Being a ride leader (or beacon) is not as daunting as it might seem. In this post, we are going to share some memories, tips and tricks on what is involved in leading rides. There is also the opportunity to be a beacon yourself.
If you are keen to help TEAM | CLS and would like to take your Zwift experience to the next level, read on...
Being a Beacon with Team CLS
Our 'No Big Ego' ethos at Team CLS means we provide a supportive, friendly community which is backed up by a weekly training, riding (and racing) schedule. The variety of rides that are offered give opportunities to lead a mix of rides - from hardcore interval sessions, to long endurance rides, or even an introductory/recovery ride.
There is always a core team, working behind the scenes, to make sure that the training plans are well structured, the courses are selected/updated and, most importantly, that we have beacons available to lead the rides that we have planned.
We have a lot of great 'regulars' - and new riders joining us each week - that we are sure would welcome the chance to lead a ride! You can even write in CAPS LOCK if you want to!
Some 'words of wisdom' from current Beacon's
John H 'Ferret'
"My best memory when leading - For me, it was a climb up the mountain that so many Team CLS regulars did one day in memory of Angela (bruiser) Brugliera. It was very emotional and I will always know that climb in Watopia as Tony's mountain.
What I enjoy about leading - Just the laughs we have ride after ride. Sometimes you think oh no I'm leading tonight and don't feel like it but as soon as the event starts it's like a drug and you finish feeling so much better!
My key tips for new beacons - Never worry or talk about riders off the front, let them go, they know where the group is if they want to ride with it, focus on the rear they are the riders really working hard."
John Harty 'Doc'
“I was initially very apprehensive about being a beacon and even got my daughter to stand beside me to make sure I didn’t miss the calls. That didn’t last long!
As a beacon there are two types of rides. The structured watt calls (Tue and Thursday) and the free rides (Wed, Sat and Sunday). The structured rides are very straightforward as you just make the calls with only occasional reference to the terrain. Just have the workout close to hand. The free rides allow more creativity so you need to know the route. You can also introduce distractions such as cat n mouse or chase the fence to spice things up.
Being a beacon is great craic. Riders are ready grateful for your time and effort. You get great support from the regulars and sweepers. It’s also great motivational training for yourself.
Key tip: You don’t need to be the strongest on the ride! Your job is to support the group and try to get the maximal number of riders to complete the ride within the set parameters. Put your group before yourself."
"Doing my first lead was unplanned. It was a Chill 'n' Spin ride and the usual leaders were at a IRL meet up. Although nervous to begin with the words of encouragement in the pen and support during the ride from the regulars was tremendous, I remember smiling all the way through it.
I've said it before during rides... The best thing about leading is that you never get dropped and always end with the beacon.
Key Tips: Have the workout to hand and who cares if you miss or are late in making the call."
"Riding as a beacon is so much fun! Yes, you do have to be aware of what everyone is doing and try to keep everyone in check (not an easy task!) but it soon becomes second nature after a few rides. Key tips would be to join the pen early, take a look at the workout or make a ride plan before, and have a setup that lets you ride and type comfortably."
All you need to do is CLICK HERE to fill out the quick an easy form. We will be in touch with you soon!
Depending on interest we may even set up some 'worry free' Beacon introduction rides to help learn the ropes.
See You Down The Road... TEAM | CLS