A Sig Classic

13 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

Just read the background to the A Sig Classic and well done to Christy for coming up with the idea of de-mystifying A rides all those years ago.

One thing I would question though is the Self Test guidelines - It states that if you can ride 4 laps of Central Park in under 1hr 35 mins your fitness is probably a good match for the A Classic Sig. Without wishing to sound elitist or contrarian but I suggest you'd need to doing your 4 laps in under 1 hr 20 mins - at the very least - to be comfortable riding the A Classic.

I'm enquiring merely because I think it might be misleading for some riders to ride 1hr 35 mins for 4 laps and then expect to hold down the advertised 22+mph pacelines expected of a Classic sig.

Not having done the SIG's I could be wrong here but what do the experts think ?

Anonymous's picture
Jonathan Goodman (not verified)
sig strength

Having finished the sig last year, I would almost agree that
someone who is challenged to ride 4 loops in 1:35 would be
dropped on classic sig rides. But the sig is a well
structured program for all around riding: fitness and
paceline skills. 1:35 is good enough to start, but if you
don't ride yourself into more fitness, you will soon be
dropped. Once a week is not enough.

Anonymous's picture
Charlie Ward (not verified)

Justin, I agree completely. Not sure exactly what more accurate time I would put, but 1 hour and 35 minutes is probably too slow. On the other hand, a rider on the edge wont feel the problem so much on the flats as on the hills. (That's where the wheat get separated from the chaff. Having been the chaff, trust me, I know!)

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Strength for SIG

I must agree as well. A test time of 1:35 or less is much to slow for the A-Classic SIG, a time of 1:20 is more in order.

For the A-Classic STS, a handful of its core riders can do 4 laps in 1:00 to 1:05, most 1:05-1:15, then another handful 1:15-1:20, which would be entry level here.

Anonymous's picture
Rob Bander (not verified)
cruising not racing

The 'self test'4 laps in the park is about 'cruising speed', not 'ás fast as you can go'. I seriously doubt that anyone in the STS is 'cruising' around the park doing 15 min. laps (4 laps in 1 hr). Bottom line, if you can comfortably ride 4 laps at 18 mph, you will be fine in a paceline at 22 mph.

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)

"I presumed that by considering the A-Classic STS, a rider would like to know what speeds others in that series can maintain. The data I posted indicated from observation what the range of test times is for all the strongest riders in the club, many of whom represent the A-Classic STS ""core"" riders, and I reiterate: ""a handful of its core riders can do 4 laps in 1:00 to 1:05, most 1:05-1:15, then another handful 1:15-1:20, which would be entry level here."" I can name at least three club members who can do 4 laps in under 1:05. Most of the club's strongest riders fall into the 1:05-1:15 range. If you are considering the A-Classic STS and can only manage 1:20, you would be one of the slower riders. My personal best is 1:02 for 4 laps. This was done on a road bike without aerobars, alone, and not drafting anyone once. Perhaps the effort was a bit more than ""comfortable,"" but comfort is relative. Remember too, the course is not flat. While I cannot maintain a 24 mph pace over a long rolling course, when I am alone and riding flat roads, my target cruising speed is between 23 and 24 mph, so the test does become a good indicator of what a rider can maintain at ""tempo"" over flat roads."

Anonymous's picture
ker (not verified)

the sig isn't for the strongest riders--it exists to make dedicated riders, strong. I remember starting it with many slow, unfit, scared-to-death cyclists who graduated as speed demons.

although the big boys ride 4 laps under 50 minutes, many mid-level racers in the crca have it as their goal to break an hour. so if you're using 4 laps in an hour 2 as tool by which to judge potental siggies, you're scaring a lot of potentially good riders away.

sounds like you're a big fish in a small pond, John Z. time to swim in deeper waters?

Anonymous's picture
Robin (not verified)
big boys in CP, please stand up!


Not sure which big boys you're referring to, but just FYI, the Individual Time Trial record in Central Park (2 laps) is held by Think Racing's Craig (Smilie) Upton, at 25:48. Happens to be a former Euro pro and Tour veteran.

Check it out:

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Here we go...

I was very reluctant to post the information I posted, because I feared two things would happen: 1) it would be misread; 2) it would provoke a swipe. First, I clearly wrote I was referring to the STS, not the SIG. There is a lot of confusion regarding all the training series, and I thought what I posted might help give an idea of the range of abilities of the A-Classic STS members. Nothing about SIGs here. Was I intending to scare off any riders -- absolutely not. Again, the club offers a multitude of similarly-named training series, and someone considering the A-Classic STS who cannot complete 4 laps in under 1:20 would be seriously challenged by this series. Obviously, my second fear came to pass as well and is not worth wasting any time in response.

Anonymous's picture
Rob Bander (not verified)

Nobody mentioned anything about the STS. The original posts were inquiring about the A-sig.

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
Four laps in under 50 minutes - I don't think so

Ker asserts that the big boys do four laps of the park in under 50 minutes. To do four laps of the park in under 50 minutes would require an average speed well in excess of 30 mph, which might conceivably be possible for a professional time trialist on a completely empty road. Somebody prove me wrong. But I want to see evidence.

Anonymous's picture
Paul Spraos (not verified)
Actually, yes

Santiago Botero won the 9th stage time trial of last year's Tour at an average speed of 31.14mph. The stage was 32.3 miles long (i.e. 5+ laps of the Park) with a roughly similar amount of vertical gain as you'd get in the Park.

At that speed and on the basis of a 6.03 mile circuit, he'd lap the Park in 11:37, or 46:28 for four laps.

By comparison, the last CRCA time trial in September covered two laps, with the winner clocking 25:57--implying perhaps around 53 minutes for four laps.

So, it can be done in under 50 minutes, but not by your average athlete.

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
I love being proved wrong

Well sort of. Actually, I think you confirmed my point to some extent, because Santiago Botero is a pro and would have had the road to himself. I hope the CRCA time trialers last September would also have had the road to themselves. But in Central Park, how do you get around other users, pedestrians, other cyclists, roller bladers, joggers, dogs, squirrels, children, whose path may be unpredictable and still maintain that sort of speed?

The only time I've ever had the road to myself was in January on a Tuesday during the day, before the park reopened to vehicular traffic. It was extremely cold and I did two circuits without meeting or seeing anyone on the road and then gave up as the liquid in my bottles had mostly frozen. This was not an all out effort, and I was working off some Christmas excess. But had I have continued and completed four laps on that day, I would have done it in around 1 hour, 25-28 mins. My fastest ever is 1 hour 19 mins/53 seconds during the summer, when all of the above hazards were present. I think I could have knocked up to a minute off had the road been completely clear.

On this basis, I've decided to to go for the A19 SIGs as my paceline skills are fairly basic, with a view to having a go at the classics next year.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to it all.

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Further Consideration

Not only are these guys very strong, but they have an advantage of riding aero bikes over a closed course. Being as aerodynamic as is possible (or allowed) is extremely important to an ITT, and the faster a rider goes, them more important it is. Chris Boardman currently holds the one hour records for both aero and traditional bikes; the speeds are 35.031 and 30.723 MPH respectively. Looking from a time perspective over 40K (4 CP Laps), a rider going moderately fast on a road bike can save about one minute per lap by riding an aero bike. You also loose about a half minute per lap due to congestion. So, a rider under optimum aerodynamic conditions on a closed 40K course can expect a time about 6 minutes better than that riding a road bike on an open course.

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