Author Topic: Marshallling TTs  (Read 2310 times)

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Marshallling TTs
« on: June 11, 2017, 09:19:13 pm »
If you're riding a TT, what do you expect of the marshals?

My understanding was that the rider's safety was entirely their own responsibility, and according to the CTT Guidance Notes, "A marshal’s sole duty is to indicate clearly the route the rider is to follow."

I was marshalling a 100 today and had been positioned at a T-junction (more of a Y-junction in shape) where the riders were turning right. I was deeply concerned at the recklessness of some of the riders as they approached the junction, seemingly with no intention of slowing down and checking for traffic even though visibility to the left is very poor until you're actually at the junction, and there were a few near misses. Some riders were directly asking me "Clear?", which I don't mind except that on one occasion, I hesitated to respond because I wasn't able to check in both directions quickly enough, and the rider just continued across the junction anyway, straight across the path of an oncoming car.

I tried to do my bit by waving my arm in the "slowing down" signal if I could see cars approaching, and for some riders I did shout "Clear" if I was absolutely sure that the way was clear, but I only have eyes on one side of my head. It's hard to monitor a three-way junction safely on your own. The layout of the junction also meant it was impossible to see approaching riders until they were within 30m (generous guess) of the turn, which is a problem given the speed some of them were travelling at.

I also noted that some riders ignored me and checked for themselves even when I did shout "Clear", which I believe is exactly what they should be doing. I'm also concerned that my attempts to prevent accidents were only confusing matters rather than being helpful and I might have been better off refusing to do anything other than indicate the direction as laid out in the CTT Guidance Notes.

I found the whole business rather stressful and I shall be bringing it up with the event organiser - asking him to remind riders that they are responsible for their own safety and that the Highway Code applies to them even if they are on a PB.

On top of the stress, it was a beautiful sunny day today and I forgot to bring suncream with me, which would have been fine for a 10, but I was out there for six hours...

Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2017, 09:30:06 pm »
When I do it I indicate the route and report any misdemeanours.

ETA  If I am riding I don't trust the judgement of the marshalls as it is my life!

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2017, 09:43:14 pm »
If I am riding I don't trust the judgement of the marshalls as it is my life!

Good!

Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2017, 06:49:13 am »
I do as you do citoyen.  I sometimes marshal a similar junction, blind in one direction for the riders, and generally it is ok.  You get the occasional pigging idiot who ignores my advice to slow down (if needed) and barges into traffic, in which case I report them to the organiser.  About 40 years ago I had this discussion with a policeman.  I told him my job was to indicate a change in direction and I may not interfere  with the traffic flow which includes riders.  The onus on safety is theirs.  The event organiser backed me up and the policeman was fine with it.  These days, with day-glo jackets etc, the side effect of marshals is to alert the public that something is going on.  These days I will only marshal if there is a need, a shortage, because I honestly do not want to be associated with the actions of some of the clowns.

Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2017, 01:03:32 pm »
I have no experience of TTs in any capacity other than spectator but I wonder if by giving any warnings or shouting clear you are laying yourself open to rider ire, from those who you persuaded to give way when they might have judged it clear, and possibly some sort of favouritism towards those who you told it was clear? Then again, the vagaries of traffic are bound to be an uncontrollable factor in an event on open roads, and for the same reason surely the riders have to be responsible for their own safety?
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - a Pacific bike ride
Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2017, 01:11:14 pm »
Marshals aren't really meant to shout out if a junction is clear, but a lot do it anyway.

When riding, as above I make my own checks as it's my life I'm playing with. 

When marshalling, I might shout at a rider to stop if they're tanking towards a junction and a car is coming, but I try to resist the temptation to shout if a junction is clear.  Like you say, it's showing favouritism: those riders have already got an advantage by not having to stop for traffic, so why should I give them an additional advantage by not even having to slow down to check?

Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2017, 02:58:51 pm »
That'll be the right turn on the edge of Lydd on the Camber Circuit then ?

I usually take that one pretty cautiously as you can't see very well to the left although there's good visibility to the right.   There's not a huge advantage to going through there full whack as you have to go over the only lump of the course pretty much straight afterwards.

In my view the marshall points the way rather than giving any advice on traffic.   It's the riders responsibility to know the course anyway.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2017, 03:43:33 pm »
That'll be the right turn on the edge of Lydd on the Camber Circuit then ?

Yep, that's the one.

