Beta-tester and West London VR's Dave Morrison is bringing one of the first race series to the rapidly evolving virtual cycling platform indieVelo
Isn’t the IndieVelo adventure fun? I identify with it! Founder Dr. George Gilbert has been amazingly supportive and helpful. Let’s all get on board for the ride!
I’m not new to running online racing series. I’ve done it on other platforms for a while, but why someone who is not a techie, a bike racer, or a gamer who hates turbo-trainers is doing this is, perhaps, the intriguing aspect.
I do cycle. I manage a cycling club locally in West London and do a lot of audaxing and randoneuring. I also have a history as an ex-music promoter, putting on over 1,000 music nights (club nights and concerts) in my younger days.
Back in 2019, chatting with a fellow audaxer on a ride, he convinced this turbotrainer-phobe that smart trainers were different now. He persuaded me, and I bought one. It quickly hooked me.
In early 2020 I started running online races for friends. It rapidly expanded, and the rest, as they say, is history. My philosophy stems from not being into any of the individual components naturally but loving the sum of the parts.
And I always start with the same question, “What would attract people to a race?’ You can’t please all of the people all of the time, but I try to aim at being as universal as possible. For example, I wouldn’t contemplate categorizing riders unless the numbers got too large.
During a race, the peloton will split into groups, and you’ll find yourself in the right race by natural selection. You may not win the race, but you can win against your peer group while having the option to try and stay in the front group. It also negates the point of good riders trying to race in lower groups.
The moment I tried indieVelo, I felt something positive. It was slick and smooth for a Beta Test. I’m sure there are many more ‘bells and whistles’ to be added, but it was intuitive and easy to use; it loaded quickly and felt glitch-free.
There will be glitches, of course, but you just got the sense that this would be a quality product. Once I did a few rides, the platform reinforced my initial impressions, and I just knew I wanted to be a part.
Monday Malarkey Was Born
I’m still not 100% sure of every detail of my Monday Malarkey series scheduled for Monday Evenings (7.30 pm UK Time), but most of it is in place. Not every feature will be in the first series (24 July to the end of September), but I aim to have all the classifications up and running for Series Two starting in September. There will be small trophies sent free to the winners of each category.
One definite feature will be an emphasis on the Ladies League. Women will race in the same race as the men, with the first female finisher getting 100 points. The second will get 100 minus the number of places back in the overall race result, so if ten positions behind the first lady, the second lady gets 90 points. The design incentivizes sprinting against men, as a strong finish earns extra Ladies League points by minimizing the gap to the leading female finisher.
Of course, this takes a lot of work and commitment, and most amateur hobbies require organizers. I may never be good enough to win races, but I can enjoy success if my events go well. It’s a community contribution from me, and yes, it costs me money, but so do all my hobbies.
Despite the hours it takes to promote, organize, and process a short race, indieVelo has made the actual race set-up a simple and efficient process with a straightforward window with easy-to-understand boxes. Choose a route, date, and settings-you’re done in minutes.
But with a series, there is so much more to do; processing results and keeping classifications up to date can be time-consuming, and promotion adds time. It helps if you have friends who will support you at the start, that’s for sure.
We are always looking for new riders to join our team too.
Finally, I am an admirer of entrepreneurs. Business is exciting, and if my contribution helps the brave and pioneering team behind indieVelo, that will also make me happy.
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!