Club Race Rules
Hamilton City Cycling Club abides by the rules of CyclingNZ Road & Track, which are based on the UCI Rules. These can be found on the CyclingNZ website.
It is important that members obey all road rules. This is why we require all riders to sign in each week before a race and attend the pre-race briefing to reinforce these rules which are listed below.
Most of the Club’s events involve racing in ability based grades. This means that members are able to ride with others who are at a similar level of skill and ability, whatever their age or gender, and whether they are just starting out in the sport or are experienced racers competing at national or international level.
This arrangement means that anyone who comes along to HCCC, whether they are an experienced rider from out of town, a young person just starting up, a bored swimmer or broken down harrier, or an older person who has suddenly found the urge to take part in some healthy activity, will find others to ride with.
We currently have seven ability based grades – from F grade, which caters for the new riders and where on the bike riding skills and training advice is given, up to A grade for the top racers.
We race all year round in three seasonal series of races – spring summer and winter. Each series has about 10 races, and riders win points in their grade according to finishing order, accumulating to produce grade winners in each series. Spring & Summer are raced on a Thursday evening, Winter on a Saturday Afternoon. We also hold a number of other events throughout the year.
Grading of riders is a key duty of the club captain but the race committee supports the club captain in this role and also monitors grading issues. Grading in HCCC is generally related to series performance which the club captain will assess towards the end of each series.
Normally the leading riders in each grade are promoted. If a rider is finding a grade too difficult, then they can apply the club captain before the start of the next series to move to one better suited to their ability. Often a rider will start in a grade finding it hard, but by the end of a series discover they are able to handle racing at that level. See Grading Policy.
Most grades will race over the same course, starting at different times. It is important that riders from one grade do not get mixed up in or interfere in the race of another grade. Sitting on the back is allowed.
- Electronic timing is normally used for results.
- Numbered bibs must be worn (to help identify riders and as a manual backup to the results)
- An approved safety helmet must be worn at all times.
- Races are on open roads and all road rules apply - in particular no crossing the centre line.
- Obey all the road rules - especially KEEP LEFT. There are no special privileges for cycle races.
- Where required, marshals will stop cyclists not traffic.
- Hold your lines - do not overlap wheels.
- Riders are to warn the bunch of oncoming or following vehicles and other traffic hazards.
- Do not join on to other grades - riders may take no part in any grade’s race other than their own.
- Obey the instructions of your race manager and/or Handicapper and Club captain.
- If manual timing is being used keep your finish order after crossing the finish line.
- Electronic Timing is used results are based on mat time for Club races, no tag = no time, once a tag has been issued its riders responsibility to ensure they have tag for racing this tag is your only.
- Slow down after the finish line - all riders must report to finish line, even if recording as DNF (did not finish).
- No abuse of race officials, volunteers or fellow riders will be tolerated.
- Failure to follow rules may lead to disciplinary action including refusal of a start/deduction of race points/banning from races or the club.
- All competitors are to take their fair share of laps within their bunch over the entire duration of the race i.e. NO SITTING ON!!!!
- No rider may interfere with another race or sit on another rider / bunch from another race.
- All riders must take extreme care when passing slower riders or another race - pass only on the right hand side and acknowledge your presence i.e. “Passing on your right”.
- Automatic relegation or disqualification may result from failing to comply with the above - this is at the discretion of the race committee.
Club Grading Policy
Introduction: HCCC seeks to create a racing environment that is competitive, fair and encouraging. As part of this aim the club seeks to ensure that members race at an appropriate level and especially do not race at a level below their ability. Grading of riders is a key duty of the club captain but the club committee supports the club captain in this role and also monitors grading issues. Members need to be mindful that in the interests of fairness, safety and enjoyment for all concerned, the final arbiter in grading is the club captain, not themselves.
This policy aims to emphasise that HCCC is a racing club and while members may use club racing as training this must be within their grade at the time.
General principles of grading: Grading in HCCC is generally related to series performance which the club captain will assess towards the end of each series. Normally the leading riders in each grade are promoted. However the club captain may not necessarily promote any rider, or may give any rider the option of going up or remaining in their current grade. The club captain will assess all factors in making his/her decisions, for example the performances of riders who win easily when they do ride but are selective in their appearances. Some riders may top a series table but struggle in the grade above, especially if they are older and/or they won the series through consistency rather through dominating performances. The club captain will also be mindful of the greater gap between the higher grades, especially between A and B grades. No B grade rider will be compelled to go to A grade but some may be encouraged to go up. He/she will also be on the lookout for those who manage their performance in a higher grade so as to make a better case for dropping down again.