I think I agree with tatanab - I will bring it up with the organiser and leave it in his hands, and say that I don't really want to do it again if the riders can't behave themselves. I don't want to witness or in any way be involved in any accidents.

Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2017, 07:37:11 pm »
A single marshalll* at a R@T is going to have difficulties.  Thinking about it (with the benefit of your hindsight) I would probably have signalled caution to all riders, and possibly have waved them on once I was sure it was clear.  But the latter would be against CTT rules.

I have seen some pretty awkward situations when marshalling.

*see thread title. ;)



citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2017, 07:56:28 pm »
A single marshalll* at a R@T is going to have difficulties.

Yes, two marshals at that junction would make life much easier. Unfortunately, so few people volunteer for the job that they barely had enough for the whole course.

Quote
*see thread title. ;)

:facepalm:

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2017, 08:01:45 pm »
Safety audit then. If there are insufficient marshals the event is off. Rider safety comes first.

The tradition with TT's is a rider from the organising club goes off first and if there is a missing marshal, they take that post.
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

cygnet

  • I'm part of the association
Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2017, 11:14:32 pm »

That'll be the right turn on the edge of Lydd on the Camber Circuit then ?

Yep, that's the one.

I think I agree with tatanab - I will bring it up with the organiser and leave it in his hands, and say that I don't really want to do it again if the riders can't behave themselves. I don't want to witness or in any way be involved in any accidents.

I think I comported myself properly / safely but useful to hear a marshals overall view on behaviour.

I've only marshalled at club meets to date and generally stick to the 'indicate direction' only, with my best poker face on. Fortunately I've not yet been in the situation of watching a potential bike/car crash unfolding, though a rider who ignored a foot down requirement at one junction was reported and DQ'd

I'd like to add thanks for your work (and all the marshals), and I really hope that you won't rule out volunteering at future events. The longer distance TTs are in danger (the Kent 12hr on the same course has just been cancelled again due to a lack of marshals)

Riders appreciate you turning out to keep the event on even if you personally don't hear the thanks given.
I Said, I've Got A Big Stick

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2017, 10:39:40 am »
I think I comported myself properly / safely but useful to hear a marshals overall view on behaviour.

I'm sure you did - it was by no means all the riders, and I'm pleased to report that the contingent from my own club were generally well-behaved, except for one chap who approached the junction too fast and almost wasn't able to stop, but he seemed to have learnt his lesson on subsequent laps.

Quote
I've only marshalled at club meets to date and generally stick to the 'indicate direction' only, with my best poker face on.

Sensible policy. I did worry that giving indications can lead to riders having false expectations and coming to rely on you rather than checking for themselves. I shall adopt your approach next time.

Quote
I'd like to add thanks for your work (and all the marshals), and I really hope that you won't rule out volunteering at future events. The longer distance TTs are in danger (the Kent 12hr on the same course has just been cancelled again due to a lack of marshals)

I'm happy to do it, and I will do it again - really don't like to see club events being cancelled through lack of support and it would be churlish to spoil the fun for the many because of the behaviour of the few. Didn't realise the 12hr had been cancelled. Unfortunately, I wasn't available for that date or I would have volunteered.

Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2017, 10:57:31 am »
My worst ever experience with a marshal was when one insistently indicated that I should go in a particular direction at a roundabout.  Which I did.  Unfortunately, he was marshalling a biathlon, not the TT I was riding.

In my (admittedly weak) defence, it was a new course to me.

Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2017, 11:18:17 am »
Slight tangent but that's twice the KCA 12hr has been cancelled due to a lack of marshalls.   I was available both times but I'm not sure how the message gets handed down - I maybe should be a bit more vocal rather than waiting to be asked.   My club is a member of the KCA and the organiser of Sunday's 100 is my club president.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2017, 11:22:00 am »
Safety audit then. If there are insufficient marshals the event is off. Rider safety comes first.

This gets me wondering - given the explicit limitations of marshals' responsibility, how is rider safety compromised on a TT through a lack of them? Audaxes don't have marshals and that isn't perceived as being a problem - is that because they aren't races?

If there is an accident at a junction where a marshal is present, can the marshal be held in any way liable?

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2017, 11:28:03 am »
Slight tangent but that's twice the KCA 12hr has been cancelled due to a lack of marshalls.   I was available both times but I'm not sure how the message gets handed down - I maybe should be a bit more vocal rather than waiting to be asked.   

