I heard on TripleR this morning that it might be possible to print out a bib for Sunday's Eastlink ride for those who haven't registered (apparently registration is now closed). Does anyone know of a link for this?
I wasn't one of the 65km riders racing to a near collision with the crowds - I was part of the "fun" riders...however, I totally sympathise with them... imagine you are in front of a peloton of about 50 riders and coming up on a 10,000 strong crowd of kids, mtbs, weekend warriors, and some odd roadies = DISASTER!!!
I abandoned the ride after some 10 kms - couldn't be bothered getting yelled at, and having to swoop past everyone as well as avoiding those bloody bollards!
Well, I was part of the race, and ive gotta say it was carnage.
I avgd 44kph for the 65kms, we were sitting between 45 - 55 most of the way... i saw three crashes in the race pack, and 4 collisions with those bloody witches hats. Running the race up and back on the same side of three freeway was just simply stupid.. ive never had so much inter-rider contact in a race/ride.. i think i rubbed shoulders/handlebars/helmets 20 - 30 times.
I know everyones a bit cut-up about the whole organization side of things, but I think that they just had no idea it would be the biggest ride in Australian history, 26,000 is a phenomenal amount, thats 10,000 more then RTBIAD!?
After reading a bit of the event material, was there any attempt at a staggered start?
I've been listening to radio talkback today & some people are rather cranky, whilst others had a good time. With such a large event it's not hard to see a lot of people who thoroughly enjoyed it while others wouldn't, and seriously, it's hard to ensure everyone is 100% happy.
And apparently the transponders have to be returned or mailed back.
Has anyone any experience or knowledge of the logistics of the South African Cape Argus rides, as they're the biggest mass cycling event in the world with approximately 40,000 riders over a 110km route. And a race to boot.
Gran Fondos in Europe are somewhat similar events, but over longer distances with a grid start for different grades of riders, i.e.: start with pro teams, then several staggered grid starts for different rider skills to family groups.
Could something like that of worked better for the Eastlink event or were there simply too many participants that ended up overwhelming the organisers?
A few quick fixes...
1. Use both north and southbound carriageways which would have eliminated the interaction and the need for cones as well as allowing faster riders past slower ones. I noticed an emergency service cross-over at the southern end to allow the cross over but not certain at the northern end.
2. Start the race one hour before the other rides or at another location which would have allowed this to be a race rather than a farce.
3. Park off the freeway and have at least two entry points, near a station or two would be good.
4. Perhaps allow everyone the ability to ride the freeway at anytime in any direction from any entrance after the four rides were completed e.g. 11am which would have allowed family groups more space to ride.
65km Challenge: 5 500
Fun 30km Ride: 15 000
Family 10km Ride: 5 500
Estimated actual attendance 45 000
65km Challenge: 12 000
Fun 30km Ride: 25 000
Family 10km Ride: 8 000
Considering the sheer number of people involved, it was quite incident free.
The local crits see 2 or more come down most races with less attendees, so going by raw stats, the Eastlink ride did pretty good ;-)
The people doing the 65K race went through the start/finish before the 30k group were let out, those doing the 65k ride, were just that, riders, transponders or not, you were just riders like everyone else. (read the fine print, the transponders were issued so you could compare your time with the elite riders, not assume you are one).
No denying that the 30k group did not stick to their side of the bollards, which was kinda frustrating when you're in a bunch on the return doing 40+, but keeping an eye on the situation and good calling kept things neat. The worst part I had was a few packs of muppets at various stages crossing the medium strip along the route and trying to drag their old huffys across the Ringwood return path to join the main throng.
Could it have been done better, sure. Could they have anticipated the level of "extra" attendees, probably. With that many "free thinking individuals" in the one place on various classes of bikes and skill levels, I'm impressed that it went a "well" as it did.
Big thanks to the vollies who got out of a warm bed so we could do something a little different to Beach Rd.
Today, just prior to the 11am 774 News, Jon Faine spoke to John Trevorrow from Cycling Events Downunder and he agreed to refund all but the $15 cancer council donation to folks who contact him dissatisfied with the 65km ride.
It will be interesting to hear of the wash up of this, as Trevorrow has done numerous cycling events (Jayco, Amy's Ride, etc) over the years, and by the brief interview he gave it seems maybe he couldn't get the ok from Eastlink to use the road more effectively? Faine also spoke to James Tonkin, spokesperson for Eastlink.
One thing interested me was all the extra participants who turned up - couldn't Eastlink have at least some adequate protocols and/or security or was that something the event organisers and all the hard working vollies just had to lump on the day?