Mentor/support riders: This policy does not apply to those riding as mentors with a lower grade or parents or others riding with a junior rider. However these riders must not affect the unfolding or the outcome of any race they are involved with.
Riding up a grade: There is no restriction on riding up other than safety and common sense. Members ride a grade up for various reasons – they may feel they are ready and prefer not to wait for the series end, they may want to test themselves at the next level, or they may have wrapped up a series early – and providing riders do so without disruption, this is to be encouraged.
If a member wishes to move up more than one grade they should contact the club captain and gain his/her agreement.
Riding Down: Members must ride in their current grade for a complete series unless they have applied to the club captain to be re-graded. Grading down during a series will only be considered in exceptional circumstances such as injury or serious illness.
If the club captain gives permission for a rider to ride down during a series, they will be informed how much part he/she may take part in racing in the lower grade. They will also remain in their current grade on the points table and only receive two points (for turning out) in that grade.
Any applications for re-grading must:
- Be in writing and include the reasons why a change in grading is requested.
- Be made at least two weeks before the start of a new series and apply to the upcoming series.
The club captain will consider the application, and if a re-grade down is granted, inform the member, timekeeper, and the committee. Members who are found to have ridden a race in a grade below their own without permission will be disqualified. Members who do this more than once will be subject to the club’s disciplinary policy.
Handicap race protocol: A handicap race is essentially a Team Time Trial. The riders are seeded in bunches dependent on their previous race performances - the slowest riders start first and the fastest riders start last.
Look on a handicap race as a chance to gain some extra fitness as a handicap race will normally be more intense than a mass start. The handicapper’s ultimate race would be for the slowest bunch to be caught by the fastest bunch a couple of hundred meters from the finish line.
Pointers on how to ride a handicap race:
- Ride to the ability of your bunch; i.e. if you are the strongest in your bunch don’t ride off the front. Keep your speed to the bunch average speed and take a longer turn on the front. Remember over a 60km race a bunch of riders will be faster than a rider on their own.
- Every rider takes a turn on the front - no sitting on.
- Rotate smoothly and keep your time on the front to only 20 - 30 seconds maximum.
- When you go to the front keep your speed the same as the bunch speed, it is only your effort that needs to increase as you are breaking the wind - don’t surge to the front as this creates a gap for the rider behind you to fill.
- When you catch another bunch integrate their riders into your bunch’s lapping rotation.
- If your bunch is caught by a bunch that started behind you there will obviously be stronger riders in there but join their rotation. Remember you are still expected to do your share of the work, it is still essentially a team time trial situation until your bunch reaches the front of the race.
- When your bunch reaches the front of the race and you are a Km or so from the finish, only then can you start to think of your individual chances of success.
Bunch Riding Tips
Why ride in a bunch?
Riding in a bunch can be the most enjoyable experience if done correctly. The advantage of riding as a bunch or peloton (French word for an organised group of riders) is that as an organised group you can ride further and faster than individual riders or non-organised group.
You will expend up to 30 per cent less energy by riding sheltered in a bunch, as riders in front of you overcome the wind resistance. By taking turns at the front, all riders can share the effort and longer distances can be covered.
However, bunch riding can also be a huge pain especially if people in the group don't understand the rules or don’t do their fair share of the work. Everyone needs to know these rules for the safety of all riders.
Below are some tips for bunch riding
Below explains what to do why riding in a large group or peloton however from time to time you maybe riding in a smaller group which will require you to take your turn leading the group by yourself not with a partner as described below, however the same rules apply.
Be predictable with all actions
Avoid sudden braking and changes of direction and always try to maintain a steady straight line. Remember that there are riders following closely behind. To slow down, gradually move out into the wind and slot back into position in the bunch when you have less speed. By putting your hands on the hoods on your brakes you can “sit up” this will allow your body to slow you down by utilizing the wind resistance.
Ride safely and try to stay off the brakes. If you are inexperienced or a little nervous about riding to close to the wheel in front of you, stay at the back of the group, gain confidence and practice your bunch riding skills.
