to take all of your energy, however you will still have a climb of 952 feet out of Newcastle Emlyn. It will take all your determination to stick with this route and not put your bike in the broom wagon. Are you up for it!

All four rides start at The National Botanic Garden of Wales with a mass start on the B4310 to Porthyrhyd."

http://www.merlincycletours.co.uk/content/view/18/45/
 

Scoosh

Velocouchiste
Moderator
Location
Edinburgh
I think you would be better off nearer the front than at the back, for these reasons:
- you will get a better 'tow' from those who may be quicker than you are :biggrin:
- if you are too far back, you will have to overtake some who may be wobbling all over the place = DANGER :biggrin:
- it is less depressing to move gently back, than to be at the back and going backwards :biggrin:
- if there are short climbs near the start (and there usually are :biggrin:), the big pack will break up quickly, so you are unlikely to be in a big group for long

Don't be afraid of a bigger group - not all of them are super-professional riders; many are unfit but just look as if they are fit :biggrin: ... you know "all the gear ..... " :laugh: ... and they are probably just as scared as you might be :biggrin: !
 

515mm

Well-Known Member
Location
Carmarthenshire
Banjo! Courage mon Brave! You'll be just fine. Pretty much everyone starts quite slowly on the Merlin - a few "enthusiasts" tear off the front but we usually see them again quite soon enough :tongue:.

Most folks there will be unused to bunch riding and will give you plenty of room.

Start near the front but not on it. You'll be surprised how slow many Merlinners are - there's quite a relaxed, family atmoshere and many folks will be aiming to just get round the '50 and will be a lot slower than you.

On the first hill, we sort the sheep from the goats - take it easy like Luke'sDad taught you and let the racing snakes go. You'll probably do a great deal of overtaking yourself. Most of those riding will have less experience than you of long distance stuff - IME most of the protagonists will not have ridden 50 continuous miles before. You'll probably settle into a similar-ability group at this point and you'll start to rather enjoy yourself. You've seen the Tour de France on the telly right? Well, this is as close as most of us will ever get to a proper peleton and it's a proper laugh. Lards, yours truly and another chap pulled a bunch of 60+ riders from Hirwaun to Cimla during the Dragon Ride last year - an amazing experience. Fairweather was on the back, counting heads whilst blazing along at 30mph with hardly any effort at all!

Anyone who does overtake you - draught them for a bit if you can keep up. If they slow down a little and you're able, take a turn on the front, no matter how short - it shows that you're trying your best. I'm always grateful for a tow. Ask Lardyboy!
If you find that they're dragging you along and you can't help at all - let them go, but apologise and tell them they're too fast for you. It's the thing to do. If you find yourself dragging a bunch along and no-one helps out, ask the guy behind to go in front for a bit 'cos you need a break. He might not know any bunch riding etiquette at all and may think the really experienced chap up ahead doesn't want to be overtaken!

Don't let yourself get boxed in by riding too close to the kerb. If someone wants to overtake, make them go round you.

The guys at the front and the back of the bunch have the responsibility of being the eyes and ears of the group, hence.........

If you see potholes/drain covers etc, call out 'left', 'middle' or 'right' depending on the position of the hazard and point at it if it's safe to do so. Folks behind will soon learn why you ride the way you do and will respect you for it.
A car behind you that wants to overtake your bunch but can't because they're all over the road? Shout "Car Up!" If those in front don't get into single file - shout "Single File!" - as cheerfully as you can manage. We don't need hacked off car drivers around inexperienced cyclists. The vast majority of motorists are patient and well behaved around the Merlinners. They think it's a charity event!
A car coming head-on down a singletrack road? Shout "Car Down!" to get everyone in single file if need be.

We'll be there to help too you know.........
 
OP
Banjo

Banjo

Fuelled with Jelly Babies
Location
South Wales
Thanks for that 515 you have put my mind at rest , a bit :-) , i usually ride as Billy no mates or in a small group so its a bit daunting but no doubt will be ok on the day.Looking forward to it now.

Apparently theres 4 different rides with the shortest at 23 miles so there will be a wide range of abilities .

So long as theres at least someone behind me at the finish Im not concerned about time too much.
 

Fairweather

Well-Known Member
Location
Swansea
Last years mass start was great fun... After a riders briefing from Phil (one of the organisers) which seemed more like a sermon, Lard shouted "amen" to which the whole gathering of riders shouted "amen" - hilarious!. Phil has now been named Rev. Phil.

At the start, they had the BMW with the big digital timer clock type thing on the roof ready for the off. Phil counted us down and at the get go he started hurling the abuse - mainly at the CMC (county and merlin cycles club) members. It quickly turned into a yelling match - it was so funny I wish it had been recorded. No doubt this year will be no different.

You'll have great fun whichever route you do, i'll be doing the fifty again this year. I think the lads will be doing the longer ones - not sure which.

The Merlin is a fantastic toe in the water for sportives....
 

lukesdad

Guest
Mmmm..... seems we re in the minority Banjo ! Only 34 entries for the long one. many more in the shorter ones. Even noticed a couple of clubmates(lightweights;)) doing the shorter 70. Are they trying to tell us something, maybe they know the long range weather forecast.:biggrin:;)
 
OP
Banjo

Banjo

Fuelled with Jelly Babies
Location
South Wales
lukesdad said:
Mmmm..... seems we re in the minority Banjo ! Only 34 entries for the long one. many more in the shorter ones. Even noticed a couple of clubmates(lightweights;)) doing the shorter 70. Are they trying to tell us something, maybe they know the long range weather forecast.:rofl::laugh:
Maybe the knackered look on my face in the photo is putting them off:biggrin:
 

Ozrider

New Member
We do a few 'mass' rides a year the biggest being our Bay in a Day. This ride attracts around 15000 riders.

The start is supposed to be staggered but i would say the main group is 3-4000 strong, we start in the dark through some narrow streets then across the Westgate Bridge.

It takes a few klms before the pack starts to spread out. You just have to watch all sides and make sure no-one takes your wheels out.
 
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