We get messages posted to the club's page on Facebook - since we always do well at KCA events, there's an incentive to ensure we fill our club's quota of marshals, so there's lots of nagging.

I was half expecting to see your name on the startlist last weekend - are you not racing so much this season?

Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2017, 11:38:33 am »
Safety audit then. If there are insufficient marshals the event is off. Rider safety comes first.

This gets me wondering - given the explicit limitations of marshals' responsibility, how is rider safety compromised on a TT through a lack of them? Audaxes don't have marshals and that isn't perceived as being a problem - is that because they aren't races?


The presence of marshals is to make it more visible that an event is underway in addition to signage at either end of the course or at juctions. Whether a marshal is needed at every junction would be considered when the risk assessment is prepared- in some cases a direction arrow might be considered sufficient.

Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2017, 11:58:27 am »
The risk assessment stuff is a mess.  We in the SW are required to put up very large signs on dual carriageways (and there's a risk in that).  The signs have got incrementally larger over the last few years.

In S Wales, Highways refuse any roadside signs, even direction arrows, and the events are still considered okay to go ahead.

Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2017, 12:00:37 pm »
I was half expecting to see your name on the startlist last weekend - are you not racing so much this season?

I was riding a 12hr in Hampshire.   It's a bit annoying that events that are easy to get to seem to clash for me but the 12hr was a key event this year.

I did the Kent 100 last year.   Sounds like the weather was better this year as it threw it down for the last hour then and I finished soaked and freezing.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2017, 12:14:39 pm »
I did the Kent 100 last year.   Sounds like the weather was better this year as it threw it down for the last hour then and I finished soaked and freezing.

Much like the conditions on the 25 I marshalled earlier this year. I'm glad it was better weather last weekend for my own sake, never mind the riders.

Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2017, 12:26:48 pm »
The presence of marshals is to make it more visible that an event is underway in addition to signage at either end of the course or at juctions.
That is the modern benefit of day glo jackets and signs to show "something is going on".  When I raced, 1960s, 70s, 80s, there were no signs and marshals were in civilian clothing or cycle clothing.  In any case, the rule was that the onus was on the rider to know where to go regardless of whether they are from the other end of the country.
Quote
Whether a marshal is needed at every junction would be considered when the risk assessment is prepared- in some cases a direction arrow might be considered sufficient.
I don't think we want to explore that one too deeply.  I have time trialled in France where every single junction of any size at all, farm exit track etc have to be covered by marshals.  If we have trouble getting enough support now, just think how it would be if you needed a marshal at the track to "Cold Comfort Farm".

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2017, 12:43:01 pm »
We get messages posted to the club's page on Facebook - since we always do well at KCA events...

Winner was a lad from our club who set a new club record of 3:34:49, knocking 7mins off his own record. Mind boggling. I couldn't do a 10 at that pace. National record is 3:18:54 apparently.

Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2017, 01:08:12 pm »
We get messages posted to the club's page on Facebook - since we always do well at KCA events...

Winner was a lad from our club who set a new club record of 3:34:49, knocking 7mins off his own record. Mind boggling. I couldn't do a 10 at that pace. National record is 3:18:54 apparently.

Chris Fennell.   He was on our sponsored team a couple of years back but then returned to the Thanet.

Comp record is a bit over 3:20 (https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/articles/view/129).   Richard Bideau rode the first ever sub 3:20 as you mention but it was subsequently struck off as the course was found to be short.   (Don't bring this up near Karla as he's still upset about it).

I'd like to see what Chris could do on a fast course - despite it's flat nature the Q100 is a bit too technical to be really fast.   There was a 10 min difference between my time on there and on the E2 last year.

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - a Pacific bike ride
Re: Marshallling TTs
« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2017, 01:48:50 pm »
Comp record is a bit over 3:20 (https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/articles/view/129).   Richard Bideau rode the first ever sub 3:20 as you mention but it was subsequently struck off as the course was found to be short.   (Don't bring this up near Karla as he's still upset about it).

  :'(

There's a fair chance the record will be back on the right side of 3:18:54 after this Sunday, as Adam Duggleby is riding the fast ECCA event and the weather forecast for Cambridge says warm with 5 mph wind. Richard Bideau is also riding but as top seed he's off last, so there's a fair chance he'll re-break his own record but arrive to find it's been updated a few minutes beforehand.