In previous two articles we shared our experience on how to:
- get know the group you guide
- properly set the order of riders in it
- properly roll them in riding new destination
- establish leadership for making their tour safe, exciting and quite educational.
So, suppose we have more than 5 riders in group which means, by our rules, that two guides are engaged. We know every rider’s skill level, fitness and personality.
Sometimes all riders are approximately at the same level, so the waiting after hard and challenging sections is minor. The more notable the skill differences are, the longer is the time needed for less skilled to accomplish section.
In that case, guide usually chose between two options:
- to either continue with same tracks difficulty (remember that no rider will ever confess that he doesn’t catch up)
- or to reduce hardness because of less skilled
First option means that less skilled riders will most likely suffer and struggle instead of ride and have a fun. The edge between learning and gaining experience through hard work and struggling along with suffering is blur. Rider doesn’t gain skills or has a fun if he is at the edge of exhaustion after every technical section. As all we know, in Enduro, lack of riding techniques can’t be compensated by larger amount of muscles and fitness. So as the day goes, the more frustrated the rider will be. We don’t want that.
Second option (reducing the tracks difficulty) may look like compromising solution, but just temporary, because skilled riders will soon get bored. No doubts that group of friends understands it all and was initially prepared for waiting or excessive suffering of certain members, but still perfect ride is the one where everyone ride a bit over his (her) abilities every day.
Therefore, engage Task 4 – group splitting.
Splitting group into two (usually) or even tree (rarely) allows you to get rid of excessive stress among slower riders caused by constant chasing and struggling. Even that factor alone makes riding more exciting and fun for both groups. Not to mention the fact that smaller groups are easier to handle.
In slower group riders finally focus on riding techniques and fun, they finally stop thinking about their faster friends waiting at the top of the hill “15 minutes already”, suddenly that fall not so often and somehow manage to absorb tips and proper riding techniques.
Faster group can ride their own pace and tracks, and can finally load themselves as much as they want.
Riders want to make breaks from time to time, exchange excitement and stories. Usually there is a tracks plan for every day and If the group have to be split, then the way that both routes will follow same general direction meeting each other at some points and riding jointly some sections together.
So, splitting the group allows:
- handling large group easier (and safer)
- fairly group similar skill level
- making riding more fluently for all groups
- making slower riders focus on riding and riding techniques instead on surviving
- seeing more places, reaching higher mountains peaks 🙂