When the pace eases, don’t brake suddenly, instead ride to the side of the wheel in front and ease the pedalling off, then ease back into position again on the wheel. Practice on the back and soon you will be able to move up the line with a partner.
Rolling through - swapping off – taking a turn
The most common way to take a turn on the front of the group is for each pair is to stay together until they get to the front. After having a turn on the front (generally about the same amount of time as everyone else is taking), the pair separates and moves to each side (left and right or the right side if your riding at the front alone), allowing the riders behind to come through to the front. To get to the back of the peloton, stop pedalling for a while or ease off to slow down, keep an eye out for the end of the bunch and fall back into line there. It is safer for everyone if you get to the back as quickly as possible.
Be smooth with turns at the front of the group Avoid rushing forward (surges) unless you are trying to break away from the group. Surges cause gaps further back in the bunch which affect the riders at the back as they have to continually chase to stay with the bunch.
No half wheeling
When you finally make it to the front, don’t ‘half wheel’. This means keeping half a wheel in front of your partner. This automatically makes your partner speed up slightly to pull back along side you. Often half wheelers will also speed up, so the pace of the bunch invariably speeds up as the riders behind try to catch up.
Choosing when to come off the front
You and your partner need to do some planning when you get on the front so that when you roll through you come off at a place where the road is wide enough for the group to be four-wide for a short time. With some planning, it is often possible to come off the front a few hundred metres earlier or later to avoid a dangerous situation and avoid unnecessarily upsetting motorists.
Always retire to the back of the bunch
If riders push in somewhere in the middle of the bunch rather than retiring to the back after taking a turn, cyclists at the back will not be able to move forward and take a turn of their own. Remember that riding in a bunch is about all riders sharing the workload and accidents happen down the back of the bunch as well. Pedal downhill Pedal downhill when at the front of the bunch as cyclists behind you will not want to ride with their brakes on consistently.
Point out obstacles Point out obstacles such as parked cars, loose gravel, broken glass, holes, rocks or debris on the road, calling out "hole" etc as well as pointing is helpful in case someone is not looking at your hand when you point. It is just as important to pass the message on, not just letting those close to the front know.
Hold your wheel
An appropriate gap between your front wheel and the person in front is around 50cm. Keep your hands close to the brakes in case of sudden slowing. Sometimes people who are not used to riding in a bunch will feel too nervous at this close range - riding on the right side is generally less nerve-racking for such people as they feel less hemmed in. Watching "through" the wheel in front of you to one or two riders ahead will help you hold a smooth, straight line.
Don’t leave gaps when following wheels
Maximise your energy savings by staying close to the rider in front. Cyclists save about 30 per cent of their energy at high speed by following a wheel. Each time you leave a gap you are forcing yourself to ride alone to bridge it. Also, riders behind you will become annoyed and ride around you. If you are in the bunch and there is no one beside the person in front of you, you should move into that gap (otherwise you will be getting less of a windbreak than everyone else).
Don’t overlap wheels
A slight direction change or gust of wind could easily cause you to touch wheels with the rider in front and fall. Do not panic if you brush shoulders, hands or bars with another rider Try to stay relaxed through your upper body as this helps absorb any bumps. Brushing shoulders, hands or bars with another riders often happens in bunches and is quite safe provided riders do not panic, brake or change direction.
Riding up hill
Many riders, even the experienced ones, freewheel momentarily when they first get out of the saddle to go over a rise or a hill. When doing this, the bike is forced backwards. Many riders often lose their momentum when rising out of the saddle on a hill which can cause a sudden deceleration. Following the wheel in front too closely when climbing may result in you falling.
Scan the road ahead for potential problems, red lights etc, and be ready.
Obey the road rules
Especially at traffic lights - if you are on the front, and the lights turn orange, they will definitely be red by the time the back of the bunch goes through the intersection. You will endanger the lives of others if you run it. Lead in front Remember when you are on the front, you are not only responsible for yourself but everyone in the group. When you are leading the bunch, try to monitor potential problems and give plenty of warning of impending stops or changes of pace. Make sure you know where you are going.
Don’t use your aero bars in a bunch ride
Never use your aero bars in a bunch ride - not even if you are at the front. Using aero bars means that your hands are away from the brakes. Aero bars are for time trial use. Aero bars are not allowed in Road Races.