What To Expect on Assessment Saturday
You’ve been working hard, practising your skills, and the time has arrived to show your coaches what you can do! If you are not doing an assessment, go to your usual meeting point/s – if you aren’t sure where to go, ask one of the volunteers, or come to the sign-on desk and we will help you.
Bronze Circuit riders’ assessments (road bikes only):
Aspects we will be looking for through the assessment are communication between riders, and the awareness of one another through the course of the assessment. Most importantly, you are in control of your bike!
- Before you start: Make sure you are in a low gear, you and your riding partner are safe, your crash helmets are properly fitted, and your bikes are safe to ride.
- In the start box: Talk to one and another about which direction you are both going to approach the first cone. Put your pedal in the right position, look over your right shoulder, and check with your partner that you are both ready to leave the start box.
- Through the slalom: Leave enough room for your partner and yourself to go around the cones, so you both can stay side by side. Keep your inside pedal up so it does not hit the cone.
- The funnel: Enter the funnel together staying side by side.
- Corner: Once you have left the funnel you turn right – the outside rider needs to speed up so that you both can stay side by side. As you turn the corner, you will need to keep your inside pedal up.
- Bottle pick up: As you approach the bottle pick up, you need to tap your brakes so you are in control of your speed as you go to pick up the bottle. You can pick up the bottle with either your right or left hand. The hand you are not using to pick up the bottle needs to just tap the brakes as you are between the two boxes – this will stop the bike running away from you and keep you in control. Place the bottle on the second box. Then look for your partner and head towards the stop box. If you are ahead of your partner then you will need to track stand and wait for them to catch you up.
- Stop box: Look over your right shoulder before entering the box. You should arrive in the box together and stop using both brakes. As you come to a stop, put one foot down for balance. Before leaving the box, you should check your partner is ready, put your pedal in position, look over your right shoulder and leave the box together.
Bronze MTB riders’ assessments (mountain bikes only):
For those members wishing to try for the Bronze mountain bike award, you are very welcome to do so after the group warm-up, and will be directed to your meeting point by a coach. The assessment will take around 30-40 mins, after which bronze students will continue with a MTB session in an appropriate group. MTB riders who don’t wish to do the assessment will join the MTB session as normal from the start of the session.
Silver Groups 1 & 2 riders’ assessments:
Riders are continually observed and evaluated and the coaches will seek to move riders between groups on the basis of consistent demonstration of correct riding technique, as well as readiness to cope with the speed and stamina expectations of the higher groups. It is not uncommon for Silver 1 riders to remain with the Silver 1 group for 2-3 assessment cycles (sometimes longer when attendance is sporadic). If you do not progress to Silver 2 this time around, please do not be disheartened. We will work to progress you just as soon as you are ready to ride successfully in the Silver 2 squad.
Silver 1 – usually, we look for the following key behaviours and techniques:
- Group riding close to other riders
- Changing in the group
- Pace management and control
- Use of gears
- Ascending, descending and cornering
- Communication, signalling and consideration of other riders in the group
- General awareness and attention to safety on the circuit
- Endurance & stamina
- Consistency & predictability of riding
- Silver 2 – usually, the following is considered:
- General riding ability and endurance.
- Group riding, cornering, ascending/ descending, gear selection and endurance/ pace.
- Can you ride confidently and safely in a group around the Hillingdon Circuit at a pace that will allow you to comfortably take part in Gold Sessions; whilst demonstrating the necessary skills in gear selection, climbing and descending in a continuous 40 minute ride.
Gold Group assessments:
Briefings will be delivered to you on the Saturday of your assessment. In some cases there may not be a formal assessment, and this is at the discretion of the coaches in charge.
A Few Important Reminders Regarding Assessment Days:
- Only members are assessed – if you are in a trial period with the club post an induction, you will need to sign up to progress the programme.
- Do not be late, as this will impact the rest of your group. Unless you have a really good reason, the sign-on team will not allow any latecomers! Make sure you are signed on no later than 9.30am.
- Once you are signed on, do not dilly-dally, but make your way straight to the front of the clubhouse, ready for your warm-up by 9.30am sharp.
- Once you have all been grouped and warmed up accordingly, assessments will take place promptly at 10am, and will be in progress until completed. During this time the circuit may be split to accommodate all skills levels.
- Read your passport booklets before the session so that you understand the demands and the key coaching points for your respective levels.
- Make sure you follow the safety guidelines in Rider Resources, particularly the sections on sustenance and well-being.
- Relax and breathe deeply – you will be fine. Have FUN and ENJOY your session!
- DON’T FORGET YOUR PASSPORTS!
- And finally, Parents: please stand back during assessments and kindly do NOT interfere in the sessions or question the coaches’ methods – they are all British Cycling qualified and know exactly what to look for during these sessions. If you’d like a reminder of the Parents’ Code of Conduct to which you have signed up, where this is clearly stated, please click here.
Help! I Am Going to Miss My Assessment…!
Don’t panic! Don’t despair! When you return to the club, let your Coach know that you missed the assessment, and discuss options with them directly. Unfortunately, with us being such a busy club it is not always possible to arrange a special assessment for any one rider after Assessment Saturday, especially as all our sessions are group sessions and not one-to-one for a number of reasons. However, at the discretion of the group lead Coaches, if it’s practical, and depending which group the rider is in, plus a number of other varying factors such as the size of the group and safety conditions, an assessment may be possible. To be clear, this is not a guarantee and it is important to always talk to the coaches. If you have to wait for the next assessment in a few weeks to show how good you are, do heed the wise words of Head Coach Dave: “The pathway to good performance is a journey of hard work over months and years, not weeks!”