|Tell us about yourself|
|Club - Palmer Park Velo|
Q: What level are you currently at on the Cycling Award for Young Volunteers Programme?A: Gold.
Q: What do you enjoy most about volunteering?A: I now feel proud to have contributed to my club, not just have been a part of it..
Q: How do you think being a volunteer has helped you?A: Building my self-confidence by taking on responsibility.
Q: Is there anything you would change about your volunteering experience?A: No.
Q: Where would you like your volunteering to take you in the future?A: Become a coach.
Blog 1: 27/04/13
Race Day at Palmer Park
experience on rollers. I helped a few inexperienced riders who had to hold the fence to begin with but by the end of the day they were riding well and all the riders were well prepared for the racing.
Blog 2: 04/05/13
Coaching sessions at Palmer Park and Omnium planning
After the race day I was asked to run a roller warm up for the fixed wheel session this morning, before assisting in the day’s activities.
The riders were put in pursuit teams and asked to come up with a target number of laps for fifteen minutes and I monitored one group giving feedback on their target as they went pass and evaluating things they could do to improve afterwards. The main point was about understanding the balance of strength in the group and not being afraid to step up and take longer turns if you can or hang on in there otherwise in order to keep the same speed. I was also learning how to get information across quickly and clearly when they were riding. They then got split into twos and targeted to travel two thirds of what they did last time in ten minutes, then half of that in five. It became more difficult to follow my riders as they split up and due to the variance between them I slightly altered the targets for the individual rides to give them all something appropriately challenging and motivating.
I finished the fixed session as a holder for the kerins and talked each of my riders through it to make sure they were familiar and asked them to think whether they wanted to get a large push to get away fast or wait a bit to slot down early.
I then was asked to take the under sixes in the freewheel session. I hadn’t planned to do so and needed to come up with ideas, to keep them moving and having fun, quite quickly. There were a few pauses while I and another coach changed the session layout that could perhaps have been avoided otherwise.
At the end of training we had the pre Omnium meeting. I was confirmed to be part of the judging team and asked a few questions about how the day would run, making sure there was someone to call riders out from the elimination race and checking who was dealing with parental complaints of the results.
I went to the stadium in the evening to help set up for the Omnium the next day. To start with athletes were using the running track so I began by setting up the rider’s area, marking the boundary with hurdles. We had to move the high jump mat out of the area first and cordon off the steeple chase as it was a bit of a safety risk for bikes. I also recruited several other volunteers who had turned up to help search for any pins, tack or studs left that might cause a puncture risk. We found a huge amount and there would have been many more punctures otherwise.
We had not unfortunately been able to source portaloos for the event and that’s something we want to make sure we can get prepared in the track centre next time. Today though we just had to put up signs into the centre and will need people on gate duty to let people through. I also thought that although we searched the rider’s area for pins we could have done a more thorough job searching each lane of the athletics track for when riders leave the track.
Blog 4: 18/05/13
Palmer Park Omnium
I was part of the large judging team we had on the day. We alternated in and out so we all had a chance for a break and lunch! We all judged each event with at least one age group. There were: pursuits, elimination races, scratch races, kerins and points races.
We had a finish line camera for the first time and were grateful for it at times as there were some very close races, but we made sure every rider got their result. The pursuits went quickly as soon as the previous rider was off the track we were ready to go but for some of the bunch races it took us a bit of extra time to verify the results. I think substituting a few judges after each race so one can check the results without holding up proceedings could be an improvement for when the Nationals come.
As always the points races was one of the hardest to judge. The head of the race lapped a few riders just before the finish so they took points in the final sprint despite being a lap down and never hearing the bell which meant the overall winner didn’t feature in the final sprint. I worked out that the quickest way to calculate the result was to look for the winner of the first sprint, see how many other points they picked up to get their total then move on to the next points scorer and so on until all riders with points (or lost by being lapped) have them counted. Then use the finishing order as a tie breaker, rather than starting with the finishing order and working backwards.
Overall the day ran smoothly but we will of course be looking for more improvements come the Nationals!
Blog 5: 02-03/07/2013
Berkshire School Games
There were two days of the Berkshire School games where I was volunteering to help British Cycling run a come and try it Go-Ride mountain bike event. I helped set up a course in the morning of the first day aiming to give a few interesting corners and features in a wooded area for the riders to have a go at but not too challenging as the main aim was to give as many people the opportunity to try as possible.