Learnings of a Cat 1/2 Cycling Director

Also called a Directeur Sportif, i.e. the “person directing a cycling team during a road bicycle racing event.” I’ve been asked to fill that role this year with my amateur cycling team.

While still a racer, I took to the start line this morning in sweaters and an umbrella instead of lycra and a helmet. While I’ve assisted with teams and races a number of times, I want to take a more active approach and keep a running record of my notes and tweaks, both past and ongoing; a sort of Learnings of a Cat 1/2 DS. Here’s some adhered to, and some forgotten, from today:

  • Wear identifiable clothing. Like a team jacket, or better, remember Ed Schum’s red cap? Wear it every race.
  • Wear lots of clothing. And rain boots. It’s colder / wetter / muddier than you think.
  • Carry a large shoulder bag for storing items (like tossed jackets). Always keep the bag on you. Inside that bag:
    • Compact tool for emergency / start-line mechanicals
    • Extra race jackets / capes, for during the race, and podiums
    • Race food (gels, bars)
  • Bottles. Keep a couple on the side of the road, near the feedzone. Too heavy / leaky to carry, and you can designate someone else to help feed with them if you’re otherwise occupied.
  • Time each lap with a dedicated clock (trying the phone for now); know the gaps.
  • Communicate gaps and instructions clearly, succinctly. Don’t yell “one minute thirty seconds” but rather “one point five”. Work out a particular lexicon with your riders.
  • Park as close to the finish line as possible. And try to stay parked in the spot you said you’d be in.
  • Park on pavement, away from dirt/mud if possible.
  • Park with primary vehicle doors facing into largest area (instead of making riders squeeze between curbs / hedges / other cars)
  • Keep a designated, identifiable garbage receptacle in the vehicle or broken window theory.
  • Have every rider check in with you after their race (whether they DNF or win). Make sure to listen to his or her story.
Tactical advice today was "stay warm."

Tactical advice today was “stay warm.”

I don't care how fast or cold he is, I ain't rubbing down his legs after a race.

I’ll give being a DS my best, but no matter how fast or cold he is, I ain’t rubbing down his legs after a race.

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